Posted 14 May 2008 - 09:42 PM
A lot of those restaurants opened in anticipation of the Arena opening. The Arena Bar, Hell's Kitchen etc. are examples of that. There were a couple of restaurants that tried opening up in anticipation and didn't make it because they weren't able to survive the construction period.
In any event, the Arena's presence has really opened up a lot of eyes to Downtown Newark, many of those eyes belonging to people who would never otherwise find themselves there. It is for this reason that I was so deadset on the arena coming to the city in the first place, because as useful and impressive as NJPAC is, it attracts a much smaller crowd, generally more elite in composition, who for the most part would not be willing to take the step of living in Newark's urban core. It also provided less overall publicity through major media (television and newspaper).
The Rock brought in a much more mainstream crowd into the city. NJPAC's contribution to the city's culinary selection was the Theater Square Grill and Maize: restaurants with $30 entrees. The Rock brought in the bars, pubs and added to the existing customer bases of nearby restaurants. However you want to look at it, it makes sense to bring in an attraction that attempts to bridge the gap between the city's majority population (mostly very poor) and the high end richer people that it is trying to attract. Regardless of their income and demographic differences, people drinking beer and eating a hot dog at a hockey game have a lot more in common with people drinking a 40 and eating fried chicken than people drinking white wine and eating pate de foie gras at a ballet do. Bridging that gap was a very important step for the city to start getting people to move into downtown.
Newark: The City of New Jersey