Newark Alleyways

Newark, like many cities, has a rich history of layers. Some layers have been erased while some remain. Still others are only partially visible. Newark's alleyway network lies hidden behind old department stores and warehouses, still integrated into the city fabric, often gated from public access.

 
Market and Halsey in 1925

Market and Halsey in 1925

Present day Nutria Street was occupied by Newark's first burial ground, and its geometry lives on today in the form of a forgotten alleyway.

Newark's Alley System

Newark's Alley System

Several alleyways have been closed or gated over time.

Beaver Street, Newark

Beaver Street, Newark

Some of Newark's alleys have retail that wraps the corner of a larger street, such as this intersection at Market Street

Belt Alley in Downtown Detroit

Belt Alley in Downtown Detroit

Other cities have "activated" old alleyways, usually by connecting to local artists and event venues.

Alleys in San Francisco's Mission District

Alleys in San Francisco's Mission District

Over 500 murals dot the landscape of the Mission District's alley network, containing a variety of themes from the social and political, to the historical and fun.

Melbourne's laneways

Melbourne's laneways

Commercially successful alleyways are found in many cities, such as this one in Melbourne.

Vacant Floors and "Lost Housing"

Vacant Floors and "Lost Housing"

As Newark's residential market declined, building owners "mothballed" the upper floors of buildings, focusing only on the retail storefronts at ground level. These vacant floors could yield thousands of housing units.

Typical Building today in Newark

Typical Building today in Newark

Only the ground floor has economic value, in the form of retail storefronts. The alley in the rear of the building is blocked from public access.

Access from Alley

Access from Alley

But what if we could again access the upper floors without ever taking space back from the retail uses?

Unlocking Residential Value

Unlocking Residential Value

Further, if we found a way to do this with a tight budget, then apartments could be financially viable.

Life in the Alleys

Life in the Alleys

This in turn would foster a new kind of ground-level experience in the alleys. Small shops, start-ups, non-profits, and galleries could take advantage of the lower rents. When mixed with the new residential entries, this would create a different kind of street experience.

Nutria Alley (Today)

Nutria Alley (Today)

This alleyway is currently inaccessible to the public, and gates have been installed at the 3 entry points.

Nutria Alley (Transformed)

Nutria Alley (Transformed)

Opening up the alley to small cafes, galleries, and start-up retail could mix with residential entries and stoops, providing affordable rents for commercial and residential uses.

 

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Vacant Floors and "Lost Housing"

As Newark's residential market declined, building owners "mothballed" the upper floors of buildings, focusing only on the retail storefronts at ground level. These vacant floors could yield thousands of housing units.