MontClairVoyant: Educator Layoff Pain and Lackawanna Plaza’s Overbuilding Train




Today you’re discussing school-district layoffs and the latest profit-obsessed plan to overdevelop Lackawanna Plaza (LP). Is there a connection?

Lack a/Wanna Reply

Yes, this column couldn’t have posted without an Internet connection.


After the huge LP plan was denounced by audience speakers at May 23’s Township Council meeting, what words would describe the redevelopment that would rise next to the lovely, historic former train station?

Tracks of Our Tears

Gentrification/Overbuilding/Avarice/Traffic (GOAT). LP and other downtown-cramming projects — such as the proposed overdeveloping of the old Diva Lounge site — mean cement-eating goats are now our only chance for open space.


The ugly LP’s only positive: it may include a not-too-pricey supermarket. Meanwhile, when money from school-district retirements becomes available, should 100% be used to rehire people who depressingly received layoff notices this month?

M. Ployees

Yes, 100%. The whole enchilada. Every refried bean on the plate. All the salsa in the jar. I have to stop writing this column during dinner.


But wasn’t there talk at the May 16 Board of Education meeting that some retirement savings might go into a rainy-day fund?

Money Bawl

That’s not acceptable for staffers and the students they help so much. Again, 100% of “breakage” money should be spent on rehiring, except for a few bucks to buy a fidget spinner.


What do you think of the new BOE president and vice president who were elected 7-0 and 4-3, respectively?

O. Pinion-Sought

Time will tell. Ask me again in a year. Ask me again in 12 months. Ask me again in 52 weeks. Ask me again in 365 days. Did I mention I’ll be offline on May 25, 2018?


On May 21, 2017, Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence’s “Amazing FundRacer” raised about $97,000. Hard to believe, right?

Skeptical Receptacle

I believe it because that awesome amount was mentioned in a May 23 MFEE email. If you have trust issues, I sympathize and would be happy to talk, but I have three more Q&As to write.


One race participant was the beloved Naomi Kirkman, Bradford’s longtime principal! And coming soon is June 9’s for-all-ages “Senior Prom Dance Party” at the Montclair Women’s Club, with music by Parents Who Rock!

E. Vent

It’s a benefit for the Montclair Inn, which I’ve visited — a wonderful, affordable, independent-living residence for people over 62. It’s near Hillside School, which got its name when the Hill and Side families intermarried.


Topography is how that school got its name!

No Landscape Escape

The Topography family intermarried, too?


You don’t deserve the Internet connection mentioned in this column’s first answer!

Byte of the Living Dead

There are always communication alternatives: sidewalk chalk, manual typewriters, quill pens, smoke signals, cave paintings…


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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  1. There was a brief period of my early schooldays that I did actually commute by train into the Lackawanna Station… I was practically alone in those old rickety train cars and sometimes there were the original ones with wooden or wicker seats… my father felt that it was an educational and more economical alternative to those little blue school busses that MKA used… I’m fortunate to live to tell.

  2. Thanks, frankgg! Memorable to have ridden into that beautiful station, occasionally in “vintage” train cars. (Though any kid might not have totally appreciated the experience at the time, perhaps preferring more modern transportation. 🙂 ) According to a Wikipedia entry I just looked at, it appears Lackawanna Station was in operation until 1981.

  3. I did that for a semester at Montclair Academy in 1973 before my dad came to his senses. Also…instead of going out to play… I would often take the de Camp bus to NYC … then take the shuttle to Grand Central and walk as far as Bloomingdales… (I was fascinated by the home furnishing room displays!)

  4. That’s quite a trip! Bus, subway, and then walking. Has to be nearly a mile from Grand Central to Bloomingdale’s, not to mention the walk back.

    I remember taking the bus into NYC a few times with a friend and then riding the subway — without adults, despite being maybe 11 or 12. (This was from Teaneck, not Montclair.) Can’t believe we were allowed to do that!

  5. Today for a child to get away with something like that it would be quite impossible but back then, as long as you were back in time at the table for dinner, who knew. Plus times were different then, the worst that could have possibly happened was your timing was wrong and you missed seeing Brooke Shields having a Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity’s.

  6. Yes, disappearing until dinner was okay with many parents — as long as it was dinner that day and not dinner the next month. 🙂

    Didn’t know Brooke Shields used to hang out at Serendipity’s! That place near Bloomingdale’s is great, but Holsten’s in Bloomfield beats it for last-episode-of-“The Sopranos” cred…

  7. Brooke Shields would often come to Kimberley to play field hockey on the Dwight Englewood team. Holsten’s is a great ice-cream destination and I like it better than Serendipity’s

  8. Montclair is definitely a magnet for celebrities, then and now — most recently Justin Bieber, it seems. 🙂

    And I agree — Holsten’s is great (the ice cream and the old-fashioned “ambiance”). We’re very lucky to have places like Holsten’s and Applegate near/in Montclair.

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