Around the middle of August of 2014, I had just finished the busiest photography week of my life. I spent the next few days to rest and take a break from my photography outings. It’s true what they say, if you want to perfect your craft you have to practice it every day. In my case I feel like if I do something too much of something I begin to lose my touch with it and my creative perspective in terms of looking for great shots. It’s good to rest just a few days to re-group and get back at it.
During my down times of not doing any photography outings, I normally try to come up with ideas and locations of where I want to go for my next outing. One of these ideas I had was to go to the top level of the Newport Mall parking lot. I had the strong urge to take photos from a nice, high level three story building rooftop, but I had no access to one in Jersey City.
My best bet was the Newport Mall parking lot. I decided to head out to the Newport Mall parking lot a few days after my rest on a normal weekday afternoon where I was guaranteed to have an empty lot to walk around. There was no way in hell I was going to go on a packed weekend.
Having knowledge of Newport, a mall I have been going to since I was three-years-old, I knew the top of the parking lot has a great view of Jersey City’s skyscrapers and I wanted to take photos above ground level. Now, even though I did take some photos of those buildings that day on top of the parking lot, I did not include them in this photo-set.
Don’t worry; they’ll be gorgeous shots of Jersey City’s small group of skyscrapers in a future story. I decided, instead, to focus on my nostalgia of Newport Mall. I’m no longer a fan of the mall as it has become a shell of its former self with the majority of the stores catering to the higher class and tourists. It’s the reason I didn’t even bother taking photos inside the mall.
There was a time, though, that Newport was the spot to be in Jersey City with the place packed with people as diverse as the stores themselves, catering to everyone! You had kiosks that had those cheesy “take you photos and paste them or key-chains or shirt,” hip-hop fashion stores everywhere, three video game stores not named GameStop, a movie theater (known as the Cineplex Odeon Cinemas at the time) that wasn’t decaying yet, giant fake palm trees reach from the first floor to the third floor and a gorgeous water fountain surrounding an elevator where people toss coins in there for good luck. I could go on and on of how great Newport Mall used to be, but I digress.
The current Newport has changed its looks and logos to a very bland and boring style. The parking lot, however, still had the awesome logos of the old Newport I once knew on display. I might as well take the photos of these ancient logos before they changed too.
In the first shot (photo above), I went up with my camera physically close to the retro Newport Mall lighthouse logo on the parking aisle sign and framed it on the right side. It’s close enough to be the center focus of the photo. The day, weather wise, was odd as it was sunny, but certain spots had a lot of clouds in one area as though it was about to rain.
That is evident there as you can see a large cloud dominating the top part of this photo. I decided to fill the left part of the frame with a couple of buildings in the Newport Marina area and the top entrance to the mall just to show I was shooting on top of the parking lot.
I walked down a little further down to near the aisle 16 pole freely with no concern as barely any cars were in the parking lot. I could have had a picnic and camp there that day. I switched over to blue, black and white mode since the sky was blue enough that day and I thought it would match perfectly with the parking aisle logos (photo above).
I went with a full wide shot as I positioned my camera to line up symmetrically with the other parking aisle light poles which all had the blue logos. The black and white portions of the rest of the photo put a nice retro feel to this image. It reminds me of a mid -1990s magazine.
The current logo for Newport Mall is a boring square block of blandness. Thankfully, the retro look is still hanging at one of the entrances which can be seen from the top of the parking lot. I had a huge smile on my face has it had the same lighthouse logo this time in teal green with “Newport Centre”nicely display underneath it (photo above).
The arch over the logo, however, has seen better days with rust taking over. It reminds me of how the old Newport decaying to ruins and this was the reminder of better days. Of course, the logo was going to be the center focus as I switched back to program, zoomed in for a close up shot and framed the logo in the center to remind me of better days of a better mall.
After the shot and getting nostalgic over the old logo, I turned around to set my attention to Newport Tower. I had taken a photo of the tower before, but I had a much better, superior angle in front of me (photo above). The surrounding buildings next to the tower grouped well together as I zoomed in for a medium shot with the Newport Tower over seeing the much smaller structure underneath it (which is the mall).
I mentioned before that the weather was odd in terms of the clouds and this large group of clouds was over Newport Tower, making it look very sinister like a shot of an evil corporation in a movie. I was feeling rain for a second, but it never came close to that, thankfully. I was grateful, though, for this sinister shot.
I spent a few more minutes taking any photos I might have missed on top of the parking lot. When I was ready to go, I decided to call it another photography outing in the books. Before I did, I wanted to get just one more photo of the Newport Mall entrance of the teal green logo (photo above). I carefully crossed the speedy death trap that is Marin Boulevard to get a full shot of the entrance, getting the entire arch which doesn’t look rusty in this one.
I went with a vertical shot to get the full image of the entrance. I wish I could get the line wires out of the way, but there was no way around it. What makes this entrance special to me is that it had a warm welcoming back in its day and even though I never used this entrance that much (I option for the side entrance of the parking lot with the unhinge doors you’re not supposed to go through), it just has this welcoming feeling to a wonderful mall that is no longer wonderful.