The Cedar Street Time Capsule was a group effort. Caitlin and Andres were the other two members.  The companion website to this page can be accessed here.

Our site was the Cedar Street subway tunnel that formerly connected the Public Service streetcar lines with the Public Service Terminal building in downtown Newark.  The tunnel formerly ran from Washington Street under Cedar Street and Military Park, underpassing Broad Street and Park Place before entering the basement of the Terminal.  It now only exists from Washington Street to the curb of Park Place.  The goal of our project was to embrace the reality that the tunnel would never be used again, and its entrance would be blocked and sealed by an expansion of Rutgers’ parking deck.  We created a web-home for the tunnel, thus ensuring it will exist somewhere (Once it is sealed up, it is for all intents and purposes, non existent.)  The website is to be a place where people can share their thoughts and stories about not just the tunnel, but about the streetcar system in general.  It is also to be a place to learn about transportation in Newark.  The website can be accessed here.

A sub-study of the website was to track traffic through the site, and map geographically where viewers were coming from.  While we never got enough hits to get an accurate description of visitors, we did create a geurilla ad campaign to generate traffic.  We created two series ads.  The first aimed to grab peoples attention with images from the past and hope they would be intrigued enough to do more research on the images via our website.  The second series were mock-advertisements and service announcements from the defunct Kresge’s department store, and the former streetcar operator, Public Service of New Jersey.  All six ads were placed in and around downtown Newark and inside the current light rail cars and stations.

The final aspect of our project was a time capsule.  We accepted the fact that the tunnel would be sealed up, and therefore forgotten.  In doing this it would become a time capsule.  We aimed to add to this by inserting selected objects into the tunnel relevant to Newark’s trolley history.  This would be done during a special ceremony- a jazz funeral- held in honor of the tunnel.  After the ceremony, the only way of knowing about the tunnel would be either through our website, or through a viewmaster installed in Military Park that would provide periscope views of the tunnel.  In order that the tunnel remains forgotten about, this periscope would be designed to break down after an undetermined amount of time.  All this is done in the hopes that the tunnel is accidentally re-discovered at some point in the distant future in the same way that four trolley cars were discovered during the demolition of the Terminal in the late 1970’s.


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