LAW & PUBLIC SAFETY

Newark hosts its first VMAs amid glamour and gridlock

BY Joanna Gagis, Producer/Correspondent |

For the first time ever, the Newark joins the list of metropolitan entertainment epicenters as host to the MTV Video Music Awards. Newarkers have given a lot to get the glamour and the gridlock that comes in the glare of the spotlight, but what does Newark get out of it?

Last week, Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose told residents and local workers to treat Monday like an emergency situation, essentially warning everyone to stay away from the Prudential Center and surrounding area. With people coming from all over — Connecticut, Long Island, Staten Island and New Jersey certainly included — the city estimated that there would be 15,000 VMA attendees and 7,500 fans lining the streets.

But despite the large crowds and streets closures, many say that Newark hosting the music awards ceremony is, in fact, a good thing.

“With the VMAs in town, it’s been a little busier than normal, so we’re happy to see it … Anytime you can get something like the VMAs in downtown Newark, it’s been a great help and addition to the area for sure,” said Dan Conte, general manager of the DoubleTree by Hilton Newark Penn Station.

The show is underway and will feature Jersey artists such as the Jonas Brothers, performing from the Stone Pony, as well as closing acts by Queen Latifah, Redman and Fetty Wap.

But the city’s certainly not in the clear yet, as crowds still have to disperse. The show ends at 10:45 p.m. and trains will leave Newark Penn Station as late as 1 a.m, so the city still has its work cut out to bring this event to a successful close.