RIP Herman Lew 1955-2014

BY  |  Monday, Sep 29, 2014 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (3)

When Herman Lew died suddenly and unexpectedly driving home from karate a week ago Saturday, word spread quickly, and people naturally were stunned. It wasn’t only that he was young, it was that he was so full of life. Even if you only knew him as a neighbor who drove a convertible and had a ready smile, you could sense his vitality. Lew directed the undergraduate film and video program at City College of New York and was a cinematographer in his own right. His wife, Janice Yamanaka, designed the original Baristanet website, in 2004. She and their three children survive him. They were longtime residents of Glen Ridge.

Longtime Glen Ridge resident, filmmaker and professor Herman Lew, who passed away Sept. 20, 2014.

Longtime Glen Ridge resident, filmmaker and professor Herman Lew, who passed away Sept. 20, 2014.

Hundreds of friends and neighbors showed up for a memorial service Sunday afternoon at the Glen Ridge Women’s Club, and the same remarks were heard over and over again. It was tragic. A shock. It was amazing, people said, how much the girl’s lacrosse team had pulled together to support Herman’s daughter, Galen Lew, a star midfielder on team: How they spread the word, coordinated food for the event. Even people who had no use for organized sports had to acknowledge it. The mourners, people noticed, represented the artsy side of the town and the jock side of town, all of which were present in Herman, the family, and indeed the town. Continue Reading

Essay: There Is Nothing Special About This Glen

BY  |  Thursday, Aug 14, 2014 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (3)


There is nothing special about this Glen.

Which is exactly what is special about it.

It’s a little spot of green that hugs a creek and some train tracks under a commuter town filled with gently aging Victorians, massive and occasionally lethal oaks, and a class of generally enlightened, nice and attractive strivers. The train takes you into New York City in 25 minutes, and the town just happens to be the place where I’ve lived the past 25 years.

I’ve raised two children here, which means I’m at the stage of life when just about anywhere in the world suddenly is on the table as a potential place to move. In that sense, I’m just like my kids. They’re just starting their adult lives; they could wind up anywhere. Diplomas are like visas: invitations to cross borders, explore new lands. I don’t have a current visa myself — my last diploma was in 1983 — but that doesn’t mean I’m not daydreaming about where to go next. In fact, moving almost feels inevitable, eventually, if only because of the $17,000-a-year property taxes. Continue Reading

Ner Tamid Softball Team Seeks to Defy Odds

BY  |  Sunday, Aug 05, 2012 12:14am  |  COMMENTS (1)

The men’s softball team of Bloomfield synagogue Temple Ner Tamid is known for its heart, but not, especially, for winning games. This year, on Mothers Day, it finally broke a 22-game losing streak that went back to 2010. Even so, victories continued to be rare.

But baseball and miracles have a way of going together, and Ner Tamid made the Livingston Temple Softball League playoffs when it won its last regular season game on July 15. And then, a week later, in the opening round of the playoffs, Ner Tamid beat the #1 seed, Temple Sinai, 14-7. Continue Reading

Debbie Galant: See You Around the Quad

BY  |  Monday, Jul 09, 2012 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (57)

It’s been more than eight years since I started Baristanet, and I can measure its growth by the responses we’ve gotten in nine different Montclair July 4th parades. Riding in a convertible with a big Baristanet sign that first year — 2004 — I mostly got confused stares. By 2006, we — and it had become very much a “we” operation by that time — took second prize. Each successive year, the number of people riding our float has grown — and more people in the crowds cheer us on.

I rode in the parade again this year, but it was bittersweet. Because while it is always fun to greet an online audience out in the real world, I knew that my relationship to Baristanet and Baristaville is changing. Today, I leave the day-to-day management of this news site and begin an exciting new role at Montclair State University. Continue Reading

Adult School of Montclair Gearing Up for Fall

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (3)

The Adult School of Montclair doesn’t get into swing until the fall, but behind the scenes, its staff and board already have their sleeves rolled up. The catalogue is being designed, new classes are being thought up and a new board has been appointed, and charged with the mission of raising money for the organization.

Jon Bonesteel, president of the Adult School’s board, says the school has come to terms with the fact that the Montclair Board of Education is not going to pick up the benefits tab for its three and a half employees, or give the school a longer phase-in period for carrying those costs. “We’ve accepted that fact,” he says. “That’s done. It’s over with. We’re cool with them.”

The school board still provides the space the Adult School uses to run its programs and its liability insurance.

The Adult School of Montclair is going full speed into fundraising mode, asking directly for donations (see Bonesteel’s video below). It also is planning a major fundraiser next fall. Continue Reading

Private Art Lessons With Diane Israel

BY  |  Monday, Jul 02, 2012 4:12pm

Diane Israel has been painting miniatures, selling and framing art from her store on South Fullerton Ave. in Montclair for 25 years. She’s also been giving private art lessons all this time. I discovered this at Montclair Center’s latest evening art walk this past May when I wandered into Essex Fine Art Gallery and started talking to Israel. As it happens, I’d recently bought a set of acrylic paints from Jerry’s in West Orange, and found myself a little perplexed about the art and science of applying it to canvas. Israel offers four private lessons for $125, which seemed imminently reasonable, so I signed up. Thus began a series of four of the most pleasant Friday afternoons I’ve passed in recent years.
Continue Reading

Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Joins the Montclair Parade

BY  |  Monday, Jul 02, 2012 2:13pm  |  COMMENTS (6)

We’ll be there as usual, of course, as well as the Philadelphia Mummers. But this year’s Montclair Fourth of July parade will be the first ever to include the award-winning Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band.

With a membership of 100 musicians, color guard members, and band aides, the Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps is in its 33rd season. Continue Reading

Grabowksy Sues Montclair Over Assisted Living Plan

BY  |  Monday, Jul 02, 2012 12:51pm  |  COMMENTS (22)

Downtown developer Dick Grabowsky has filed a lawsuit in NJ Superior Court suing the township of Montclair over the council’s decision to go ahead with an 88-room assisted living facility on Church Street. The suit was filed June 20. In his suit, Grabowsky asks the court to declare “improper, invalid, unlawful, arbitrary, capricious, null, void and of no force and effect” the council’s ordinance passed “with unwarranted haste” on May 1 amending the downtown redevelopment to permit the assisted living facility. Continue Reading

Luxury Kitchens Come Cheap, If They Fit

BY  |  Monday, Jul 02, 2012 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (2)

If you lust for granite countertops but only have the budget for laminate, there may a solution out on Rt. 46 in Fairfield.

Green Demolitions, which has been open for a little more than a year, is a 43,000 square foot warehouse stocked with kitchens salvaged when their owners decided to upgrade. They’re nice kitchens too, with lots of SubZero appliances and custom cabinetry, and available at a fraction of what you’d pay new. But there’s a serious catch. They were built for someone else’s kitchen layout. Continue Reading

Honey, There’s a Giant Tomato in the Garden!

BY  |  Friday, Jun 29, 2012 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (2)

In the middle of the night, my husband went out to get some things out of the car and came back to deliver this surprising news: somebody had put a giant stuffed tomato in our perennial garden. Continue Reading

Featured Comment

Sad. Let's hope that this is not its "Last Tango." One of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in town. Valentino, Garbo, Keaton must have played there.

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Baristanet on Flickr