Montclair Arbor Day: Free Tree Giveaway Event and Family Fun, 4/30

BY  |  Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 11:38am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair residents looking to enrich their yards and benefit the environment by planting and preserving shade trees on their properties can join the Montclair Environmental Commission for an Arbor Day event on Sunday April 30th between 9am and noon.

Shade trees can reduce increase property values, reduce cooling costs, remove carbon and air pollutants, and provide wildlife habitats, among other benefits. The Montclair Town Council officially approved a proclamation naming April 28th as Arbor Day in Montclair. The event will be held on the northeast edge of Edgemont Memorial Park.

Between 9am and noon, Montclair residents can come by to pick up free 2 foot high tree seedlings, for as long as supplies last. The varieties will include Flowering Dogwood, Black Gum, Eastern White Pine and Northern Red Oak.

Families can also participate in a tree scavenger hunt and earn the chance to win prizes donated by Montclair’s American Royal Hardware and Learning Express as well as a Watchung Booksellers gift basket worth $50 for one winner.
They will also learn about participation in the Montclair  poster contest, If Trees Could Speak, running from April 28th through May 8th for children in grades K-5th-. Continue Reading

Get Ready For The 30th Free Community-Wide Swap at Hillside School, 4/29

BY  |  Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The 30th Free, Community-Wide Swap at Hillside School is this Saturday, April 29. Past swaps have received thousands of donations of clothing, footwear, sports equipment, baby equipment, books, DVD’s, videos and more.

Hundreds of people have come from Montclair and the surrounding towns and have taken these items, all for free. The swaps are a win-win situation, with donors glad to have somewhere to bring their unwanted items, and with those taking the items thrilled to find things for themselves and their family at no cost.

Drop off donations on Friday, April 28th. Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: April Is the Foolish Month, And This Spring Break Piece Proves It

BY  |  Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (30)


Are you away for Spring Break, or in Montclair?

The Easter Bunny

We traveled to Brookdale Park for my daughter’s weekly soccer game — and going through customs was a breeze!

Okay, so you’ve been home. What else did you do besides watch soccer?

Variety Subscriber

One thing I did NOT do was worry about my daughter’s homework for a few precious days. I’m still recovering from her science-fair project of turning vinegar and hot milk into plastic — creating an almost-usable credit card.

  Continue Reading

MPL Presents Open Book/Open Mind Series: Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal in Conversation with Dr. Richard Besser

BY  |  Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

On April 30, Montclair Public Library & Foundation will present the next Open Book / Open Mind Series: Editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News and award-winning former New York Times reporter Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal in conversation about healing American healthcare with Dr. Richard Besser, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and formerly ABC News’s Chief Health and Medical editor and the acting director of the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Rosenthal will reveal the dangerous, expensive, and dysfunctional American healthcare system, and tells us exactly what we can do to solve its myriad problems in her new book An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back.

Continue Reading

George Lopez Riffs on Trump, Kids and the Wall at the Wellmont

BY  |  Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017 7:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

“If he builds the Wall, he better get it done in one day. Because if he leaves out any supplies overnight, they’ll be gone.”

Trump calls us [Mexicans] criminals and rapists. If I ever run into him, I’ll rob him and f**k him.”

Those were some of the politically incorrect, but hilarious jokes George Lopez told a packed house at the Wellmont on April 8. Lopez, who stars in the eponymous series on TV Land, took no prisoners as he lanced into Erik Estrada, kids, and white folks in a 90-minute set.

Estrada, the hunky highway patrolman from 70s hit show CHiPS, snubbed a 17-year old Lopez by not shaking his hand in 1978. Lopez vowed he’d never forgive Estrada.

“That experience made me nicer to people, but also drove me to say, ‘I’m going to be successful,’” Lopez told the Huffington Post.

Even kids were fair game. Lopez poked fun at kids who made Thanksgiving turkeys by tracing their hand with a crayon. “I’m supposed to act surprised?” He said. “Kids today do nothing and want an allowance, I’d tell them I’m allowing you to live.” He talked about the prevalence today of food allergies, adding that when he was a kid “I wasn’t allergic to shit, except being hungry.”

Lopez took a break from the irreverence when he told the crowd diversity is the future.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, Apr 16, 2017 8:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

happy easterBaristanet wishes you and yours a very Happy Easter! And Kalo Pascha for all celebrating Eastern Orthodox Easter.

MontClairVoyant: As ‘Overdevelopers’ Get Richer, Satire Is Our Only Compensation

BY  |  Thursday, Apr 13, 2017 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (26)


For years, you’ve been railing in vain against the overbuilding and gentrification that has made Montclair pricier, more crowded, and less diverse. You’ve failed, right?

Lou Zer

I prefer to call it “being successful at being unsuccessful.” And I can still satirize the pretentious writing on developer websites!

Okay, here’s some begging-to-be-lampooned copy from the main website of a developer involved with several downtown projects in Montclair: “Every facet of a buyer’s demanding lifestyle needs are met with design innovation and…hallmark quality in only the most coveted locations…that wholly enrich…lives. Let (us) show you WHAT’S NEXT, and discover a brighter future for you and your family.”

Future Schlock

My alternate take: “Every facet of a buyer’s demanding lifestyle needs are met with design abdication that makes you covet a Hallmark card to send to developers who enrich themselves. The cards say: ‘Let us show you WHAT’S NEXT when we gift you with a one-way ticket to Mercury to discover a brighter future for you and your family because that planet is closer to the sun.'”

Ouch! From the Valley & Bloom website: “Views of the NYC skyline can’t be beat… Our vibrant community features all the luxuries you’ll need to experience an elevated lifestyle. Wind down and watch the sun set over the NYC skyline on one of our rooftop decks or gather around the fire pit in one of our landscaped courtyards. Our…TV lounge invites you to relax and enjoy a sophisticated communal space. The children’s playroom features a fun environment for your little explorers…”

A. Menities

Translation: “Our blocking of neighborhood residents’ views of the NYC skyline can’t be beat… Our vibrant community features all the luxuries you’ll need to experience an elevated lifestyle — namely, stilts. Wind down and watch the sunset of open space in Montclair on one of our rooftop decks or gather around the fire pit in one of our landscaped courtyards to rub together two sticks — all you have left after paying the outrageous rents. Our TV lounge invites you to relax and enjoy a sophisticated communal space before you faint at hearing a TV lounge talk enough to extend an invitation. The children’s playroom features a fun environment for your little explorers after they return from the Lewis and Clark Expedition.”


Did those explorers reach West Caldwell Ocean? From The Siena website: “A worldly enclave set within the sophisticated urban village of Montclair… Poised between the world’s greatest city and the great outdoors on beautiful Montclair real estate… A veritable playground of arts, culture, and unrivaled convenience located right outside the door of your condominium in New Jersey… Inspired by Tuscany and an exquisite place to call home…”

Tuscs Are Looser

Or this: “A worldly enclave set within the sophisticated urban village of Montclair that hasn’t renamed its Township Council the Urban Village Council. Poised between the world’s greatest city (downtown Glen Ridge) and the great outdoors on beautiful Montclair real estate (various potholed parking lots). A veritable playground of sidewalk-chalk art, yogurt cultures, and the Krauszer’s convenience store located within a drunken crawl from your condominium in New Jersey. Inspired by a grainy photo of some burg in Italy and an exquisite place to call home on your iPhone when leaks and mold prevent you from returning to your condo while your spouse is still inside.”

Sounds like a 1970s disaster movie. And, finally, from the website of that future hotel: “The MC…sits at a dynamic intersection that serves as a metaphor and stage for a 21st-century experience. Filled with artistic and creative touches, the hotel brings the best values of convergence, easy hospitality, and eccentric creativity to life. With its 151 design-inspired guest rooms, rooftop lounge with unparalleled city views, and 13,000 square feet of chic event and conference center space, this…property promises to be Montclair’s newest local hot spot.”

Daze Inn

My different version: “The MC overwhelms a gridlocked intersection that serves as a metaphor and stage for a 21st-century nightmare, even during the day. Filled with snooty and ostentatious touches, the hotel brings to life the best values of bumping into people on the crowded sidewalk, valet parking in convenient Honolulu, and eccentric conformity. With its 151 prison-cell-inspired guest rooms, rooftop lounge with unparalleled views of the Delta gas station, and 13 square inches of chic janitorial space, this property promises to be Montclair’s newest local hot spot when the AC stops functioning.”


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.





Chag Sameach! — Passover Begins Tonight

BY  |  Monday, Apr 10, 2017 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)


Passover begins tonight at sundown and ends on April 18 at sundown. Jewish families will sit down tonight at the Seder table to celebrate the holiday which commemorates the Jews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt.


Here is our round up of Passover recipes, stories and tips for hosting a Seder: Continue Reading

Review: Fascinating Facts (not Fiction) from Columnist Dave Astor

BY  |  Monday, Apr 10, 2017 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Trivia, quirks, political connections, surprising coincidences, and lots of Aha! moments fill the pages of Dave Astor’s new book of literary curiosities. With a title like Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time, the pun-loving Astor has promised a lot — and he delivers with details about over 100 authors as varied as Dorothy Parker, Miguel de Cervantes, Alex Haley, Aldous Huxley, Shirley Jackson, Zora Neale Hurston, and Vladimir Nabokov.

Each of the short, readable chapters focuses on one obscure or quirky fact, sometimes paired with a related detail, that ties in to an author’s life or work. Even those well-versed in literary history will find lots of new trivia to contemplate and enjoy. Dave Astor has been working on this entertaining collection since 2011, discovering the details by reading biographies and scouring websites devoted to the featured authors.

One of the side-benefits of the many interesting chapters is a reminder of all the works of fiction you’ve read and have yet to read. Mentions of The Yearling, Kindred, The Quiet American, Faust, A Confederacy of Dunces, and Native Son will both whet readers’ appetites and remind us that great literature remains consistently relevant to our lives.

Astor introduces the book as an “escape” into facts, and promises readers will be entranced by “great trivia, anecdotes, oddities, coincidences” and peculiar connections between different authors. For those familiar with Dave Astor’s literature blog, Dave Astor on Literature, and his weekly op-ed column, MontClairVoyant, you’ll recognize his signature twists, allusions, and puns throughout the chapters. The Fascinating Facts are decidedly PG, so it makes for an appropriate gift to all ages of friends, acquaintances, and it’s a fun gift for all literature lovers and teachers.

Order your copy of Dave Astor’s Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time in Kindle or paperback today!

MontClairVoyant: Gridlock on Montclair’s Main Block is a Future Shock to Mock

BY  |  Thursday, Apr 06, 2017 2:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)


Last week, you said the too-big future “arts complex” will make Montclair’s downtown even more crammed. What else might happen in that area?

Ann T. Crowding

Drivers stuck in Bloomfield Avenue traffic will mutter four-letter words other than “arts.”


Care to list any of those words?

Write in Curse-ive

Hel-LO? This Baristanet site includes a “Family” section.

Continue Reading

Featured Comment

These houses look like McMansions that were in the dryer too long and now have shrunk to 3/4 size. The flaccid one at the top of the thread looks like the elastic is all stretched out, too.

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