Everyone knows that, for cherry blossoms, you need to go to Kyoto or Washington DC, but Newark’s Branch Brook Park claims to be able to hold its own in the blossom department. For us, the timing was off. A cold north wind came in overnight (1), so it just didn’t work.
Instead we headed to the Newark Museum, which I walk past every day but have never visited. It was good. John Ballantine’s house (of Newark’s P. Ballantine and Sons Brewing Company) has been sumptuously restored and integrated into the museum. The 3rd floor houses an extensive Tibetan collection. And… there is a temporary exhibit of alpine landscape paintings, featuring Bierstadt and Calame. And… there’s a planetarium that we didn’t get to. And… unlike pretty much every museum in NYC on Sunday’s, it wasn’t over-crowded.
Naturally, the museum highlights Newark’s history, which to me feels like seeing glimpses of a vast fallen civilization. Before its decline in the 60’s, Newark was a hub of both industry and craft. Newark’s silversmiths were very good and much copied. Like today’s consumer goods, not everything with the mark of a Newark silversmith actually came from Newark.
Also, a couple of weeks ago (1 April) we had a little bit of a party with some of our Hoboken friends:
- Ths winds round here were “born and raised in the arctic, and  learned their manners on the way down, in Montreal—or so it was said”. (Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale, 1983)