MontClairVoyant: After the Bellevue Theatre Closes, Montclairites Feel Lousy and Townhouse-y

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DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Can you devote two-thirds of this column to the shocking news of the Bellevue Theatre closing, and the other third to developer Steven Plofker’s dismal plan to cram a pair of huge, pricey, two-unit townhouses into a tiny tract of church land near the library?

Sincerely,

Dee Pressed

Can’t say it’ll be an exact 66-to-33-percent split. Even if it was, there’s still the 1 percent to worry about. And I do worry about the 1 percent…whose members usually pick profit over community when shutting down or constructing things.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
The appeal of the Bellevue cinema?

Sincerely,
Twin Peaks

It was in a beautiful, charming, 95-year-old Tudor building many Montclairites could walk to. Of course, Montclairites can also walk from our New Jersey town to see a film in California, but they might miss the previews.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Your experiences with the Bellevue?

Sincerely,

Joy N. Rapture

I often strolled there with my daughter and her pals to see kid films. Wish I had saved some popcorn as a memento — those yellowish snacks have a half-life longer than the list of repellent sexual predators in high places.



DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Actually, that’s not funny. What might become of the Bellevue — which was a major Upper Montclair Business District anchor — if it’s not somehow saved?

Sincerely,
Future Schlock

I shudder to think of a greedy developer taking advantage of the mass-transit proximity to remake the theater into, say, luxury condos. If that happened, the developer might be run out of town on a rail, conveniently located several feet away.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Isn’t it ironic that Montclair is getting a downtown mega-development that’ll supposedly be an “arts district” even as greed and other factors have reduced the number of movie theaters and playhouses in our burg?

Sincerely,
Feeling Cross About Cross Purposes

“Roses are red/violets are blue/irony is dead/and The Screening Zone, The Wellmont as a film venue, Luna Stage, 12 Miles West, and Whole Theatre are, too.” (At least in Montclair.)

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Your poem’s meter is almost as bad as Plofker’s townhouse plan for Plymouth Street. Didn’t you make a sarcastic comment about that proposal on the Share Montclair Facebook page?

Sincerely,
Noah’s Snark

Yes, here it is: “Maybe the nearby library can stock books titled ‘All the Developer’s Variances,’ ‘Death Comes for Montclair’s Open Space,’ and ‘The Housing of the Seven-Figure Income.'”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
With apologies, of course, to Robert Penn Warren, Willa Cather, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Sincerely,
Your Antonia

And more apologies to the Bronte sisters, Toni Morrison, Lee Child, and other authors in the library’s large-print-book area near the windows facing Plymouth. Child’s Jack Reacher character would like to kick some overdevelopment butt.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Gasp! Do you have to be so crude?

Sincerely,
Vulgarian, Not Librarian

No. Meanwhile, it’s good the Township Council voted Nov. 13 to reduce Grove Street’s speed limit from 35 to a safer 30, but, if the county okays that, everyone will have to drive more slowly past the crammed Christopher Court that replaced the lovely Marlboro Inn razed by Plofker. Can I wear a blindfold while driving?

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Only if you paint eyes on the blindfold. Any final words about overdevelopment and the closing of a beloved cinema?

Sincerely,

Here Comes the Sum-Up

They oughta make a movie about that, and show it at the Bellevue…um…on a cement wall somewhere.

Dave Astor, author, is the MontClairVoyant. His opinions about politics and local events are strictly his own and do not represent or reflect the views of Baristanet.

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