On Being Philistines

( – promoted by buhdydharma )



Pelican Gate

Some of you have been following along with a local story I have been following for quite some time (last October):  the proposed destruction of an old-growth forest in West Orange, NJ by the administrators of Seton Hall Prep and the Archdiocese of Newark, as abetted…or in some cases just ignored…by the West Orange Zoning Board and elected officials.

Originally this was a story of people who had no concern for the environment or the value of old trees.  Then it became the story of the destruction of the habitat for an endangered species.  It progressed to being a story of civil irresponsibility when workers for Seton Hall Prep were instructed to demolish some 90 year old Japanese yew trees in favor of what were called “test pits.”  Exactly what was being tested was unclear.

But that report also moved us into the area of saving our history, which was continued in the fourth report.

The preserved photo above the fold was in the files of the Olmstead Foundation.  Olmstead Brothers designed the gardens on the Delano Estate.

At the June 17 meeting of the Zoning Board, it was revealed that the people in charge of Seton Hall Prep also have absolutely no regard for artistic creations.  The gate above the fold, known as the Pelican Gate was deliberately destroyed for another “test pit.”  My opinion is that it was destroyed because knowledge of its existence might halt the project.  Of course, I admit that I cannot know what is in the head of whoever made the stupid decision to turn it into the pile of ruble at the left.

What we do know is that what is left of that beautiful piece of landscaping architecture above the fold now looks like the rubble to the right.

Definition: A person called a Philistine (in the relevant sense) is said to despise or undervalue art, beauty, intellectual content, or spiritual values…and to favor forms of art that have a cheap and easy appeal (like baseball fields).

I present the administrators of Seton Hall Prep and the Archdiocese of Newark as modern day examples.  

SHP needs the fields

— James Goodness, Archdiocese of Newark

Sports fields will better society  

–Rev. Richard G. Francesco, St. Joe’s Church, West Orange

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8 comments

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    • Robyn on June 24, 2010 at 11:50 pm
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    I’ll relay anything new in a future report.

    • Robyn on June 25, 2010 at 1:12 am
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  1. Could you make the Pelican Gate file one that can be clicked on for a bigger image?  I’d love to be able to see the gates more clearly.  Thanks.

  2. ….  not enough to kill off the real pelicans but we have the barbarians of progress deliberately destroying artwork, too.

  3. Shagbark hickory, Bat, Indiana bat, Governor George Brinton McClellan Estate Old Growth Forest and Arboretum, endangered species, West Orange, New Jersey, parking lots, sports fields, Seton Hall Prep Sports Fields,  

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