MontClairVoyant: When Visited After Dark, Montclair Schools Lose Some Spark


Last week, you said downtown Montclair is getting so overdeveloped that the building-height-limit horse left the barn and opened the trendy restaurant Hay & Oats. Is that eatery farm-to-table?

Remember the Mane!

No, trough-to-table.


From “neigh” to “nay”: What do you think of the recent decision to end day tours and have only night tours of elementary and middle schools this month?

The Dusky Dusk

Many Montclair parents and students are irked that day visits are gone, because you get the best sense of a school when it’s in session. But Dracula tweeted: “Thrilled!”


Why the late (and at first poorly communicated) change? Safety concerns after last month’s Florida school massacre?

Thanks, Evil NRA

Yes, and I understand those concerns, but we have to live our lives. Plus schools are already open to day visitors attending student concerts, voting in elections, and hiding from Dracula’s vampire fangs.


Is a tour compromise possible? Perhaps registering to visit schools during the day?

Cheddar Up or Gouda Up

If a password is needed to register for a Buzz Aldrin tour, I recommend “Moon1969.” The first 1,968 lunar passwords are taken.


Not far from Buzz is the Bellevue Theatre, which may thankfully reopen by early 2019. What should be the first film shown?

Cinema and Cinepa

“Darkest Hour,” a riveting drama about a 60-minute evening school tour.


There was also drama at March 5’s Board of Education meeting, where some speakers called March 14’s national student walkout for better gun control “partisan.” Sheesh — not wanting to be massacred is partisan?

Make Another Kill Nil

Kudos to Montclair parent Kate Newmark for speaking eloquently in favor of the walkout, to BOE member Joe Kavesh for expressing support, and to previously cautious Interim Superintendent Barbara Pinsak for saying students believe they have good cause to protest. Neutrality in the fight against gun carnage is NRA (Not Remotely Acceptable).


I hope MANY Montclair students walk out March 14. The BOE meeting also saw the reveal of a preliminary 2018-19 budget that sadly includes some educator layoffs. Comment?

Fiona “Fi” Nancial

Gov. Murphy, PLEASE increase state school aid and/or end the 2 percent limit on property tax hikes each year. Don’t be like Gov. Christie, whose approval rating sank so low it inspired Jules Verne to write “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”


The meeting’s public-comment period also featured a suggestion, backed by many, to move Montclair High’s commencement from the too-small amphitheater to Woodman Field while still allowing seniors to “cross the bridge.” Good idea?

Space: Another Frontier

Yes! Either that or add lots of temporary seats overlooking the amphitheater. Many parents (I was one) have been forced to sit in the school auditorium watching their kids graduate on a closed-circuit TV feed that never even won an Emmy.


Meanwhile, I can’t find Hay & Oats. Was that restaurant buried by March 7’s snow?

Mr. Ed and Ms. Ed

Its address, once hidden in “My Little Pony” videos, is now easy to find on the Web. The online menu is dauntingly long (“hay,” “oats”) but I love the virtual tour of the eatery. Just don’t click on it during the day.


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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    Not far from Buzz is the Bellevue Theatre, which may thankfully reopen by early 2019. What should be the first film shown?

    Cinema and Cinepa

    Dave – Most certainly not Bogdanovich’s “The Last Picture Show.”

  2. LOL, silverleaf! Good one!

    It seemed like it was “The Last Picture Show” in November 2017, but a 2019 reopening would mean otherwise. 🙂

    Reopening with a beer-stocked bar near the Upper Montclair train station could inspire a showing of “Miller’s Crossing.”

  3. Dave, “Miller’s Crossing” a good one. Can I suggest Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train” as the second feature?

  4. Ha, silverleaf! “Strangers on a Train” could certainly describe new Montclair residents, until we get to know them and they are no longer strangers. And now I’m wondering if Watchung Station has…39 steps.

  5. Watchung Avenue train station has close to 39 steps (my fave Hitch, BTW.) And with all the mani – pedi salons in the vicinity, a re-release of “My Left Foot” might be an idea.

  6. Thanks, silverleaf and Frank!

    “Cheaper by the Dozen” — hmm…too bad the famous Gilbreth family lived on Eagle Rock Way rather than Bellevue Avenue. (And why doesn’t a Montclair supermarket use that book title to market eggs? 🙂 )

    “The 39 Steps” is a GREAT Hitchcock movie. For me, up there with the later “North by Northwest,” among others.

    Ha — that “My Left Foot” quip! Speaking of Daniel Day-Lewis films, put a Quest Diagnostics near the Bellevue Theatre and “There Will Be Blood.”

  7. I thought the Montclair connection was a given, so I went with today’s theme (Int’l ♀ Day). The postage stamp honor alone was sufficient recognition.

  8. Frank, glad you mentioned International Women’s Day! And I didn’t realize Lillian Gilbreth was on a postage stamp — just looked it up…a 40-cent one issued in 1984.

  9. Very funny, Dave. Had Hitchcock shot the film on Grove Street, he could have named it “North by Northeast” (school.)

  10. That’s funny, silverleaf! I’m sure Applegate Farm would’ve been happy to cater dessert, with ice-cream scoops as big as Mount Rushmore.

    And I assume “Lifeboat” was filmed on the inches-deep Toney’s Brook…

  11. Yes, filmed on location on Tony’s Brook, right after “Sabetour” on Marquette Road and “I Confess” at St. Cassians.

  12. Hilarious!

    Perhaps a “Vertigo” remake on The MC hotel’s rooftop bar…

    I wonder what those Russian spies have been doing since leaving Marquette Road?

  13. If I didn’t know any better, I’d have a “Suspicion” that those same Russian spies are hiding out at the Georgian Inn . . . errr, “Jamaican Inn.”

  14. Ha ha! At a “Notorious” 200-400 rubles a night…

    When those spies were here and needed to be called, their superiors would “Dial M for Montclair.”

  15. Agree, Dave. You’d have to be some sort “Psycho” to charge those kind of rates and be in a total “Frenzy” to agree to pay them. That said, you could always register as “Mr. and Mrs Smith” an remain totally anonymous.

  16. LOL! A Hitchcock trifecta!

    Hopefully, the inn’s “Rear Window” won’t have a “Torn Curtain” through which one can see a dumpster. An upscale dumpster, I’m sure, but a dumpster nonetheless…

  17. Yes, you would have to be either “Young and Innocent” or the sort of a “Man Who (didn’t) Know Too Much” to pay for a hotel room in such condition. Though I imagine there are those who are held “Spellbound” by the sight of a dumpster, however upscale.

  18. I’m running out of Hitchcock film title ideas, but I’m a bit surprised the famed director hasn’t made his customary cameo by now. Given that he died in 1980, I suppose he’s in a “Family Plot” rather than here.

  19. Dave – I was going to delve into his silent films, but we’d both be better off leaving things alone. You are a good sport.

    Frank – Hitch apparently had a thing for blondes; not only Tippi, but Grace Kelly Eva Marie Saint, Kim Novak, Janet Leigh. Harvey a big fan of his, I hear.

  20. Thank you very much for that link, Frank. Hitchcock was a GREAT filmmaker, and a disgusting sexual predator. As you alluded to, silverleaf, Tippi Hedren was most likely not the only woman Hitchcock behaved badly toward. Too bad he isn’t around today to get a richly deserved “Me Too” comeuppance.

  21. Thank you, silverleaf! That was fun. 🙂 I looked up a list of Hitchcock films, and he was involved with MANY silent ones before directing tons of “talking” movies he is more known for. Definitely not an overnight mega-success.

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