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Photographing Newark's 'Four Corners'

Change may be on the horizon for the city’s unofficial town square, but it is not yet apparent on its streets.
Black Hebrew Israelites preaching, Broad Street at Market Street, Newark, 2018.
Black Hebrew Israelites preaching, Broad Street at Market Street, Newark, 2018.Camilo José Vergara

Newark’s “Four Corners” is located two blocks west of Newark Penn Station and serves as the major point of convergence for the region’s bus lines. I’ve been photographing the area for 40 years now.

After decades of disinvestment its handsome stock of century-old buildings stand mostly vacant aside from their ground floor businesses. On the northeast corner, Fireman’s Insurance, a landmark skyscraper, has been covered with black netting across its top and sides to prevent falling pieces from striking passersby. Across the street, a large Art Deco-style Woolworth store has been closed for decades, the old name still on the facade. And on the corner of Broad and Market stands Urban Eyes, an eyeglass store whose name inspired me to cast my own eyes on the flow of human traffic at this intersection.