Posts Tagged ‘newark’

Wild turkeys wandering thru newark

They are not shy, says witness

Sam Delgado hasn’t seen much wildlife around his neighborhood in Newark’s North Ward, a bustling corner of the city filled with shops and towering brick apartment buildings. So he was a little awestruck yesterday afternoon to see three wild turkeys nonchalantly trot across Mount Prospect Avenue. Sporting black feathers and red wattle, the nearly 3-foot-tall birds were headed toward the North Ward Center.”They moved very slowly. They were taking their time,” said Delgado, 52, who is married to Esmeralda Cameron, the city spokeswoman. “It was pretty remarkable.”

Delgado and Cameron were driving in their Honda CRV about 3:15 p.m. when they spotted the birds between Abington and Second avenues, Delgado said. They and another stunned city dweller paused to snap a few pictures. “I’ve been living in the North Ward for 20 years and never saw a wild turkey. I’ve seen raccoon but not wild turkeys,” Delgado said. Sgt. Ron Glover, police spokesman, said the department did not receive any calls yesterday about turkey sightings or any other wild fowl. There are no businesses in the neighborhood that sell or process live birds, he said.

While Delgado and Glover both expressed surprise over the small flock walking on a city street, Pat Scheuer, director of the wildlife center Lorrimer Sanctuary in Franklin Lakes, Bergen County, was not shocked that the wild turkeys were in Newark. “I think it’s pretty normal,” he said. “We’ve been getting sightings of wild turkeys popping up all over northern New Jersey.” About 20 to 25 years ago, Scheuer said, the birds were a rare sight in the state due to over-hunting and habitat loss. But conservation efforts have caused the population to explode in many states, including New Jersey.

In some places, turkeys have become nuisances. Truck drivers and mechanics in the industrial Michigan city of Jackson have complained in recent days of over-aggressive turkeys. And in Tilburn, Calif. — about 10 miles north of San Francisco — residents have reported the fowl destroying landscaping and scratching vehicles. Yesterday’s Newark turkeys caused no apparent tomfoolery. They probably ended up in the city because they were hopping from one park to another, Scheuer said. The birds were found walking a couple blocks from Branch Brook Park. “They follow these green corridors, any undeveloped areas, riverways, and undeveloped shorelines,” he said. “They are not shy.”

The graves beneath the PAC

Located centrally to the entrance is a memorial to the 1,400 people buried in the graveyard of the Trinity Lutheran Church. When the PAC center was built the graveyard stood in the way. The church was very very old, apparently built around 1740. I don’t know if the graveyard was moved, or if they built on top of it. I am told that the Newark Historical Society has more info. If anyone has any information, please contact me, I’d love to know more.


Catacombs beneath the streets of Newark


I can’t recall where I read this, but I read somewhere that the only catacombs in the US were located beneath a church in the Portuguese section of Newark, NJ. I made some phone calls and found out this was true and that the church would give a tour if asked. So I asked.

Located at Lafayette & Prospect, the catacombs are beneath the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The church was established in 1927 in what was at the time, a mostly Italian neighborhood. The catacombs were constructed by church members in the late 1950’s, many coming after work to labor in the building. Eventually the neighborhood began to change, and now is primarily Portuguese. According to the woman who gave me the brief tour, there are 3 Italian families who attend the church, even though the service is given in Portuguese and (presumably) they don’t speak the language. I went to the rectory and gave a small contribution in return for the tour. No amount is specifically requested, it’s whatever you feel is appropriate. I gave $20 just because. The entrance to the catacombs are through this door….


This door is probably the heaviest, most stubborn door I’ve ever encountered. The key would barely turn the lock, and the door as almost rusted into place. We finally got it open (please don’t ask how long it took to subsequently close it) and we entered into… the basement?

When I say catacombs, it probably conjures up images of old monks walking stooped over thru tunnels lined with brick led by dripping torches as rats squeak in the distance. Maybe you think of old bones wrapped carefully and preserved lying in cutouts along the walls of the passageway. Think again. Indiana Jones this wasn’t. It looked much like any other basement in any other building or house. The walls were finished, as were the ceilings and floors, which were as tall and wide as you would expect in any normal basement. Lining the walls were various paintings of saints and other holy things. In short this wasn’t so much a catacombs as a replica of a catacombs. It was interesting, but not at all what I was expecting.

Is it worth the trip? Probably not I’m sad to say.