November 8, 2007: No More Scaffolding

Today I am home with Oreo. We slept in as late as we could this morning. It wasn’t until after eight that we finally pulled ourselves out of bed. That means that we probably got nine or ten hours of sleep at least. Boy did I need that. I felt much better this morning.

Darla as the Witch at the Eleven80 Halloween Party

When I took Oreo out for his morning walk we got to see our building, Eleven80, with the scaffolding all taken away. Boy does that make a difference with the appearance of the building and the entire street. We have had all three exposed sides of Eleven80 covered in scaffolding along with our facing side of Catholic Health Services since we first moved in making Raymond, Commerce and the little side Commerce streets all very dark and gloomy. Now, suddenly, there is wide open space around our building and light and a view! It’s like Commerce street is all new again.

The side street, the “other” Commerce, on the east side of Eleven80 still has construction stuff filling the one lane and the big fencing all around it but they are cleaning today as if that is going to be removed in a day or two. It will be great to have the use of that street for the first time and it should, in theory, help to eliminate the traffic congestion on our street which is horrific. Standing on Commerce is a very different experience than it was just four months ago. It is becoming an attractive street. Once the other Commerce is open I will get some pictures of the “new” Eleven80.

Despite some missteps and some backtracking Newark does appear to be making progress. The new stadium really is bringing in the crowds and there are several downtown areas that are showing some serious improvements over the past year. Dominica and I will be in Newark for at least one more year. It will be interesting to see what happens as we move forward.

Still missing from downtown is any sort of good, mid-market eateries. We have fast food and we have deli type restaurants galore (on our block alone are two existing brick and mortar restaurants with identical deli menus and an existing “truck” restaurant with the same men and one more located in our building about to open with nothing on its menu to differentiate it from the restaurants that it faces on the same street!) as well as Subways, fried chicken and pizza. And we have some nice restaurants like the Theater Square Grill, Maize and 27Mix. But we lack normal, everyday type eateries that most people want to go to for dinner most days. We need normal places to eat in addition to what we have. The fringe is well taken care of. It is time to fill in the gaps so that people who actually live here have places to go.

Today involved a lot of cleaning and household chores for me. First and foremost was kitchen cleaning. This week has been busy and the dishes just scaled out of control before we knew what hit us. The kitchen was all but unusable for the last few days and so it is up to me to reclaim it from the clutches of dirty dishes.

Work was fairly busy today and I did not get a chance to run out to grab myself some lunch until well after two in the afternoon. I didn’t have much time so I just called over an order to Food for Life and walked over to pick it up so that I could eat at my desk.

Oreo was very playful today which is good because it means that he is healthy. We played and played in addition to taking a couple of walks. It was nice out today – perfect for walking with Oreo. It was very cold early this morning but as the day progressed the sun was out and warmed this up considerably. It was still a little chilly so Oreo had to wear his little sweater but he likes wearing it because he gets lots of people to stop on the street and tell him how adorable he is.

Dominica got home around six but I was still working.  Busy day.  We got ready as quickly as we could met Ramona around six thirty to go out for dinner.  Traffic was horrible – the curse of the new, thriving downtown Newark social scene – so it took her a while to make it the two miles from the Ironbound to downtown to meet us.  We went over to Halsey to 27Mix.  It was a happening place tonight.  Wall to wall people.  Dinner was very good but unfortunately the music was so loud that we really couldn’t talk at all. Not the best to go for socializing.  The place is mostly inhabited by the college students from Rutgers and NJIT which are very nearby.

Min and I got home at eight thirty and were tired.  Boy are we ever getting old.  But Oreo enjoys the extra snuggle time.  So it was time to pop in Buck Rogers in the Twenty Fifth Century and head off to dreamland.  I will be on Wall St. tomorrow.  Just the usual.  No big weekend plans other than last minute preparations for the trip to the UK.  My Java class is theoretically having its final on Saturday morning which would be awesome.  That would give me an entire week to relax before the trip.

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