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Branch Brook Park and Forest Hill


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On a warm, spring-like January day I couldn't resist going on a small adventure. The destination: Branch Brook Park in Newark and Belleville, NJ. I also took a stroll through an adjacent neighborhood: Forest Hill in Newark. See the photos below! :D

The following is a tour of the historic Branch Brook Park in Newark and Belleville, New Jersey. The park was established in 1895 as the first county park in the country, and is administered by Essex County, NJ. At nearly 400 acres (4 miles long and 1/4-1/2 mile wide) it is also one of the largest urban parks in the United States. The park hosts a large reservoir, many smaller ponds, and a brook connecting them. The famed Essex County Cherry Blossom Festival, held every year in Branch Brook Park, boasts cherry trees greater in number and variety than those found in Washington DC.

Click here for a google map of the park's location

Welcome to...


The tour begins in Belleville, at the park's northern end. The above-ground portion of the Newark City Subway runs along the western boundary of the park, and there are 5 stations along the park's length. Here is a pic of the Branch Brook Park subway station:


And no subway trip to the park would be complete without fresh roses for your honey. Buy some from this guy in the school bus:


The northern end of the park is characterized by large lawns on which many games of soccer (futbol) and football (futbol americano) were being played.




There are also nature trails along the brook.


Entering the City of Newark, Bloomfield Avenue bridges the park. Stop at one of these stands for a hot dog break. FYI, "the Hookup" is a beefy dog smothered in chili, mustard, and kraut. Where else can you get 4 for $3?


Continuing south, there is a collection of ponds. Notice the geese. Why aren't they in the Carolinas this time of year?


Baseball fields


The centerpiece of the park is the Reservoir. The trails become grander in appearance, and at times the atmosphere is remeniscent of Central Park in Manhattan.




Visible from the Reservoir is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. This lion is one of two here by the reservoir. They used to guard the old Prudential Building on Broad Street.


A closer view of the Cathedral


From this knoll you also get a good view of Newark


At the southern tip, the park atmo becomes more sporty again. Basketball courts, a playground, and a roller skating rink are here to entertain area residents.



Forest Hill Neighborhood, Newark :shades:

East of Branch Brook Park is the Forest Hill Neighborhood. It's a primarily Hispanic neighborhood atop a hill that overlooks downtown Newark, the Meadowlands, and NYC beyond.

A look down Bloomfield Avenue


Farther down Bloomfield Avenue, looking toward Bloomfield Plaza. The bridge in the background is a commuter rail bridge over the Passaic River to Harrison.


A cross-street offers a view of the Jersey City and Lower Manhattan joint skyline.


A quiet, residential street in Forest Hill


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