Cary Africk is not one to keep quiet. Sure, the longtime Montclair resident decided to not seek a second term as 2nd Ward Councilor in the May elections, but that hasn’t kept him from fading quietly into the background as any reader of Baristanet, Montclair Patch or the Watercooler will tell you.
In fact, Africk is not only a regular presence on those sites–discussing anything from the South Park Street Project to long lines at the DMV— but he’s now started his own Tumblr blog, where he plans to weigh in on, well, everything.
In a discussion with Baristanet, Africk said he hopes How Does it Work?, which he began in August, will encourage conversation on “community, gardening, and other essential things,” as the headline on his blog says.
“I’ve always dug into things,” he explained. “I’ve written about 2,700 posts over the years on Montclair websites and I didn’t realize how any people would read what I wrote. So that encouraged me. It made me want to do more.”
Though he’s only written three entries so far, Africk says he will keep up the blog and write more about “important” issues like education, and jobs and “how the manufacturing economy is never coming back.” His most recent posting examines what makes a downtown successful. Using photos of Madison, NJ, he shows wide sidewalks, tree plantings, and well maintained seating areas and store fronts.
But Africk, an avid gardener, also wants to write about “everyday things that drive me crazy,” like why guaranteed-not-to-leak hoses will always leak and non-kinking hoses will always kink.
“It’ll be cute and funny, but make a point,” he says of the blog.
He also says that although he is a big fan and supporter of the Montclair Watercooler, he would like to write about and recommend interesting places outside of town–a kind of “beyond the Montclair Watercooler.”
“Montclair doesn’t necessarily have the best of everything,” he says. “We live in a car economy, so traveling to get a better product or service should be an option.”
His first posting illustrates this point. The post, “Shopping in the Garden of Eden,” recommends a number of nurseries in the Montclair vicinity: wholesalers in Lincoln Park for bedding plants; the Farm in Madison for unusual plants; and a new find in East Hanover, Earth, Wind & Flowers.
Africk adds, “I’ve also wanted to post discussions of a more general nature than I can on the Watercooler. For example, I can post on the ‘cooler ‘I’m planning to put in radiant heating in my new kitchen. Who in Montclair can be recommended?’, but I can’t post ‘Is radiant heating a good idea?’ “
Perhaps we’ll find an answer to that question–along with many others–on Africk’s blog.