MontClairVoyant: Future ‘Arts District’ Is ‘The Art of the (Bad) Deal’

Thursday, Aug 17, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Last week, you briefly criticized the Planning Board’s unanimous August 8 approval of plans for the way-too-big “arts district” on/near Seymour Street. Can you say more about that project and the PB’s post-midnight vote?

Sincerely,
I.M. Disappointed

This whole column will focus on those topics, including the kind of arts and entertainment we might see when the project is finished. The developers have high buildings; I have low expectations.

 
  Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: Seymour Gets Nod. This August 10-Themed Column Is Odd

BY  |  Thursday, Aug 10, 2017 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (8)

 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
With things slower in Montclair during a late-summer month, how will you fill this August 10 column?

Sincerely,
Dez Perado

By using historical events that happened on August 10. For instance, born-that-day author Jorge Amado wrote a novel that includes drinking scenes, so I had a designated driver return that book to the library.

 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
But after you wrote most of this column, the Planning Board voted 9-0 on August 7 for the massive Seymour Street-area “arts center” that will cram our town with more people, traffic, pricey housing, etc. How does that relate to August 10?

Sincerely,
Gilderoy Gridlockhart

Tonight, the Planning Board Fan Club of Montclair will receive the coveted Consistency Prize for 10 consecutive years of having no members other than developers. Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: Shedding ‘Light in August’ on Charters, PARCCs and Health

BY  |  Thursday, Aug 03, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (9)

 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
After you went all trivial last week with your fake-street-names column, let’s catch up on important matters such as charter schools, PARCC tests, health care, overdevelopment, and…

Sincerely,
Topics, Not Tropics

…why fidget spinners are sold everywhere but on Mars. Believe me, I checked.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
On July 26, a spin-soaked New Jersey Department of Education report lauded the awful, time-wasting, enrich-the-Pearson-company PARCCs disliked by so many in high-opt-out Montclair. Will those tests go when Gov. Christie goes?

Sincerely,
Post-Chris Bliss

Hope so. After that, Christie could join Trump’s cabinet as Secretary of Boorish Behavior, and paper copies of the PARCCs could be pulverized for much-needed speed bumps on some Montclair roads.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Next month, it’ll be one year since the charter-school-lovin’ Christie crew thankfully nixed such a school in our town after admirably ferocious push-back from residents. Why have Montclair-based charter advocates been sort of quiet lately? Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: Read This Humor Column and Become a Roads Scholar

BY  |  Thursday, Jul 27, 2017 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (37)


 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
When you saw U2 last month, the band sang “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Were they singing about Montclair?

Sincerely,
Josh Yua-Tree

You know the answer, but do you also know how our town’s roads got their names? Read this column and find out! For instance, Appleton Place was named for a 2,000-pound iPhone that was tested before the smaller model was introduced.
 
 


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

I don’t buy that. Rather, I didn’t buy that. What about Buckingham Road?

Sincerely,
Tarmac and Cheese

That’s where Buckingham Palace was until 1965, when it got moved to London by the same crew that transported Crane House from Glenridge Avenue to Orange Road. Their truck wore out three pairs of windshield wipers crossing the Atlantic.
 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Dodd Street?

Sincerely,
Drove Near Grove

As you can tell from the four letters in that street’s name, it was where 3D printing and “O, The Oprah Magazine” were born. When that magazine was 3D-printed by mistake, it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for mail deliverers.
 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Fidelity Place?

Sincerely,
Hi, Fidelity!

People on that block never stray from their spouses. Things can be different on Afterglow Way.
 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Graham Terrace?

Sincerely,
Not Graham Chapman

People toting marshmallows and chocolate bars flock to that street to make s’mores, though the chunks of paving they tear up are hard on their teeth. Dentists can repair those teeth AND plug the s’more-caused potholes with fillings.
 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Harrison Avenue?

Sincerely,
Not Lennon-McCartney Avenue

Named after America’s 19th-century presidents William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison, who lived during a time of longer writing but still got banned from Twitter for their 140-million-character tweets.
 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
New Street?

Sincerely,
Roads Scholar

With its various older buildings, it was named on Opposite Day.
 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Parkside Place?

Sincerely,
Al Greenery

A puzzler. It’s near the side of a park, and it’s a place, but no one has a clue why the street is called Parkside Place.
 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Summit Avenue?

Sincerely,
The Summit of All Fears

A no-brainer — the name comes from that street’s inch-high elevation that offers stunning views of tree bottoms.
 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Are there any roads in town that should be renamed?

Sincerely,
Moniker Lewinsky

After the July 24 decision to approve the too-big redo of the former Warner building, Lorraine Avenue could become Planningboardcoweredunderthethreatofadeveloperlawsuit Avenue. Might need a variance on street-sign width…
 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Ah, I see by that answer that you’re longing to return to more substantive topics next week after today’s rather trivial column reeking of “fake news.” But first…

Sincerely,
Bright Bart

After The House of Windsor (Place) was trucked to London along with Buckingham Palace, that missing-a-home road was no longer one of Montclair’s “Complete Streets.”

 

 
 

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: Overdevelopment in Montclair: a 21st-Century History

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


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

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?

Sincerely,
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.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
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.?

Sincerely,
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…

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
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?

Sincerely,
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.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
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?

Sincerely,
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.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
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?

Sincerely,
Lu Mineers

I’d be afraid to download their songs.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
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?

Sincerely,
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!

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

Sincerely,
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)

MontClairVoyant
 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
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?

Sincerely,
‘Phoenix’ in New Jersey

She takes the fifth (wherever she goes).
 

 

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

Sincerely,
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.
 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
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

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

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

MontClairVoyant
 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
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?

Sincerely,
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

MontClairVoyant: From ‘Parks and Recreation’ to Montclair’s Parks and Graduation

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 22, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

MontClairVoyant

 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Montclair High seniors will board buses tonight for a celebratory ride around town before being driven to their much-deserved Project Graduation party. What’s one notable thing about that bus route?

Sincerely,
Under the Moon on the 22nd of June

It passes near several parks, which gives me an excuse to make today’s column about Montclair’s great public green spaces. The first person to guess how many blades of grass are in Brookdale Park wins an expired AA battery!
 

 


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

What do you like about Brookdale Park? Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: Fidget Spinners, Unicycling Unicorns, and Weirdly Named Dogs

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 15, 2017 1:15pm

MontClairVoyant

 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
A small number of developers are doing most of the overbuilding in Montclair. How did those rich guys become our town’s “permanent government” of sorts?

Sincerely,
Self-Selected, Not Elected

It’s bad enough that they “purchased” their power by owning so much local land, but naming all their pets Variance is causing confusion at Brookdale’s dog park.

 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Will you send those developers a holiday card this December?

Sincerely,
C. Zunz-Greetings

Yes, if I find one saying “STOP THE OVERBUILDING MADNESS OR YOU’LL FILL SANTA WITH SADNESS.” I’m confident Hallmark will come through. Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: After Trump Left Climate Pact, Township Council Should Act

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 08, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (40)

MontClairVoyant

 

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Will our eco-minded burg’s Township Council vote to denounce Trump’s awful withdrawal from the global climate accord and (like many cities) also vote to symbolically adopt that international pact?

Sincerely,
We’ll Always Have Paris (Not)

I hope, but the TC was cautious when making Montclair a “welcoming” rather than “sanctuary” town after Trump’s vile anti-immigrant/anti-Muslim push. If there’s no TC vote, and temperatures soar, the Council Chambers’ flip-up seats can be used as waffle irons.
 

 
DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Meanwhile, on June 6, Phil Murphy won New Jersey’s Democratic gubernatorial primary over more progressive opponents. Did the multimillionaire former Goldman Sachs exec basically buy that nomination?

Sincerely,
Rose on Cash

Montclair’s Planning Board could allow six-inch-wide stacks of Murphy’s money to become part of our ever-taller downtown skyline, complete with tiny rooftop bars.
 

 
DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
But Murphy’s a better choice than any Republican. Another local entity, the Board of Education, was scheduled to meet the evening of June 7 at the George Inness Annex. Your take on the gathering? Continue Reading

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