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Re: The Jackson Whites
In Response To: The Jackson Whites ()

Hello,
I recently was driving around in the mountains in Ringwood. There is an industrial park nearby that was home to a building that I considered purchasing not too long ago. It was a perfect building for us, but we all considered it too far from our current headquarters. There were concerns about access by clients, trucking issues and employee relocation issues. In the end we decided not to make the move.

Because I was so close to the building deal and favored the area, I have often driven up into the mountains on a nice sunny day - for fun to see the development grow. Because the building was so cheap when compared to what we had looked at only 12-15 miles down the mountain, I often wondered why. I also realized that this industrial complex was in fact a failed effort that had not grown into nearly what it was planned to be.

As a young North Jersey native, I often heard stories about the "Jackson Whites". I had friends who even claimed that their cars were hit with rocks as they drove through the village. I never believed any of this, mostly because all of the stories were third person “urban legend” type stuff. I didn’t even believe that these people really existed. To further solidify my feeling on the topic I will also admit that as a young kid with a car, my adventurous side got the best of me a few times and I actually went looking for this village. I never found anything factual enough to reverse my thoughts on the subject…until today!

I can now say I have proof that these people do exist and there really is a village. Now some of you might think that I am being overly dramatic, but up until recently there was no information available on the matter that could have been deemed reliable. I turned out of the industrial park and turned onto a street called Van Donk. It was a narrow road, really only wide enough for one car. As the terrain cleared, I quickly realized that this was very unlike any other area I had ever driven through before.

Because the weather was so nice, there were people everywhere. Kids, teenagers, men and women. They were walking around, sitting on porches, standing in the street and mostly doing their own thing. The houses were very small and looked like they were built out of old wood and other odd components. It was a very scary experience as now all of the past stories I heard came to mind, and even worse my little baby was sleeping in his car seat in the back seat. There were people blocking the narrow road and my high-end luxury car looked increasingly out of place the further I drove. I was getting a lot of unwanted attention and noticed that some of the teenage boys and men were starting to feel anxious. A few of them even started to approach my car as I was making a K-turn on the street. I can tell you with much certainty that my fear was not unfounded. These guys were not coming towards the car to invite me to tea.

Now sitting at home less than 15 miles away, I can now say that I feel very badly for them - their living conditions are terrible. How can such a pocket of squalor exist only a few miles from one of the wealthiest areas of the country? I also ask myself just how much conflict is there involving these people with the recent building development boom in that area. I am confident that I am not nearly the first guy to wander down that street in error. Even more curious is how much conflict there must be provoked by a newer generation of “young & curious” outsider teenagers that may not be so kind hearted as I was?

I have so many questions now that I have seen this with my own eyes:
Where do the kids go to school? How do the local authorities manage that land? Who maintains it? Who sells homes in that area? What is the tax structure like? Is the area under some government consideration such as Urban Redevelopment? Is there a form of health care that is accepted by these people? Is there a higher learning subsidy for older students?

To those of you who have obviously put a lot more thought into this topic than I have, I applaud you. Do what can be done for these people and educate others to the best of your abilities. We cannot help if we don't know about it or believe it.

Good Luck.

Messages In This Thread

The Jackson Whites
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18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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