did you happen to do the MMEP program? i did it this summer at NJMS. You are right that there really is no campus. But the buildings the lectures are in aren't too bad. Newark has a lot of stores on Broad? St. I think there is a mall and movies and theater too. Its also close to NYC!!!!
I know a couple of people currently attending the school. They both complain nonstop about the amount of work they have to do, but they still have the time to complain about it. They were also kinda "gunnerish" in undergrad, so I always take what they say with a grain of salt. (They were in a seven year program.) Overall, though, they're happy with the school, and they do say that there is a sense of community, even though there is no real campus.
I think there are trade-offs no matter where you go to med school. For example, traditional lectures are very time-consuming. In this system, you probably won't have much of a life outside of classes, but you'll really know the material for the boards. In a PBL system, you'll have more free time, but you might feel less prepared for the boards. I don't think one is necessarily better than the other, and it's certainly possible to find happiness in both.
Again, I'm a *current* applicant, so ask me how I feel about all this next year.
I grew up around newark, so although i can't tell you about the school, i can tell you about the area. First, if you're a city person, you can hop on the path for $1 and it'll bring you to nyc in 5 minutes. Hoboken's also fun with cute cafe's, bars, clubs and much more safe than newark - you can get there by a 5 min. path ride too. Newark itself (esp. around njms) has really cleaned up, right around the school are new apartments which make it look nicer. There are many restaurants in the area, and the PAC center is pretty nice. There are also many ethnic festivals that are a lot of fun (spring through fall). Montclair (where i heard many of the students live) is another place with a cute downtown area and old antique theaters that show independent/old movies. Most of the other places the students live are just your typical suburb.