On Thursday September 8th, the restaurants and stores around Halsey Street came together with other companies to host the Halsey St. Festival! For anyone who doesn’t know, Halsey St. is located on the other side of Rutgers Newark campus, and encompasses a variety of restaurants and boutiques. Some of the popular spots included are Nizi’s Sushi Restaurant, Qdoba Mexican Eats, and even Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. The famed Halal Guys will also have their official grand opening on Halsey St. in November.
If one were to stroll through Halsey St. on an average day, it would seem like any other city street; a light crowd would be huddling around the shops open for business, but on the day of the festival the atmosphere is completely different. Imagine music booming all the way to Military Park, crowds of people so thick you’ll sometimes find yourself lost, and the aroma of delicious food coming from restaurants. This is truly a fantastic festival that was enjoyable for everyone involved. Although the people in attendance at the festival had positive opinions, they agreed that the festival can become so much more.
An NJIT student mentioned the festival was a great chance to bring the residents of Newark together with the members from the surrounding schools. “The festival gives a great opportunity for local businesses, artists, non-profit organizations, and city institutions to show off what their about and bring joy to everyone. The festival even gives the community a chance to interact with the Red Bulls who stopped by and hosted their own tent.”
He even offered some insight as to how the festival could possibly improve, “aside from the local charter schools, there are three larger institutions in the area (NJIT, Rutgers Newark, and Essex County Community College) that can possibly help fund or even advertise the event. With more support from these large bodies, we can reach out to the thousands of students and staff that make this area of Newark a college town.” If he were to suggest a go-to stop, it would be Burger Walla. Their Indian-style burgers provide a delicious alternate to the typical burger.
Manny, a partial owner of La Cocina, takes great pride in his restaurant and loves the community. “I’ve lived in Newark for 34 years, and this festival is one of the best things to happen to the community. This is back to school time, and all the students from the local schools and the colleges come here to experience our art. We didn’t participate last year, but I’m so glad we joined in the fun this year. It was a joy to see children playing mini-golf, and everyone was smiling, dancing to the music. For many people especially new students, this is the first time they experience this area, so it’s a perfect time to enjoy our culture. But one thing that would be perfect is if we did this festival twice. Everybody does an Octoberfest, and it would be a great idea for this area. After the first crowd enjoys
the September one, they go hype it up to their friends and then in October we could have another enjoyable festival to bring the community together again. Also, I noticed that the artists were competing with each other for business…this is silly! Let’s all just come together and enjoy the festival and the community!”
Manny was also happy to exclaim that Robert’s Pizzeria has the best Penne Vodka around, and that La Cocina has more than satisfactory grilled chicken. “Stop by Monday for an Empanada,” he said, however his invite for everyone to come to visit his home called “Halsey.”