Open Doors Event Matrix [interactive]

Hundreds of artists, dozens of events–what to pick? To help you get a sense of the variety of events, we represented just a handful of them on our interactive Event Matrix.

Home news: Introducing Brick City Bucks! More about this free program and how to sign up

We’re proud to announce the pilot launch of a free new deals program right here in Newark!

Earlier today, we sent a note to a number of our email subscribers inviting them to test out Brick City Bucks, a Newark-based deals program launching May 1st by that is free for consumers. Those who are interested in receiving the card in a later issue can sign up for the waiting list at

An idea conceived very soon after the site launched in 2013, the thinking behind Brick City Bucks is simple: readers get a free physical card (and later a companion mobile app-based card) they can use to get deals in town, and local businesses get increased daily visibility among community members on our website, on social media, and via email. Our goal is to connect community members with these businesses by giving them a little extra reason to become customers.

The five founding Brick City Bucks partners are Art Kitchen, Commerce Downtown Kitchen, Market City, Mercato Tomato Pie, and Taste Venue. Three of the five partners have already set their deals, which include everything from reduced prices during specified days and times to free breakfast on Monday mornings! Readers should expect additional partner announcements in the coming weeks – they will include non-restaurant merchants.

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Brick City Bucks partners determine their own deals, when the deals are in effect, and what the exceptions are. To see what deals are being offered so far, visit our mobile-optimized deal site at

Unlike other deal programs offered by companies like Groupon, this program seeks to create sustainable deals that businesses can alter to fit the needs of their customers and encourage repeat visits. “It’s so important to our success to bring together people who live and work in Newark daily with people who visit to have a good time,” said Tami Brown, owner of Taste Venue. “Our regulars are so important to our business, and I look forward to creating new ones with Brick City Bucks.”

Readers who were invited to the pilot will start signing up today, will begin receiving their cards in the mail during the last week in April, and can begin using their cards with our merchants on May 1st. Readers who would like to join the waiting list to receive the free card can sign up at, and will be added after the test period gets underway.


#NewarkToLondon: Travel maven Madeline Boughton personally funds Newark students’ London trip

Six Newark public high school students are spending spring break in London, an all-expense-paid weeklong trip made possible by the diligence – and the 401(k) funds – of one passionate Newark native.

“No one is talking to children in Newark public schools about travel,” said Madeline Boughton, the trip’s organizer and primary benefactor.

At the age of 31, Boughton has traveled to 21 countries, camped out in the Sahara, and spent two years in Paris earning her Master’s degree. While she credits her parents with instilling a love of travel, she says discussions about studying abroad were nonexistent in high school.

Boughton has since become an outspoken advocate for the inclusion of international travel programs in urban school districts. Her platform has taken her door-to-door, visiting public high schools throughout the city where, she admits, several principals have flat out rebuffed her offers to speak with students.

“Sometimes they tell me no,” Boughton says. “They say we have to focus on graduation, and getting a job, and going to college. It’s not something we have time for.”

But she is hoping – “gambling” may be the better word – that this trip will inspire school leadership to shift their perspective. That is why she has invested $12,000 of her own money to make the trip happen. Without any corporate or philanthropic sponsors, Boughton initially turned to crowdfunding to cover the cost of airfare, hotel fees, and food. But when a two-month Indiegogo campaign only yielded $2,330, she withdrew the rest of the money from her own 401(k).

Madeline Boughton pitches the benefits of a weeklong London trip for Newark high school students in a video posted to Indiegogo. After the $25,000 campaign yielded just $2,300 in donations, Boughton funded the rest of the trip out-of-pocket.

“I was really stressed out and worried because I really didn’t want to cancel the trip, because I didn’t want to let the children down,” she said.

For their part, the students themselves were excited as the trip got underway. “The wait in Newark airport seemed like a couple minutes, it’s amazing how time flies when you’re excited,” blogged Joshua Skillern, a junior at Technology High school, as the trip got underway on March 29. “When we boarded the plane, none of us could keep quiet.”

With the help of an essay contest, Boughton hand-selected Skillern and four other high-achieving Newark high school sophomores last spring.  All honors students, the London entourage boasts two Rutgers Future Scholars, an NJIT Upward Bound student, and several athletes.

The itinerary includes touring Wimbledon and attending a Royal Shakespeare Company production. Students will also spend three days at Wroxton College, Fairleigh Dickinson’s satellite location in London, and the site of Boughton’s study abroad experience as an undergraduate. There, they will further explore Anglo-American cultural differences.

“We’ll be giving the kids that are coming over guidance about what it is they are seeing, some of the differences they may encounter, and why those differences are there,” said Dr. Nicholas Baldwin, dean at Wroxton College.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that international travel programs are absent from the curricula of Newark’s traditional public high schools. In a district where school administrators are saddled with addressing grave realities like low test scores and graduation rates, and where there’s been confusion and wrangling over the controversial “One Newark” school district reorganization plan, it’s easy to understand how a weeklong trip overseas could seem extraneous to school administrators, if not downright frivolous.

But in spite of both the steep monetary requirements and competition with more pressing priorities, access to excursions abroad for Newark students could be worth the effort in the long run, offering a global outlook for students who are inheriting an increasingly connected world where unprecedented global competition is a reality.

With this trip under her belt as a proof-of-concept, Boughton says she will seek the funding and support required to take a group of Newark high school students overseas every year.

 To read more about Boughton’s endeavors, see pictures from the trip, and read student blog posts, visit

ayesha fainesAyesha K. Faines is a North Jersey-based writer and television journalist. Her non-fiction work explores millennial entrepreneurship, personal development, and the intersection of race and popular culture. A self-proclaimed “afromantic”, she also enjoys writing romantic fiction and poetry. She blogs regularly at and tweets @ayeshakfaines.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Madeline Boughton invested $23,000 of her own money into the students’ trip. In fact, she invested $12,000.

City of Newark announces land sale for lovers: Lots for $1,000 on Valentine’s Day

In a bid to entice couples to invest in the city with their residency, the City of Newark has announced that it will be selling 100 lots on a first-come, first-serve basis to couples for $1,000 apiece on Valentine’s Day, Saturday, February 14, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The effort comes on the heels of their announcement of the “Live Newark” program, which will incentivize municipal employees and public school teachers to purchase residences in the city, and a call for city artists to develop proposals for neighborhood colonies — particularly in West and South Ward neighborhoods included in the model neighborhood initiative.

In their website notice, the city underscores that the sale is for aspiring residents who want to build new homes on the lots — not for investors or developers. The city plans to enforce this rule by making all sales subject to final approval by the Municipal Council, requiring purchasers to live on the lot for five years after closing, and making site plans subject to approval by the City Planning Board.

Visit the city’s website for a map and list of the lots for sale.

Stevie Wonder announces “Songs in the Key of Life” tour to play Newark

Legendary singer, songwriter, musician and producer Stevie Wonder has announced an extended run of dates for his “Songs in the Key of Life” tour due to popular demand. Wonder will bring the critically-acclaimed performance, which is a live adaptation of the iconic Songs in the Key of Life album, to Prudential Center on April 14th.

Rolling Stone declared that “the show is possibly 2014’s greatest testament to the limitless potential of American music itself,” while Billboard stated that “the music still resonates” and that Wonder provides an “electrifying concert… and had the audience roaring and standing on its feet.”

The tour’s initial run kicked off November 6, 2014 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden and concluded on December 5, 2014 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA, after stops in cities such as Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Seattle.

Throughout his career, the celebrated singer has amassed 49 Top 40 singles, 32 #1 singles and worldwide album sales of more than 100 million units. He has received 25 Grammy Awards, an Oscar, and a Golden Globe; is an inductee into the Rock and Roll, Songwriters’ and NAACP Halls of Fame; and is the youngest recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.

General tickets will be available beginning Saturday, Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. Eastern time.

2015 Blizzard Updates

Official information, news updates, and social media accounts of the major winter storm forecasted to begin Monday, January 26.


Do Not Pass Go: Downtown Newark road closures January 26 – 28

Via Newark Downtown District, road closures at downtown intersections will be in place Monday through Wednesday of next week due to construction:

Please be advised that Rutgers Police Department has informed the Newark Downtown District that there will be construction in front of 15 Washington Street on the following dates:

  • Monday, January 26, 2015: Washington Street from 7:00 AM to approximately 4:00 PM.
  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015: This construction will result in a road closure at the intersection of Washington Street and James Street from 4:30 AM to approximately 4:30 PM. Vehicular traffic will be permitted on James Street while Washington Street is closed.
  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015: This  construction will result in a partial road closure on Essex Street (between James Street and the  rear of 15 Washington Street) from 5:30 AM  to approximately 5:30 PM.


Newark creative entrepreneur D’TaRelle Tullis among graduates of Rising Tide Capital’s latest Community Business Academy

Late last week, 146 entrepreneurs — including 56 from Essex County — graduated from Rising Tide Capital’s (RTC) nationally recognized 12-week Community Business Academy (CBA) with a newly-acquired business education, an expanded network, and access to the support and resources they need to start or grow a successful business. In a historic moment in the organization’s 10-year history, the 1,000th entrepreneur graduated from the program, as part of the largest CBA class to-date.

The new RTC entrepreneurs joined an alumni network of 968 CBA graduates across Northern New Jersey in a graduation ceremony held at Saint Peter’s University. Featured speakers included Virginia Bender of Saint Peter’s University, Rising Tide Capital’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees Doug Forrester, cofounders Alex Forrester and Alfa Demmellash as well as representatives from the eight sessions of the CBA. During the ceremony, graduates received a Community Business Academy completion certificate and free membership into the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.

Among the graduating class was Newark native D’TaRelle Tullis, who is making a difference in her local community. With a mission to fight childhood obesity and provide affordable dance classes to surrounding communities, Tullis started her mobile dance studio Pitter Patter Feet in 1993. Starting with schools in urban cities like Newark, Maplewood and Irvington—she teaches ballet, hip hop, jazz and tap to youth combining dance with classroom instruction.

“Most families in my hometown lack the funds to offer their children professional dance classes; my business allows me to provide that opportunity. While my parents were unable to afford dance classes while I was growing up, I hope to infuse physical activity into the everyday curriculum to ensure the optimal development of youth,” she said.

With clients ranging from childcare facilities to public schools, Tullis uses her expertise as a New Jersey State approved consultant and trainer in early childhood development to create classes that provide physical and social development. While she started her business 22 years ago, Tullis took the Community Business Academy to gain the business and financial management acumen to sustain her business.

“I been in business for a really long time, however while I enjoyed the artistic side of teaching the dance classes I needed help with actually running the business. The CBA was extremely valuable. I learned that I needed to create a system to my everyday work to ensure I deliver excellent quality services. I also learned a lot about myself and built lasting relationships with my classmates and instructors.”

Since taking the Community Business Academy, Tulis has won $3,000 for Pitter Patter Feet after pitching her business in the Newark Innovation Acceleration Challenge.  She says her participation in the CBA gave her the additional boost of confidence needed to present her business and talk about pricing and book keeping. Tullis plans to explore options for creating online classes to expand her reach to more students.

The CBA, offered in locations throughout Hudson and Essex Counties, teaches entrepreneurs business fundamentals including budgeting, marketing, bookkeeping and financing.  Each CBA student receives a full-tuition waiver—covered by Rising Tide Capital’s funding partners—and continued business support through the Business Acceleration Services Program.

See a special screening of Selma on MLK Day for less than $5

Newark’s CityPlex 12 movie theater is offering a special screening of Ava Duvernay’s Selma, a film about the pivotal 1965 march. Hailed for its performances, for underscoring the severe threats braved by marchers, and for elevating civil rights heroes who have heretofore been unsung, the movie is also incredibly timely in the wake of present-day protest movements in the wake of grand juries’ failure to indict the police officers who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York.

CityPlex12 is offering the screening at the discounted price of $4.95 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day – Monday, January 19 at 9AM. See the flyer below for more information about the special screening.