|One of the few improvements in recent months are touch-screen terminals to help commuters find the platform where they can catch the bus back to New Jersey. I have yet to see any mention of them in The Record.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
In today's disappointing Sunday edition, don't look for stories and columns that are relevant to your life in North Jersey.
The only local dateline on the front page is Fairview, where Staff Writer Monsy Alvarado explores the problems of a family headed by an illegal immigrant who was arrested and thrown into a cell (A-1).
Columnist Mike Kelly is so burned out he's back on the Sayreville beat, which is way out of the circulation area, rehashing old cases of football hazing (A-1).
Kelly tackles another "local story" -- Ebola -- on the Opinion front (O-1).
Dog chases bus
Like an adoring lap dog, Staff Writer Melissa Hayes again follows Governor Christie around on his travels raising money for the mean-spirited Republican Party -- totally ignoring the mess he's left behind in New Jersey (A-1).
Christie has really screwed up the region's mass-transit network, but Staff Writer Christopher Maag, the chief transportation writer, was sent to the city to write about a church destroyed on 9/11 (A-3).
You will find a column about the problem-plagued Port Authority Bus Terminal in the Opinion section, but that was written by a daily bus commuter from Rockland County, N.Y. (O-2).
|An escalator takes commuters from the upper-level bus platforms to a lower floor at the Manhattan bus terminal.|
More road kill
On the Local front, addled Road Warrior John Cichowski is writing about yet another delayed road-construction project, this one in Passaic County, that affects only a small fraction of the readership.
This isn't news, and doesn't help commuters one bit.
The most readable story in the paper today is also on L-1, where Kazmier Wysocki, 95, a three-time Hackensack mayor, is shown with his wife, son and grandson at his city manufacturing company.
It's refreshing to read about Hackensack history that doesn't involve the Zisa family, which ran the city for decades and stuck the county seat with the derogatory name of "Zisaville."
None of the stories in today's 8-page Business section appears to have been written by a staffer in the Woodland Park newsroom (B-1).
The cover story on "crowdfunding," which discusses North Jersey business people, carries the byline of Virginia M. Citrano, a freelancer.
The rest of the section was supplied by news services or The Wall Street Journal.
Ignoring local stores
The Better Living cover today is about the cheese department at Zabar's on the Upper West Side of Manhattan -- not about any of the great cheese departments in North Jersey (BL-1).
Ditzy Food Editor Esther Davidowitz profiles the Leonia woman who runs the department, and in the process, ignores tens of thousands of readers who are watching their weight and cholesterol.
How predictable. The head of Zabar's cheese department, Olga Dominguez, is called "a big cheese."
She is quoted as saying there are three basic types of cheeses -- hard, soft and semi-soft -- but to people watching their weight and cholesterol there are only two -- full fat and reduced fat.
Unfortunately, the sloppy six-figure production editor, Liz Houlton, missed a typo in Dominguez' name in the photo caption.
There is an easy way to avoid the table-top computers Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung seems so fascinated with in her silly column today:
Don't go to Chili's and other chain restaurants to eat the crap they serve (BL-1).
More on Germany
For the third week in a row, a major wire-service story is needed to fill the thin Travel section.
This despite Travel Editor Jill Schensul telling a respected media blog, JimRomenesko.com, that the paper negotiates favorable "press rates" for trips to minimize the use of canned wire copy.
As for Schensul's column today, a large part of it is based on one of those trips, her visit to Papenburg, Germany, where she went on a Royal Caribbean tour of a shipyard building two mega cruise ships.
The gushing story about the new ships appeared as her section's cover story on Sept. 14, though its relevance to most North Jersey residents eluded me.
Today, she describes the graveyard she found in Papenburg as "a veritable botanical garden."
The respect for the dead shown by these Germans only serves to remind me of the lack of respect they showed to millions of living and dead during of the Holocaust, and wonder why Schensul even bothered to write about the cemetery.
She also omitted any mention of the Day of the Dead, which is widely observed in the North Jersey's Mexican-American communities.
The real questions
So, we know Editor Marty Gottlieb controls every word that appears on Page 1 -- including endless speculation about Christie's White House bid -- but why are the clueless local editors assigning the transportation reporter to non-transportation stories?
Why are Assignment Editors Deirdre Sykes and Dan Sforza allowing Cichowski to write the majority of his Road Warrior columns off of complaining e-mails from readers whose only interest is seeing their names in print?
And when will Kelly stop making every new column seem old?