Baristanet Profile: Karin Carson

Name: Karin Carson

Where do you live? I live in Upper Montclair near Brookdale Park and Watchung Plaza.

When did you move there? We moved here Memorial Day Weekend in 2002, with a preemie and a 3 year old, from Sunset Park in Brooklyn.  We closed on our house that March, the day after I had an emergency C-section – needless to say I didn’t attend the closing!  One of my greatest regrets in life is selling that 2-family brownstone we owned in Sunset Park.  We bought it in the blizzard of 1996, fixed it up ourselves, and always had great tenants in the upstairs apartment.  After 9/11, I desperately wanted to leave the city (so I totally relate to how people feel today trying to leave because of Covid-19), and that’s how we discovered Montclair.  We knew instantly it was a perfect fit for us.  Recently the previous owners of our house came to visit, they are an elderly couple that now live in Cedar Grove.  It was fun showing them that we’d taken down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and renovated everything.

Where did you grow up?I grew up in North Manchester, England, which makes me a Northern Lass.  I’m the youngest of three sisters, and from a very young age dreamed of leaving Manchester to explore the world.  Which I did.

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion? My first career was in international publishing, but I’ve been a realtor for 15 years. For the first 5 years I was with Schweppe Burgdorff. And when that closed down 10 years ago I moved to Keller Williams NJ Metro Group.

Coffee, tea or … ? I alternate between decaf coffee and PG Tips tea. At the moment I’m mostly in a decaf coffee phase, but many afternoons I’ll crave that perfectly made tea with milk and sugar. I’m way too Type A naturally to drink much caffeinated coffee.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day?

A perfect weekend day for me will include working with clients, either preparing their homes for sale or helping buyers find their new home. I love a busy open house where I can (or at least could until recently) welcome everyone face to face. There’s often not much time left in the day, but if I can grab an hour or two of downtime, to decompress from the intensity of my work, I am very, very happy. Getting a seedling into the ground, followed by a glass of wine on my front porch, and catching the last rays of a sunny day with my family, make me very happy.

What’s your favorite local restaurant?

Oh boy there are so many. We are frequent patrons of Uncle Momo’s where we have something of a family Friday night tradition. Also Le Salbuen, Bonjour Montclair, Kai Yang, Brick Lane and Toro – which is an amazing sushi restaurant tucked away behind Valley Road in Upper Montclair. If you don’t already know it you really should try it. I think it’s one of Montclair’s less discovered jewels.

What’s on your nightstand?

My nightstand is a work in progress with a few too many unnecessary things on it and many books that I’m not able to stay awake to read. But the one staple is a tiny photograph of my Grandma Yetta. She was extremely nurturing to me growing up, but very unworldly. My grandmother was the first in her family to be born in England outside of Russia at the end of the 19th century, when pogroms dispersed Russian Jews around the world. The photo has become a constant reminder to me of how different my life as a woman is to hers. I’ve always been extremely adventurous and not particularly domestic – Grandma Yetta would be blown away I think to see how I live and work!

What are you listening to?

This question has given me pause because I realise I don’t have as much time as I would like to listen to music, or regular podcasts. Much of the time I’m zipping around from place to place, deep in thought, or on my phone, but when I can I will listen to some of my favorites like Coldplay, Peter Gabriel, or Norah Jones, or my husband’s extensive music collection.  My kids (who are 18 and 21) are really into music so I hear a lot of their music, and very loudly.

What are your current indulgences?

Pre-Covid I would have said the occasional mani-pedi, plus I’d never miss a hair appointment. Right now I’m very pared down, but not so much that I can’t get my Cadbury’s fix at The Pie Store (where you will often find me on a rainy day because it reminds me of home). My family absolutely adores Applegate’s, and most of the time I won’t have anything myself, but now and again I’ll stop being a party pooper and have the smallest portion of soft vanilla ice cream with caramel and marshmallow topping.

What talent you would most like to have? My mother was a singer, and I would have liked to inherit her gift. My eldest daughter has a beautiful voice though, so that is some consolation.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair (or your town)?

I think the worst kept secret is how exceptional the Montclair Schools are.  For all the ups and downs we have experienced in the 18 years that I have lived in town, I am truly grateful for what my kids have experienced in the Montclair schools. I’m often asked by my buyers moving in from different areas why Montclair schools rank so poorly. These rankings do a great disservice to Montclair and do not reflect the District’s many strengths or special characteristics.

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? At my funeral I care most that my two daughters feel that I have been an inspiration to them, that they know how deeply I love them, and I care that everyone knows I am honest to a fault.

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