Newark Downtown District is Beautifying Newark

Taped on the campus of NJIT, Anthony McMillan, Executive Director of Newark Downtown District, joins Steve Adubato to discuss how the organization looks to change people's perceptions of Newark through beautifying projects like their recent art installation "Gateways to Newark: Portraits", a large scale mural along McCarter Highway in Newark.

9/19/17 #2073






"I mean, that is powerful stuff. Anthony McMillan, CEO, Newark Downtown District. What were we looking at? I was looking at the first beautification of our entryway project. It's one of many that we hope to do that will include communities and for us, for the NDD, the Newark Downtown District, it takes us out of downtown and into neighborhoods. What's your role for those that don't know what the Newark Downtown District is? What's your role? So, I am the CEO. I've been with the organization now for about 14 years. We're growing. What's the role of the organization? So, we are a not for profit 501c3. Our formal mission is to revitalize the central business district. What that means is to increase property value and for us, we have a very dynamic board, so it gives us a lot of latitude. We can come up with public art projects. Why does public art matter like that? I've seen McCarter Highway, otherwise known as Route 21 for some people. Why is that so important for people to see beautiful art for people coming into the city that we're both born and raised in? Absolutely. It changes peoples perception. If you beautify an area, it gives the impression that you're in an area that people care for and it's almost like the broken window theory. That's right. I'll treat it with a certain amount of respect because obviously, someone cares about this area. So, this is tantamount to sweeping streets every day, but it's art. Public art is very important in urban areas? I think everywhere. Are more and more people, and if so who are they, looking to live in downtown Newark? Yeah. I wish I could do what Don Katz has done at Audible with offering folks a subsidy to live in Newark, but I don't think that we need that anymore. I think Newark is on the rise. I think we have a lot of young... Who's the market? I would say millennials. I would say millennials... Suburbia, no one wants to live in suburbia. I think we've passed that time period. I shouldn't say no one. Younger people do not. They want to live in cities? Yeah, absolutely. Because? They don't want to own a car. They love public transportation. They love the bike. They love coffee shops. We can go on and on and on and on but they like the ease of the city. The amenities of the city which you normally do not get in suburbia. Right. And they love open spaces in urban areas. It's interesting to me. You were..."