A spontaneous Saturday train ride to Trenton had us wandering its empty downtown, engaging in real estate fantasies (entire townhomes for sale for about a years worth of NYC rent! entire office buildings to lease for a song!) and wondering what this eerily quiet place was like during the week when the loud crack of gunshots drew our attention: finally, here were some people!
Armed with muskets and a cannon, volunteer actors in revolutionary costumes were playing “The Battle of Trenton” with live black powder explosions, moving the skirmish line past the nail salon and deli in a loosely choreographed routine of loading, firing, walking down the street.
On the high ground between an apartment complex and the bank parking lot, the actors had placed a loud cannon lobbing smoke, flame & sound north over the Assunpink Creek, not far from their out-of-state cars.
It was a terrific spectacle, but as we walked the abandoned streets back to the train station, past the forlorn Mercer Cemetery, we were struck by an unsettling statistic: more people were murdered in the city last year (at a rate over 3x that of NYC) than were killed in the whole Battle of Trenton.
It made us wonder what downtown Trenton’s residents thought of this day of gunfire, and whether their daily battles would ever be reenacted…