THE LAST DAYS OF ATLANTIS
The City of Newcastle
1. Grand Junction (Bus Terminal)
Grand Junction was the waypoint for all visitors coming to or leaving Newcastle 50 years ago. The
buses used to stream into Grand Junction from all points of the compass, full of bright-eyed tourists and hopeful businessmen with the Next Big Idea. Now, not so much, since rail and air travel is more dependable and less desperate. A handful of the brownstones in the neighborhood still have some of their Jazz Age grandeur about them, but most of the neighborhood has slid into apathetic neglect.
2. Center Street Station (Rail Station) *(Elysium)
A melting pot of business and pleasure travelers, blue- and white-collar workers and cultures,
Center Street Station hosts a little bit of everything at any given time. Lawyers ride the elevated train to the rail station next to freight handlers; vacationing families board the coach cars while finance consultants travel first class. Center Street Station is the second most vital commuter center in town, the place from which interstate trains depart and the most traveled local transit route deploys.
3. Newcastle Harbor (Harbor)
Much of Newcastle’s industry occurs along its harbor, from small-time import-export to huge freight
ventures. For many transplants to Newcastle, especially among non-native English speakers, the harbor is where they first find work in the city. The city’s automotive manufacturing plant sends many of its cars out by ship, as well, and its dockside warehouses are the largest in Newcastle. The whole of the harbor has a reputation as a place,where people don’t see anything they’re not supposed to and crossing the strike line can cost a man his life.
4. Pat Gleason Memorial Airport (Airport)
Most of Newcastle’s tourist traffic arrives by train or boat, and the addition of PGM in the late
1950s felt very much like an afterthought. The airport serves international carriers, but only a few flights from foreign countries stop here. The whole neighborhood has a feel of unrecognized potential — the airport could probably be bigger and busier, if more effort and money were spent convincing airlines to serve the area, and the low-income housing around the airport could be less violent and disheveled, if the residents felt any pride in ownership. For the most part, though, the airport and
its neighborhood are “good enough” for what they’re supposed to be. The runways of the airport are notoriously soft, probably as a result of having been built on inadequate structural support.
and 21st centuries, giving the city a sense of gothic withdrawal from the world, at least in a popular sense.
5. Red Beach (Power Plant)
The Red Beach Electrical Power Plant and its surrounding residential and low-density commercial
district are so named for the high clay content of the sand making up the beach. Cynics suggest that it’s named for the “red tide” that blooms off the coast and occasionally poisons shellfish found in the water, which can be poisonous to those who eat them. The power plant is often a scapegoat for various ecological problems Newcastle weathers, but it’s much less of a contributor to environmental contamination than the heavy industry that’s the city’s stock in trade. Nevertheless, this misapplied
pseudoscience is the cause of much of Red Beach’s coarse reputation.
6. Graves Island (Waste Plant)
Graves Island is a far more insidious influence on the environment than the comparatively clean
electrical plant at Red Beach. Unlike many of the distinct regions in Newcastle, Graves Island is almost entirely devoid of residential land use, which makes it possible for the plant to get away with the more egregious sanitation violations it commits on a daily basis. Sure, workers get sick every now and then, but it’s not like any of the locals are suffering. (Of course, that’s because there are
no resident locals, to speak of, but the PR and admin departments don’t have to bring such things to the public’s attention.) The whole island is a marshy mess, with service roads collapsing after heavy rains. It reeks of untreated waste, and occasional “bog fog” renders the plant invisible from the Newcastle mainland and difficult to see on the island itself. The whole locality feels two or three degrees hotter than the rest of the city on any given day.
7. The Yards (Chemical Plant)
With its proximity to other troubled, service-sector neighborhoods in Newcastle, the casual visitor
might expect the Yards neighborhood to have significant troubles of its own. The truth of the matter, though, is that the Yards is almost a model neighborhood, from the responsible functionality of its chemical conglomerate anchor to the quiet respectability of its middle-middleclass residents. It’s a conservative neighborhood, with most of its horror represented by the existential angst its comparatively privileged teenagers sometimes feel, or the shock encountered when it turns out that the guy who lives down the street is actually gay.
8. Nor Lock (Industrial Works)
“Hellish desolation” adequately sums up the composition of the Nor Lock neighborhood, and it’s a
striated Hell not unlike that of Paradise Lost, with the first circle abutting the Purgatory of the Yards and the ninth circle dragging North Lake into its environs. With a minimum of residential space, most of Nor Lock is industrial from the auto plant that dumps its waste into North Lake to the foundry that dumps its waste into North Lake to the plastics plant that dumps its waste into North Lake.
It’s all a stinking metal-and-concrete sprawl, with nothing higher than three stories except a few sterile office parks. In the factories’ lunchtime proximity and in the squalid residential areas, local dives abound, and cheap beer is a more common meal than the perfunctory blue plates.
9. Lockham (Slums)
The counterpart to Nor Lock’s squalor, Lockham is where many of Nor Lock’s employees live. It’s a poorly planned neighborhood with obsolete two and- a-half-family homes jumbled next to dingy apartment
complexes and crumbling starter homes. At any given point, half of the lights at the rail stations are
burnt out or vandalized. The district’s demographic is predominantly Latin, with the next largest populations split equally among Poles, African Americans, North African Muslim immigrants and various Middle Eastern nationalities. A dwindling population of original owners who bought homes in the neighborhood back before Nor Lock had decayed so irreversibly still live here, too. The streets of Lockham are forever under pothole repair, and the neighborhood needs many new streetlights to replace the stop signs for traffic relief, but the money’s just not there. Here are yards with cars up on blocks and chain-link fences that corral dogs hungry with neglect, and persistent rumors of “the boogeyman” cling a little more tenaciously to the local culture than children’s stories usually do.
10. Morgan County Reservoir (Sewers)
The area around Morgan County Reservoir is nice enough, but its proximity to the slums of Lockham keep the reservoir neighborhood ever teetering on the brink of overt unpleasantness. Despite that nice enough façade, something’s wrong in the reservoir neighborhood, as an uncomfortable number of cases of
syphilis have been traced back to the families living in the neighborhood. It hasn’t yet been declared an epidemic, but the “Morgan Mono” is a stigma currently attached to people from the neighborhood even if they don’t have the disease. Nobody knows what’s causing it or who first carried it in, but the rest of the city considers the reservoir neighborhood a bit of a joke — a haven for hicks, a den of swingers, a district of exceptionally horny and unclean teenagers — and all the derision does is shame
the afflicted from treating their condition.
11. Hoyt & Cross
Description: Newcastle’s analogue to Wall Street, Hoyt & Cross, named for the intersection where almost all of the city’s banks have their headquarters, is a mecca for those who have money and want to turn it into more. Banks, investment firms, venture capital companies and finance analysts all have their offices here, in the penthouse offices far above the homeless lunatics and junkies on the street. It’s a curious collision of the financially blessed and the utterly down and out, where bums
panhandle for spare change out front of $20-a-plate-lunch restaurants, where the air smells like avocado oil, roasted garlic and inescapable body odor.
12. Three Corners (Diamond Street,Butcher,s Row,Printer,s Corner;Mercantile Sector)
Everything happens at Three Corners.That is, practically any service a city might conceivably provide happens along the strip of commercial zoning named after the three most prominent streets that intersect it. The city’s merchandise mart is here, as are innumerable office buildings, street-side cafes, upscale bars,fancy hotels and even a restored movie theater that now serves as a small civic center annex. The neighborhood abounds with vintage architecture, both restored and au naturel, which gives the area a charming sense of anachronism. The small cloisters of residential space in Three
Corners speak to their owners’ genteel sophistication.
Teletex Circus (Media Sector)
Newcastle became a “new media” city a few years after it became a “telecom city,” just over a decade
ago. Almost overnight, the boutique design houses and new media solutions consultants took over part of ailing downtown, taking advantage of (then) cheap rents and build-out loft space that could cheaply accommodate rooms full of computer networks. In the intervening time, the neighborhood has become one of daytime productivity and single nightlife. Teletex Circus has everything one might find in a neighborhood devoted to media: coffee shops, an Apple store, art galleries, patio bistros and bars with brushed steel appointments where graphic designers and video editors with no kids and disposable income spend $70 a night on vodka tonics.
14. Printer,s Corner (Mercantile Sector)
Unlike Butcher’s Row, Printer’s Corner still does brisk trade in its namesake business. Other businesses have moved into some of the closed or obsolete spaces, however, and the neighborhood has become one with restaurants, chain stores focused on home furnishings and clothes, trinkets and even a quirky independent book and music store. For two to three floors above the old print shops that make up much of the neighborhood, small and comparatively inexpensive (for downtown) office space is available. Beyond that, Printer’s Corner is a mixed-use neighborhood, meaning that above the
shops and offices are apartments and condos. Despite its proximity to Three Corners, Printer’s Corner hasn’t quite kept a modern appearance, and it looks a bit run down to casual visitors. It’s also a little rough, and not every one of the handful of off-street businesses is making its money legally.
15. Wicker Village (Mosque)
An ethnically diverse neighborhood built predominantly as a residential neighborhood, Wicker Village has the greatest concentration of Muslims in Newcastle, with a significant population of Hindus as well. The character of the neighborhood varies wildly, peaceful and orderly on one street (where pride and ownership hold sway) while hectic and violent just three blocks over (where hastily assembled tenement apartments breed crime). The Masjid al-Shah Mosque once stood in the shadows of the Church on the Rock South, but as the neighborhood’s immigrant population increased, so, too,did the congregation at al-Shah. Today, al-Shah stands as the most populous religious center in the neighborhood, and its facilities now sprawl over much of the land the mosque has spent the last 20 years purchasing. The mosque has a school, a community center and a cultural museum in addition to its religious functions.
16. Mt. Zion (Synagogue)
A middle-class neighborhood designed architecturally with an Old World feel, Mt. Zion is named for both the city’s largest Jewish synagogue and the enormous clothier that has its headquarters in the
neighborhood. The architectural style of the neighborhood
is one that favors high buildings, built tall and narrow for mixed-use purposes. The neighborhood’s streets are spaced widely, but the whole place is a crisscross of alleys that don’t show up readily on city maps. It’s as if the neighborhood were designed to confuse outsiders as much as possible. Indeed, several of the streets and alleys have the same name, split into two differently named thoroughfares,or terminate abruptly only to begin again eight blocks over. Mt. Zion is predominantly lower middle class, with many residents working at the clothing factory or light industrial employers of similar output.
17. Ormwood (Slums)
Where the mazy alleys of Mt. Zion yield to the outskirt parkways of Ormwood, Newcastle grows
nasty. It’s a part of town that no one wants to be in, especially the people who live there. Resentful of their own poverty, Ormwood residents have little to turn to other than lives of crime. That’s because, more than any other neighborhood in Newcastle, residents of the Ormwood neighborhood have the statistically highest rates of incomplete education. Nobody in Ormwood even wants an education studies show that Ormwood residents would much rather take a chance at getting lucky with apro sports career or music contract than they would earn an honest living at a realistic wage. As a result, Ormwood comes to resemble the ugly side of musical fantasies andhard-luck stories from the sports page. Most streets havea liquor store and streetwear shop, and even these turn over with regularity, due to crooked suppliers or too many robberies. The last stop on the rail line is ruined,the tracks twisted so that the train can’t even approach the last quarter mile from the station.
The Glamour Theater
18. Hohenheim College (Library)
The joke is that no one local goes to Hohenheim College, that its student body is made up of out-of-state students and weirdoes with pet theories to prove. The sprawling campus is among the largest in
the nation, though, and the school employs a surprising number of locals. No one seems to know exactly how big the college is, though, or how many students graduate each year or even which fields of study it’s particularly renowned for. All anyone can agree on is that it’s a creepy old bunch of buildings that never seems to update, even though it adds new wings and buildings every year. The school’s primary claim to fame is an extensive library that’s rumored to include books thought lost hundreds
of years ago or destroyed in purges. It’s the sort of place that has the Malleus Maleficarum and the Summa Theologiae on its shelves, and a rumored Liber Mutus somewhere in its vaults.
the city of newcastle chapter six 372 the award. In the past three years, the award recipients
have been a treatment of parapsychology, a treatise that attempts to validate modern eugenics and a methodology for extracting stem cells from amniotic fluid.
19. Diamond Street (Mercantile Sector)
Diamond Street’s namesake trade still occurs in the showrooms and offices above the sidewalk
shops here in the most prominent street of Three Corners. In fact, the thriving gem trade (which actually includes more than diamonds) in Newcastle makes it a sister city to a similarly important diamond-trading city in Europe: Antwerp, Belgium. Diamond Street is more about tradition and timeless beauty than the trendy Three Corners neighborhood. As well, it should be, as diamonds are forever. Diamond Street is a very safe street with good police attention, though the residential condos and penthouses are more of an afterthought than a neighborhood-defining feature of Diamond Street
Six Hundred Guilford Avenue — “Big Six,” as employees in the neighborhood call it — is the largest and most ostentatious high-rise office building in the city, eclipsing the grandeur even of the most tenured of buildings at Hoyt & Cross. Of course, the stodgy environment of Hoyt & Cross considers Big Six to be crass and nouveau riche. The professional rivalries between high finance and corporate business notwithstanding, Six Hundred Guilford is an extremely clean, extremely stressful neighborhood. Most of Newcastle’s nationwide corporate companies have offices here, and more than
a few international companies maintain offices, too. It’s not cheap, though — most local companies by comparison maintain offices in less expensive neighborhoods. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, though, and the wealthiest companies in America do so here, at about $80 per square foot of leased space annually.
21. Felix Plaza (City Courts)
An imposing cluster of official and courtrelated buildings designed by I.M. Pei, Felix Plaza is as
interesting as it can be, given that the people who visit it often don’t want to be there. The courtyards surrounding the plaza each have an impressive view of the courts, which makes some people feel that the full power of the law looms over them. They’re not too far off the mark — despite the city bank accounts that never quite seem full, the courts are backlogged with cases and people, many
of whom will be writing checks to the city to account for their fees and fines. Felix Plaza has a bit of an Orwellian feel, suggesting that if one has to be in attendance at the courthouse, the battle is already lost. There’s little room for the individual inside the machine of civic justice.
22. Drover’s Park (Elysium)
The oldest neighborhood in Newcastle, the most economically diverse, the most culturally integrated,
Drover’s Park is what most people think of when they think of Newcastle. The eldest of the homes still
bear the signature style of the region, and only a mile away, affordable apartments offer the urban Newcastle experience without crippling leases. Drover’s Park falls short of idyllic only because the neighbors don’t trust each other. The wealthy resent the poor compromising their property values, and the less financially independent resent the upper classes trying to gentrify them out of the neighborhood. The blacks resent the Hispanics, who clash with the Asians, who can’t relate to the
Jews. Drover’s Park is everything a city has to offer in a two-mile-diameter microcosm. It’s residential comfort,commercial availability, a homeowner’s bad dream and businessman’s albatross. It’s great when it’s not terrible, but it’s always both.
23. Castleback Circle (City Hall)
The center of the city’s political corruption, Castleback Circle nonetheless presents a stoic face to the citizens of Newcastle. In fact, most residents of the city believe the local government exists to serve them. For the mayor, the public icon of local government, that’s true. Among the hundreds of thousands of local government employees, though — the ones whose appearances aren’t
so readily known — unethical practice is almost the order of the day. Castleback Circle stands in contrast to that, though, an attractive complex of government buildings with an impressive marble façade. In the plazas out front, hot dog and gyro vendors ply their trade from carts, activists
exercise their right to protest and homeless congregate as a reminder that not everyone in town can claim privilege.
24. Police Plaza (Police Department)
The antiseptic-smelling hallways of Police Plaza look like an episode out of a 1970s-era cop show,
with cheap wood paneling and inexpertly rendered suspect sketches tacked to the walls. The parking lot outside fares little better, with a dilapidated fleet of Chevrolet patrol cruisers limping on-duty cops to call sites. The whole plaza is straight out of the institutional building handbook, devoid
of personality and a constant reminder that the only thing the individual is going to do here is suffer degradation.
25. St. Jude’s (Cathedral)
There’s something fitting about St. Jude’s being the cathedral in Newcastle, and the church with the
largest congregation, since St. Jude is renowned as the patron saint of lost causes. The neighborhood itself is an outlying near-slum, a lower-class, blue-collar neighborhood with an anachronistic, turn-of-the-century preponderance of ethnic immigrants, such as Italians, Irish and a handful of Jews. The roads here are in poor repair, and the streets out in front of the houses smell like cooking food. Local commerce is predominantly ethnic grocery stores, mechanics’ garages and bars. The church itself is the center of the neighborhood, a place where sometimes arguing neighbors can put aside their grief and unite in worship of God.
26. Fincher Park(Asylum)
Pushed to the outskirts of town just as the mentally ill are often pushed to the margins of society, the Attacus Brooks Psychiatric Pavilion at Fincher Park attends to the needs of those for whom the realities of the modern world prove too taxing. The neighborhood of Fincher Park quietly accepts the presence of the hospital, but it’s an attitude of resignation rather than welcome. The low- to middle-income neighborhood is one of the quieter ones in town, and a sometime destination for
those who have lived in St. Jude’s all their life.
27.* Morgan County Medical Center (Medical Center)*
The rambling, bucolic medical center belies the constant quagmire of lawsuits, hospital politics and sloppily practiced medicine. If people’s health weren’t at stake, the hospital would be a laughingstock, but because people die there every day, it’s a testament to the often depressing
realities of state-funded hospitals. Many of the hospital’s doctors live in the aging upper-class neighborhood surrounding the medical center, but only the ones who became wealthy before the modern advent of HMOs, PPOs and the broad-scale decay of American health care. For the new doctors just getting into the business, it’s a never-ending
maelstrom of 80-hour workweeks, back-to-back double shifts and wondering why the hell anyone would take out so many student loans to finish med school anyway.
28. Marlowe Cemetery (Morgue)
Presumably, the Marlowe Cemetery began in a time before the need for funeral plots was so great as it is today; otherwise, the people establishing the cemetery would have done so in a location that
wasn’t practically a swamp. The ground is too soft here to adequately serve as a cemetery, but the infrastructure’s already in place, meaning that despite its unsuitability
to the purpose, it remains the cemetery. On rainy days, a vicious fog rolls across the lowland of the cemetery proper, and only the mausoleums of the very wealthy rise above the miasma. This was also once intended to be a middle-class neighborhood, but the vagaries of the land soon revealed themselves, and the short-lived middle-class neighborhood quickly became a maudlin lower-class neighborhood.
29. Marshall Campus (Museum)
The neighborhood known collectively as Marshall Campus includes the Newcastle Museum of
Science and Astronomy, the Newcastle Aquarium, the Marshall-Mitchell Museum of Natural History, the Kirby House (a museum of local and state history) and the Atwater Homestead (one of the oldest surviving original settlements in the area). The neighborhood also includes a few corporate-sponsored attraction-museums, such as an automobile museum and an advertising museum. It’s mostly a quiet neighborhood, with an occasional highprofile crime linked to something valuable taken from
the museums’ collections or an embezzling curator. The residential neighborhood, with apartment complexes and small enclaves of houses surrounding the museum campus, is moderately affordable.
30. Ferryman (Theater Circuit)
The City of Newcastle Tourism Bureau spent three months and three-quarters of a million dollars
branding the V-shaped intersection of Ferryman Avenue and Hamilton Street as “Better Than Broadway.” It’s hyperbole, sure, but it certainly helped to reinvigorate the ailing arts district known as Ferryman. Home to theaters small and large, the Newcastle Symphony Orchestra, galleries, pre-show bistros, late-night brasseries and a cadre of bums willing to show tourists “the quick way to the
Fosse Theater,” Ferryman is on the rise once again, with all the problems that occur in tandem with that: rising crime, rising cost of living and rising tax liability for those who own condos in the neighborhood. It’s bohemian and fashionable and very, very liberal.
31. Ashton Park (Gallery Circuit)
Home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Margaret Ashton Museum of Modern Art and the Park
Gate Photography Annex of the MMA, Ashton Park is a terminally hip neighborhood that’s always at the height of some artistic movement’s renaissance or another’s. Ashton Park is equally as renowned for its celebrity-owned condominiums as its art collections, and a local joke chides celebrities for buying in-town homes here but never actually spending a night in the city. On the more sordid side,
a designer amphetamine has taken the neighborhood by storm, and many on the local A-list are rapidly developing addictions to this new, tarted-up version of speed.
32. Little Paris (Fashion Circuit)
The newest styles and trends are always ready to wear, right off the rack or made to order in
Little Paris’s boutiques and ateliers. In fact, Newcastle has evolved a quirky new subculture that parallels that of Japan’s plaza-fashion fads, in which the city’s fashionistas congregate in very visible places for no reason other than to be seen in the moment’s couture. Little Paris is actually
a fairly antiquated name that nonetheless persists, since French fashions aren’t the only ones in neighborhood stores or even a majority. It’s a weird, hyperkinetic neighborhood where outrageous costumes that set the tone for more mass-market street clothes are on almost constant display.
33. Wear Street(Fells Heights;Nightclub Circuit)
People might say that the era of the megaclub is over, but those people have never been to Wear
Street. The neon-lit strip hosts a dozen A-list clubs, five of which occupy more than 15,000 square feet each. The largest, Gauge, has over 10,000 square feet of dance floor alone. Each of the clubs caters to a distinct musical and nightlife subculture, including Latin, hip-hop, house,
country and Top 40. As well, one of the mega-clubs is branded distinctly as gay, making nightlife options more than just a simple choice of musical genre. Wear Street is a traffic nightmare but a clubgoer’s wonderland from Thursday through Sunday, and well policed by the city, which charges nightclubs an additional fee for their liquor licenses.
34. Waterbank (Harbor)
The strip of land along the coast and the small island at the mouth of the Black River is a quaint,
faded urban coastline with neglected chain stores and lackluster attractions. Waterbank used to be a popular tourist destination and sightseeing locale, but now it’s a declining shopping are with a handful of water- and beach-themed junk shops to give it a sense of local flavor. The beaches of Waterbank are mostly red clay, but sunbathers occasionally venture out to where the dark
waves lap at the shore. A handful of moderately affordable apartments dot the coastline, but those who live in them pay primarily for location and few other amenities.
35. Fells Heights (Nightclub Circuit)
Wear Street may be where the exciting new clubs make their brief, scintillating appearance, but that’s
where they also meet their unfashionable demises, as well.
The Fells Heights neighborhood apart from Wear Street is home to the many tenured bars and clubs, whether due to their long-standing traditions (The Lion Rampant), perennially popular low concept (The Quarter Pitcher Room), nigh-fetishistic specialty (Carousel — “Newcastle’s Fattest Strippers”) or underground appeal (Mistress Catherine’s). The neighborhood also includes a variety of unremarkable
apartments that were probably once dazzling and new but are now just way stations where residents can go fuck or puke before heading out on another bender.
36 & 40. Laidlaw Towers and the Walter Chadwick Projects (Projects)
Government-subsidized homes for those unable to find affordable housing, Newcastle’s public housing has always been a matter of controversy among public officials. Plainly, most mayors want to
wash their hands of the whole affair. Although both projects theoretically operate under the “one strike” law that allows the eviction of residents of public housing who are convicted of certain crimes, enforcement is the issue. Too many crimes fall through the cracks. Too many crimes diligently pursued and prosecuted by police disappear into the system after trial or plea. As a result,
the projects get worse and worse, and have effectively evolved their own shadow economies revolving around drugs, contraband and food-assistance vouchers. At this point, they’re almost like gated communities, albeit gated communities that have taken shape under a charter of crime, violence and abuse. In addition, about a third of the floors of Laidlaw Towers don’t legitimately receive
electricity, bunkering it instead from exterior power lines or oblivious neighbors. And as bad as it is in the projects themselves, the nameless satellite communities are even worse, as they don’t receive the government-sponsored benefits that the developments do.
37, 38, 39 & 41.Kellogg, Edge Harbor,Briarville and Ripley (Slums)
If the projects are bastions of violence, the slums are breeding grounds for despair. Each location has some overarching, unofficial but buzzworded reason for its decrepitude. Kellogg is “low density, low income” and can’t earn enough to pay for itself. Briarville is “overdeveloped
sprawl.” Edge Harbor has “disproportionately few non-wetland development opportunities” — it’s a swamp. Ripley is a “socio-economically interdependent” swath of trailer homes and tract houses built by a fly-by-night developer that didn’t bother keeping construction up to
code. Whatever the excuse, they’re all dead ends. There’s little too encourage anyone to try very hard here; they’re all neighborhoods of working poor and the equally destitute who get by hustling their neighbors.
42. Spoke Hill(Metro Underground)
The underground rail station hub and its plaza shops are a Newcastle hallmark, but not without their behind-the-scenes difficulties, like so many other Newcastle neighborhoods. For one, the
subway hub was built long before Newcastle knew that its southern expansion would absorb Morganville, so it’s not the most efficient dispatch center for reaching the city’s many southern train stations. For another, police patrols are inexplicably iffy here, for some reason always on the other side of the underground mall when a robbery or attack occurs. The resultant atmosphere of danger is one that hurts the neighborhood’s retail establishments, effectively limiting their business to the daytime, office-business hours. By night, the shopping mall is practically a graveyard, but the stores are
required by lease contract to remain open for the mall’s full hours.
43, 44 & 45. Chinatown, Calexico and Little Italy (Ethnic Neighborhoods)
Newcastle’s traditional ethnic neighborhoods vacillate back and forth from being true ethnic
enclaves and tourism-friendly way stations near the Spoke Hill transit station. The 10- to 11-year cycles that punctuate the transition between ethnic neighborhoods and ironic hipster locales off the D Line are invisible to the casual observer, though. Hsu’s genuinely has the best chicken with asparagus and black beans in town, and Chinatown’s midtown market is entirely authentic. Dolce Vita is a perfect place to sip an espresso and munch biscotti or enjoy gelato, and Piave’s mussels are excellent. Calexico is the least ethnically faithful of these neighborhoods, with Anglo-friendly taquerias and a weekend street-festival atmosphere that’s more for souvenir shoppers than Latin purists, but it’s more integrated than Chinatown.
46, 47 & 48. Nobility Hill, Blackgate and Roosevelt Park (Nobility Hill)
Every city has its esteemed neighborhoods, and in Newcastle, Nobility Hill is the upper crust of the
upper crust. Usually, these high-end neighborhoods look down upon everyone else, but in Nobility Hill, the class struggle has turned in upon itself, as the old money refuses
to be content with lording their greatness over the rest of the city. Of the Nobility Hill neighborhoods, the one plainly known as Nobility Hill insists that it alone holds claim to that title. Roosevelt Park is a fine neighborhood, but it’s not Nobility Hill, they maintain, instead being part
of the greensward that makes up the titular park. Nobility Hill proper reserves much of its ire for the nouveau-riche, McMansion development of Blackgate, lower on the slope of the hill and indicative (to them) that money can’t buy class or taste. And there’s no defense against that statement. Blackgate is indeed a community of large but prefabricated houses, built on lots too small for the size of those houses, so the effect is one of expansive homes that practically sit atop one another. The developers love it, as it means they can charge practically anything they ask and
people will buy them for the privileged zip code and appearance of affluence. Roosevelt Park has little interest in the whole affair, having long considered itself a neighborhood of its own, but still being able to call forth a healthy superiority over the new millionaires of Blackgate. In fact,
as the wealthy turn exclusivity into a veritable war of status, it’s the perception of the middle and lower classes, who lump all three neighborhoods into the greater “Nobility Hill” entity, that engenders the disagreement.
49. University of Newcastle (University)
A school renowned for its curriculum in agriculture and engineering, the University of Newcastle
also has a reputation as a party school. Far from the dour over-academia of Hohenheim College, the University of Newcastle has a fresher, more vibrant face it shows to the world. It’s a state school, though, and most of its contributions come from wealthy patrons who don’t actually live in the city, but dwell instead in suburbs, nearby communities or even further afar. Adjacent to the dorms are no end of strip malls providing pizza delivery, chicken-wing-and-beer sports bars, brand-name clothing stores and even a few non-dorm residences. It’s not all textbooks and keggers for the neighborhood, though. Although the school works hard to keep it covered up, one of the more sinister aspects
of the school is that it’s consistently in the nationwide top 10 of campuses with sexual predator problems.
50. Hoetsch Island (Sewers)
The infrastructure companion to the Graves Island waste-treatment facility, the Hoetsch Island
“sewers” in truth contain the mechanisms that force water through Newcastle’s pipes or at least redirect the(semi-)clean water through the city’s various pumping stations. There’s only a single residence on the island, a corrugated tin shack that’s rumored to be haunted by various old-timey figures of local historical significance who have become hermits. The truth is, it’s not even a
real residence. It’s a supply station and field workshop. Come on, people.
The Village of Darkholme
The Village of Darkholme is as old and timeless as the American Country itself. Even to this day there is only one traffic light in the Village and no chain stores. One will not find the Golden Arches here. Founded by Wilbur Darkholme in 1698.