Showing posts from March, 2022

25th Anniversary of Notorious B.I.G.

  Two weeks ago we remember the passing of Brooklyn's Notorious B.I.G. I took a tour of the murals dedicated to the rap artist synonymous with East Coast hip hop/rap culture. On March 9, 1997, Biggie Smalls was murdered in yet a still-unsolved case at the young age of 24. Six months after his rival in the rap game Tupac Shakur met a similar fate. March 9 marks the 25 anniversary of his untimely death. The "King of New York" mural was nearly destroyed in 2017 when the landlord of the two-story building wanted to renovate it but local community members and even the Mayor's office banded together to prevent the destruction. The mural was created in 2015 by Naoufal “Rocko” Alaoui and Scott "Zimer" Zimmerman. In addition, I strolled up to the very steps Christopher Wallace would have walked back and forth from. The building housed the apartment he grew up in. Just down the block is another mural on the side of a barbershop and a new mural on the corner pharmacy.

Former Seth Boyden Housing Projects

  It recently hit me that the abandoned Newark Seth Boyden Projects were being demolished to make way for 16,000 apartments in the area spurred by the incumbent Mayor of Newark Ras Baraka. I explored the Seth Boyden projects in 2019 with a penciled-in return for some time later. Well, that future next time never materialized. So into the archives I dug and found what I was looking for.  Seth Boyden was Newark's first public housing built in 1939 after the Great Depression. Seth Boyden or Dayton Street Houses comprised 12 buildings totaling 530 apartments when it was closed down due to high maintenance costs and public safety issues in 2015. During my time in the area, the grounds were evidently the dumping grounds of illegal dumpers and an inordinate amount of graffiti. Locals also used the wide-open projects for quicker access from one street to the next. A majority of the buildings were mostly empty and picked apart by long-gone copper scrappers.  Now future development holds the