It’s time for the MTV VMAs: Avoid Downtown Newark Sunday night, Aug. 25, and all day Monday, Aug. 26, Newark PD says

If your commute involves Newark in any way, shape or form, you’ll want to pay attention here because Monday, Aug. 26, is the MTV Video Music Awards — and the effects of the event will be far reaching. 

Newark’s Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose says the Newark Police Department is “extremely prepared and positioned” to ensure the VMAs at the Prudential Center Monday goes smoothly and safely.

“I always say, ‘When the weather report says 6 inches of snow, prepare for two feet,’” Ambrose said. “I sat with my team over the last few weeks and we went over — God forbid — the worst case scenarios.

“I’m not going to discuss our strategic positioning or checkpoints, but I can tell you, we have eyes and ears everywhere. The Newark Police Department and our partner law enforcement agencies will do everything we can to minimize the breach of public safety. We are prepared to handle any situation swiftly and efficiently.”

Ambrose says the Newark PD will be out in full force, manning the event zone and surrounding streets, directing traffic in and out the city from every direction, while maintaining full manpower in the precincts.

“Everybody, I mean everybody, is working,” he said.

While not disclosing exact numbers, Ambrose says there will be about 300 uniformed officers between the Newark PD and partner agencies in the event zone and surrounding areas, plus VMA event security. A significant number of plainclothes officers will be in the crowd and Newark SWAT teams and Emergency Services Units will positioned around the arena. The police helicopter will also be deployed.

The VMAs will require significant road closures around the arena all day and Ambrose has asked downtown businesses to consider early dismissals or even allowing employees to work from home.

“We are trying to spare people the aggravating gridlock, both coming into work and leaving,” Ambrose said. “It would be a mistake to underestimate the impact the VMA Awards are going to have on downtown and the main roads in and out of the city.”

The road closures will also effect some NJ Transit bus routes in the downtown area. Commuters should go to and follow prompts to schedules, route changes and use the “my bus” page.

Ambrose said the VMAs represent just another example of Newark being “a major league city.”

“We’ve had the Pope, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa,” Ambrose said. “I think we can handle Taylor Swift.”


Because of the traffic congestion projected to result from this event, the Newark PD encourages those traveling in the area to allow for extra time and, if not attending the event, to plan alternate routes.

Sunday, Aug. 25, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Mulberry Street between Market Street and Lafayette Street

Monday, Aug. 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.

  • Mulberry Street, from Lafayette Street to Market Street
  • Franklin Street 

Monday, Aug. 26, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. (Extended Street Closure)

  • Mulberry Street, from Raymond Boulevard and Green Street 

Monday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.

  • Market Street between Washington Street and McCarter Highway
  • Edison Place between Broad Street and McCarter Highway
  • Commerce Street
  • Clinton Street
  • Beaver Street


Monday, Aug. 26, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

  • Bus lane and northbound lane of traffic on Broad Street, from Green Street to Market Street

Monday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.

  • Westbound lane of traffic on Lafayette Street, from McCarter Highway to Broad Street

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