MontClairVoyant: Does ‘Rent, Lackawanna, and Bellevue’ Sound Like a Law Firm?

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Today’s column will cover rent control, Lackawanna Plaza, and the Bellevue Theatre. How will you get from one to the other?

Sincerely,

Go Your Own Way

From the theatre, I’ll head east down Bellevue Avenue and turn south on Grove toward Lackawanna. Then, to reach rent control, I’ll go west on Bloomfield Avenue…no, south on Elm Street…no, East of Eden…no, North by Northwest…no, Southbound sung by Carrie Underwood…sob…where IS rent control?

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Rent control is apparently in Agreementville — as Tenants Organization of Montclair representatives, Montclair Property Owners Association representatives, and other people and entities were involved in reaching a deal. Your feelings about the pact?

Sincerely,

Accord of the Wrings

Mixed, but perhaps the best deal one could expect given all the money and legal actions the well-funded MPOA wielded to block rent control since it was passed by the Township Council so long ago — April 2020 — that Adam and Eve were still walking the Earth. No, not THAT Adam and Eve.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

What are a few pros and cons of the rent control agreement? Start with some pros.

Sincerely,

Prose About Pros

Well, tennis star Serena Williams is a pro, basketball star LeBron James is a pro, football star Tom Brady is a pro, baseball star Giancarlo Stanton is a —


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Stop! List some pros OF THE RENT DEAL.

Sincerely,

Possible Positives

Among the pros are the general fact that there would be at least some rent control and the specific fact that non-owner-occupied residences with two or three rental units would now be covered. Montclair High softball players are also pros but not salaried pros.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Some cons?

Sincerely,

Accentuate the Negative

Al Capone was a con in jail. Bernie Madoff was a con in jail. Donald Trump should be a —


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Don’t stop! Some cons OF THE RENT DEAL?

Sincerely,

Drawback to the Future

Among the cons are two of these three things: 1) Landlords can raise rents an unlimited amount after apartments become vacant (though not more often than once every five years), and we know some will take greedy advantage. 2) Newer buildings — including Montclair’s downtown ones containing many pricey apartments — are unfortunately not covered under the local measure, but that’s due to state law. 3) Any renter who sees the play “Rent” will be charged double.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

They will not. Anyway, it looks like there now won’t be a rent-control referendum on May 10. What will you do that day during the time you would have voted?

Sincerely,

May in Montclair

I’ll time-travel back to 2005 to vote for Carrie Underwood to win “American Idol,” even though one of the songs she sang that season was “MacArthur Park” rather than “Nishuane Park.”


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

On to Lackawanna Plaza. Ownership of that site changed hands in early 2021 and possible elements of a revised redevelopment plan are finally emerging. Can we explore some of what we heard?

Sincerely,

Redo Hullabaloo

If it’s okay with Dora the Explorer.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

You communicate with cartoon characters? Cool. Anyway, a much bigger supermarket than the previously planned Lidl might succeed the site’s 2015-closed Pathmark. Cool?

Sincerely,

Growing a Grocery

Good news, but please save the “cool” stuff for the not-yet-publicly-named store’s frozen-food aisle.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Also, the Lackawanna site would apparently include more green space and public space than in the previous owner’s problematic plan. Also good?

Sincerely,

Stop Making Dense

Thumbs up from five space experts: “Star Trek” captains James T. Kirk, Jean-Luc Picard, Benjamin Sisko, and Kathryn Janeway, and the arm-waving robot from “Lost in Space.”


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Coupled with additional open space, Lackawanna’s owner reportedly wants more apartment units — which would be accomplished via possible six-story rather than four-story construction. Comment?

Sincerely,

Tall Order

Hmm…that’s potentially troublesome; I’d have to see the design. Of course, six stories in author Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies” fiction collection are excellent, but…


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Hopefully 20 percent (and ideally many more) of the apartments would be affordable — and hopefully all or most vintage elements of the historic former Lackawanna train station would be preserved. Agreed?

Sincerely,

One Wish, Two Wish

As Emily Dickinson wrote, “Hope is the thing with feathers.” And I hope birds rent the sixth-floor apartments so they wouldn’t need to climb the stairs if elevators break down.


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Finally, it looks like the historic opened-in-1922/closed-in-2017 Bellevue Theatre is getting closer to reopening — maybe this May. Reaction?

Sincerely,

Picture That

Yay! To get to and into that theatre from rent control, go north on Grove and then turn west on…oh, heck…just buy a movie ticket.

 

 

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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14 COMMENTS

  1. Dave, the first double feature at the soon to be re-opened Bellevue, should be “The Apartment” and “Rent”.

  2. LOL, silverleaf! πŸ˜‚ Love it!

    Followed by the 1986 movie “Moan-a Lease-a” — usually spelled “Mona Lisa.” πŸ™‚

  3. Great Leonardo connection, silverleaf! πŸ˜‚

    Of course, dinnertime pizza eaters never have a last supper when they return another day for more slices…

  4. Ha ha! πŸ˜‚ And there was not only “Lady with an Ermine” but “Lady without Nauna’s.”

  5. Mr. Dino’s? Yes, known as Signore Dino’s at that time and place. But it’s not certain whether da Vinci experimented with mozzarella sticks as a substitute for brushes when painting.

  6. Only when he was hungry and poor, Dave. What is certain is that da Vinci used egg tempera as a medium, though not to be confused with egg tempura, which can be found at Dai-Kichi on Valley Rd.

  7. Ha, silverleaf! πŸ™‚

    I’m wondering if Leonardo da Vinci ever taught art at Montclair High School. Hard to know for sure given that the MHS yearbooks don’t go back that far…

  8. Ha, Watchungski! πŸ˜‚

    I don’t know who silverleaf is behind the screen name. So, the one time I passed through Verona, Italy (when taking the train between Venice and Milan), I assume silverleaf and I never met.

    As for the New Jersey town just west of Montclair, I’m still hoping to see Shakespeare sitting in one of Verona Park’s pedal boats.

  9. While I do not know Dave personally, suffice to say that the back-and-forth banter has been fun since he has had his column. And yes, Two Gentleman (of Montclair)!

  10. Ha, silverleaf! πŸ™‚ And I share your enjoyment of our back-and-forth banter. You are very clever and funny! πŸ™‚

Comments are closed.