Who’s On the Phone

The fuss over TikTok…and why you should care.


There are more than 8 billion humans on this planet and, if you believe what you read, more than a billion actively watch TikTok videos. If TikTok were an organized religion—and for many young people it kind of is—it would rank third behind Christianity and Islam, possibly tied with Hinduism. For the record, the population of TikTok accounts is growing faster than the population of Hindus.

If you’ve never watched TikTok or don’t understand what it is, don’t feel bad. Most people on TikTok don’t really know either. They’re too busy having fun.

The app itself, which began as a platform for short, hyper-expressive homemade videos—particularly amusing dance videos and pop songs—was created by a company called Musical.ly and purchased in 2017 by the Chinese company ByteDance for $800 million. It took off during the pandemic, especially among teens and twenty-somethings. Influencers moved en masse to the app from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and advertisers followed. In 2021, TikTok raked in more than $4 billion in advertising revenue. In 2022, that number more than doubled—at a time when ad revenue for digital competitors sagged. That has people like Mark Zuckerberg more than a little concerned; he has gone so far as to warn that TikTok’s growing dominance is a threat to the US tech sector.


TikTok content has evolved somewhat, but not a lot. It’s still silly and stupid and crazy and imaginative. There’s just a lot more selling than there used to be. Unlike other social media apps, where the inclusion of ads is fairly obvious, TikTok advertisements are often disguised as one of the endless short videos that flow across the small screen, one after another, based on algorithms keyed to a user’s interests. Often, you don’t know you’re watching a commercial until its mostly done. If it’s good, you don’t even care.

For many, TikTok has become addictive. The average user spends on average more than 90 minutes a day glued to the app. In this country, there are around 100 million active users. That is an impressive digital footprint. To some, it is a threatening one.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump don’t agree on much, but one thing they have in common is a deep distrust of TikTok. Both of their administrations tried to curtail its influence. They weren’t concerned with the deleterious effect on young minds. It was the Chinese-owned part of TikTok that raised all kinds of red flags (no pun intended). ByteDance has consistently assured our government that the data it collects on Americans stays in America, on American servers. Yet Chinese law is very clear that its government can demand data from US affiliates of Chinese companies. So which is it?

US officials have been pressuring ByteDance to change its ownership here so that the direct link to China is severed. The Biden administration considers it a national security issue. The US military has banned the app on personal devices, as has TSA and a handful of state governments, including Texas. Many politicians on both sides of the aisle would like to see the app banned altogether.

In late-December, the big omnibus spending bill passed in Congress included a new regulation that prohibited federal government employees from downloading the TikTok app on their mobile devices—and instructing those who already have it to delete it. Senator Marco Rubio introduced a bipartisan bill on December 13th banning TikTok in the US altogether.

There is another issue generating profound concern over the growth of TikTok and that is its ability to prevent underage users from accessing violent, hateful, drug-related or sexual content. Right now, the minimum age to open a TikTok account is 12. Raising the minimum age to 17 or 18 has been discussed but, naturally has met with all kinds of resistance from the company. There is now a consumer protection lawsuit in Indiana around this issue. The Attorney General claims that TikTok has deceived children and their parents with the age rating of 12, dishonestly leveraging consumer trust in app stores like Google’s and Apple’s.

In 2021, TikTok introduced a feature enabling parents to link their TikTok accounts with that of their children, which theoretically would enable moms and dads to monitor and control what their young teens are watching. And the app has special filters to identify, delete and punish offensive videos before they reach young eyes. Not surprisingly, there are myriad work-arounds for these safeguards, including the use of alternative words for ones that are likely to be caught in the algorithm, such as “unalive” for “kill” and “seggs” for “sex.” There is even a word for this new vocabulary: Algospeak.

The problem is that TikTok is fun and cool and easy to use. It is a brilliant cure for boredom and a break from reality. And in the way that Facebook used to say it was the new office water cooler, TikTok has become the younger, hipper version of that.

Anyone with a smartphone can make a TikTok video in a matter of minutes. People who go about their lives otherwise unnoticed can have hundreds or thousands of followers. An ad that might only get a few glances somewhere else can rack up millions of views and increase sales by 100 or 500 or 1,000 percent. TikTok is the most efficient way to attract, influence and capture young consumers, who eagerly share what they like and willingly tumble down the TikTok rabbit hole.

While TikTok’s supporters hail it as a new cultural and communications frontier, its critics have called it a Trojan Horse, a Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing and—especially resonant for those who recall the notorious R.J. Reynolds cigarette campaign of the early 1990s—Joe Camel on Steroids.



The Straight Fire Issue
The Playing for Keeps Issue
Straight Eight

A play list you won’t see anywhere else.

There have been at least a couple of dozen films that play off the word “straight”—stretching all the way back to the silent-movie era. It’s a word with multiple definitions and uses, as well as new meanings in language and culture. We’ve picked the eight most noteworthy examples, including a couple of classics and more than a few that flew under the radar and are now worth a second look.

Getting Straight • Columbia Pictures

Getting Straight 1970

If you ever wondered what an actor like Elliott Gould could do to elevate a so-so script, Getting Straight is a textbook example. Set in the late-1960s, this “serious comedy” follows a Vietnam vet trying to get his teaching degree on a college campus roiling with student unrest. Candice Bergen co-stars as his girlfriend, who just happens to be the leader of the escalating demonstrations. Look closely and you’ll see teenaged Harrison Ford in one of his first speaking roles.

Straight Time • Warner Bros.

Straight Time 1978

In an era when many big-name stars sold out for big-budget movies, Dustin Hoffman remained true to his craft, picking scripts that challenged him and his audiences. Straight Time is a wonderfully gritty “neo-noir” film that profiles a disillusioned ex-con who simply isn’t wired to rejoin society…and it’s up to us to figure out why. The supporting cast—which includes Kathy Bates, Gary Busey, Theresa Russell, Harry Dean Stanton and M. Emmett Walsh—is terrific.

Scared Straight! • Golden West Television

Scared Straight! 1978

Filmed at Rahway State Prison—and relentlessly parodied on Saturday Night Live—this film was not only acclaimed in its time…it won an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Scared Straight! shows a riveting three-hour session between cocky juvenile offenders and hardened criminals. The film was aired on television uncensored, marking the first time that many stations allowed foul language to be broadcast. Peter Falk served as the narrator.

Straight Out of Brooklyn • The Samuel Goldwyn Co.

Straight Out of Brooklyn 1991

More than a decade before Lawrence Gilliard Jr. earned fame as D’Angelo Barksdale on The Wire, he portrayed Dennis, a Brooklyn teenager desperate to break free of the cycle of poverty and domestic violence that is dragging him down. His solution is to rip off a local drug dealer and move his family out of the projects, but he and his buddies get more trouble than they bargained for. George T. Odom, who plays Dennis’s father is particularly good in a movie that received glowing reviews and won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Straight Talk & The Straight Story • Buena Vista Pictures

Straight Talk 1992

This classic 90s Rom-Com features good performances from James Woods and Dolly Parton, along with talented supporting players John Sayles, Griffin Dunne, Teri Hatcher, Spalding Gray, Jerry Orbach and Michael Madsen. Parton fans snapped up the soundtrack, which featured 10 original songs by Dolly. The movie is a lighthearted commentary on radio therapists, as Parton’s character rockets from a switchboard operator to beloved “Doctor Shirlee” shortly after moving from Arkansas to Chicago. Woods plays the journalist who discovers she is no doctor at all.


Honorable Horrible Mention

The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight • 1971

How bad could a mob comedy featuring the talents of Robert De Niro, Burt Young, Jerry Orbach, Joe Santos and Frank Campanella be? The words borderline unwatchable come to mind. The movie, based on Jimmy Breslin’s book about Crazy Joe Gallo, is an unfunny mess. Al Pacino was originally going to be the star, but opted out to play Michael Corleone. Francis Ford Coppola planned to direct until producer Irwin Winkler decided he lacked the skills to make a Mafia movie so, as every film buff knows, Coppola ended up directing Pacino in a pretty good flick called The Godfather. The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight features the film debut of Herve Villechaize, but his voice is dubbed throughout.



Did You Know?

Beavis & Butt-Head • Fleer Corp.

In the MTV cartoon series Beavis and Butt-Head, the boys are ordered to attend a Scared Straight! program…and have so much fun they try to get back into the prison.







Straight Talk & The Straight Story • Buena Vista Pictures

The Straight Story 1999

David Lynch has made some of the most imaginative and compelling films in recent history, including The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. Why The Straight Story is rarely part of this list is difficult to understand. The true story of Alvin Straight, who drove 240 miles from Iowa to Wisconsin on a riding mower to visit his ailing brother, it co-stars Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek and Harry Dean Stanton. Each actor is capable of teaching a master class and, in this film, they pretty much do. Unfortunately, critical acclaim and numerous awards did not translate into big box office for this uncharacteristically sentimental Lynch oeuvre.





Straight Outta Compton • Universal Pictures

Straight Outta Compton 2015

Rap video producer F. Gary Gray directed this biopic about the origins of the multi-platinum rap group N.W.A., led by Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre. O’Shea Jackson and Jason Mitchell do brilliant work playing Ice Cube and Eazy-E, respectively, while Paul Giamatti plays their slick manager, Jerry Heller. The movie title comes from N.W.A.’s 1988 hit of the same name. You don’t have to love rap or even care about its evolution to enjoy this movie, which follows the group’s rise and fall.





Straight Up • Strand Releasing

Straight Up 2019

A small independent film that was partially crowd-funded and shot in under three weeks, Straight Up challenges the idea of what a love story is when it doesn’t include sex. Todd suffers from OCD and isn’t a fan of bodily fluids. He meets Rory—a struggling actress who has difficulty forming emotional connections—in the self-help section of a library. Writer-director James Sweeney plays Todd, while TV veteran Katie Findlay plays Rory.


The Big Ideas Issue
Hot Topic

If shingles “doesn’t care,” should you take that personally?


If you watch any amount of cable news or network television, you’re probably under the impression that shingles is more than a disease. It’s an inevitability. After all, anyone who’s had chicken pox as a kid already has the virus, right? Scarier still is the seeming randomness of shingles: “Almost one in three people will develop shingles in their lifetime.” Who is this person? Who are the other two? And is there some indicator or precondition or lifestyle choice that tilts the odds against me?

These are all reasonable questions your healthcare provider can answer on your next visit. Until then, here are a few facts to mull over.

According to the CDC, that “almost one-in-three” statistic is accurate. Older adults are far more likely to develop shingles than young adults, and shingles in children is extremely unusual. The hot-poker/electric-shock special effect in the commercials is not an overstatement of the nerve pain some people experience at the site of the shingles rash—its technical name is postherpetic neuralgia (PHN)—but fewer than 20% of shingles sufferers actually experience PHN. For most, it’s about the itch.

Although shingles is usually a one-and-done condition, it is possible to have a recurrence. Also, really bad cases can lead to hospitalization. According to the CDC that number is between 1 and 4%, and is usually a combination of old age and a suppressed or compromised immune system. Rates of shingles cases among older Americans have remained steady for 15 years, but have increased somewhat among younger adults. No on one is certain why that is.

In most cases, shingles presents as a band-like rash on one side of the body, or on the face. You’re likely to get a warning sign, such as an itch or tingling in the area where the rash is about to occur. The rash itself blisters and then scabs over and clears up in less than a month. During that time, shingles sufferers may experience fever or headaches and nausea.


Shingles respond to a number of antiviral medicines, which shorten the length and severity of the illness. The sooner treatment begins, the more effective it tends to be. Even when the pain is mild, the itch can drive you a bit mad, so doctors will typically suggest wet compresses, oatmeal baths and old reliable calamine lotion. Certain foods should also be avoided during an outbreak, including dark chocolate and soy products, which contain the amino acid Arginine. Most doctors will advise you to pump the brakes on caffeine and alcohol during recovery.

If you develop shingles, or know someone who has, rest assured that shingles cannot be directly transmitted. However, those who have never been vaccinated for chicken pox, or never had it, can develop chicken pox after coming into contact with fluid from shingles blisters.

In almost all cases, as the commercials say, the virus has been in your body since childhood (especially if you were born in the 1970s or earlier). The chicken pox virus, varicella zoster (VZV), can stay dormant in the human nervous system for decades and then suddenly reactivate.

Shingrix, the recombinant zoster vaccine (RZV) is recommended by the CDC for people over 50 and for younger adults whose immune systems have been weakened by disease or therapy.

“Adults 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix, separated by two to six months,” says Dr. Muniba Naqi, an internal medicine specialist at Trinitas. “Younger adults 19 years and older who have—or will have—weakened immune systems should also get two doses of Shingrix. Diseases that weaken the immune system include chronic inflammatory conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, or any underlying malignancy, as well as HIV and transplant patients.”


Shingrix has proven to be more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and PHN, and provides strong immunity for at least seven years. It replaces Zostavax, an older vaccine that was far less effective.

“Some people will develop shingles despite vaccination,” cautions Dr. Naqi. “However, the vaccine may reduce its severity and duration. It can also reduce the risk of postherpetic neuralgia, the shingles complication that causes pain to continue long after the blisters have cleared.”

So who gets shingles and who doesn’t? First off, you don’t “catch” shingles. The best answer, unfortunately, is the vaguest. VZV appears to have the highest chance of reactivating when your immune system isn’t functioning at 100%.

As we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a high-functioning immune system, which is why the older you get, the more likely you are to be one of the “nearly one in three” that develops shingles. Other contributors can include heavy use of anti-inflammatory medications, as well as the immune-suppressing meds associated with Crohn’s disease, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis—which are in line with the disease Dr. Naqi lists.

Finally, there’s our old friend, stress. Stress can do a number on your immune system, sometimes without your even knowing it. Not only can it open the door enough to reactivate VZV, it can also make the symptoms of shingles much worse once you have it.


Editor’s Note:

Dr. Muniba Naqi is an internal medicine specialist and Medical Director of Hospitalist Medicine at Trinitas. Dr. Naqi has been the founding Medical Director for the Trinitas Hospitalist Department for the past seven years.


The Making Waves Issue
Art Carrington

One of the most revered and innovative tennis coaches in the North-east also happens to be the preeminent authority on the culture and history of black tennis. In fact, Arthur A. Carrington Jr. wrote the book on it. Born and raised in Elizabeth, he learned the game at the legendary North End Tennis Club and, in the 1960s and ‘70s, became one of the most formidable players in the American Tennis Association (ATA), the oldest African-American sports organization in the United States. EDGE editor Mark Stewart spent a Sunday morning swapping tennis stories with Art, who received an education at North End that transcended the strokes he perfected there.

EDGE: Growing up in Elizabeth, do you recall how you first became acquainted with the North End Tennis Club?

AC: My mother had introduced me to the North End, but I didn’t really get with it until I was in the fifth grade. A friend of mine moved across the street from the tennis courts and we would come from the playground and see all these black adults and all these nice cars—you know, guys wearing white shorts and playing tennis. Naturally, we were curious and we’d wander over to the club. Well, the members got us involved right away and we started playing. Sydney Llewellyn was out there—he coached Althea Gibson—and he would work with the younger fellows. All the top African-American players from the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia areas would come and play there. It was quite incredible. It was very busy on the weekends, and in the evenings. In the summertime, me and my boys would play throughout the days.

EDGE: How important was the club to your development as a player and a teaching pro?

AC: I’ve been teaching over 53 years now. Every day, since my introduction to North End, whenever I go to a tennis court, in my mind I’m going back there because it became a safe haven and a place that we could really grow and learn from the kind of adult that was there. We had a small junior program at the club, but we interacted with the adult members tremendously. We had a lot of cookouts in addition to tennis tournaments at the North End Club. I got hooked on the social life as much as the tennis. You never really saw much alcohol, so there was no disruptive behavior. It was the place where you learned about conduct and etiquette. It was a different environment—this is where the black doctors and lawyers and schoolteachers and funeral-parlor directors from all around Union and Essex Counties would come to play and socialize. This was my first exposure to people who we would now call middle-class, that were employed outside of, say, factories or the construction world. This is also where we were introduced to the idea of attending black colleges, such as Howard, Hampton, Morgan, Fisk, Morehouse, Delaware State and Lincoln University.






EDGE: What type of tournaments were held at North End?

Art Carrington and Arthur Ashe

AC: We would have our little state ATA tournament, which drew people of color who lived in New Jersey. I would see really high-quality tennis players come in. The first one I remember was a guy by the name of John Mudd, who lived in Orange. He was like 17 years older than me, but we later became doubles partners and he was very instrumental in my life—influential as far as tennis and socially. He was an entrepreneur who owned a nightclub in New York and a nightclub in Asbury Park, where he was from originally. He had a topspin forehand and a kick serve—he opened my eyes up to another level of tennis.

EDGE: Did you have other mentors at the club?

AC: Yes, many. One was Dr. William Hayling, a gynecologist who delivered thousands of babies. He was one of the founders of 100 Black Men along with Jackie Robinson. He grew up with Mayor Dinkins in Trenton. I met African Americans from all over the country at the North End Tennis Club and gradually I began to spread my wings. I would go to these people’s houses, where for instance I remember seeing my first finished basement. I mean, I came from good parents—working parents—but this was a step up, financially and socially speaking. This led me to be introduced to their counterparts in the white world. White doctors, white lawyers, and their kids.

EDGE: Describe the location within the context of Elizabeth back then.

AC: North Avenue was a very commercial strip. At one time, around 1900, it was a leading thoroughfare that went from Elizabeth to Newark. There was a doctor who owned a large house and he had the only double lot, which extended all the way back to the next street, which happened to be the start of the black neighborhood. His family sold the house, but the tennis court was sold to the North End Club.

EDGE: What kind of friendships did you forge at the club?

AC: There was a guy name Eddie Eleazer who lived near the club, who was a very good player. We went from fifth grade through Hampton Institute together. When colleges started recruiting me, I would tell them about him, as well as my brother, who was a year behind us and also was very good—he went to Rutgers. Eddie and I graduated from Hampton together and we won all the conference and national black titles together in doubles. There’s nothing like having a comrade, you know what I mean? We were on the same teams together going back to Thomas Jefferson in Elizabeth. He and I and Ron Freeman, an Olympic 400-meter man, formed a partnership that is unbreakable to this day. We all speak several times a week. We used to say, “We are doin’ our thing and movin’ on.” [Laughs].

EDGE: At the other end of Union County was Shady Rest. In what ways did that differ from the North End Tennis Club?

AC: Shady Rest was a country club out in Scotch Plains. That was the number-one country club for black people. The people who built Echo Lake built Shady Rest and sold it to black owners in 1921. It had nine tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course and a large dining hall. It had the same kind of people as North End but was much larger. Shady Rest was the kind of place where you’d go to see Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Sarah Vaughan. Segregation made black entertainers go to places where black people socialized. It was the spot. There was nothing else like Shady Rest in the country.

EDGE: Let’s get back to your coach, Sydney Llewellyn for a moment. He seemed like quite a character. Can you paint a picture for me?

AC: I met him when I was 12. He came in from New York and he was always a real smooth dresser. He had his safari suit on with the safari hat—he was dressed to kill. He was the first tennis “pro” I knew, in that he had the tennis pro look, he had the gear, but he was also very cosmopolitan, a very smooth brother. [Laughs] As young urban kids, we loved to listen to him. He came from Jamaica at about 18 years old to New York. He told us he came to America to be a dancer, a hoofer and whatnot. Dancing was like the rap industry in those days. I learned a tremendous amount from Sydney about life and spirituality and family and manhood. He was a tremendous mentor of mine.

EDGE: What is it that made him special as a tennis coach?

AC: He was a purist as far as his stroke production. So he was like Nick Bollettieri—very fundamental.

EDGE: I worked with Nick on a book, by the way, and it was the most stressful year of my life.

AC: [Laughs] I can imagine that. That’s what I’m saying, because when you don’t have a real tennis background, you just pound them fundamentals, I guess. Actually, Sydney did have tennis in his background from Jamaica.

He had worked somewhere as a young man and had access to a white tennis club, so I suspect he was introduced to tennis in the proper way.

EDGE: After college, you kind of kept the North End club alive. What was happening at that point?

AC: Starting in the 1960s, some Jewish doctors offered their black colleagues an opportunity to come join their clubs for tennis and golf. It was just enough that we lost our leadership, which kind of just filtered away. In the 1970s, we finally gave up our place in Elizabeth. It’s understandable. Everybody wants better facilities. When I didn’t know anything else other than North End, that was the greatest facility. As my game improved and I competed at other clubs, I realized that there were better places to play. After I graduated from Hampton in 1969, I kept North End open in the summertime to run my tennis academy until 1975.

EDGE: What made you decide after college to get into coaching? What new perspective did you feel you could offer other players?

AC: I liked being independent in terms of the business part. Also, I believed in order to coach, to be a good teacher, you need to be your own best student. You’ve got to gain inspiration in order to pass it on. I’ve always believed in whole-body integration, in purely flowing movement. I use rhythm as the special thing that makes the game flow. This has allowed me to be in tennis all these years with no injuries, no rotator cuff issues. I have a nice-looking game. I move with it and I move in a flow. So I teach people how to move properly and to respect rhythmic cycles and sequences, to understand how the body is supposed to work.

EDGE: Has it become harder to get young people to buy into this?

AC: No, because I use martial arts tools and other tools, including music, that are fun in my teaching. So when students go back out onto the court, they are more coordinated. That’s what you need to do in order to be good. I’m a physical education teacher with tennis as a specialty. I think that’s something that is missing from the game. Kids need to have a foundation, phys-ed-wise, that they can use all their lives.

EDGE: It is a rare thing for historians to be participants in the history they cover. While you were coming up as a player at North End—obviously long before you began researching your book Black Tennis—did you have a chance to interact with some of the pioneers from the early days of the ATA, the great champions like Ora Washington?

AC: Yes, I did. They were older people by then, of course. But you know, there were no books that told their story, no place you could go to learn about them. Even many years later that was the case. You hear about Arthur Ashe, you hear about Althea Gibson, but there is almost nothing about the tennis communities that produced them. If you didn’t have the doctors and lawyers and other professionals—backed up by all these progressive African Americans—at facilities like the North End Tennis Club, you might not have had an Ashe or a Gibson or an Art Carrington. That is why I wrote Black Tennis and archived it the way I did. The story is in the community and that’s what people are missing about places like we had in Elizabeth. During the time when tennis was booming with blacks, we were coming from little neighborhood clubs like North End. Most people don’t know about this. They ask me, “How did you get into tennis?” And I’m like, growing up, I thought tennis was a black game! [Laughs] When I first set my eyes on tennis, it was all black people. There wasn’t anything that told me I’m not supposed to do this, you know what I mean? It’s not like I was aware there was a “white” game. I embraced tennis and the people that went with it.

Editor’s Note: Art Carrington was the national singles champion among historically black colleges and universities three times in the 1960s and was the second African-American player after Arthur Ashe to compete in the US Open. In 1972, he played in the ATA singles final, which was the first-ever televised match between black players. In 1973, he was crowned ATA champion. Art says that keeping the history of places like North End alive is “a way of making my own black life matter.” Signed copies of his book Black Tennis can be ordered through The Carrington Tennis Academy, which operates in Amherst and Northampton, MA, at (413) 977-1967.


The Pop Culture Issue
Naomi Ackie

5 Minutes with …

Naomi Ackie

Was it challenging to play an iconic person like Whitney Houston in I Wanna Dance with Somebody?

What I realized, and this helped to put everything into perspective, was that she was only human. She was amazing in part because she was only human and achieved that much. To me, true empathy when it comes to working on something like this is to go, Yes, she had one of the most amazing voices in the world. But she was just as human as I am. Whitney had as many conflicts as I do, as many arguments with herself, as many problems as anyone else. In that context, it then didn’t become a challenge—it actually became like a dance between me and my imagined Whitney. And as soon as you kind of take people off of a pedestal, when you take people and you ground them, it becomes so much easier to do your job.

How did you prepare for and research the role?

I had coaches for dialect and movement. But I actually overdid it when it came to research. I watched every single one of Whitney’s videos on YouTube countless times, and it became like a prison. Funnily enough, that’s not usually the way I roll. Like, I’m pretty relaxed when it comes to prep for work. But this took a toll on my mental health. I had to take a break from the script and Whitney for about a month.

Was there added pressure playing a non-fiction character?

Yes. I’ve been thinking about this recently…so, you know, there’s the normal stuff: learn the accent, how her lips move around a song, what she physically looks like, how she presents herself. But there was also managing my anxiety around what I want to create and what I think other people want to see. That was a real tussle for me, because there is this kind of struggle about being a people-pleaser when you’re a performer. And I constantly had to be reminding myself, Tell the truth of the story. It shouldn’t be perfect. This is an affectation, you are pretending. So allow yourself the freedom to do that. That was a lesson that I learned two weeks before we finished [laughs]. It’s hilarious to me. I’m like, God, I wish I knew that right at the top!

Do you worry about any backlash from American actors as a British person playing an American of color?

Yes and no. I think there are not enough parts for black people and people of color in general. So really the problem isn’t with me playing Whitney, the problem is with the higher-ups not investing in the right places. As a black woman, being in this industry, I am going to [irritate] some people. They might be white, they might be black, they might be both, they might be anyone else. I am going to do things that upset people, but I can only follow my instinct—and trust that when people hire me, they’re not hiring me because I’m British or whatever it is, they’re hiring me because I offer a service, I’m good at my job and I have integrity. Am I worried? Yeah, but I’m trying to do this thing where I don’t worry about what people think about me anymore.

Editor’s Note: This Q&A was conducted by Lucy Allen of the Interview People.


The Stayin’ Alive Issue
Pledges for Universal Peace: Julia Rivera

Artists often create works reflecting their strong objections to profoundly troubling world events. Iconic case in point: Picasso’s Guernica, painted in 1937, blatantly revealed his anger and sorrow for Hitler’s unprovoked bombing that destroyed the politically inconsequential town of Guernica in Spain. Today, much artwork speaks to Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the rejection of Roe v. Wade by many states, and the storming of the Capitol building on January 6th. Art can be powerful enough to move viewers’ concepts of the destruction perpetrated by people about whom Jesus reportedly said, “They know not what they do.” The art of Julia Rivera offers her viewers an intellectual and undeniable plea for the bad to stop trying to ruin the good.

We The People • 40” x 36” • Mixed Media

Be The Exception • 40” x 36” • Mixed Media











Our Breathing Is A Fragile Vessel 24” diameter • Mixed Media on Wood

Just Breathe • 24” diameter • Mixed Media on Wood











Green Country • 28” x 18” • Mixed Media on Canvas

Defeated on Principle • 24” x 18” • Mixed Media on Canvas











Don’t Tell People Your Plans 36” x 40” • Mixed Media on Canvas

Always Make Them Wonder 20” x 30” • Oil on Canvas











Basquiat • 11” x 10” • Oil on Canvas

It Is Not Our Difference 41” x 22” • Mixed Media on Wood











About the Artist

Born a Puerto Rican in the Bronx in 1965 and now a resident of Freehold, Julia Rivera says, “I have become a political artist… Our democracy is designed to speak the truth.” Through her staunch desire to portray endangered people, particularly women and children, Rivera’s heady message is balance, peace, and survival. Also an art restorer, she attended Escuela de Artes Plasticas in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Studio Arts College International in Florence, Italy, where she earned a master’s degree in 17th-century painting and restoration. One of her recent solo exhibitions, titled Intersectional, was featured at the DETOUR Gallery in Red Bank. Her paintings and sculptures are in numerous permanent collections, including in the United States, China, France, and Puerto Rico. Piece by piece, Rivera’s exceptionally riveting works inspire and combine beauty, perspective, and hope for important change.

—Tova Navarra


The Warming Trend Issue
The Chef Recommends

EDGE takes you inside the area’s most creative kitchens.


 Sonny’s Indian Kitchen Sonny’s Butter Chicken

225 Main Street • CHATHAM (973) 507-9462/9463 • sonnysindiankitchen.com

Sonny’s butter chicken is one of the best, delicious, smooth buttery and richest among Indian curries. It is made from chicken marinated overnight and baked in a clay oven then simmered in sauce made with tomatoes, butter and various spices.

— Chef Sonny



 The Thirsty Turtle Pork Tenderloin Special

1-7 South Avenue W. • CRANFORD (908) 324-4140 • thirstyturtle.com

Our food specials amaze! I work tirelessly to bring you the best weekly meat, fish and pasta specials. Follow us on social media to get all of the most current updates!

— Chef Rich Crisonio



Common Lot Wagyu Beef Tartar

27 Main Street • MILLBURN (973) 467-0494 • commonlot.com

Our wagyu beef tartar is paired with a Singapore style pepper sauce, summer herbs and flowers and sea beans.

— Head Chef/Owner Ehren Ryan



Trattoria Gian Marco Short Rib Rigatoni

301 Millburn Avenue • MILLBURN (973) 467-5818 • gianmarconj.com

Our Short Rib Rigatoni is a perfect winter dish! Slow cooked short rib, wild mushrooms, imported rigatoni and pecorino romano.

— Chef Genero



PAR440 • Zuppa di Pesce

440 Parsonage Hill Road • SHORT HILLS (973) 467-8882 • par440.com

Linguine with baby clams, mussels, calamari, scallops, shrimp and fish of the day in tomato sauce.

— Chef Pascual Escalona Flores



 Galloping Hill Caterers

Galloping Hill Road and Chestnut Street • UNION (908) 686-2683 • gallopinghillcaterers.com

Galloping Hill Caterers has been an incredible landmark for over 70 years. We pride ourselves in delivering “over the top” cuisine, impeccable service and outstanding attention to detail. That is the hallmark of our success! Simply, an unforgettable experience. Pictured here is one of our crepes flambé that really creates lots of excitement!

— George Thomas, Owner


 Limani Seafood Grill • Seared Sea Scallops

235 North Avenue West • WESTFIELD (908) 233-0052 • limaniseafoodgrill.com

Day boat large sea scallops served over sun dried fig, Marsala wine and caramelized granny apples with sauté baby spinach and Belgian baby stemmed carrots.

— Chef/Owner George Vastardis



Welcome Back!

The restaurants featured in this section are open for business and are serving customers in compliance with state regulations. Many created special items ideal for take-out and delivery and have kept them on the menu—we encourage you to visit them online.

Do you have a story about a favorite restaurant going the extra mile during the pandemic? Post it on our Facebook page and we’ll make sure to share it with our readers!

EDGE is not responsible for any typos, misprints or information in regard to these listings. All information was supplied by the restaurants that participated and any questions or concerns should be directed to them.

The Best Case Scenario Issue
The One The Only

The Cooperman Barnabas Burn Center team makes the state’s toughest cases its business.

RWJBarnabas Health

The relationship between humans and fire is an old and complicated one. Controlling fire and fearing it are both baked into our DNA. Few thoughts are more terrifying than the prospect of being trapped by flames; the pain generated by a severe burn is unimaginable to all but the unfortunate few who have experienced it. How firefighters and people who work near intense heat do what they do is incomprehensible to most of us. That being said, roughly 1 in 700 Americans will have to be admitted to an emergency room to treat a burn injury in 2023. One in 10 of them will be admitted to the hospital—often with life-threatening third- or fourth-degree burns.

In New Jersey, the most severe cases end up in the hands of the doctors and medical staff at the Cooperman Barnabas Burn Center in Livingston—New Jersey’s only state-certified burn treatment center. The Burn Center has 12 beds in its intensive care unit and another 18 beds for non-ICU cases. As three-quarters of serious burns are accidental, there is no “typical” patient at the Cooperman Barnabas Burn Center. Which is why the facility is ready and able to treat anyone from an infant to a geriatric admission.

About 400 to 500 patients are treated annually at the Burn Center, which is recognized by the American Burn Association and American College of Surgeons for the optimal care provided by the dedicated team of multidisciplinary medical professionals. The team is headed by two accomplished surgeons: Medical Director Michael Marano, MD, and Associate Medical Director Robin Lee, MD.

The Burn Center has been in operation for 45 years, but it gained national attention in 2008 with the publication of Pulitzer-nominated After the Fire: A True Story of Friendship and Survival by Robin Gaby Fisher. The book chronicled the recovery of two teenage students who were badly burned in the deadly fire that swept through a freshman dorm at Seton Hall in 2000. Their cases still rank as two of the worst the Cooperman Burn Center had ever treated.



The increased survival rate of badly burned people has brought about a new set of issues that are being addressed at Cooperman Barnabas and other burn units around the country. Once wounds have healed and a patient is out of physical danger, for many the work has just begun.

The anxiety and depression that frequently accompanies physical recovery can lead to crippling PTSD and feelings of low self-esteem and social isolation that come as a result of visible disfigurement (especially to the head, face and neck).

Studies have shown that non-resolution of these issues can lead to chronic psychiatric problems; one study conducted through the National Institutes of Health in 2017 reported that 100% of burn victims experienced significant anxiety during their recovery and a “vast majority” demonstrated depressive symptoms. The study underscored the importance of sensitizing burn-ward staff members to the psychological needs of their patients.

Understanding Severity


Have you ever wondered, when reading that someone has suffered burns over, say, 20% of his or her body, how that number is determined? There is actually a chart that assigns numbers to different areas of the body for adults, obese adults, children and infants.

Doctors note the affected regions and start adding up the numbers. The anterior and posterior torso take up the most real estate—18% each in adults and 24% each in obese individuals.

Burn severity is measured in “degrees”—from first-degree to fourth. First-degree burns are superficial and the least serious. They can be caused by any heat source, including the sun. Though painful, they only affect the outer layer of skin (the epidermis). Second-degree burns involve the lower layer of skin (the dermis) and often cause blistering or swelling.

Third-degree burns reach deep down to subcutaneous tissue and destroy the epidermis and dermis, leaving charred or white skin. Fourth-degree burns are obviously the worse. They can affect muscle and bone and destroy the nerve endings in the burn area. Third-degree and above are considered “severe” and potentially life-threatening burns; often they call for skin grafts—one of the specialties of the Cooperman Barnabas Burn Center surgeons.

According to the American Burn Association, severe burns are credited with taking 3,400 lives in the US each year, with residential fires accounting for about 75% of fatalities. Inside that number, the ABA does not distinguish between deaths from burning and smoke inhalation. Vehicle fires, usually caused by a crash, claim around 300 lives a year. The remaining 500-plus burn deaths include everything from scalding to electrical burns to people who perish in wildfires.


Fear of Fire

The very natural and healthy human fear of being burned is different from pyrophobia, a debilitating fear of fire. Pyrophobia sufferers experience severe stress or panic attacks at the sight of a small flame or even the smell of something burning. They have been known to get dizzy at backyard barbecues and can become anxious when they overhear others talking about a fire.

Only a very small percentage of individuals suffering from pyrophobia have had a life-threatening or even dangerous experience with fire. Like many people who suffer from phobias, they acknowledge their fear is untenable, but that doesn’t make it any easier to overcome. Some studies suggest that pyrophobia runs in families—either it is learned or inherited. The most effective treatment strategy involves exposure therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, or sometimes both.

Physical Response


The human body is capable of miraculous feats of healing. However, it is not built to respond to severe burns. Burn injuries trigger the body’s inflammatory response—the reaction that fights off “invaders” ranging from viruses and bacteria to toxins and cancer cells. In the case of a deep or extensive burn, the inflammatory response can trigger a sudden drop in blood pressure, sending a victim into shock. It can also trap fluid inside the body. In either case, if vital organs (heart, lungs, kidneys, brain) do not receive the oxygen they need, they can go into failure and a burn victim Even when a burn patient is stabilized, the damage done to the skin—which is the body’s first line of defense against bacteria—can lead to infection and sepsis at a time when the immune system has been significantly compromised. A generation ago, the outlook for patients suffering burns over more than 50% of their body was bleak. Now it is not unheard of for people with burns covering 80% or more to pull through. Much of the progress can be credited to the myriad ways skin grafts are done, as well as a better understanding of the healing process for third- and can die. fourth-degree burn victims—including the roles played by nutrition, pain management, wound treatment and the battle against infection.

Of course, preventing burns and increasing awareness of how and when they are most likely to occur, are significant parts of keeping the public safe. To that end, the Cooperman Barnabas Burn Foundation supports a wide range of educational programs aimed at different constituencies, ranging from firefighters to healthcare professionals to schoolchildren.

Editor’s Note: The Cooperman Barnabas Burn Center is located at 94 Old Short Hills Road in Livingston. Like Trinitas Regional Medical Center, it is part of the RWJBarnabas Health System. The Burn Center offers a Firefighter Health & Safety Education course, a Standard Operating Guide, free lung cancer screenings and other resources to give firefighters the resources they need to manage their health.


The Good To Go Issue
Slang is Straight Fire

A look at our beloved and indispensable shadow language.



Of all the everyday things humans use, nothing is more human than the use of slang. It is a tool wielded by every culture, subculture and sub-subculture that enables people to communicate clearly and confidently—without actually saying what they mean. As a bonus, slang doubles as a kind of membership card: If you don’t understand it, sorry, you’re not in the club. And while it can be mean-spirited, it is more likely to be funny, charming or silly. Sometimes, it’s all of these.

Straight fire, the theme of this issue, is slang for what past generations might have called radical. Or crazy good. Or, a century ago, the bee’s knees.

Bee’s knees, for the record, was a Prohibition cocktail made with real gin, real lemon juice and real honey. In other words, the absolute best. But wait. Before it was a drink, a bee’s knee meant something really tiny. Also, during the 1920s, the most famous dancer of the Charleston was a sexpot named Bee Jackson. Were Bee’s actual knees, exposed for all to admire, the absolute best? By the time the experts got around to answering this question, bee’s knees had been replaced by other superlatives, including cat’s pajamas. That’s another thing about slang. It is a creature of the moment, constantly changing, often for no reason other than change itself. What might be cool today is likely to be uncool a year from now, and then quaint, nostalgic and ultimately forgotten. Consider some common slang from the 1990s, when dinosaurs roamed the earth: Crunk, Fly, Buggin’ Out, Talk to the Hand—when was the last time you heard someone use any of these non-ironically? Social media has accelerated the spread of new slang and, as part of the same process, accelerated the demise of old slang. Honestly, sometimes it’s hard to keep up with it all.


NBCUniversal Television and Streaming

ESL Challenges

The misuse of slang offers an endless well of comic possibilities. Think of Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd on the recurring SNL Festrunk Brothers skits from the 1970s. The two “wild and crazy guys” were hilariously confident in their tenuous grasp of American slang and it was funny because it was true. Learning American slang has long been one of the most challenging aspects of learning English as a second language, but also an absolute necessity. Master some key slang expressions, the thinking goes, and you’re likely to “blend in” sooner.


Dark Origins

Historically speaking, two things are almost certainly true about the use of slang: 1) the concept was invented by criminals and 2) it has always flourished in and sprung forth from cities. For countless centuries and, until relatively recently, people communicated face-to-face in public settings. That worked well unless you didn’t want others overhearing what you had to say. In towns and cities where meeting places tended to be crowded with eavesdroppers, it would have been difficult to plot or plan or coordinate nefarious activities. However, if the folks at the next table over had no idea what you were talking about, you could enjoy a level of security. Slang was a kind of verbal encryption.

Slang was also a neat way to prevent newcomers and outsiders from integrating comfortably into the culture of a town. Cockney rhyming slang raised this to an art form. It is possible to understand every word of a conversation between two East End Londoners and have no idea what they are talking about. “Bees and Honey” means money, “Fisherman’s Daughter” means water and “Rattle and Clank” means bank. And so on and so forth.

Interestingly, lexicographers are somewhat at odds regarding the origin of the word slang itself. It shows up in English texts in the late-1700s, but its roots may be Scandinavian. Some have traced it to the Norwegian word slengja, which refers to the use of abusive language. One of the tricky things about pinning down the roots of slang is that, almost by definition, it was spoken as opposed to being written down. That was true pretty much up until the advent of texting, Tweeting and social medial posts.

Staying Power

A quick Google search will turn up an endless number of lists of slang expressions that have fallen out of favor, changed meaning or blipped completely out of existence. Which makes one wonder which currently popular slang terms will have the staying power of classic words like Cool and which will go the way of Wisenheimer, Daddy-o and Knuckle Sandwich. I’m betting that Karen, Ghosted, Basic, Throwing Shade and Low Key will one day be dim memories.

Oh, and add Straight Fire to that list. If it hasn’t gone out of vogue in the two months since I turned in this story!

The New & Improved Issue
If These Walls Could Talk

New owners of old homes are learning important lessons about fire prevention.

High demand. Low inventory. Over-ask bidding wars. Soaring prices. Roller-coaster interest rates. Whether you’ve participated in the New Jersey real estate market during the 2020s or just watched from afar, it has been something to see. The traditional home-buying process gave way to an out-and-out frenzy, with many purchasers ending up owning properties they hadn’t remotely considered when they first started out. In many cases, New Jerseyans found themselves moving into century-old (or older) homes without a full understanding of what they were getting into. In some cases, they were attracted by the charm and detail of historic structures. In other cases, newer (or fully updated) construction was financially out of reach. Sometimes, it was all that was available in their target area and in their price range.


Now they are coming to grips with the unique responsibilities involved in owning a vintage home, such as repairs, upgrades and general upkeep. Under-standing the fire-safety picture is one of the most important ones and, distressingly, also one of the most overlooked.

Historic properties are full of surprises, mostly pleasant ones. Among the most significant ones is that, if fire should break out, they actually tend to give occupants much more time to exit safely than newer construction. This may seem counterintuitive at first, but think about it: Their thick plaster walls and (typically) higher-quality materials and construction, can slow the spread of a blaze—or at least take longer to burn. Many newer homes have “safety times” of five minutes or less (sometimes as little as two minutes), which means that is how long you have to safely exit in a fire before your odds of survival begin to plummet. Older homes have safety times of 15 minutes of more, in many cases because they feature natural materials that burn relatively slowly and do not emit toxic fumes when ignited. Also, their ceilings tend to be higher.

“Higher ceilings can help in early smoke detector activation and notification to the resident to evacuate the home,” says Westfield Fire Chief Michael Duelks, CPM. “With higher ceilings it takes longer for smoke to bank down to standing height, which again helps the resident to evacuate early.”

A People Problem


What causes fires in historic homes? For the most part, the same thing that causes fires in brand-new homes: people. Roughly half of the 350,000 annual house fires in the United States have to do with cooking. They start in the kitchen or somewhere else where food is being prepared or served. The next culprit is heating equipment, most notably space heaters, at 13%. Smoking, which used to be a major cause of house fires, now only accounts for 5%—not because smokers have suddenly become more careful, but because there are far fewer of them. Indeed, more than 20% of home fire fatalities occur in blazes started by smoking materials.

Electrical fires make up almost 10% of household fires, and this is where owners of older homes need to be extra vigilant. It’s a catch-all category, of course, but it includes faulty and over-burdened wiring, which needs to be identified and addressed before you plug your entire entertainment system into a power strip—and then plug that power strip into a wall outlet.

An experienced house inspector is usually able to identify points of immediate concern. Some are obvious, like old-school knob and tube wiring (above right)—or another non-grounded system—which was fine for its time but not designed for today’s appliances. This is an item, by the way, that could cause your home insurance premiums to be much higher than expected because, when inadequate wiring is overloaded, it increases the chance that an arc fault will occur, which can create enough heat to start a fire inside a wall.

That charming 1920s bungalow only needed 30 or 40 amps worth of service when the first family moved in. You’ll probably use at least five times that amount. In all likelihood, previous owners upgraded the electrical capacity incrementally. That can be as much of a curse as a blessing. If some of that work was shoddy or is just wearing out, it can be really difficult to catch in an inspection. It becomes incumbent upon the new owner to be aware of some signs that this might be a problem—for instance, if the same circuit breaker keeps clicking off, or your lights are flickering. And, of course, if you detect a strange “burning” smell but can’t quite figure out where it’s coming from, that’s not good. One option for new owners of old homes is to have an electrician install circuit interrupters. Circuit interrupters detect an abnormality in how electricity is moving through your house and interrupt the circuit.


Gray Area

Part of the appeal of buying an old house is the realization that, in some ways, no one truly “owns” a historic structure. You’ll just be taking care of it for the next family who will make memories there. Okay, but what if those sweet old grandparents who handed you the keys at closing haven’t taken care of their home? This is no joke—the National Fire Protection Association actually lists Demographics as one of the Top 5 causes of house fires.

If that sounds like a loaded term, well, it is. A Victorian home owned by a family struggling to make ends meet is far more likely to have deferred maintenance issues than an identical Victorian owned by a wealthy commuter. The same holds true for elderly homeowners, or people who have lived in the same home for more than a generation. They tend to put things off or become “nose-blind” to chronic problems that could have fire-safety implications. The NFPA isn’t judging—they’ve just picked a word and slapped it on a statistic.

What You Can’t See Can Hurt You


Something else you might ask the seller of an older home is whether it was built with balloon framing, which was a popular money-saving decision for builders from the 1860s to the 1930s. “Balloon frame construction is a wood framing method where exterior wall studs are continuous from the sill plate to the roof plate,” Chief Duelks explains. “Floors are attached to ribbon board, with no fire-stopping structure within the walls.”

Instead of sitting on heavy timbers and skillfully crafted connecting joints, floors basically sit on the walls; you’ve probably heard the term “load-bearing” and this is what it means. The outside walls are basically hollow and, in a fire, can act like chimneys, carrying a basement fire to the roof in a matter of minutes.

“Fires can be concealed and travel thru the void channels unnoticed in balloon frame construction,” Duelks adds. “When smoke is visible from the attic, a team should be sent to ensure there is not an active fire in the basement. A fire in the basement can travel all the way to the attic unnoticed thru the void channels.”

Since the 1930s, platform framing has addressed this issue. If you are planning to make an offer on a home with balloon framing, make sure to figure in the cost of blowing foam insulation into the exterior walls, which has the added advantage of preventing the “chimney effect.”

Speaking of chimneys, in older homes a regularly used fireplace can create potentially combustible creosote deposits over time. When they ignite, the resulting chimney fire can be extremely destructive. Also, older flue linings can crack, which can increase the possibility of a fire. A pre-sale chimney inspection has become a common ask from buyers. If you didn’t get one, get one.

In Westfield, where many structures date back to the mid-1800s, Chief Duelks says that it is not unheard of for homes to have secret rooms, tunnels, and passageways that lead to other buildings—adding to the many challenges firefighters encounter when responding to calls at what he terms “historical-built” houses.

Un-Handy Men

An overlooked fire issue in older homes is the renovation work that is sometimes undertaken in the months after purchase. Often, buyers will want to address deferred maintenance or make upgrades before they move in. Historic homes and open flames are not a good combination, which means you’ll want plumbers, roofers and other contractors working with heating elements to have experience in old houses. For example, some roof repairs (flashing for instance) may involve a torch. Is there a layer of tar paper hiding beneath? Torch-down roofing on a flat roof section? It is as dangerous as it sounds in inexperienced hands. What about the plumber who sweats a joint and then packs up for the day? During cold-weather renovations, workers often bring powerful space heaters into old homes. Do they know whether your electrical system can handle those heaters?

If a big renovation is in your plan, in addition to picking a contractor with a track record in similar homes, make sure that the materials the contractor plans to use are the same quality as the rest of the house. “Modern” isn’t always better, even if it saves you a couple of bucks. A wood floor may cost more than vinyl flooring but, in a house fire, a wood floor may give you the few extra minutes that save your family’s life.

Chief Duelks points out that the same fire-safety rules that apply to new owners of historic homes apply to owner of all homes (and vice versa).

“All homes, regardless of the age, should have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors,” he says. “A fire extinguisher should also be within visual site of the kitchen in the event of a kitchen fire. Hire a reputable company to perform a home inspection as well as licensed contractors. Operating smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are extremely important, they save lives. Never hesitate to call the fire department if the alarms activate or if you may have concerns. Finally, have a plan to get out fast, designate a meeting place outside your home for all your family members and practice your safety plan at least once every six months.”

As mentioned earlier, buying a wonderful old home does not increase your chances of experiencing a catastrophic fire. What it does is up the ante on following basic fire-safety and fire-prevention rules everyone should be following anyway.

More from the NFPA


A recent report by the National Fire Protection Agency looked at a period (2015 to 2019) prior to the pandemic and came up with the following numbers:

  • 26% of all reported fires in the US were home structure fires
  • US fire departments responded to an average of 346,800 home structure fires a year
  • 69% of home structure fires occurred in one- or two-family homes, but accounted for 85% of fire deaths
  • The number of home fires and home fire deaths is half what it was in 1980; most of that reduction came between 1980 and 2000


Editor’s Note: Mark Stewart has owned two homes built in the early 1900s, another in the mid-1800s, and recently purchased a property built in 1795. So far, no fires. Special thanks to the Westfield Fire Department and Elizabeth Fire Department for their help with this feature.