Time Out NY Compares Montclair to The Village

Montclair to The Village

In its article “The coolest places in New Jersey for New Yorkers,” Time Out NY names five Jersey towns where “even a tried-and-true New Yorker” would feel comfortable and compares them to their NYC equivalent.

Which five towns made the cut? Montclair, Maplewood, Jersey City, Westfield, and Red Bank.

In its neighborhood conversion guide, the article says you could trade The Village for Montclair:

Historic downtown Montclair has an array of retro architecture to ogle, including the Wellmont Theater (5 Seymour St between Bloomfield Ave and Roosevelt Pl; 973-783-9500, thewellmonttheater.com), a beautiful and imposing 1920s brick edifice that attracts major touring acts. Cultured New Yorkers (is there any other type?) will feel at home at Clairidge Cinema (486 Bloomfield Ave between Church and South Park Sts; 973-746-5564, bowtiecinemas.com), an art-house theater, and Montclair Book Center (221 Glenridge Ave between Bloomfield Ave and Forrest St; 973-783-3630, montclairbookcenter.com), which could feasibly have been transported from the Village of the ’60s.

Maplewood gets compared to Queens for its cultural and ethnic diversity — it has a 40 percent nonwhite population and active gay and artistic communities.

Jersey City, the place I was born and raised, makes the list for being like Williamsburg, Brooklyn (although there were no hipsters there when I was growing up).




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  1. open wide, gift horse…

    say what you will, articles like that do more for my property values than anything you did as my city councilor…

  2. Well, like Brooklyn, much of Montclair offer a quick and convenient walk to shopping, schools, businesses, mass transit and parks. In both Montclair and Brooklyn, there are many well preserved historic structures and cohesive neighborhoods- although Montclair offers more than Brooklyn in the trees and breathing room department. Political affiliation is similar in both areas, heavily Democratic – Obama carried Brooklyn and Montclair with 80% of the voters in each place in both 2008 and 2012. Plenty of variety in the restaurant and small business scene in both places. The commute to Midtown Manhattan ( as compared to Montclair ) is much better in Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg, much worse in the outer neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Yet, all in all, Montclair remains a massive bargain compared to Brooklyn – the high Montclair property taxes are offset by residential real estate prices that are about 1/4 to 1/3 of the prices in Brooklyn, per square foot. Of course, we don’t have Russian night clubs, Brighton Beach, the Gowanus Canal, and the Cyclone, but, hey, whaddayagonnadoo?

  3. I’d therefore say Brooklyn, not the Village, is the right comparison. You make a good point, but Montclair would be a small neighborhood in Brooklyn. I think a better comparison would be between Brooklyn and Essex County. We may not have a gowanus canal but We our share of Superfund sites ! We also have our share of high crime areas, except We call them towns. Owls Head Park in Bay Ridge is just like Brookdale. Downtown is a lot like Newark etc. one thing We both have in common is our proximity to Manhattan .

  4. The planning 1909 planning concept for Montclair was that of a picturesque “Village” so that development would “preserve the natural beauty of the landscape” to insure that Montclair would not become…”just another commonplace little city in the countryside”. How great that Time Out has picked up on Montclair’s characteristic village “vibe”. This is quite an affirmation and something to think about and defend so that Montclair is not brutalized by the re development “concepts” proposed by the current master plan that blatantly fails at its premise to preserve the historic feel of neighborhoods.

  5. “Compares Montclair to the Village” Not sure if that’s a compliment to Montclair or an indictment about how suburbanized the Village has become.

  6. Frank,

    As usual, you are spot on!

    This development mind set is crazed!

    This past Thursday I was driving south on Valley coming from Bellevue at 3:00 in the afternoon. The northbound traffic, with no school buses or construction, was backed up from Bellevue PAST the A&P!

    And some want to develop Upper Montclair MORE?

    And we’re told “well, we didn’t have the funds to study the traffic.”

    We should ask ourselves: “Who benefits?”

    We KNOW the answer!

  7. Cary asked: “Who benefits?” That’s a good question!

    In my opinion, the people who will benefit from defeating all of the suggestions for 07043 that were in the MP are wealthy people who can afford to maintain and occupy huge single-family homes that happen to sit within 15 miles of the largest, wealthiest city in the United States. Their views of that big, rich city won’t be blocked, their property values won’t be dinged by the proximity of multi-family dwellings, and the increases to their property taxes won’t be as great a burden to them as it will be to the folks further down the income-ladder (though of course they’ll whine about it just as much as–maybe even more than–the rest of us).

    The fact that these people have somehow persuaded families of more modest means that defeating the MP is in their best interests would be almost comical if it weren’t so disheartening. Most embarrassing of all is watching a certain opinion columnist in our local paper continually beat the drum about “greedy developers,” while being seemingly blind to the greed (or, excuse me, ‘self-interest’) of the occupants of $1 million+ residences who oppose the MP because they believe it will threaten their property values. (A belief that is, by the way, questionable.)

    There are neighborhoods all through Montclair where the density of the housing stock is appropriate for a city within spitting distance of housing-deprived NYC. If you live in a 1920s house that is ten or so feet away from the house on either side of you, then you live in one of those neighborhoods. The folks in the neighborhoods that are much more spread out, much more (despite the provenance of the buildings themselves) typically suburban, are protecting their self-interest by opposing focused development that would increase the overall density of those neighborhoods. What those folks don’t seem to understand is that eventually the affordability-monster will come for them, too. Over time their neighborhoods will by necessity approach the same density as the bulk of Montclair’s “new” (i.e., 1920s) developments. But because they opposed the TOD ideas in the MP, the density will increase by way of infill and the splitting up of large single-house plots into small pocket developments. And just as in the past, there’ll be almost nothing they can do about that, because our status-quo land use provisions don’t really give them the tools to do so.

    (By the way, I live in one of those 10-foot-wide-driveway neighborhoods in a sub-2,500sf home with my family of four. I have no connection to the development / construction industry (I work in Manhattan in a creative field), I have no friends in town government, and I have no business interests in town. My interest in this issue is complex, but it comes down to this: I’d like Montclair to continue to be a town filled with people from diverse backgrounds and diverse income levels and I’d like Montclair to continue to evolve into a town that isn’t quite a suburb and isn’t quite a city, but instead features the best of both worlds.)

  8. Will, the only one making this about class is you. As if the only people who want to preserve Montclair’s homes and character are its wealthiest residents. It’s insulting. Actually, it’s infuriating.

    I live in a small, 1,500sqft home from the 1890’s that is inexpsensive by Montclair’s standards. I moved here from the city with the family because Montclair is someplace special. The architecture, the charming homes, tree lined streets, etc. It’s not anywhere USA. We’ve had a lot of our 30 something year old friends join us since then for the same reason. Some have bought, some rent. All love the town for the same reasons. Yes, even the renters!

    It’s not about how big your home is. Wether you have a guilded age estate on top of South Mountain Ave, rent a floor of a three family Queen Anne, or own a tiny little Victorian like we do, everyone, in this town is entitled to appreciate the charm and beauty of Montclair.

    And each of us has a right to want to preserve it. I can dream and hope for a Montclair where both the large estates on Upper Mountain and the small Victorians down the hill are still there for my children to appreciate and see, and not just condos in their place.

    Enjoying and wanting to preserve Montclair’s architecture and natural beauty doesn’t require a certain amount of income or owning a certain amount of square feet as a prerequisite.

    Hope you were trying to insult homeowner’s like me, and renters like my fiends in town, because it worked.

    What an incredibly ignorant comment to make!

  9. I’m with Will on this one. The hyperventilation and hyperbole about Valley and Bloom has been about ruining the views for a couple of millionaires on the ridge. Cary, above, was about to have a heart attack because he was stuck in 5 minutes of traffic on his trip through tony Upper Montclair, and by golly, if more people show up to this party it will ruin the, ahem, quaint village feel for everyone (read: it will bring in the “wrong” kind of people). Frank GG, a wonderful historian, is nonetheless stuck on a plan that’s almost 120 years old (Nolan, seriously, give it up…) and waxes nostalgic about a time when Montclair was the richest community in the nation.

    So if you’re not seeing class (and race) in this debate, you’re quite blind.

  10. say what you will, articles like that do more for my property values than anything you did as my city councilor…

    completely unprovoked, gratuitous personal insult.

  11. frankgg, your point that we are now enjoying the fruits of an enlightened vision is well taken. However, the population of NYC proper has doubled in the past 100 years and the greater metropolitan area has surely grown even more quickly. Doesn’t it seem unlikely that a master plan for Montclair conceived in 1900 will be appropriate for the next 100 years?

  12. TONY? Is that one of the subscriptions you select when your People’s Express frequent flyer miles are about to expire?

  13. “Manhattan will see the second highest post-2000 growth, 18.8 percent, with its population projected to increase to 1.83 million in 2030, well below its peak population of 2.33 million in 1910.”

  14. NYC population in 1910: 4.77 million
    NYC population in 2012: 8.34 million
    NYC projected population in 2025: 9.4 million

    NJ population in 1910: 2.54 million
    NJ population in 2010: 8.79 million
    NJ projected population in 2025: 9.56 million

    “According to 2011 county population estimates released by the Census Bureau, the fastest-growing New Jersey counties between 2008 and 2011, in the wake of the Great Recession, were Hudson (+8.3 percent), Middlesex (+3.7), Union (+3.4), Passaic (+2.8), Bergen (+2.4) and Essex (+2.4). Surprisingly, this list coincides almost exactly with the list of the most developed counties in the state (Hudson, Union, Essex, Bergen and Middlesex are the five most developed counties, while Passaic ranks 11th). In a dramatic reversal of New Jersey’s development pattern of the last 50+ years, the last three years have seen the state’s most urbanized counties growing the fastest.”

  15. The sad thing is that the Montclair article states that its a 29 minute train ride from NYP to the MTC. Clearly the author has never been to Montclair. Any seasoned commuter knows that the MidTown Direct is an 45 to an hour on any given day with the quagmire that is Penn Station and all of its delays.

  16. Its obsolite to try factor in class or race card in this arguement…(especially given the diversity of the property owners who live on the hill)….instead… its all about $$$…. statistics show that most of the properties on the hill (that will have their neighborhood’s characteristic blocked by development) pay over $50k in property taxes…

  17. Does anyone have any proven facts or statistics as to how “diverse” neighborhoods “on the hill” are? It seems most of the “diversity” is at the bottom of the hill.

  18. The only statistics that I’ve seen are the Montclair Tax Revenue statistics and its QUITE remarkable to see how many property owners pay over $40k – $50k and up …. west of North Mountain/ South Mountain and up…..practically EVERYONE ….and the view of NYC is the most prominent and characteristic feature of these neighborhoods. If the Master Plan states that a goal is to preserve the historic qualities of neighborhoods…. its already failing in its premise if they block the properties characteristic view.
    The diversity of the hill I’ve known only from my own personal experience of living there. There is more density at the bottom of the hill but I would say diversity everywhere in town.

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