Exploring Project Romeo

And The Changing Face of Newark

(by Yudosai)

As some of you may know, in the works is another Batman picture. This film is not about Batman, however, but his arch nemisis, The Joker. As it happens, the city of Newark is a shooting location for Gotham city. Shooting began on Saturday, the 13th of October, and continues until tomorrow, Tuesday, the 16th. Now I'm not a superhero fanboy, but doesnt take much to marvel at the brilliant tranformation of the corner of Halsey Street, and Broad Street.


What you're seeing now is where much of the work was done. Stores were plastered with signs and styles of yesteryear, and I was nearly fooled by the music store (Serving Gotham's Musicians since 1932) , which I thought was a real store and intened to visit. However, after seeing Project Romeo staff remove instruments from the place, I quickly realized that it was part of the film.

Something that I was mildly amused about was the erotic theatre you'll notice at 0:30 in the first video. It's kind of a popular location for cinematic production. As you can see in the link, this is not normally an erotic theatre. It's actually a normal movie theatre (opened for vaudeville in 1886 and converted for movies in the 1910's) that closed down in the 1980s due to it only being able to show one movie at a time and deteriorating condition. Ironically enough, one of the oldest and longest running erotic theatres in the nation just recently shut down in July, sits vacant only a few locks away.

What I find the most ironic is the clip above. You would think that this clip is a part of the set, because, if all the automobiles in the scene were replaced with those in the forground, looks as if torn from yesteryear. It was not. The cars, bus, and camera filter are all that is staged in this scene. This block similar to most of downtown, has looked the same for dacades.

Nevertheless, looks can be deciving. Purchasing land in downtown Newark is damn near impossible, as an oncoming wave of gentrification has prompted land owners to hold on to their properties, and wait for urban developers to offer them millions, rather than Joe Shmoe's $190k (average for a small, untouched home in Newark) for a little brick rowhouse. Hell, zillow writes property value shot up a whole 26% just this year, and it doesn't show a sign of stopping.

Point being, in this decade, many have seen Newark as a cheaper alternative to living in Manhattan, or any part of New York for that matter, and being that a lot of the employees of big corporations and organizations in Newark (Prudential, Audible, Panasonic, Rutgers University, etc) live in the big apple, said organizations, the city, and general living conditions are pushing more people to move here. I attribute this to the hike in property value.

TL;DR: Newark is rapidly approaching an age of great change and potential prosparity. I certainly hope that Mayor Baraka will put in measures to protect the city's long-time residents, especially those in danger of being priced out.

Yes, I know that had nothing to do with Batman, the Joker, or the new movie, but seeing set be intertwined in such a way that it fuses with the city really prompted me to reflect. In about fifteen years, it looks like that movie producers won't be able to capture Newark in this way, due to anticipated development of some of the buildings you saw in the video (take a look at the tan high rise about 48 seconds into the first video, aside from the first floor, the building is entirely empty). On a much lighter note, here's some B roll from a film my dad shot in Newark for a high school project in 1976. How well do you think they represented what the city looked like back then?

~B-Roll to be Uploaded within the month of October, 2018~