MontClairVoyant: The Art of the Squeal About Arts-Related Topics


Today, can you discuss Montclair’s “arts district,” Montclair’s arts teachers (and other educators), and Montclair’s “Art of the Deal” with Glen Ridge to provide firefighters (some possibly named Art)?


Thou Art Asked

“That’s all I know,” sang Art Garfunkel.


In a song written by former Montclair resident Jimmy Webb. So, what about our town’s “arts district” — namely the current brouhaha about two large proposed Summit Health signs in that area?


Bill Boards

A reminder that there’s much in the “arts district” unrelated to the arts. Not how the district was pitched, but “bait and switch” is a thing — perhaps even a “thang.”


Meanwhile, just over half of Montclair’s 83 laid-off teachers and paraprofessionals have reportedly been hired back. Why were many talented educators — including arts teachers — “non-renewed” in the first place not that long ago?


Classroom Doom

A yo-yo scenario that’s happened before. Puts a lot of stress on laid-off staffers, some of whom find positions in other districts such as Verona, Cedar Grove, and Alpha Centauri.


Major loss for Montclair schools. Also in the news have been negotiations for our town to possibly continue providing firefighting services to Glen Ridge. Hasn’t that neighboring borough underpaid for those services over many years?


Hook-and-Ladder Matter

Yup, and it’s irksome, especially given that Glen Ridge is an affluent community. Montclair should drive a harder bargain — asking not only for more money but for Ridgewood Avenue, too; that street would look good next to Valley Road.


Also, isn’t the deadline to file to run for three Board of Education seats coming soon?


It Won’t Be Long

This Monday, July 25, as Montclair continues to transition from an appointed to an elected BOE. The election will be held this November, which contains all the letters in Venmo if you want to make a digital campaign donation.


Finally, what about the uncomfortably hot weather this week?


Passing the Scorch

You can “thank” virtually every Republican politician, and Democratic ogre Joe Manchin, for doing nothing to combat climate change. Walking down Chestnut felt like roasting on an open fire.


Christmas in July! Do you have air-conditioning in your apartment?


A.C. Query

No, just several fans which stay on 30 hours a day.


Where I live, days have only 24 hours.


Charlotte from Cheyenne

That’s because you reside in a different time zone.



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. “Hot town, summer in the city”
    Maybe an apt title for this month’s Council meeting public comment lineup?

    1. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling Seniors
    2. Denial of Service Outages
    2. Fire, Fire Everywhere
    3. Downtown Charlie Brown Zoning
    4. Remotely Speaking
    5. Humane or Human
    6. Cannabis & Craft (Beers)
    7. Rent Control Under Control?
    8. Communications Lollapalooza

  2. Ha, Frank! 🙂 Nicely done.

    If a resident with an opinion were allowed to comment remotely, it would be “A Zoom with a View.”

  3. A local historic tangent on telephoning in Montclair:

    The first phone service in Montclair was brought by Samuel Crump to his label factory on Label St in 1879. Yes, the same remaining factory buildings across from the Walnut RR Station this Council wants to explore demolishing as an Area In Need of Redevelopment.

    Seventy-seven years later, on March 4th, 1956, we got dial-service. A shared exchange prefix (e.g. “746-xxxx”) and unique number. Back then, Area Codes didn’t exist.

    The convention was to convert the 3 digit exchange number to an alphanumeric one and then abbreviated it. For Montclair, our exchange was named Pilgrim. [Yes, that choice gives some cultural insight of the period] Pilgrim was meant to represent our embrace of change. These first 2 letters, PI, corresponded to the letters on the phone dial, P=7 and I=4, and 6 was the numeric designator. Hence, 746-xxxx. Our elders had the usual trepidations and cited we have been doing it the old way for 77 years. This is the way our grandparents did it.

    Now 66 years later, this Council and land use boards can’t figure out how to use phones and want us to return to pre-1879 Montclair era. See, they do support historic preservation!!!

  4. Frank, my “July 22, 2022 at 2:24 pm” comment was a reply to your “July 22, 2022 at 11:58 am” comment. I didn’t see your “July 22, 2022 at 12:31 pm” comment until now, so here’s my reply to that one:

    Fascinating information on the history of Montclair’s telephone service, with a great — and satiric — last paragraph/last line!

  5. PIlgrim4-1400 is still in use. But, not for Council meetings. Of course, telephone connections were a little buggy back then…so much so Murray Hill 3-5097 became notorious.

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