MontClairVoyant: Overdevelopment in Montclair: a 21st-Century History

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 20, 2017 12:15pm  |  COMMENTS (0)


Has it occurred to you that the huge/awful redo proposed for Lackawanna Plaza is distracting many of us from thinking enough about the huge/awful “arts center” planned for the Seymour Street area?

A. Tention-Span

Great point! Sort of like the latest Trump outrage distracts us from the previous Trump outrage. And Montclair developers didn’t even win the Electoral College.

The Seymour project won an award from New Jersey Planning Officials, an association of the state’s planning boards and zoning boards. Why honor something that will cram downtown, worsen traffic, cater mostly to the affluent, etc.?

Surprised at Prize

People in the same field often undeservedly pat each other on the back, even as our town’s spine (Bloomfield Avenue) looks more and more stegosaurus-like. If only the meteor that hit Earth 65 million years ago wiped out variances…

And the Lackawanna Plaza and Seymour projects are distracting many of us from thinking about The MC hotel — which will be much too tall, right?

The Height Club

Let me put it this way: People imbibing at The MC’s rooftop bar will be able to see Manhattan the borough; Manhattan, Kansas; Manhattan Beach, California; and the star of “Where’s Waldo?” when he’s vacationing in Hawaii.

And the Lackawanna Plaza, Seymour, and hotel projects are distracting many of us from thinking about the ugly, sterile, bulky Valley & Bloom. How do you feel when walking by V&B?

Mood In-You-Go

Sad, glum, depressed, miserable, melancholy, doomed. At those times of bleak despair, I wonder if I have the strength to carry on. Darkness descends. So…a therapist needs to set up shop in one of V&B’s empty storefronts.

And the Lackawanna Plaza, Seymour, hotel, and V&B projects are distracting many of us from thinking about The Siena and its still-remembered leaks and mold. Would Leaks and Mold make a good name for a rock band?

Lu Mineers

I’d be afraid to download their songs.

And the Lackawanna Plaza, Seymour, hotel, V&B, and Siena projects — which all share the same developer — are distracting many of us from thinking about a different developer’s work. Do you know who I mean?

O. L’Gark

Ah, yes, the guy who razed The Marlboro Inn to construct the too-dense Christopher Court and is now trying to overbuild, with inadequate parking, on the former Diva Lounge site. His giant collection of variances is destined for the Smithsonian!

So what’s the result of all this distraction? Does it affect people’s focus? Their concentration? Their ability to respond?

Queries Jubilee

Um…did you just ask something?



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.




MontClairVoyant: Presenting…Harry Potter and the Chamber of Montclair

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 13, 2017 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)



I hear your younger daughter is VERY into “Harry Potter” these days. Can she confirm or deny that she’s now reading book number five?

‘Phoenix’ in New Jersey

She takes the fifth (wherever she goes).


Do you recall “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling visiting Montclair Kimberley Academy in 1999?

Seems Like a Century Ago

Thrilled she was in our town, but many fans were bummed that she spoke at a private school rather than one of Montclair’s superb public schools. At least “He Who Must Not Be Named” (Newt Gingrich) wasn’t at MKA.


If you really want to chuckle, look at the Facebook page recently started by the co-developers of the huge, hated Lackawanna Plaza redo. Full of laughably positive “spin,” eh? Continue Reading

Chris Christie and Mike From Montclair Go At It

BY  |  Monday, Jul 10, 2017 6:55pm  |  COMMENTS (11)

Mike from Montclair calls Gov. Christie a fat ass. Christie says he loves getting calls from “communists in Montclair.” Give a listen to them go at it on WFAN:

Continue Reading

Montclair Senior of the Month: Carolyn Lack

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

Meet Carolyn Lack, Montclair Senior of the Month for July.

How old are you? 88

Where were you born? Philadelphia

When did you move to Montclair? 1956

Why did you move to Montclair?
Good schools, near NYC, diverse community, beautiful town.

Are you currently employed? If so, doing what? If you had a career, what was it? I was a science teacher in Philadelphia and Bloomfield (and was required to stop when I was 3 months pregnant). I was an interviewer for the Survey Research Center, University of Michigan from 1974-1983, and then worked 24 years at the US Census Bureau, retiring in 2007.

How have you been engaged in the community? League of Women Voters Montclair Area: vice president; moderator for candidates forums; member of State Education committee; active in reform of Essex County and Montclair governments. PTA president, Rand School 1966-68. Montclair Adult School: Board secretary; member of curriculum committee. Montclair Consumer Affairs Advisory Committee 1982-84. NEDAC (North Essex Development and Action Council) Board member and leader of NEDAC Family Communication Workshops 1971-75. Montclair Hadassah Board. Congregation Shomrei Emunah Board of Education 1970-74; Board of Trustees 2000-02. Commissioner, Montclair Redevelopment Agency 1988-95. Tutor, Literacy Volunteers of America. AIM (Aging in Montclair) founding member and secretary.

What are some of the most important lessons you feel you have learned throughout your life? Learning new things is always rewarding, and the satisfying benefits of volunteering and giving are greater than your efforts.

What are your plans for future? How does Montclair fit into these plans? I want to stay in beautiful Montclair to enjoy my family and friends and the many activities here.

If you know of a Montclair senior who should be featured, please call Katie York, Director of Senior Services/Lifelong Montclair, at 973-509-4967

MontClairVoyant: A Parade of Quips About July 4th Parading and GOP Charade-ing

Thursday, Jul 06, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (16)



Why wasn’t Upper Montclair’s Trump-supporting congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen chosen as grand marshal for our town’s terrific July 4th parade?

Tom S. Jefferson

Of the world’s 7.5-billion population, Rodney was in the mix as the 7,499,999,999th choice. Better luck next year, Mr. F!

Only Chris “On the Beach” Christie was lower on the list. Meanwhile, I was mailed Frelinghuysen’s Summer 2017 newsletter a few days ago, and now can’t unsee that right-wing Republican’s words. What to do?

Spin Is a Sin

Try a “Harry Potter” memory wipe, like the one Hermione Granger did on her parents in England — though America’s lack of single payer makes that amnesia procedure quite pricey here. Continue Reading

Learn The History of Lackawanna Terminal: Iconic Railway Station of Montclair, Thursday, July 6

BY  |  Wednesday, Jul 05, 2017 10:19am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Back in the 1912, William Hull Botsford, the architect of the “new station” in Montclair, Lackawanna Terminal, never saw its completion. He perished on the Titanic. This Thursday, July 6 (7-9 p.m.) find out more about the history of Lackawanna Terminal as the township of Montclair considers its future.

Montclair Public Library Local History Collection

Montclair History Center hosts Kathleen Bennett, chairperson of the Montclair Historic Preservation Commission, who will explore the history and legacy of the Lackawanna Railway Terminal of Montclair. Copies of the original blueprints from archives will be available to view.

Suggested donation $5. Founder Rooms of the Crane House & Historic YWCA, 110 Orange Road, Montclair.

British Book Club in Montclair Seeks New Members

BY  |  Monday, Jul 03, 2017 11:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair book lovers gather one Tuesday evening each month to discuss a favorite British book and enjoy light refreshments. The next meeting is Tuesday evening, July 11. The book being discussed is The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes. Copies are available by making an inter-library request thru the Montclair Public Library.

The group is seeking new members to replace several who moved away. Monthly meetings are from 7:30 9 pm at the home of Lora Freier, 126 Gates Avenue in Montclair. Everyone is welcome. Please send an email to [email protected] if you will be coming on July 11. Continue Reading

Strike A Patriotic Pose at Portraits By Michael Stahl and Help Support The Human Needs Food Pantry

BY  |  Saturday, Jul 01, 2017 3:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Capture a special 4th of July memory at Portraits by Michael Stahl. The studio (11 Midland Ave., Montclair) will be open on July 4th from 10 a.m. until 1 pm, creating patriotic portraits in exchange for a bag of groceries for the Human Needs Food Pantry (Cans and boxes only; no jars please). Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: Drones, Layoffs, Builders, Rodney: Nightmares Without Wake-up Calls

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 29, 2017 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)



After last week’s lightweight column about Montclair’s parks, it’s time for “serious humor” again. Can you comment on the recent Board of Education, Township Council, and Planning Board meetings?

Sessions, But Not Jeff

Students and parents at June 19’s BOE meeting lamented budget-caused layoffs, while the TC on June 20 dismayingly discussed spending scarce money on drones. What a “juxta” (“juxtaposition” minus another lost “position”).

  Continue Reading

Montclair Public Library Hosts Build A Better Montclair Summer Reading Program For Adults

BY  |  Wednesday, Jun 28, 2017 11:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The Montclair Public Library (MPL) Summer Reading theme for adults this year is Build a Better Montclair, which promotes social responsibility and involvement in our community.

MPL encourages residents to join the program and challenge themselves to read one book every week between June 23 and September 8. After completing a book, participants can submit a review to earn chances to win one of two iPad minis or one of many giftcards to Watchung Booksellers. Continue Reading

Featured Comment

Yummy list. I like Ray's.

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