Voting Block, a New Jersey-wide reporting initiative created by a coalition of news organizations including WNYC, is exploring the political divide facing our country — and manifesting itself in our own backyard.
The first installment, reported by Maplewood’s own Nancy Solomon, hit the airwaves this morning. In it, Solomon introduces listeners to Hillside Terrace — one street that spans South Orange and West Orange, as well as a range of political views.
Why is WNYC exploring the divide now? “For the first time in 12 years, New Jersey is choosing a governor without an incumbent in the race. It’s a critical moment for the future of the state, and it comes at a time when conversations across the political divide are becoming increasingly difficult,” reads the introduction to the series on WNYC’s website.
Over the next five months, WNYC will explore the gubernatorial election and political divisions through the eyes of this one neighborhood.
“On the southern end, the houses [on Hillside Terrace] are about 100 years old, mostly two-story Craftsman style, with front porches and tall trees. The block then changes abruptly, and the last third of the homes are all split-level ranches that come to an end on a cul-de-sac,” reported Solomon.
“The neighborhood is remarkably diverse,” she continued. “There are homes under foreclosure and homes where wealthy professionals live. It’s multi-racial and multi-ethnic, and the politics span from the far left to the far right. The South Orange end of the block is represented by one of the most progressive Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, Donald Payne; the West Orange end of the block is represented by Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen.”
Reporting partners covering other blocks include WHYY, WBGO, NJ Spotlight and The Record.
Listen to Solomon’s first report here.