Conde Nast: Okay, Newark is friendly after all

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on September 18, 2014

Lifelong Newark resident Bill Ryan, right, works on his sudoko puzzle while newer the Wars of America monument, created by Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore, Darnell McLeod a member of the park's security detail wizes by on patrol. Ryan likes the park because he says it is beautiful now, safe and attracts a a positive attraction to the community. The new Military Park, which has been refurbished and decked out with flowers, statues cafe style chairs and tables. There's a ping-pong table, a rack for newspapers and magazines. A restaurant is still under construction.

 

NEWARK — Perhaps, Conde Nast Traveler, just needed time to warm up to Newark.

After ranking the Brick City as the country's most unfriendly city for two years in a row, the magazine publishing giant put out a slideshow today touting the city's most brag-worthy attractions.

“I am very pleased that Condé Nast has reversed its earlier positions on Newark," Mayor Ras Baraka said in a statement.

Each year, the magazine compiles a list of friendly and unfriendly cities based on its annual Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Survey.

Last year, survey participants told Conde Nast they consider Newark just an airport city that is "overcrowded" and "overpriced."

The survey's results landed Newark on the bottom of Conde Nast's 2014 most unfriendly cities list — for the second year in a row.

But Conde Nast writer Calder Quinn took another look at the Brick City.

"Newark feels hard done by Condé Nast Traveler's RCA survey proclaiming the city the unfriendliest in America two years running," he wrote. "So we decided to ask Newark’s residents to plead their case."

In the slideshow, New Jersey Performing Arts Center CEO John Schreiber, city historian Clement Price and developer Dan Biederman tout many of Newark's attractions, including Hotel Indigo, Military Park and the Ironbound.

"Newark is not unfriendly! It is interesting, fun, and surprising. All you have to do is try it!" Schreiber told the magazine.

Conde Nast's rankings have caused no small amount of anxiety in Newark.

Last month, the city council passed a motion to express their "dissatisfaction" with the publishing giant's story.

South Ward councilman John Sharpe James, who supported the motion, said stories like Conde Nast's can create an unbalanced picture of the city to those who don't live in Newark.

"People love to dump on Newark," he said in an interview. “Unfortunately that persuades a lot of people from investing in the city.”

And last year a group of Newarkers started a tumblr with photos of local residents carrying signs proclaiming their own friendliness.

Maybe, the word is getting out.

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