MontClairVoyant: Russian Novels Are Greater Than the Latest Lackawanna Plaza Plan


Now that the latest latest Lackawanna Plaza plan is thankfully smaller, should that historic railroad station-turned commercial complex be renamed?

Bloomfield of Dreams

Call it “Lack Anna Plaza,” because Anna Karenina didn’t throw herself under a train there.

Don’t know what that Tolstoy protagonist is doing in this column, but I do know that the new LP plan is for 154 rather than 350 apartments, along with such things as a much-needed supermarket to replace Pathmark. Can you, a fierce foe of the bloated original plan, support the latest version?

Warren Peace

Mixed feelings. Actually, still against. I’ll tell you why after I stave off Montclair’s January chill by gluing 154 copies of “The Overcoat” to my shirt.

Don’t know what that Gogol story is doing in this column, but, yes, tell us why. Are you reflexively against ALL Montclair development by Pinnacle and others?

Ann Tagonistic

Things need to be judged in context. If the LP redo were the only recent downtown project, I might now reluctantly support it. But many new (and pricey) housing units have come or are coming — in the too-big Valley & Bloom, in the too-big Seymour buildings, etc. A jammed downtown can’t have more new units than “The Brothers Karamazov” has pages.

Don’t know what that Dostoyevsky novel is doing in this column, but, yes, the number of new units should be more like the number of pages in the “Three Sisters” script. And even a smaller LP needs variances for parking, etc. Why not just a supermarket, stores, and eateries — like LP had before?

Shop on Pop

Don’t know what a Chekhov play is doing in this column, but something like the former Lackawanna is not profitable enough for LP’s co-developers — as “Doctor Zhivago” fans know from hearing the evocative “Lara’s Theme” sequel “Pinnacle’s Theme.” The love affair between Pinnacle and Montclair officials always brings a tear to the eye.

Don’t know what a movie based on a Pasternak novel is doing in this column, but New Jersey officials should be mentioned, too. After Phil Murphy succeeds the disastrous Chris Christie as governor this Tuesday, Jan. 16, will he keep promises such as more funding for public schools and getting rid of the time-wasting PARCC tests?

Rhea Sheem-Change

Hope so. If Murphy doesn’t, I’ll annoyingly ask him at a press conference to spell Lyudmila Ulitskaya.

Who is she?

Tome of the Unknown Author

Had to get a contemporary female Russian author into this column. So many of that country’s famous writers are dead men, though one admires the way they continue to churn out books from the grave.

Why all the references to Russian literature?


Because Montclair earlier this month was as cold as Moscow, even as no band performed “Siberian Khatru” on Tierney’s second floor.

The song from the Yes album “Close to the Edge”?

“Yes” Man on Holland Terrace

Yes, that Yes album, “Yes” Man who’s “Close to the Edgemont.” Or, in keeping with today’s theme, I’ll call you “Da” Man on Russia Terrace.

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. Dave, then there is “Notes From the Underground Parking Garage.” It’s the story of the fight to turn Lackawanna Plaza into a subterranean parking, as authored by “The Idiot.”

  2. That’s brilliant, silverleaf! 🙂

    Too bad the old Montclair comedy club Rascals wasn’t replaced with Raskolnikovs…

  3. Lol, otherwise known as “The House of the Dead”, but I’m afraid Alyona Ivanovna just wouldn’t get the joke.

  4. Ha, silverleaf! Clever! Yes, it’s hard for a murdered evil pawnbroker to get any joke — meaning I don’t think Chris Rock or Jerry Seinfeld will be playing Raskolnikov any time soon… 🙂

  5. Rock or Seinfeld definitely not; Peter Lorre the quintessential Raskolnikov. Now Rod Steiger as pawnbroker; we may have something here.

  6. To match the “Crime and Punishment” setting, too bad Peter Lorre’s full name wasn’t St. Petersburg Lorre. 🙂

    Ha! Can’t quite see Rod Steiger cross-dressing for the pawnbroker role, but there’s always one of the Monty Python troupe members…

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