Baristanet Profile: Pete Simon

NamePete Simon

Where do you live? In the neighborhood of laddered streets between Grove Street and Ridgewood Avenue that have the border between Montclair and Glen Ridge running through them. I like to refer to it as “Glen-Clair” or “Mont-Ridge,” but that hasn’t really stuck.

When did you move there? Hard to believe, but my family moved here from Sunset Park, Brooklyn just over eleven years ago.

Where did you grow up? Central Pennsylvania until the near-meltdown of Three Mile Island; Maine after that.

How do you make a living? I supposedly “edit” books by people whose writing skill and brilliance I can only dream of. Been plying my trade at the best little employee-owned publisher in the business, W. W. Norton & Company, for over thirty years now.

Coffee, tea or … ? If I’m looking to be caffeinated, coffee. If to relax, (herbal) tea.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? 

It’s a perfectly cloudless day, 72 degrees, a light breeze, with just the right balance of quality time with my family, time alone or with a buddy (hi, Dan Conaway!) riding my bike fifty miles or so out of town, and time relaxing with a good book, a good movie, or a good nap.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? One of my favorites that lots of locals still don’t mention very often is Folklore Artisanal Taco in West Orange. The chicken chipotle and cochinita pibil tacos are awesome—pure, delicious fire. 

What’s on your nightstand? A pile of good intentions. 

What are you listening to? Amperland, NY—released this week—by Montclair’s own Pinegrove. A beautiful, earnest album by one of the most talented bands on the planet.

What are your current indulgences? The pandemic has taught me how to mix a perfect Negroni and an almost-perfect Manhattan, so… 

What talent you would most like to have? Absolute unconcern about other people’s opinions balanced by impeccable social grace and kindness.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? Whatever it is, I’m not plugged in enough to know. 

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? “I had no idea!”


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