MontClairVoyant: A Season for Treason and Reason

Montclair is known for having many famous past and current residents. Can you alphabetically list some of them, while including one fake name at the end?

Sela Britties

Buzz Aldrin, Yogi Berra, Stephen Colbert, Larry Doby, Lillian Gilbreth, George Inness, Arthur Kinoy, Aubrey Lewis, Susan Meddaugh, Benjamin Moore, Christina Ricci, Lucy Stone, Joe Walsh, Valerie Wilson Wesley, and Gordon Hurst-Avenue.

Ah, Gordon Hurst-Avenue — inventor of the two-inch-wide car that can squeeze between vehicles parked on both sides of Gordonhurst Avenue. But what’s the point of listing all the above names?

Notable and Quotable

Ms. Britties might be hinting there’s another person to add to the list…an infamous person…the former Montclair High student recently arrested on charges of taking part in January’s Capitol riot. He’s no hero, though he conceivably ate one at Subway.

Much of that Trump-incited, far-right mob was violent as they tried to overturn an election Biden fairly won. What does it say about Montclair that a young riot participant lived here?


Nothing, really. Rogues are part of almost any community. Heck, Montclair has a number of Nissan Rogues…that have a hard time driving between cars parked on both sides of Gordonhurst Avenue.

In better news from the nexus of federal and local government, Councilor-at-Large Peter Yacobellis said during his recent virtual town hall meeting that Montclair would receive $3.8 million from the “American Rescue Plan.” Comment?

Emotional Rescue

Ah, part of the much-needed $1.9-trillion stimulus package passed with no Republican votes. If the bill had been as friendly to the rich as Trump’s 2017 tax cut, the GOP would’ve been more enthusiastic about it than an Edgemont Park goose listening to “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

What might the $3.8 million be used for?

We’ll Have Fund, Fund, Fund…

Yacobellis said the money, which would help make up for revenue our town lost during COVID, might prevent worker layoffs and lessen tax hikes. That could mean fewer hikers taking tax hikes in Mills Reservation this April 15.

Also mentioned at the town hall: approximately 70 percent of Montclair tenants are reportedly not protected by the rent-control measure the Township Council passed nearly a year ago. So, why did the Montclair Property Owners Association ruthlessly stymie that could’ve-been-stronger measure with legal actions?

Court and Snark

The MPOA is not asking for much — it just wants 100 percent of renters to not be protected. Better than wanting 200 percent of renters to not be protected.

Are you saying some renters have multiple personalities? You’re a renter — show us that’s not true!

Singin’ in the Brain

“There’s no place like home.” “It’s a twister!” “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!” “You have no power here.” “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” “We represent the Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild…” “Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking.”

Um, okay, you have multiple “Wizard of Oz” personalities. Yacobellis also said during the town hall that he and others plan to launch a group called Out Montclair to build community and hold LGBTQ-related events. Thoughts?

Future Focus

Great idea! Montclair’s diversity is one of its strengths — though we’d rather that diversity not include any Capitol rioters who could’ve theoretically identified as “Treasonous-American” when filling out the 2020 Census form.

One last question: Sean Spiller is set to become the New Jersey Education Association’s 2021-23 president. How the heck will he be able to do that job AND teach AND be mayor of Montclair?

Asking about Multitasking

He can 1) cut corners or 2) lobby the state legislature to create 240-hour days or 3) ask “Harry Potter” character Hermione Granger to lend him her Time-Turner device.



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. Thank you very much for that great addition, Jussi! There are and were so many Montclair notables that I unfortunately left a lot of them out.

  2. Thank you, lacamina! Two great mentions!

    Wikipedia says Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend has a Glen Ridge rather than Montclair background, but, heck, Glen Ridge is so close and he might have also lived in Montclair and he undoubtedly visited Montclair to do things. So, he’s on the list, even if honorarily. 🙂

  3. Don Katz founder of, Bobbi Brown, Tom Cruise (short time rental), Savion Glover, Michael Strahan, Scott Niedermayer, Mary Alice Williams…

  4. Thank you for the additional names, flipside!

    Mary Alice Williams was a fellow Edgemont parent when my older daughter was there. Very nice person. And I didn’t know Tom Cruise spent a little time in Montclair in addition to his longer time in Glen Ridge — interesting.

    As you might remember, Michael Strahan was briefly a Montclair Township Council candidate in 2004!

  5. In the long-passed on category, I vaguely recall this guy name Inness. Some bigwig in some school around these parts. I don’t think any of the students ever graduated.

    I know, I’m really reaching…not close in status to a Super Bowl ring.

  6. Frank, you wrote at 1:02 pm: “C’mon Comrades! The Murphy’s?” Maybe I’m slow today, but I’m not sure what you mean. Can you explain? Thanks!

    You definitely had fun with your later George Inness comment. A big local claim to fame for him is indeed being the namesake of Montclair High’s George Inness Annex. I’ve also heard he painted a bit, but it’s unknown if his creativity extended to posthumously designing Super Bowl rings for Giants-with-Montclair-connections Michael Strahan and David Tyree…

  7. The Murphys – the deep cover Russian spies, Marquette Road, tasked with finding the secret in getting children into their 1st choice of Montclair magnet schools.

    Michael Strahan played for the New York Giants who practiced and played in the New Jersey Meadowlands. George Inness lived in and painted around Montclair, but was part of the Hudson River School. I think it is fair to insist we change names to the New Jersey Giants and the Just Jersier Wetlands School. Whadda ya tdink?

  8. Thank you, Frank, for the explanation and hilarity! Of course! I well remember that circa-2010 Russian spy story, but had forgotten the American cover names of those Marquette Road residents. They are indeed former Montclair celebrities of a sort. “When you come to a вилка [fork] in the road, take it.”

  9. Thank you, sickntired, for those three excellent mentions of notable people with Montclair connections!

    As you probably know, another former U.S. Senator — the late Frank Lautenberg — was also a Montclair resident for a time. And Bill Bradley’s ex-wife Dr. Ernestine Schlant taught at Montclair State and is still listed as a “Professor Emerita” on the university’s website.

  10. The George Inness room in the Montclair Art Museum is my favorite spot.

    BTW-I used to see Olympia Dukakis and Louis Zorich at the A&P on Valley Road. Christina Ricci too. Other celebs: actor Joe Morton, jazz musician Roy Kral, actor Frankie Faison, filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky, actress Margaret Colin.

  11. Thank you, kolsiewicz! I also love the George Inness room at the Montclair Art Museum, and that’s a great bunch of names you listed!

    I remember seeing Frankie Faison as Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman” at Luna Stage when Luna was still in Montclair. He was amazing in the role.

  12. Frank, nice article you linked to.

    Re being left out of Olympia Dukakis’ book, did you have some sort of association with her and/or the Whole Theater?

  13. Larry Doby, Sterling Hayden, Christopher Durang, Peter King, Aubrey Lewis, Rees Jones, Tyler Mathison, John Miller, Christian McBride, P.J. Carlesimo. I could go on.

  14. Terrific list, silverleaf! Thank you! I didn’t know some of those names had Montclair connections.

    Christian McBride has certainly been in the news these days with his recent Grammy win and all.

  15. Thank you for the link, silverleaf! I didn’t watch the livestream, but what a great event for a great cause!

  16. Thank you for noticing that, Frank! I’m always conscious of trying to include gender and racial diversity when I write.

  17. Frank, my focus was racial diversity, but if you insist . . . Mikie Sherrill, Eva La Rue, Wendy Williams.

    And your contribution?

  18. Thank you, silverleaf, for mentioning those three names!

    If my 7:07 am response to Frank seemed like a criticism of you, I apologize. it wasn’t intended to be, but I can see how it could be interpreted that way. I know you’re an open-minded, diversity-minded person, and I always enjoy your comments.

Comments are closed.