Montclair’s Move To Acquire Social Security Building Raises Concerns About Abortion Protesters

BY ,  |  Tuesday, Feb 12, 2013 10:59am  |  COMMENTS (48)

montclair social securityMontclair town council has their eye on the vacant Social Security building on Bloomfield Ave., located at Seymour and Bloomfield Ave., near the Wellmont Theater. The Montclair office, which closed last year, leaves an over 7,000 square foot blank canvas that Montclair’s council would like to acquire, although no definite plans have been announced if the property is successfully in it acquisition attempts (possibilities include something inline with the council’s development visions for Montclair or using the building as a combined community/senior center.

At the last town council meeting, Deputy Mayor Robert Russo read the resolution, R_13_028 expressing the township’s interest in acquiring the Social Security building. Russo reported that he had expressed the council’s interest in the building to Congressman Frelinghuysen, but added that Congressman Payne’s support would be critical and that lobbying would be needed.

Then Haywood Woods spoke in the public comment, questioning the presence of demonstrators in front of the Social Security building, across from the Pilgrim Medical Center.

“Well, obviously, first of all, there’s the First Amendment. People are allowed to protest,” said town attorney Ira Karasick.”But specifically, with respect to the clinic and the protesters, they’ve worked out arrangements. The police, and the clinic, and the protesters have actually talked to each other and worked out arrangements for how those things are done, and occasionally, it does get a little out of hand. But, I think they get it under control quickly, but there has been a lot of co-operation, as I understand it, among the parties to try to minimize that kind of thing. Continue Reading

Baristanet Real Estate Guide: Montclair

BY  |  Friday, Jun 15, 2012 11:30am  |  COMMENTS (6)

Dubbed the “Upper West Side” of New Jersey, Montclair is a diverse community with well-known liberal leanings just 12 miles west of Manhattan. It boasts a vibrant downtown which is home to the Montclair Art Museum, Wellmont Theatre and the indie/arts film fave, the Clairidge Cinema, as well as dozens of restaurants ranging from Ethiopian, Thai, Indian, Greek, Japanese as well as more than its fair share of Italian offerings. In addition to downtown Montclair, shopping can also be found in Upper Montclair (think Gap, William Sonoma) as well as other smaller shopping districts (Watchung Plaza, Walnut Street and the South End).

Montclair is known for its pioneering magnet school system. In the 1970s, as a result of a lawsuit, the New Jersey Commissioner of Education ordered Montclair to develop a plan to provide racial balance in the schools. Students continue today to attend elementary and middle schools chosen not by location, but by from magnet themes including science and technology or visual and performing arts. Easy access to Manhattan has resulted in Montclair’s increasing NYC transplant population– commuters choose between Midtown Direct service on the Montclair-Boonton line to New York Penn Station or DeCamp bus service to Port Authority. Continue Reading

Baristanet Real Estate Guide: Glen Ridge

BY  |  Thursday, May 24, 2012 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

A three-mile long, half-mile wide sliver of a town, Glen Ridge is known for its historic housing stock, old-fashioned gas lamps and good schools. Wedged between Montclair and Bloomfield, with one end also bordering East Orange, Glen Ridge enjoys the resources of its larger neighbors Montclair and Bloomfield, including restaurants, stores and some shared municipal services. Midtown direct train service takes commuters into Penn Station in 35 minutes during rush hour, and runs throughout the day. Historic preservation is taken seriously: 80 percent of the borough lies within the borough’s highly-regulated historic district. If you crave a small-town atmosphere an easy commute from New York City, with Victorian-era housing stock, mature shade trees and highly-educated lacrosse moms, Glen Ridge could be it. But it’s less diverse than neighboring towns and its small size means fewer electives at the high school level.

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Baristanet Real Estate Guide: West Orange

BY  |  Friday, Apr 06, 2012 2:52pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

At 12 square miles, sprawled across a hilly terrain, and bifurcated by I-280, West Orange is the biggest, most diverse and hardest to pin down of the Baristaville suburbs. It is home to some of Essex County’s most well-known recreational destinations — Turtle Back Zoo, Eagle Rock Reservation, Codey Arena and the Essex County Mini Golf Safari — and hosts one of New Jersey’s biggest annual St. Patrick’s Day parades. It also hosts many emerging arts organizations, as well as Luna Stage, in its Valley Arts District. The town’s most famous citizen was Thomas Edison, and oversized lightbulbs, painted by artists, are a visual homage to the techno wizard. But while Edison’s main factory on Main Street is still open for Park Service tours, a stalled plan to redevelop some Edison buildings into luxury apartments has left the area an eyesore.  Continue Reading

Baristanet Real Estate Guide: South Orange

BY  |  Thursday, Jan 26, 2012 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (2)

The second in a series of guides to house hunting in Baristaville.

Home to Seton Hall University, South Orange offers a mix of suburban tranquility and urban flair. Situated between the South Mountain Reservation and Newark, the village shares a school system with sister town Maplewood. The downtown center is anchored by the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), and boasts a gourmet grocery store and scores of independently owned shops and restaurants. South Orange attracts a diverse mix of residents including recent graduates, young families, jazz musicians and artists; it is also a mecca for upper-middle class African-Americans. The town recently elected one of the youngest mayors in New Jersey, providing a fresh influx of energy to the political scene. Crime is sometimes an issue near the Newark border, and the town has increased police presence there in recent months. Housing stock varies from charming single-family homes to luxury rental apartments and stately mansions in the Montrose Historic District. Steep property taxes are offset by access to train and bus lines, spiffed-up parks and green spaces, an affordable municipal pool, and a vibrant cultural scene. Continue Reading

Baristanet Real Estate Guide: Maplewood

BY  |  Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (4)

Today we launch our first real estate guide, both for the benefit of city dwellers thinking about a move to the suburbs, but residents of Baristaville thinking about possibly changing towns. We start with Maplewood.

Known for its tree-lined streets, lovely old homes, socially progressive attitude (lots of Occupy Wall-Street supporters here) and proximity to NYC, Maplewood packs a lot of personality into its four square miles. Young professionals, recent immigrants, creative types and gay families alike appreciate the town’s welcoming, small-town vibe –- not for nothing is its nickname “Mapleberry.” Two main shopping districts –- the charming walkable downtown packed with chic stores and restaurants, and the bustling strip of Springfield Avenue -– buzz with stroller-pushing moms and local workers. In summer, locals flock to the town pool, and to the ultra-popular, ultra-groovy Maplewoodstock, a free outdoor concert that has become a tradition. Columbia High School, which also serves adjacent South Orange, is recognized for its stellar arts and music programs as well as a state champion fencing team — and is the birthplace of Ultimate Frisbee. Housing prices are a bargain compared to some nearby towns but come with a high property tax bill.

On the market

“Value is what is selling homes in Maplewood over Montclair,” says Robert Northfield, real estate broker/sales person for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Maplewood office. He says buyers can find a “Montclair” house for a little less in Maplewood. Buyers are attracted to the community’s variety of housing stock and styles, small town feel, tree-lined streets, diversity, the Village, good schools, beautiful parks and the “fantastic commute to New York City” — one half hour by train.

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I will really miss their store. It was always so easy and fun to find a fun gift there. Walking into their store made me feel like I was transported into a faraway happy place!

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