During the summer of 2003, Newark became my adopted hometown when we moved here from New York City. I still remember at the age of 8 when we drove to our new home and my mom showed me the 'Welcome to Newark, NJ' sign. My family of 5 became homeowners. We were immediately immersed into it's thread. I began to take ballet classes that very fall and was fortunate enough to have my recital at The Sarah Vaughn Concert Hall in Newark Symphony Hall. At the age of 9, I got to sing with my chorus class at the Billy Johnson Auditorium at The Newark Museum. Being lovers of the visual and performing arts, my family sought out wonderful events for us to be a part of.
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When thinking about family entertainment, there's the Prudential Center which is the home of the NJ Devils and WNBA team New York Liberty and hosts many different music artists for concerts as well as NJPAC which offers diverse performing arts entertainment. Getting to see my favorite artists, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry at The Prudential Center, were truly memorable experiences for me and being a music and dance lover, I always look forward to attending concerts at NJPAC, such as when we got to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. Watching my two younger brothers perform on their cellos in the lobby with other Newark Public School fourth graders involved in the Early Strings Program for a strings concert, I was bursting with pride.
Love baseball? Visit Riverfront Stadium and root for our minor league teams, the Newark Bears & Eagles. Do your tastes run more towards art and history? There is the Newark Museum and the beautiful Ballentine House attached to it, the NJ Historical Society and art galleries like the Aljira A Center for Contemporary Art or the City Without Walls Gallery. Do beautiful churches catch your eye? Visit the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Perhaps you prefer outdoor spaces. If so, we have the Greater Newark Conservancy, as well as lovely parks like Branch Brook Park, home to 2700 Japanese Cherry Blossoms.
Maybe you're a philanthropist looking for a great organization to donate time or money to. There are many non-profit organizations which call Newark their home. The one dearest to my heart is NJ SEEDS, as I'm a 2007 Young Scholar alumni. They prepare motivated, high-achieving, low-income students for admission to private schools and colleges across the country. I recently graduated from an excellent independent day school and look forward to attending college in the fall.
If you want to do some shopping, although not in Newark, one of the largest outlet malls, located 5 minutes from Newark Airport, is The Jersey Gardens Mall. As a sales associate at this mall, I can tell you that hundreds of tourists pass by this mall daily and it's a great place to get great deals on almost everything.
Being Latinos, we love great music, dancing and eating wonderfully flavored food. Growing up in Newark has provided me with all that and more. After spending a few hours doing the many things there are to see and do in Newark, you will undoubtedly be hungry. For family style dining, there are many choices whether you have a family of picky kids who only want pizza and chicken tenders or if you have connoisseurs who love steak and seafood. Some of my favorites are Fornos of Spain, Iberia and Pizza Village. The typical Latin fare of Manny's Restaurant is excellent. The Italian food at Luigi's, a favorite of my finicky little brother, is delicious.
Whether you want to spend a few hours here, a day, or several days here, there's so much to do in my beloved hometown of Newark. Come immerse yourself in it's rich culture. With so much to see and do, you will not leave disappointed. Since Newark is so close to New York, you can take advantage of both cities. I'll tell you now if nobody tells you when you come to visit, "Welcome to Newark, NJ."
Here is the link to my video.
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