Working, Living & Creating in the Coast

Lincoln Park Is A Hub of Creativity

By Kim J. Ford

Four blocks that comprise Brunswick Street in Lincoln Park, Newark, NJ have existed since at least 1859, according to a map of Newark surveyed by Stephen Dod and published for B.T. Pierson’s Directory of the City of Newark. It is where Newark’s “Sassy” Sarah Vaughn was raised. A short walk from Brunswick Street, south of Pennington, Tichenor, and South Streets was 186 Thomas Street, where a young Sarah sang in the choir at New Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Until the global pandemic years, Brunswick Street was also home to Hooferz Club, owned by Tony Award® winning American tap dancer, actor, and choreographer Savion Glover, a native Newarker. The Arts High School graduate and grandson of legendary New Hope Baptist church pianist, Anna Mae Lundy Lewis, opened Hooferz Club on Brunswick Street in Lincoln Park in a forgotten about structure that once housed one of the locations of Newark School of the Arts.

Kimberlee Williams

Newark School of the Arts was founded post-1967 uprising by two educators, Stella Lass and Saunders Davis, with a grant from Prudential. They purchased the Lincoln Park building in the 1970s and it has been one of the community’s anchor arts institutions ever since. In its current site on Lincoln Park Place overlooking the park, students from around the city come to the neighborhood to study sequential education in music, dance, drama, and visual arts.

The hallowed history of the Lincoln Park neighborhood and the arts typically hearkens back to its heyday of juke joints, jazz dives, radio stations, and record labels, yet there is a more current story to be told. A new generation of residents–native and new Newarkers alike–are creating and living in “The Coast.” Take power broker Kimberlee Williams, whose FEMWORKS agency is firmly entrenched in Lincoln Park and even operated for a time out of the historic Dryden Mansion. Kimberlee is founder of the first-ever TEDX Broad Street and Newark Global Shapers. “I was introduced to LPCCD’s (Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District) founder, Baye Adofo-Wilson by my mentor, African Globe Theater Founder Kabu Okai- Davies, back in 2003. When FEMWORKS was established in 2004, I knew Lincoln Park was where we needed to be and by 2007 it was our headquarters. Now, I am a proud homeowner of an LPCCD development too.” She’s doing the most in the best way–even growing her own veggies in the community garden in her beloved Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Citi Medina in his home office in Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park resident Citi Medina’s imprint can be felt all over Newark and New Jersey. Holding court in what may be one of the most stylish duplexes in the city, hisMedina Citi Design Haus was tapped to lead the creative vision for the historic YES! Newark Amazon HQ2 campaign. This powerhouse has chosen Lincoln Park as home. “Lincoln Park has an energy around it, the history and richness can be felt. My creative agency, Medina Citi, began in this neighborhood,” says Medina. He continued, “Lincoln Park allowed me to do the work we love most in a neighborhood that surrounded me and supported my vision. My sharespace and incubator, = SPACE, which is for makers in our city, is something I hope to grow in our neighborhood.”

Humble giant and native Newarker Jeff Billingsley is CEO of Cobblestone Multimedia. An expert multitasker, Jeff helms his music, film & television production, and professional audio recording empire right in Lincoln Park, over breakfast I’d imagine. Jeff is executive producer of The Birth of Def, Who is Bob Sumner? documentary; and producer and music consultant for the award-winning feature film, Gimme Shelter starring Vanessa Hudgens.

Lynette LaShawn, Founder,
High Street Original

Fashionista, entrepreneur, and founder of Off The Hanger Boutique Lynette LaShawn is a “daughter of Lincoln Park” having grown up on the historic High Street, now Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Lynette remembers, “As a child I enjoyed the landscape of Lincoln Park. The openness gave me a sense of freedom that I never knew I needed growing up. My fondest memory growing up in Lincoln Park was engaging with my friends and organizing activities for fun after school.” Her latest vision, High Street Original, is an upscale luxury cape line, named after her beloved, childhood neighborhood. “High Street Original is my tribute to my biggest inspiration and motivation. It’s an ode to my childhood and my late grandma, Daisy, who migrated from Georgia in the 60s with my mom and uncle to Newark.”

Lincoln Park is not only the birthplace of a fashion diva and where the “Mural King” Rodney M. Gilbert gave birth to his beloved Yendor legacy, it is the home of Cement Gallery (in the former City Without Walls Gallery space) and arts education program Mighty Writers, which celebrates Newark and spreads the love of writing.

Since 1983, the Lincoln Park neighborhood has been registered with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Park Service Register of Historic Places. The work that Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District has done over the past 20 years to shift the perception foreshadows a future that sounds amazing in this storied music and arts neighborhood and worthy of its national designation.

Kim J. Ford is a published journalist/content creator, producer of the annual Lincoln Park Music Festival; founder of BRND Marketing Group LLC and proud Lincoln Park resident.

BERKELEY COLLEGE CELEBRATES ‘REMARKABLE RESILIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE’

Photo Caption: Berkeley College celebrates the perseverance and achievements of more than 1,000 graduates during a Commencement ceremony on Thursday, May...

BERKELEY COLLEGE NEWARK NETWORKING BREAKFAST

HIGHLIGHTS NEW INITIATIVES AND COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS Business partners, community leaders, and alumni focused on collaboration and education during Berkeley College’s second annual Newark...

Kean and Howard Universities ForgeHistoric Dual Degree Agreement

Kean University students now have a faster path to earning a doctoral degree in pharmacy under a new dual degree...

Essex County Commissioner A’Dorian Murray-Thomas Incredibly Accomplished and Just Getting Started

Simply catching up with A’dorian Murray-Thomas feels like a grand accomplishment. The newly-elected county commissioner is also CEO of the...

Community Education Forum w/Alfred Bundy: Ruth Ware, Dr. Leigh Bello & student athlete Zoey Tapsoba

In this episode of Essex County College’s Community Education Forum, host Alfred Bundy speaks with guests Professor Ruth Ware (of...

Community Education Forum with Alfred Bundy and guests Melba Moore, Samirah Scantling & Talia Young

In this episode of Essex County College’s Community Education Forum, host Alfred Bundy speaks with guests Melba Moore (Tony Award...

Rev. Dr. Valerie Oliver-Durrah & Brooke Durrah

Mother & Daughter Building a Legacy of Black Excellence in Brooklyn Known throughout Brooklyn as...

This Mom Is Fighting Hunger by Starting a Company That Reduces Food Waste

Atlanta mom Jasmine Crowe-Houston launched Goodr, a company that keeps food out of landfills while...

Aisha Glover Helps Audible Make an Impact in Cities Around the World

Aisha Glover joined Audible as VP, Urban Innovation in 2020, when Audible’s Founder Don Katz...

New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency Celebrates 40 Years of Service

On January 17, 2024, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) celebrates its...

Consider it Pure Joy | Jennifer Jones Austin

When Jennifer Jones Austin, wife, mother, lawyer and child advocate, and the picture of good...

NJHMFA Board Meeting Delivers Key Housing Policy Advancements in Tax Credits and Multifamily Programs

 New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) approved two new programs, the Urban Preservation...

Donald Payne: A Friend Indeed

There is no question that Essex County and Newark lost a great leader with the unfortunate passing of U.S. Representative...
Read More

Newark Congressman Donald Payne Jr. dead, weeks after suffering heart attack

Rep. Donald Payne Jr., who followed his father into politics and represented Newark in Congress for more than a decade...
Read More

Newark Boys Chorus School

The Positive Community’s annual Great American Emancipation Day Awards Banquet, celebrates excellence, service, freedom and the genius of Black music...
Read More

Rev. Al Sharpton

The media referred to him as a “controversial figure,” “race baiter,” “charlatan,” and more since the 1980s. When he began...
Read More

The Truth about “The Star-Spangled Banner”

It was September of 1814. The British had sacked Washington and torched the White House. The conflict became known as...
Read More

Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes at the Newark Museum of Art

NJPAC celebrated Max Roach’s centennial with a screening of the new documentary Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes at the Newark Museum of Art. Afterwards, a panel discussion was held include Max’s son...
Read More

BAM hosts 38th Annual Brooklyn tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On January 15, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) proudly hosted the 38th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a deeply cherished event honoring the legacy of...
Read More

Activist Viola Plummer dies at age 86

Activist and Chairperson of the December 12th Movement Viola Plummer has died. Her passing was announced on Monday. She was...
Read More

 Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz Art Collection at Brooklyn Museum

Call it an embarrassment of riches: The musician Alicia Keys and her husband Kasseem Dean, the producer and D.J. known...
Read More

Should You Focus On Exercise When You Want to Lose Weight?

Exercise may not be the best way to lose weight. A quick Google search on...

Holy Name Announces New Leadership Appointments

Holy Name, the region’s leading independent health system, appointed Cynthia Ziegler as Vice President of...

You Can Live Well

As a fitness expert, I often encourage clients to care for themselves first. It seems...

Season’s Greetings

Stay Safe and Enjoy this Wonderful Time of the Year The upcoming holiday season is...

Powerful Stories of Breast Cancer Survivors

WORLD’s Stories from the Stage: The Podcast Kicks Off New Season Stories from the Stage: The...

They are Fit to be First Responders

By Barry Carter In a spirited competition among first responders, Newark and Essex County police...