South Ward: Omar

People have welcomed me with open arms because they respect my business tactics. It’s not all about getting a dollar, it’s about reaching out, bringing solutions instead of more problems. The crime here only takes place where there are a few bad apples. By God’s mercy, I haven’t witnessed anything. But people tell me this or that happened on the block, and the person who died may be somebody that purchased something from me or their family and friends, and that affects me.

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South Ward: Isaiah

When I was growing up my dad lived on Foster Street at the mouth of Weequahic Park. It was a block that always had a lot of working class families, a building for seniors and other units with a big mix of people. The park was the place where everyone gathered but you didn’t see these stark differences between them anymore. There was all sorts of people that would use it coming from all different places, all different types.

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South Ward: Antoinette

I think the school system was totally unprepared for us in the late 1960s. We basically just had to figure out how to fit in. I don’t want to say we were invaders, but we didn’t belong and there wasn’t an open-armed willingness to let us in. There were excellent teachers who taught us and loved us the same way they loved the other students, and there were some who were absolutely racist.

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South Ward: James

It’s not just Ghanaians who like it here, also Nigerians and Togolese. They come here for the food but it allows them to socialize. They come to find jobs and help each other get their footing when they first come to this country.

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South Ward: Aliyah

People are always saying “Newark is bad, Newark is bad.” But at community college, having me on the team was an asset. My high school coach told me that the way I play, and the attitude I bring to the game—it’s hard. “She’s aggressive, she’s not scared,” and that’s how I feel like I am, being from Newark.

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South Ward

The South Ward is home to the Newark airport, the Anheuser-Busch brewery, and the legacy of two literary giants: Philip Roth and Amiri Baraka. It's also where you can find CB Dream House Boutique on Bergen Street, a lavender storefront behind a white picket fence that sells custom-made dayglo slippers, and a Victoria Street halal market where poultry and goats are raised.

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Between the Lines

Somewhere in between the hype pegging Newark as the next Brooklyn and news briefs on the latest killing, complete with updated body counts (“This is the 67th homicide in the city this year”), are the communities that comprise Newark’s five wards.

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Long Division

Newark’s ward system was created in 1836, after the city became one of the most important industrial centers in the nation. A population explosion transformed Newark, suddenly filled with immigrant laborers, and the creation of wards was viewed as a way to run it more effectively and impose law and order.

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Decisive Moment

The Newark where I was born and raised was a city on the verge. After the uprisings in 1967 and the Puerto Rican Riots (or rebellions) in 1974, Newark seemed to hover on the imminent edge of disaster, danger, change, and triumph. Through street photography, I gained trust in my ability to capture it all.

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Coming Soon

HYCIDE | The 5 Wards is a series that will post ward-by-ward stories incrementally. If you can't find content about a particular ward, stay tuned and come back later.

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