Welcome to Baristaville!

welcome to baristaville.jpgGood morning, citizens of Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange. No, you’re not lost, though we might have spun you around a little. You clicked on The Local, the New Jersey outpost of The New York Times, and wound up on Baristanet, a website that until now concentrated mainly on the comings and goings of people in Montclair, Bloomfield and Glen Ridge.
We now pronounce you denizens of Baristaville!


Who are we and why should you spend time with us? Well, we started the media niche now known as “hyperlocal” back in 2004 with $6,000 and a lot of chutzpah and in six years have attracted 25 million pages views and competitors like AOL. We believe we’ve changed the way people in our area look at local media. We skip the paper, double the attitude, and welcome a boisterous Greek chorus of kibitzers.
You’ll soon learn that our approach to local newsgathering can be a bit unconventional. While we pride ourselves of being fast on breaking news, like the story of the Montclair couple nabbed as Russian spies on Monday and a bank robbery in Bloomfield last week, we’re also known for our irreverence, our food stories, our ticket giveaways and our (sometimes controversial) parenting coverage. But most of all, we’re known for the robust conversation on our site, like this 128-comment post on Montclair mayor Jerry Fried’s explanation of where tax increases come from.
4thparade2009.jpegWe also have a lot more fun than your traditional news sources. We throw parties for readers and always have a float in Montclair’s Independence Day Parade and we plan to be giving out Baristanet tie-dye buttons at Maplewoodstock a week from Sunday.
Heading our new effort is Jolie Solomon, a former Newsweek and Wall Street Journal writer, who lives in Maplewood. She will be joined by names you’ve grown familiar with over the past 15 months at The Local.
It’s particularly apt that we finally expand into Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange because Baristanet was actually born during a meetup at the Dancing Goat Cafe (may it rest in peace), when I met media maven Jeff Jarvis. We’ve also suffered quite a while from a major case of pool envy.
So, howdy neighbor and welcome to a newly-expanded version of Baristaville. There’s a lot to explore. But we can’t do it without you. Write to us a tips@baristanet.com with story ideas and breaking news alerts, and reach out to Jolie or Liz and Debbie if you’d like to become a regular contributor.
And see everybody at Maplewoodstock!
Don’t forget to join our Fan Page on Facebook, where you’ll get advance warning on contests and can post your own messages, and follow us on Twitter too.
(Loyal readers from the north side of Baristaville, we haven’t forgotten you. Liz has a post coming that explains how the new site has been engineered and why we think it will be better than ever.)

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34 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Jolie! (and Liz and Debbie)
    Thanks for listing Maplewood Patch. And see you at Maplewoodstock!

  2. An open letter to the residents of Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange:
    Let’s get one thing clear. We of Baristaville proper have been at this for what, four or five years now? So show some respect. Don’t open your pie holes unless you have something to say.
    Because you’re all newbies and I feel sorry for you, I’ve assembled this little guide (please commit it to memory):
    DO NOT publish unembedded links
    DO NOT expect everyone to like you
    DO NOT worry excessively about whether your precious post gets thumbs up or down. Nobody gives a crap, and soon you won’t either, which is as it should be.
    NEVER suggest simplistic on the one hand, on the other hand solutions to problems we have long ago realized, from lengthy and painstaking debate, including but not limited to ad hominem attacks, were completely and utterly intractable. Just as Jews will never dance in the streets with Arabs, your town leaders will never will never exercise fiscal restraint, taxes will never go down, etc etc.
    DO NOT provoke mathilda. (If you don’t know who mathilda is, just be quiet.)
    DO defer to the opinions of all marsupials, little old Irish men and religious zealots, and also appletony, Conan, MellonBrush, Mike91, GNM, KateBirdRex and State Street Pete. (Did I leave anyone out?) These people are royalty here, and should be treated as such.
    DO NOT defer to the opinions of jerseygurl, however.

  3. Walleroo is being his usual affable self above. And those who like this sort of thing would do well to remain what Kevin Costner, playing the namesake character in “Wyatt Earp,” had to sneeringly say about “affable men.”
    I mean, if this treacle is your sort of thing, fine….

  4. I’m feeling the love, ‘gurl.
    Where the hell have you been, cathar? You haven’t accused me of being affable for too long. I was beginning to think you were becoming affable yourself, heaven forbid.
    It occurs to me I didn’t mention prof above. My apologies for the lapse.

  5. The newbies may make of me what they will, jerseygurl. That is their right. In any case, since I know fundamentally very little about their towns (well, Maplewood has a nice movie theater and an ersatz “Irish pub” which tries too hard and South Orange a wildly expensive and pretentious “gourmet” food store), I will correspondingly do my best to avoid ever posting about their towns as if I know something. Montclair is always much easier to encapsulate based on what one reads on Baristanet; it is in fact even easier to encapsulate in this fashion than either Kiryas Joel, NY or Cassadega, Florida.
    One good thing about Millburn, in my modest opinion, is that it is in fact governed by Republicans. And (perforce) has a very fine local school system, plus an elected school board.
    Walleroo, you do recall what happened to Ed Masterson in the Costner movie because of his “affability,” don’t you?

  6. Walleroo
    Such words of wisdom! I’m still learning how to negotiate these dangerous waters. I’ve had sleepless nights because of the thumbs. Now with your encouragement I’ll rest easier!

  7. I was intending the opposite of encouragement, DagT, but oh well.
    No, my memory is failing me, cathar. But let me guess: he was strung up by his testosterone glands?

  8. ‘Roo, after all these years and all my fawning over you, I am truly hurt. And since I know you secretly DO give a crap about those little thumbs, you get a downer from me today.
    :'(

  9. Perhaps someday, cheeky young walleroo, someone will remove your scent glands. In clear tribute to your affability, of course.
    It always gives me such a warm fuzzy feeling to put in my own “thumbs down” for your posts. (Something I don’t even do for so many of the predictably liberal rabble who assemble here.)

  10. Sorry Reggie, admittance requires that one of the towns in your new group have gas street lamps. Get crackin!
    Seriously though, I was wondering the same thing, but then this place will get REALLY crowded.

  11. It pays to listen to the Marsupial, as walleroo is affectionately called ’round here. He is also called, somewhat unaffectionately, effable, gator bait, and road kill. Which gives you a good idea why the Thumbs up/down don’t matter. (Originally, the rating digits were going to be extended index fingers, but management deemed that editorially unacceptable.) But we are sure you are all fine people, and we will all get to know you and treat you with the same respect others treat us: slim and none. Good luck!

  12. ‘Roo, after all these years and all my fawning over you, I am truly hurt. And since I know you secretly DO give a crap about those little thumbs, you get a downer from me today.
    Oh geeze. I never should have made a list. Sorry Kay. Maybe now I’ll you that zapper even if I’m not elected.

  13. I’m sure there will be little doubt left in their minds after they read a posting or two of his.

  14. Courson, my old pal, no time to indulge in seemingly rote anti-Catholicism today? Merely to grumble impotently? No rosary jokes? Nothing half-salacious essay about the Holy Wood, or such saints’ relics as the jawbone of St. Agatha? Tsk, courson, tsk. You’d darn well better have your liver for its proper bile level, man, and soon.
    Remember, an asana a day keeps the dominie away! (And the rebbe. And the priest. And the brujo. And the houngan. And…)

  15. To the good citizens of Maplewood, Millburn and West Orange, a hearty welcome!
    This post in response to walleroo’s outrageously rude and regrettable opening volley. He’ll couch it as “feigned sarcasm”, but don’t be fooled; these are two mean spirited birds.
    Rule # 1 & brief history – cathar and walleroo (NB lower case) will attempt to bully you around this site. Hold your ground and just keep swinging. Don’t let their verbal acrobatics (at least not walleroo’s ) fool, intimidate or discourage you. Concentrate and you can take ’em down!. Oh sure, cathar will throw in a typically misplaced bon mot, refer to some vague literary character, or obscure religious sect (’em hmmm’). On the other hand, walleroo pretty much comes straight at you with no pretentions of being anything other than what he really is, a linguistic plodder.
    REMEMBER: Stay focused, get mad as hell, and you can take ’em down with relative ease; all bullies can be taken down. It’s in the literature (see scene from film “Christmas Story” where Ralphie beats the @#$%& out of Scott Farkus)
    Summing up, the former is a broken down ivy leaguer and hack writer, the latter dabbles in too high priced local real estate. Neither can call this wonderful town of Montclair their very own, as the one with the so called literary aspirations actually lives in an adjacent town and originally comes from, now get this, that glorious eastern outpost known as Suffolk County, Long Island. Not exactly sure from which billabong the marsupial hails, but getting close. Pretty sure that ain’t Australia, though. From Wikipedia, “a walleroo is sometimes called the Antilopine Kangaroo.” DON’T BE FOOLED!
    Again, welcome and happy blogging.
    (Hey fellas, no axe to grind. Just speakin’ the truth. Honest!)

  16. Before the jackals arrive, my appologies to the residents of S.O.; I mistakenly referred to you as being from W.O. in my opening remarks.
    Well now, that’s that! You scavengers who live of other peoples innocuous errors, can save it for the confessional. I have no intent or interest in discussing the issue further.
    And if by chance the good editors of this site find my original post too forthright, lest it speak the truth, and decide delete it, at least I’m on the record.
    The truth will set you free!

  17. I was expecting localguy/vinny to disappear into the ether after one or two frothing posts, but it looks like we’re stuck with him at least until the holiday weekend. Oh well, I suppose it helps my street cred with cathar to have someone around who calls me a bully now and then.

  18. “Vinny” you say walleroo? Then henceforth, “Vinny” it shall be. “Vinny The Avenger” or “Vinny, The Exposer Of All Things Fake and Fraudulent.” I rather like that!
    To you I say, vanish, you marsupial in disguise…you vermin in an imitation fur coat. Vanish.
    And as for you, kathar (k for “kapish”…capisce?), you obviously get a misanthropic cheap thrill by publicly chastising our fellow Barista’s spelling errors, poor syntax, or incorrect grammatical usage. In many ways, you remind me of that other Morningside malcontent, WKCR’s own Phil Schapp, with your transparent academic rhetoric and malignant pedanticism. If you ever even existed, at best, you’d be a forgotten man. Yes, a forgotten man.
    You are both morally and spiritually bankrupted people. If hiding behind the precarious veil of a computer screen while criticizing, scrutinizing, and judging others is your idea of sport, then three can play very nicely in this digital sandbox. Play very nicely indeed!
    I’ve fought the good fight. My job is done here for now.
    V

  19. You really are exceptionally charming when you’re teething, localguy. (Whom I’m reasomably sure has posted before under other names.)
    Or are you just underoing an especially strenuous puberty?
    Your insulta to walleroo were utterly uncalled for, however. He, after all, remains fundamentally lovable. Some of your remarks, by contrast, may partially suit the Baristas’ own motives (along the lines intimated by the good prof a day or two ago), but otherwise are just a case of you blowing your own horn to no effect. If this is the “good fight” for you, I’m sure your life is quite a barren one.

  20. OK, I have nothing to say about the rest of this, but Cathar, this made me laugh. Loudly.
    You really are exceptionally charming when you’re teething, localguy.
    Hehe.

  21. “Vinny, The Exposer Of All Things Fake and Fraudulent.”
    The jig is up, cathar, after all these years.
    You are both morally and spiritually bankrupted people.
    Why didn’t you tell me this 20 years ago? All that therapy, for nothing!
    If hiding behind the precarious veil of a computer screen while criticizing, scrutinizing, and judging others is your idea of sport, then three can play very nicely in this digital sandbox. Play very nicely indeed!
    It’s incredible how often people say this kind of thing with no apparent awareness of the irony.
    I’ve fought the good fight. My job is done here for now.
    Thank goodness. Leave knowing that your brief presence has enriched our otherwise sad, wretched lives.

  22. Astute observation, DagT. He’s like that kid on the playground who just wanted to be friends, but only knew how to be annoying.
    At least he got out of the movie-review business.

  23. kathar and the faux furred one
    Drivel….meaningless, self-indulgent drivel….
    What both of you are unknowingly doing is nothingless than reconfirming my definition of you.
    V

  24. Not to burst Liz & Debbie’s bubble (or that of any “old-timers” “grizzled veterans”, or “original posters” here on this site), but The Local, Patch, and yes, even Baristanet are ALL relative newbies in comparison to NJ’s most venerable, useful, successful, and respected hyperlocal conduit for South Orange and Maplewood info, opinion, gossip, and controversy: Maplewood Online.
    Without going into history or detail in this post, it’s enough to say: For the better part of TWO DECADES now, when Maplewoodians, South Oranginos, and (yes, even quite a few smarter-than-average) Millburnians have looked for the latest, funnest, and most definitive picture of our towns, we’ve known where to point our browsers…
    …So it’s nice that you Baristanet folks think you’ve stepped into it now that The Local has folded, but don’t get black and blue with self-congratulation quite yet.
    You have a ways to go before citizens of SOMA give a hoot about being pronounced “denizens of Baristaville!”
    You see, Liz & Debbie: It’s not that we here in SOMA don’t have any interest in your website, or in nearby towns like Montclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, or Verona. We’re just pretty well-served already by Jamie and Dave.
    -s.
    BTW: If we did a cutesy video of how to get from Baristaville to Maplewood, we wouldn’t need a GPS or Google directions to do it. Harrumph.

  25. My friends and I have a catch-phrase we like to use to describe Maplewood Online: “That well is poisoned — don’t dare take a drink”
    Every board can have a clubby, clannish feel, and MOL is no exception. The difference with MOL is that the moderators are unpredictable and play favorites. Bannings happen seemingly at random, for random periods of time. They seem to be quite proud of the fact that they are capricious and arbitrary:
    “We reserve the right to terminate any membership for any reason or no reason at all.”
    That’s from their Terms of Service. And they mean it. Nice, huh?
    Aside from the 20 or so regular posters, MOL is NOT an enjoyable experience for the people of Maplewood. I for one applaud Baristanet’s entry into this field, and hope that the rules are applied with a little more objectivity.

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