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Monday, October 29, 2012

Congressman Holt campaigns in Plainfield

Kids were happy to pose with Congressman Holt and Nancy Piwowar, but...

... kept a sharp eye on the treats.
Congressman Rush Holt campaigned in Plainfield
Sunday afternoon, walking door-to-door with local activist Nancy Piwowar and stopping to visit a neighborhood Halloween party on Martine Avenue.

The redistricting that followed the 2010 Census moved Plainfield from its former slot in CD6 (represented by Frank Pallone) to Holt's District, CD12. Scotch Plains and Fanwood were also put into Holt's district in the same reshuffle.

Map of the newly-configured 12th CD, putting the meander in gerrymander.

The affable rocket scientist (yes, he is a bona fide rocket scientist) came to Plainfield straight from the Union County Democratic Party's annual campaign breakfast, at which he was a speaker.

The Dems packed L'Affair on Route 22 to the rafters to hear rousing speeches -- including a keynote by Senate President Steve Sweeney -- in support of re-electing President Barack Obama.

Holt was guided on his Plainfield jaunt by local activist Nancy Piwowar, who proudly sported her 'Letter Carriers for Obama' sweatshirt.

The kids at the party on Martine Avenue, while happy to pose for photos with the Congressman, kept an eye on the mouth-watering assortment of candies and treats awaiting them, eager to make sure they were evenly divvied up.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Hidden Plainfield: Philly-Style ID'ed

Companion homes on Church Street show original porch configuration.

Together, the houses enclose a mews-like rear yard that is a downtown rarity.
Yesterday's Hidden Plainfield was a selection of row homes in the Philadelphia style on East Second Street between Church and Roosevelt, across from Union County College, as most commenters remarked.

The second picture above is of the companion homes on Church Street. Together they make up a potentially blockbuster downtown residential location, with the enclosed rear yard which makes a safe play space for youngsters.

Where shall we go next week?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hidden Plainfield: Philly-Style

These Philly-style rowhouses have had their porches enclosed.
Today's Hidden Plainfield is a selection of row homes in the Philadelphia style, which is unusual in Plainfield.

While row homes were commonly developed in Eastern seaboard cities, each major metropolitan area developed its own particular flavor. In New York, they were marked by narrow frontages and higher ceiling heights and were nicknamed after the most common building material -- brownstone.

Baltimore's were built of brick, set low to the ground and fronted with white marble stoops only three or four steps high rather than porches.

In Philadelphia, rowhouses were of brick construction, sometimes with stone facade work, moderate ceiling heights and featured a relatively deep porch and a bay or oriel window fronting the upper floors.

These Plainfield examples have all had their porches closed in and turned into an extra room at some time in the past.

They can be enjoyed along with indispensable Philadelphia 'style' food contributions:
Soft pretzels, cheesesteaks, and cream cheese.

Do you know where today's properties are?

Answer tomorrow.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

ShotSpotter said to miss another shooting


I am told by cops that yet another Plainfield shooting was not picked up by the ShotSpotter system.

A man was wounded at the Elmwood Gardens project when at least seven shots were fired at him, I was told.

Had it not been for an on-duty cop patrolling in the area, the shooter may have gotten away and who knows what the fate of the wounded man would have been.

The Courier details the chase and arrest (see
here), but you will look in vain to find any mention of the ShotSpotter system, for which the city has agreed on a $179,000 fee for one year of service.

Seven shots fired in one of the city's most gunplay-prone neighborhoods and not picked up by ShotSpotter?

Is this a serious technology or just a high-priced frou-frou of limited use?

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Corrected info on LWV candidate forums


Correcting yesterday's Plainfield Today post on the League of Women Voters candidate forums, here are the CORRECT LOCATION and TIMES for the forums on Saturday (tomorrow), taken from the League's new blog (see here) --

The League of Women Voters of Plainfield is pleased to present our fall program,"Ready, Set, Vote!" at Plainfield High School [Auditorium0, located at 950 Park Avenue on Saturday, October 27th.

We will begin with a nuts-and-bolts presentation focusing on how to find your polling station, what to do if challenged, how to use the machine, understanding the sample ballot, and more. This portion of the program is scheduled for 10:00 -11:30 a.m.

The voter education program will be followed by the candidate forums for Plainfield's  Charter Study Commission candidates, the Board of Education candidates, and the Plainfield City Council candidates.

10:00 - 11:30 am "Ready, Set, Vote!": LWV-Plainfield presentation on voter education. This is especially important for new voters!

12:00 -1:00 p.m. Charter Study Commission: There will be a short discussion of the public question on studying the City's Charter, and then brief opening statements from each of the seven candidates for the five seats, and their answers to two questions asked by the LWV-Plainfield.

1:15 - 2:45 p.m. Board of Education: The Board of Education candidates will provide opening statements, followed by questions from the audience (submitted on cards), and closing statements.

3:00 - 5:00 p.m. City Council: The City Council candidates will provide opening statements, responses to questions from the audience, and closing statements.
Sorry for posting incomplete info yesterday! Look forward to seeing you at this important opportunity to see, hear and meet candidates for local offices in this presidential election year.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

LWV posts Council, Board of Ed candidate bios, answers to questions


Plainfield's chapter of the League of Women Voters has posted the local November slates on which voters will decide, with candidate bios and answers to the LWV's questions on its new website here.

Plainfield has probably got the most complicated ballot in New Jersey this November -- keeping County Clerk Joann Rajoppi and crew hard at work laying it all out so it fits on one intelligible paper ballot, as well as the voting machine screens.

In addition to the national races for President, Vice President and NJ Senator, there are County Freeholder races and New Jersey public questions and the local races.

Where it really gets complicated is the local portion of the ballot, which includes --

  • Partisan CITY COUNCIL election with two candidates for the Citywide at-large seat, and three candidates for the Ward 3 seat;

  • Nonpartisan BOARD OF ED election for with five candidates for three 3-year seats, plus two candidates for a one-year unexpired term;

  • Local Public Question on establishing a CHARTER STUDY COMMISSION (an up or down vote), and a

  • Nonpartisan election of COMMISSIONERS for the proposed Charter Study Commission, with seven candidates for five seats (the top five vote getters will comprise the Commission if the question passes)
The League of Women Voters will host candidate forums for all three local elections this Saturday, October 27, at the Plainfield Public Library.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

North Plainfield couple donated Washington Rock Park

View from Washington Rock, dated 1907. (Courtesy Plainfield Public Library)

Satellite view of Washington Rock today (Google Maps).
An email from Susan Fraser of the Plainfield Garden Club is worth sharing --

We also loved all the recent coverage of the Centennial celebrations on the saving of Washington Rock.  However, we were sad that Mrs. McCutchen's name was not associated with what we call "our first conservation project."  She was one the NJ DAR chapter directors and it was she and her husband, Charles, that purchased the rock to save it.  They deeded it back to the state of NJ a year later.  Remember discovering the McCutchen Celtic Cross on top of the hill at Hillside Cemetery last year?  It was so exciting to see that it was placed in the site line of Washington Rock -- one of the McCutchens' great legacies to Plainfield and New Jersey.  Here is the direct link to her album:

Feel free to share this info with your readers....

The Plainfield Garden Club has a long history of involvement in the community and has been responsible for the maintenance of the Shakespeare Garden in Cedar Brook Park since its inception.

The McCutchen family were members of the Plainfield Friends Meeting, lived in North Plainfield, and were responsible for the founding of what was the McCutchen Home in North Plainfield.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Latin American Coalition celebrates new citizens

LAC executive director welcomed new citizens individually,
presenting each with a certificate.
Plainfield's Latin American Coalition (LAC) welcomed more than a hundred new citizens and their families, friends and supporters at a reception and banquet at Giovanna's on Sunday.

Council President Adrian Mapp gave welcoming remarks and noted the growth of Hispanic population in Plainfield, indicating that the next decennial Census may show Hispanics to account for about 60 percent of the city's residents.

The room crackled with emotion as LAC executive director Flor Gonzalez read off the names of more than one hundred new citizens and invited them to the podium amid applause to receive a certificate.

Many gave Flor a big hug and took the microphone to say a few words of thanks to their families and friends and to Flor for her continuous support and encouragement -- one gentleman punching the air for emphasis as he repeated her mantra in Spanish: Study hard! Learn English! Become a citizen!

For reasons that no one understood, there was no representative from Sen. Bob Menendez' staff present, though his office had been notified of the event and invited to send a representative. Strange circumstance considering the Senator stands for re-election this year and the LAC consistently generates more successful citizenship applications than any other Plainfield service group and sees to it that newly minted citizens are registered to vote.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Hidden Plainfield: Signed Stickley ID'ed


Home is on a rise on West 8th Street, west of Grant Avenue.

Yesterday's Hidden Plainfield is a Craftsman cottage on West 8th Street, west of Grant Avenue, as most commenters remarked.

It is one of several fine homes sited on a slight rise on the south side of the street.

Where shall we go next week?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hidden Plainfield: Signed Stickley

Craftsman cottage looks down over its setting.
Today's Hidden Plainfield is a Craftsman cottage looking over its neighborhood from an imposing setting, nestled amid old-growth trees.

I once sold this house when it was occupied by a friend who took a job transfer. The house was bought by his company and sold through their relocation division.

It was then a five-bedroom house with intact original Craftsman built-in cabinetry and wood trim, with a working fireplace and a gazebo in the back yard.

The house also had intact hand-crafted bronze wall sconces and ceiling fixtures, with a signed Gustav Stickley door knocker on the front door.

I had quite a dustup with the appraiser hired by my friend's company, who came in with a lowball appraisal of $149,00. When I challenged the figure and got a chance to see the paperwork, the appraiser -- no architecture fan -- had classified the home as a 'Cape Cod'.


Do you know where today's property is? properties are?

Answer tomorrow.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Friends of Library offers conversion of photos, other media to digital on Saturday

Now you can get a handle on those piles of old photos you've been meaning to organize.
The Friends of the Plainfield Public Library (FOPPL) is offering a convenient opportunity to convert those old photos, slides, VHS tapes or 8- or 16mm home movies to digital format. And help the library, too.

Representatives of Digital Memory Media, a division of Innovative Document Imaging (see their website
here), will be on hand at the Library's Anne Louise Davis Meeting Room Saturday from Noon to 3:00 PM to help evaluate your stuff and advise on conversion to DVDs.

You know those drawers full of old photos you keep promising yourself to sort? And the almost forgotten home movies from when the kids were little? How about the slides or VHS tapes from those anniversaries or celebrations of yesteryear?

All can now be converted to digital format and recorded on DVDs which you can then view or print from your computer, share by email or post to Facebook for the grandkids to see.

And the DVDs can be copied and distributed (hmmmm...stocking stuffers?) to friends and family.

All this and you can help a worthy cause -- the Plainfield Public Library. Twenty percent of the revenue generated at this FOPPL event will benefit the Library.

And as we move toward the New Year and the anticipated further attack by Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs on funding for the Library, the Friends are to be commended for providing an opportunity to help yourself and the Library at an important time.

Looking forward to seeing you there. Don't forget to bring along your stuff!

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Drake House part of 'Four Centuries' this weekend

Plaque commemorating donation of flagpole at Drake House, 1924.
Plainfield's Drake House Museum will join 24 other Union County museums and historic sites this weekend in the annual 'Four Centuries in a Weekend' celebration.

A special exhibit and gallery talk offered at the Drake House highlight how Plainfield and North Plainfield residents came together to save Washington Rock as a historic site when it was in danger of succumbing to development. Now a State Park, Washington Rock is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.

The 'Four Centuries' events take place throughout the County on Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday from Noon to 5 PM.

The events is conveniently organized into clusters of related themes for those who wish to focus more closely. The Drake House is listed under two themes: the Revolutionary War experience, and Victorian life and times.

You can view or download the complete brochure from Union County's website here.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Obama-Romney, Round 2: Better, or just different?

The second debate was a town hall format,
moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley.

Plainfield voters got another look at President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney in their town hall debate at Hofstra University Tuesday night, with CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley moderating.

As expected, Obama was much more feisty than in the first debate. I thought that Romeny continued to try and bully the moderator to get more time to rebut the President's statements, but your mileage may differ (I think the NYTimes clockwatchers actually record three minutes more talk time for Obama than Romney).

While no pushover, Crowley did have trouble cutting the boys off -- as compared to Raddatz at the Veep debate last week. However, to her credit, she did push both candidates to answer the question asked when she felt they ducked one. Brava!

What do you think?

Was the debate better, or just different?

You can watch videos of the past debates here

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Earthquake felt in Plainfield?

4.0 earthquake yesterday evening was about 30 miles west
of Portland, Maine (image, Fox News).

A Plainfield Today reader dropped me an email overnight that she (and her cat 'Anthony') had felt tremors at her Madison Avenue home --

Hi Dan! The couch swayed oddly side to side...thought Anthony (cat) was doing something, but even he could not move the earth like THAT!!!!
All the way from Maine!?! Anyone else feel it?

Could they have been from the 4.0 earthquake in Maine reported on the the Boston Globe's website (see here)?

Anyone else feel the tremors?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Second Presidential debate tonight at Hofstra

Plainfielders get their chance to watch the second of three Presidential debates tonight at 9 PM on your channel of choice.

Tonight, President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney meet at Hofstra University, with CNN's chief political correspondent Candy Crowley moderating.

Obama is widely expected to change his approach dramatically after a universally agreed lackluster performance in the first debate. Romney looks to be continuing the Etch-a-Sketch redrawing of his platforms and points of view.

Crowley has had the bar set high for her by last week's outstanding performance by ABC's Martha Raddatz.

Tonight's debate is in a town hall format, with the candidates answering questions from the [carefully screened, I am sure] audience, and will take up both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Next Monday's third and final debate will focus on foreign policy alone and will be moderated by CBS's Bob Schieffer (see more on the debates
here, including videos of each past debate).

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Busy weekend in Plainfield

Plainfield videographer Brian Cox (back to camera) videotapes awards
presentation at YMCA's 3rd Annual Bike Ride.
It was a busy weekend in Plainfield with Queen City Walk/Run and the Cardinals vs. Ridge High football game on Saturday.

The Plainfield Symphony packed 'em in Saturday evening for the 93rd season's opening concert. Conductor Charles Prince gave the orchestra a real workout with Elgar's Cello Concerto and Sibelius' Second Symphony. The Sibelius was a bravura performance, leaving everyone breathless -- especially including the players!

Sunday saw the rescheduled YMCA Bike Ride fundraiser for the summer kids camp program. The enthusiastic riders lined their bikes up for a show along College Place next to the Library and enjoyed the pleasant Fall afternoon.

Later, I dropped by the Veterans Awareness event on South Avenue. Denied a street closure permit by the City Council, the event went forward on the parking lot of Sweet Lew's Bakery.

While there were lots of musicians, along with the organizers and info tables around the edges of the lot, veterans seemed to be in scarce supply.

It made me think of my late friend Jo-Ann Sloane, who worked at the Lyons VA as a patient representative and was a true and hard-working advocate for veterans. In her capacity as a part-time employee in the YMCA's homeless shelter program, she was familiar on a first-hand basis with the issues that returning veterans face, including homelessness, unemployment, and drug and alcohol abuse.

Jo-Ann was all heart when it came to vets, and worked tirelessly on their behalf. I think the one question she would have asked of the Veterans Awareness event is, Why South Avenue? She would have found it difficult to believe there weren't places where vets were more likely to find their way to the event. It might have made more sense for the local organizers to use Plainfield's own Veterans Center on East Front Street.

Meanwhile, Union County has scheduled a Veterans Job Fair and Resource Event for Thursday, October 25, 9 AM to 1 PM at the Kenilworth VFW (see more

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

YMCA Bike Ride for kids camp is on today

Riders prepare to kick off the first Bike Ride in 2010.
(Photo courtesy David Beverly)

The Plainfield YMCA's rescheduled 3rd annual Send A Kid To Camp Ride and Bike Show will is ON for today.

The ride kicks off at 10:00 AM will conclude with a free Bike Show at Library Park from Noon to 2 PM.

Library Park is across from the Plainfield Public Library, one block west of Park Avenue and 8th Street.
This is a family-friendly event with face painting and temporary tattoos for the kids, plus motorcycle stunt riders, music and food vendors.

All bikes, any year, any model, are welcome to enter the bike show free. Admission to the show is also free.

The Plainfield YMCA summer day program Camp Kitisena serves an average of more than 130 youngsters each week, ages 3 to 17, over a period of 10 weeks each summer. Youngsters come from Plainfield, South Plainfield, North Plainfield, Dunellen, Piscataway and Westfield.

Participants spend 30 minutes a day reading, in an effort to halt or slow the decline in academic skills which often occurs during the summer.

Each child also learns some basic Spanish, spends time in the Y’s computer lab, takes swimming classes, studies nutrition and fitness, makes field trips to such places as the Round Valley Reservoir and a Patriots baseball game, and spends as much time as possible outdoors at Skytop in the Watchung Reservation.

Ravenell Williams, president and CEO of the Plainfield Y,said, 'It is the mission of the YMCA never to turn anyone away for inability to pay.' The organizers hope to substantially aid the daycamp experience with the motorcycle ride and show.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Historic Queen City Walk/Run this morning

The Second Annual Historic Plainfield 5K Walk/Run for Life gets under way this morning, beginning at City Hall. The even opens with an invocation at 9:00 AM and the 5K Walk/Run starts at 9:15 AM, followed by the 1 Mile Walk/Run at 10:15 AM and a kids Lollipop Scramble at 10:45 AM.

Registration is available on site. The goal for this year's event is $15,000 and the proceeds are used to fund youth activities throughout the Queen City.

For more information, check the website here, or email

 -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Plainfield Symphony kicks off 93rd season Saturday

Noted local photographer David Beverly catches the PSO
in performing a large choral work at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church.

The Plainfield Symphony Orchestra kicks off its 93rd season Saturday night with a program featuring Edward Elgar and Jean Sibelius.

Who of us that is old enough can ever forget the haunting performance of the Elgar by Jacqueline du Pré, wife of conductor Daniel Barenboim, lost so tragically at an early age? (Her performance of the first movement can be seen on YouTube

The Plainfield Symphony's music director Charles Prince is to be commended for bringing this piece to our local audience. Composed at the end of the First World War, it has been described as Elgar's lament for a lost world, the seemingly idyllic world that was blasted away by the senseless bloodshed and mechanized horror of the First World War. The soloist will be Jameson Platte (more about Mr. Platte

Sibelius' music played a remarkable and subversive role in his homeland Finland's long struggle against twin dominations: culturally by Sweden and politically by Czarist (and eventually Soviet) Russia.

When Czar Nicholas II decided to crack down on the Finns at the beginning of the 20th century, he struck at freedom of the press. Sibelius offered incidental music for a pageant dedicated to raising money to benefit the press pension fund, but in reality as a way of offering moral support for the endangered press freedoms. The finale of that piece eventually became the highly nationalistic
Finlandia, familiar to all.

But Sibelius resisted being pigeonholed and rejected nationalistic interpretations of the Second Symphony, which was actually begun while he was on holiday in Italy and includes recycled material from an abandoned tone poem on Dante's
Divine Comedy (see more here).

Once again, Mr. Prince shows us the Plainfield Symphony can bring big music to a local audience. Huzzah!

The Plainfield Symphony Orchestra concerts begin at 7:00 PM and are offered at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, corner of East 7th Street and Watchung Avenue. Tickets for individual performances may be purchased at the door.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Biden-Ryan Veep Debate: What do you think?

ABC's Martha Raddatz was, thankfully, no Jim Lehrer.

OK Plainfield Today readers, did the Veep Debate make up for the first presidential debate?

What did you think of last night's dustup between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan? (For a roundup of media coverage and reaction, see the CLIPS blog here.)

For openers, ABC News' Martha Raddatz got a lot of credit for actually moderating the debate: challenging Biden and Ryan to be specific, and cutting them off when it was time to move to another question. She was no pushover and contrasted sharply with Jim Lehrer's dismal performance the week before. (Jim Lehrer did not see it that way, as he explained on Brian Lehrer's WNYC show this past Monday -- see here)

Did Biden make up for Obama's performance last week? How?

Did Ryan acquit himself well as a spokesperson for Romney's platform?

Were the two evenly matched? Was there anything in particular you thought would sway an undecided voter?

Next week is Presidential Debate 2: Tuesday, October 16, 9 PM. This will be a Town Hall style debate.

Comment away!

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Culture & Heritage Commission open house tonight

Plainfield's Culture & Heritage Commission helps underwrite both
individual artists and cultural activities such as Ethfest,
where this young participant shows off her henna handpainting.

Individual Plainfield artists as well as arts and culture organizations throughout the community are invited to the Culture & Heritage Commission open house tonight. Plainfielders interested in learning more about the Commission's work and in meeting those involved in the city's arts and culture scene are also welcome.

Plainfield's Culture & Heritage Commission has for years offered support to a broad array of individual artists and group activities throughout the community through its program of annual mini-grants.

The open house will give applicants an opportunity to review the grant application process with the Commission, as well as guidelines the Commission uses in determining grant awards.

The Commission will review all grant application received by November 9th for its next funding round.

Tonight's open house is in the Anne Louise Davis Meeting Room of the Plainfield Public Library, 8th Street and Park Avenue.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Plainfield Habitat breaks ground on largest project today

Plainfield Habitat breaks ground on its largest project ever at 10:30 AM today.

The project is a five-family development on West 7th Street between Lee Place and Monroe Avenue.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Old dog Sharon learning new tricks?

The Mayor runs ... again.

Facing mounting difficulties in getting her re-election campaign off the ground, Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs is turning to specialty events and a loophole in event permit procedures that allows her to sign off on permits where roadway encroachments are not involved.

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Case in point: this
past weekend, Mayor Robinson-Briggs approved a Carnival for the Hannah Atkins Playground.

Unfortunately for her, she didn't work with area residents to lay groundwork and when the carnival operator set up shop and offered tickets at $35 per head, residents were not amused. A melée nearly ensued when Mayor Robinson-Briggs and a male friend in a PMUA uniform got into a shouting match with the angry residents. The mayor finally produced some free tickets for residents (presumably donated by the carnival operator).

Unfortunately for the carnival operator, there was no advance publicity and crowds were skimpy to say the least.

This weekend, Mayor Robinson-Briggs is poised to strike again, this time in the South Avenue business district with a 'Veterans Awareness' event at Plainwood Square Park on Sunday.

Without consulting the merchants, without regard to the Plainfield Veterans Center being a better venue.

Without regard to the fact that the national day honoring veterans is in November, the mayor plows ahead.

There can be little doubt the event is more about keeping herself in the public's eye than honoring or helping veterans.

What's next: Scrapbooking at Seidler Field? A Kick-the-Can contest at Milt Campbell Field? A Skateboard Challenge at the County Office Building?

Stay tuned as Her Honor uses this new trick she has discovered.

Meanwhile, Mayor Robinson-Briggs may get a little jolt this evening when the Council takes up the matter of paying the legal bills for her lawsuit against them -- which she has since dropped.

First she bitch slaps them, then she asks them to pay the legal tab.

Only in Oz, as Olddoc would say.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Hidden Plainfield: Denuded 'Suburban Cottage' ID'ed


Yesterday's Hidden Plainfield home is on Woodland Avenue, near Central Street.

Most commenters got yesterday's Hidden Plainfield correct: it is a 19th-century brick home on Woodland Avenue, near the intersection with Central Street and the Woodland School.

From the much younger age of the surrounding homes on Woodland, Central Street and Dorbett Place, it is not hard to see this home as at the center of a much larger undeveloped plot -- perhaps even a small farm -- before Plainfield's explosive growth as a suburb.

Many thanks to the commenters who pointed out other similarly 'Gothic'-inspired brick homes in Plalinfield, including one at Ravine and Belvidere and the twin brick Victorians at the foot of Prospect Avenue adjacent to the Christian Science Church parking lot.

Where shall we go next week?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hidden Plainfield: Denuded 'Suburban Cottage'?

Is today's home a denuded 'country cottage'?
One of the architectural styles that is rare in Plainfield is Gothic Revival, though today's Hidden Plainfield always suggests itself to me as having started life as what the Gothic Revivalists would have called a 'suburban cottage'.

This thought is reinforced by the steeply pitched gable roof and the bargeboards, which seem pure 'Carpenter Gothic' -- the execution of Gothic Revival in wooden buildings. The house may have been denuded of an original porch with more Gothic detailing.

Bargeboard (from

Only one Carpenter Gothic home comes to mind in Plainfield -- on the corner of Ravine Road and Berkeley Avenue in the Netherwood Heights Historic District. It is said to have been an outbuilding of the long-gone Netherwood Hotel.

The only other Carpenter Gothic structures in the area are the Church of the Holy Cross in North Plainfield and the now-gone original building of Grace Episcopal Church, which once sat at the corner of East Front and Church Streets.

The home's original porch may have born a closer resemblance
to this example than the stripped-down version we see today.

Today's home also still has its original carriage house which can be spotted down the driveway.

Do you know where today's property is?

Answer tomorrow.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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