Linden NJ

Notice of Abandoned Property

This Thursday marks the first anniversary of my visit to the beautiful city of Linden, New Jersey.

You need to spend some time there if you’ve never been. It’s so much fun. Whether passing through at 80 mph on the New Jersey Turnpike or browsing the aisles of adult toys and pornography at Love Boutique, Linden offers something for the whole family.

Just thinking about Linden inspires the creative part of a person’s brain, provided the creative part of a person’s brain isn’t much bigger than the part of the brain that tells you when to urinate. To wit:


I do hope the mayor of Linden appreciates my sketch of the perfect Linden postcard. I don’t want to sound boastful, but I believe it reflects the feelings most people hold for Linden, NJ.

Linden was where I had to deliver the stuff we wanted to take with us to New Zealand. Jacquie and I had spent weeks prioritizing. We could only afford to ship our most-valued Earthly possessions: 36 boxes of Jacquie’s shoes.

We hired two guys with a panel truck to drive the shoes to our freight consolidator.

Jacquie's shoes began their journey to New Zealand here on Huron Street in Brooklyn, NY, roughly 26 miles northeast of Linden. The Ailanthus altissima was just a weed when we left. Now its offspring cover most of North America's blighted urban centers, especially Linden. (Photo by Matthew Everett, taken some time late summer, 2010)



Ha ha. See that traffic cone? I put that there in, like, December, 2006 when I thought I was getting a ten-speed bicycle for Christmas. Jacquie got me a curling iron instead. But my traffic cone remains and people still won't park in my bicycle space because of it. Suckers. (Photo by Matthew Everett) (Late Summer, 2010)


It was 9:30 a.m. when we arrived at their warehouse.

A man in a forklift saw me coming. He immediately shut down his machine and climbed out.  “Break time,” he said.

“How long?” I said.

“Hour, two hours.”

“My guys are on the clock here.”

There was a man at a desk in the middle of the warehouse floor. He waved me over. He was short and wore a shiny Jheri curl wig. He said his name was Alan. He seemed really sympathetic.

“Where’s your stuff headed, buddy?” he said. “You got your booking number?”

“I sure do, Alan,” I said.

I handed Alan my documents. He inspected them, nodded, dropped them on his desk, sat down and opened a drawer out of which he took out a large salad. The salad was one of those pre-made things you buy at the supermarket and it was filled with the more pointless vegetables, like iceberg lettuce. “Break time,” Alan said.

He enjoyed his salad.

“What about my boxes?” I said.

“How do you like that, Alan?” said the forklift guy. “It’s your break, but it’s his boxes. Can you believe he’s making you work on your break?”

“No, I cannot believe it,” Alan said. “I myself have trouble believing this.”

Alan wore glasses and had shiny green skin and his Jheri curl wig did not move in concert with his terrible  head. “Fine,” he said. “Have your guys unload your truck. How many pallets will you need?”

“Do I need pallets?” I said.

“It’s for your own protection,” he said. “You want your things to get there in one piece, is all I’m saying.”

Did I mention that Linden is the world capital of spontaneous, small-time extortion?

“How much is a pallet?” I said.

“Let’s say I make it $25 each,” he said.


I find it hard to believe, but this abandoned property notice has been in that window since last November and indicates, much to my surprise, that we must have left some of Jacquie's shoes behind, for which reason I hope to return to Huron Street one day. (Again. Matt Everett.)



Nobody home for a year and we still get junk-mail and flyers. I guess nothing drums up business faster than leafletting an abandoned building. (Photo: M. Everett)


So I paid for three pallets and that was that.

And later I went to East Rutherford to pay for the freight and I had a very disappointing slice of pizza near the railroad station.


It's sad to think how many people in Brooklyn have never been to Linden, NJ, despite the fact that it's only 26 miles away. A crowd outside the old local bookstore, Word. (Yep.)



You can take the boy out of Greenpoint, but you can't take the heavy metals and volatile organic compounds out of the boy.