Russell Farmer’s barbershop sits on a rundown block in the Lanning Square neighborhood of Camden. On the outside, the facade is bleak — bars on the windows, graffiti on the walls, a police car idling nearby, waiting, ready to chase.
But step inside, and the atmosphere is transformed. The noise of the city fades as the sweet swell of classical music fills the air.
“I regard it as an oasis in an otherwise destitute and arid community,” said Farmer.
I’ve seen it argued that it’s actually an empty missile tube, and therefore not a rocket launcher capable of firing anything, and aren’t we ashamed of ourselves for being duped by N.J. Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa — but that entirely misses the point. Whatever this thing is, however deadly it may or may not be, someone in Trenton had one and traded it in for $250.
New Jersey’s most dangerous city recently tied its record for the most murders in one year when it recorded its 58th homicide on Nov. 2.
Home videos about Camden, N.J., now being posted online show a very different kind of city. Instead of depicting poverty and violence, they show idyllic scenes in Yorkship Village, part of the Fairview neighborhood from the 1950s and ’60s.
Michael Ruiz fondly remembers his childhood there and is posting the home videos his dad shot to give former residents and others a chance to see his old neighborhood.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie hasn’t been bashful about bestowing unbridled praise on to President Obama for his handing of Hurricane Sandy. But if he hasn’t already, the Governor should heap the same amount of praise in the direction of the many electric linemen working tirelessly to restore power to hard-hit areas of New Jersey.
The crumbling Swede Run Barn, a 200-year-old structure in Moorestown, N.J., had to be either rebuilt or completely destroyed. The publicly owned property was a hazard and a liability. Preservationists are rallying to save it, but some artists lament the loss of an iconic ruin.
This weekend, three dozen wild mustangs will be auctioned off in South Jersey. These are not souped-up muscle cars, we’re talking about actual wild horses, gathered from open ranges in the American west.
One wild mustang was caught in California, corralled, dewormed, driven across the country to New Jersey, and then christened Pauly D, after the hyper-coiffed dude from MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”
The horse is probably ten years old, and had never been saddled, ridden, or even touched by a human hand.
“The first day, week, half month, Pauly was so different from any other horse. He was so wild,” said Amanda Brantmayer, a trainer in Bridgeton, N.J., who had just three months to domesticate him. “Normally, a horse is raised in captivity and he’s been played with since he was a baby, so you just have to teach it stuff, it’s not scared of you. Him, he was scared of everything.”
The recession and sluggish recovery have brought increased demand to soup kitchens and food pantries in the Delaware Valley.
This summer, one volunteer group in New Jersey is working to meet that demand with fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the farm.
They are picked by volunteers such as Colton Fejko. On a recent afternoon, he was scouring blueberry bushes on a farm in the Pinelands under the hot July sun.
At 8 years old, he looked more like a pint-sized cowboy than a fruit picker. Wearing leather boots and an American flag T-shirt, he reached for a branch as tall as the top of his black cowboy hat.
“See, if they’re half purple and blue, they’re good, if they’re mostly purple and they have a hole in them, not good,” Colton explained. Colton’s Boy Scout troop and other volunteers were brought together to the Hammonton farm by the nonprofit Farmers Against Hunger.
It's a big Internet out there, but some things tend to stand out. Here are some favorites from the folks at NewsWorks, the public media news source for Philadelphia, South Jersey and Delaware. Curated by Eric Walter.