I've lived on the East Coast for 19 years and I spent around 15 of those years working in Newark.
I've seen the sun gleaming off the dome of City Hall, watched the cherry blossoms bloom in Branch Brook Park, eaten fat sandwiches from Hobby's Deli, and observed parades that celebrate Puerto Rican pride, St. Patrick's Day, and the Portugese community.
As a journalist, I've interviewed homeless people, politicians, high school students, and ordinary people who make up the community. I've listened to the rich sounds of gospel choirs in Newark churches, heard the strains of Christmas carols at the Cathedral Basilica and wondered about the funky statues outside of the Federal Courthouse.
In short, I am fascinated by the diversity and wealth of stories that make up everyday life in New Jersey's biggest city.
Newark isn't just the Prudential Center or NJPAC, though they are certainly landmarks in this city. It is also the heartfelt kindness that takes place every day at St. John's Soup Kitchen, the passion of the soccer players in the Ironbound and the fierce determination students across the city have to succeed.
I'm proud to be writing about Newark again. Though the city may capture headlines for crime and corruption, that's not the only news going on here. There are amazing stories to be told about everyday life in Newark's neighborhoods. And Patch plans to be here to tell each and every one.