Brick City, Newark

I just came across a great Huffington Post piece by our old friend Jack Bohrer about how Mayor Cory Booker helped bust a heroin deal on the streets of Newark this summer. The guy buying? From Whitehouse Station. Five minutes from my house, here in safe, bucolic Hunterdon County. Christie country.

In a million years, Christie’s running mate Sheriff Kim Guadagno would never cop to the contribution people from the “safe”, predominantly white communities we both live in make to the Newark streets she so fears. That’s another reason why her remark about being afraid on the streets of Newark is so unsettling.

Newark is imperfect, close-to-the-edge, and complicated. But what’s important isn’t only that Newark has crime, gang violence, drugs, trouble. It’s about what people are willing to do to shed light and make change.

Cory Booker – all lit-up and full-out – is a sleep-deprived, non-stop twittering agent of change, and walks those streets like a man on a mission. And he’s not the only one. Attention must be paid. And now, following the 2005 Oscar-nominated documentary which tracked his campaign, comes another film about Booker and his city: Brick City, a 5-night documentary made for the Sundance Channel.

Man, how do you not notice that something worthy and exciting is happening in Newark? Republican or Democrat. If you can’t see past Newark’s “reputation,” you’re in no position to stand behind its progress, or to lead its folks. Or anybody else, given that this is our city.

Brick City premieres tonight at NJPAC. Just blocks from the well-lit Rutgers campus Guadagno’s afraid of. Maybe somebody should buy the lady a ticket. Here’s a promo, which airs starting Sept. 21:

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