MontClairVoyant: Open Space, the Final Frontier; Pave Over Every Montclair Park?

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 21, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

 


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

I’m troubled — feeling so bad for developers. When they finish grossly overbuilding downtown in a few years, what’s left for them to do in Montclair? Their reason to wake up in the morning?

Sincerely,
To Dream the Grim-Possible Dream

They could pave over and develop every inch of our town’s beautiful parks! Julia Alvarez wrote “In the Time of the Butterflies”; the Planning Board could write “In the Time of the Variances.”

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Destined for bookstore horror sections everywhere. But what would happen to Edgemont Park’s geese?

Sincerely,
Quack to the Future

Don’t worry — developers could set aside 10 percent of that park’s new housing for waterfowl. Well, maybe 5 percent…or 1 percent. Heck, the geese could move to Watching Plaza and live in UPS Store mailboxes.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Awful! Surely Glenfield Park wouldn’t be built on, too?

Sincerely,
Never a Staple Near Maple

With a middle school next door, what better place to erect housing too pricey for teachers? I envision 5,000 units, with minus one of them affordable. Developers have hearts — well, 13 of them if they buy a deck of cards.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Also, Anderson Park could get stores, offices, and restaurants! With the Upper Montclair Business District just beyond the park, why travel a few more inches if you live on a street such as Princeton Place?

Sincerely,
For Whom the Bellevue Tolls

Buzz Aldrin left Princeton Place decades ago, so the 66 and 33 DeCamp rockets no longer go to Bellevue Avenue. If they did, they’d be mistaken for Tinga’s burritos.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
After The MC opens downtown, Brookdale Park could be the site for a second new hotel: The BP. That Pentagon-sized hostelry would be filled to capacity, right?

Sincerely,
Mary Ott and Sue Pereight

The lobby would certainly be packed with angry rec-soccer players after the park’s turf field was destroyed to build The BP. Developers could autograph the kids’ shin guards.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
How about an oversized “arts district” (to go along with the planned Seymour Street-area one) in Nishuane Park?

Sincerely,
I’m Not Well, Mont

People could admire murals of a paved-over Nishuane Pool rather than swim in it, saving money on goggles.

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
What about Mountainside Park?

Sincerely,
Slope Springs Eternal

That partly hilly expanse of green space could be completely flattened for showy homes, with kids sledding down the two “n’s” in “McMansions.”

 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Montclair’s lovely parks wouldn’t really be developed, would they?

Sincerely,
It’s Not Queasy Being Green

The only open space left in Montclair would be between this column’s questions and answers.

 

 
 

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: Lackawanna Plaza ‘Compromise’ Is Less Than Meets the Eyes

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (92)


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

At Sept. 11th’s Planning Board meeting, members of the Township Council’s Economic Development Committee said they’ll recommend to the full TC that historic Lackawanna Plaza have 280 rather than 350 housing units. Good news?

Sincerely,
Re the EDC

I guess — if being whacked with a rubber chicken 280 rather than 350 times is good news.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Why did the rubber chicken cross the road?

Sincerely,
Without Feathers

To escape Montclair’s increasingly crammed downtown.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Seventy fewer units will help, and EDC members also agreed with several other revisions suggested by the Planning Board. But the Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment would still be WAY TOO BIG, especially when combined with the other large buildings that have risen or are rising on/near Bloomfield Avenue.

Sincerely,
Cascade of Colossal Construction Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: A Sincere Tribute to Teachers Before This Column Jumps the Shark

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 07, 2017 1:15pm  |  COMMENTS (0)


 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
With school starting today in Montclair, I’d like to note that most teachers are kind, patient, talented, hard-working, and much more admirable than worst-person-on-the-planet Donald Trump, right-wing Republicans who support him, various profit-obsessed corporate execs, and our town’s greedy developers. Do I get a high grade for writing that short sentence?

Sincerely,
Trophies for All

Reminds me that “The Scarlet Letter” character Hester Prynne, after acing high-school math, exulted: “They gave me an ‘A’!”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Meanwhile, I recently received a barrage of back-to-school emails from the school district, the interim superintendent, my daughter’s school principal, and my daughter’s homeroom teacher about everything from the Genesis online school portal to bus schedules. Most of the messages were useful, so why am I feeling stressed?

Sincerely,
Inbox Influx

Your gmail account just reached 2 percent capacity, and you’re nervous I’ll send you the 10,000 photos I took this morning of my daughter boarding her school bus. Rest easy — I sent only 5,000.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
As an atheist, I’m uncomfortable relying on Genesis for information. What should I do? Continue Reading

MontClairVoyant: When a Big Eclipse and a BOE Meeting Happen on the Same Day

BY  |  Thursday, Aug 24, 2017 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
You were away during Montclair’s last two Board of Education meetings, including the August 21 one. Feel guilty?

Sincerely,
Rhea Gretzivehadafew

I’ll discuss Monday’s meeting later in this column, but will apologize now for my BOE attendance being “eclipsed” by modest vacations.

 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Sigh — will you unoriginally devote some of this August 24 column to the major August 21 eclipse?

Sincerely,
Celeste Teeyal

When I saw that eclipse during my Massachusetts visit, the sun looked like a crescent moon. So now I’ll always wear eclipse glasses on The Crescent, a Montclair street conveniently close to several therapists I seem to need.

 
 

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
On Facebook, I saw a 1932 New York Times story predicting THE EXACT DATE of this week’s eclipse — 85 years in that story’s future. How can climate-change deniers ignore the power and accuracy of science? 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


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

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

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

Featured Comment

And we can get this project completed in time for Montclair's sesquicentennial when we can stick a fork into historic preservation as a public policy.

Tip, Follow, Friend, Subscribe

Links & Information

Baristanet on Flickr

Browse all photos...