From the Star Ledger:
To this day, you look at so many of the abandoned buildings, the light manufacturing, the old jewelry business, you walk around downtown, you still see the old, faded, painted signs on the buildings — and it harkens back to a different time.
But it definitely seems to me to be a very different kind of attitude right now about Newark. 
As the image of Newark as “riot city” recedes into the background, people are beginning to see that there’s some assets here that they can take advantage of. 
The question is, how does Newark brand itself? How does it portray itself in terms of remaking its image?
To some extent, it depends on whom we are talking to. If you are talking to some suburbanites who have very little contact with Newark, Newark is still this crime-ridden, disease-ridden place.
People who have some contact with Newark have a more nuanced view. They see pockets where Newark has come back. They do see some neighborhoods that are, in fact, stable.  Perception is often more important than reality, people’s perceptions was what happened in 1967. 
This taxi cab driver being brutalized by the police — people just decided to revolt.  And then eventually it broke out into something much bigger: A full fledged riot.
People out of control and setting fire to everything they could.  The stores, the windows, the glasses being kind of shattered or broken. Debris all over, stores looted out, emptied. 
There were three police forces here, we had the local police, the National Guard and we had the state police.  Cops back and forth. Firefighters. Chaotic, chaotic. And hearing gunfire, that was the thing that sticks with you most, is hearing “pop, pop, pop.” You know it’s not firecrackers, those are shots. And then you saw your city, the city that you love, going up in flames. 
Everybody knew where Newark was because of the riots.  Part of the stigma attached to Newark comes from that, from wanting to see the riot as the cause of all of the urban decline when in fact, you had these issues before.