Are you as thrilled as I am that temporary bleachers will be put up at Montclair High’s June 21 commencement to augment seating in the school’s too-small amphitheater?

In the Seat of the Night

Given that I write both the questions and answers in this column, we are indeed equally thrilled.

The amphitheater has been a too-small graduation venue for years, so why wasn’t the temporary-seating solution implemented earlier?

Better Late Than Clever

Um…bleachers weren’t invented until 2018?

But we’ve sat in bleachers our whole lives — in Yankee Stadium, at our daughter’s Montclair softball games, and elsewhere!

Sunny and Chair

Temporary seating should indeed have been used years before 2018. Maybe the hold-up was that bleachers cost more than the tissues needed to dry the tears of parents forced to watch their kids graduate on closed-circuit TV.

Speaking of sob-inducing subjects, there’s also overdevelopment. Any thoughts on what was said at June 11’s Planning Board meeting about the too-big building proposed for 256 Park Street?

The Incredible Bulk

A traffic “expert” at the meeting laughably claimed the building would have little impact on Watchung Plaza’s already-dangerous vehicle congestion. That’s why I called that person an “expert” rather than an expert. Two quotes up!

Shades of Siskel and Ebert! Then there’s the proposed retail/office building at Grove and Walnut — another section of town too crowded for that kind of project. Thoughts?

Village of the Crammed

That area already has a school, a baseball field, stores, restaurants, the farmers’ market, and — get this — not only a train station BUT TRAIN TRACKS, TOO!

Um…those last two things usually go together. Meanwhile, I saw photos in the “Share Montclair” Facebook group that show the too-big Valley & Bloom complex having shoddy-construction issues despite being almost new. Comment?

On the Cheap So Profits Are Deep

Montclair let the V&B developer continue to do business in town despite mold and water problems in its Siena condos, so — to paraphrase Trump — it seems that company could get away with shooting a building on Fifth Avenue.

Is there a Fifth Avenue in Montclair?

Street Citing Man

Let’s see: Alexander Avenue, Gordonhurst Avenue, Highland Avenue, Maple Avenue, Upper Mountain Avenue. At least five…



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.





38 replies on “MontClairVoyant: More Seats for Graduation? Thrilled! Developers’ Motto: ‘Overbuild’”

  1. Wow — I didn’t know that, Frank! Great piece of information! Any idea when the road was renamed?

  2. Oops! 5th Ave was the predecessor to Normal Ave, not Mt Hebron Rd. It was renamed to Mt Hebron sometime between 1909-1914.

  3. Thanks, Frank! Well, Mount Hebron Road and Normal Avenue are pretty close to each other. 🙂

    That long-ago name change makes sense, with Montclair State starting in 1908 as a “Normal School” to train teachers.

    Makes one wonder if Montclair ever had a Fourth Avenue, a Sixth Avenue, etc.!

  4. Inviting and approving the desecration of our community with obscenely poor architecture and 4th rate materials and 5th rate construction is not “Normal.” It is far from the Pinnacle that we deserve.

    – Shadows McMoldy

  5. VERY cleverly written, David. Thank you! And much truth there.

    It’s possible we’re seeing 3rd-rate materials and 4th-rate construction, but who’s counting? 🙂 (Except developers when tallying up profits partly derived from skimping on materials and construction.)

  6. Considering the additional traffic congestion the proposed development at 256 Park Street would bring, we might consider renaming the area Watching Circle. This way, getting a coffee at Sunrise Bagels would be comparable to Columbus Circle, only without the DeCamp delays.


  7. LOL, silverleaf! And if morning coffee seekers get stuck in a “Watchung Circle” traffic jam that delays their caffeine quest until the evening, they can go to Sunset Bagels…

    I totally agree: enough overdevelopment!

  8. Or maybe skip coffee at Sunrise Bagels altogether and drive over to Toast on Bloomfield Ave. just up from the soon to open (really?) MC Hotel if you have a bucket full of quarters few hours to kill looking for a parking spot.

  9. With all the focus on things like the “arts district” and Lackawanna redevelopments, sometimes The MC hotel is almost forgotten — so thanks for mentioning it, silverleaf! That hotel, whenever the heck it opens, will definitely contribute to the clogging of downtown. No wonder the full MC name is More Congestion.

  10. Thank you, silverleaf! I’m okay with cutesy names for local “mom and pop” stores, but when big developers use them, mocking must follow. 🙂

  11. MC hotel was supposed to open earlier this year. Latest estimated opening is January of next year.

  12. Thank you for that information, Frank! Construction is definitely going slowly. I’d be surprised if the hotel opened in January 2019. Now if the 9th-floor rooftop bar had opened before the first eight floors were built, THAT would have been impressive.

  13. Ha, silverleaf! 🙂 No matter what T.S. Eliot wrote, January WOULD be the cruelest month if The MC hotel opened then.

    But I’m flexible — it could open any month other than January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, or December of any year…

  14. Its so sad when you go to the Montclair Art Museum and descend the stair of the Beyer, Blinder & Bell addition. They did the glass staircase in the back for the skyline view and now most of the NYC looks like its blocked by the rising hotel. Dick Blinder lived on Lloyd Road was extremely ensconced into Montclair’s NYC view. The glass stair was an intentional architectural gesture by a great architect. Not even architectural critics like Paul Goldberger could comment on that Hotel. (His parents lived at the Claridge House by the way) Goldberger is a world class architectural critic and he even says, (referring to typical redevelopment constructions) “we can’t say anything about these new buildings as architecture critics because they are not architecture.”

  15. Thank you for the comment, Frank. Well put!

    Yes, such a shame that the rising hotel will at least partly block NYC views for visitors to MAM, many people living in homes and apartments west of the hotel, and others. I guess full NYC views will be reserved for The MC’s rooftop bar users and hotel guests — many of whom will obviously not be Montclair residents.

    And I agree that much modern construction, including some of Montclair’s recently risen ugly or mediocre-looking downtown buildings, can barely be called architecture. Maybe “scar-kitecture”?

  16. LOL, silverleaf! Valley Road could become Frankie Valli Road…

    I’d prefer the hotel open during the fifth season — i.e., never. 🙂

  17. Ha ha, silverleaf!

    Without a hotel, (Belinda) Carlisle Road is empty enough for drivers to have “The Go-Go’s.” Drivers near The MC in traffic-jammed downtown will have “The Stop-Stop’s.”

    Then there’s Emerson (Lake & Palmer) Place…

  18. That’s a “Wild One,” silverleaf!

    “Frink Sinatra Street”? Intersects with Walnut Street, but not near “My Way.”

  19. Not near Graham Nash Terrace either. In closer proximity to the Marrakesh Express I’m told.

  20. LOL! Always liked the band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Terrace…

    I’ve also heard that Don McLean was very inspired by his time on Vincent Place.

    (If this keeps going, I need to come up with more recent musical references. 🙂 )

  21. Yes, a little known musical fact that Terrace replaced Neil Young.

    Did you know that all of these performers appeared on the Arthur Godfrey (Road) Show at one time or another?

  22. Did not know that!

    I’m thinking Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush” could be repurposed for the title of a book about the end result of downtown Montclair’s overbuilding that puts so much money in developers’ pockets.

    And for a more current musical reference, Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” could describe the things falling from Valley & Bloom…

  23. To go Over the Rainbow to Afterglow….
    you have to Follow the Yellow Brick Road (Parkhurst Place & Afterglow Way)

  24. Ha! VERY cleverly said, Frank! 🙂 (That’s such an interesting-looking section of Montclair.)

    And if The Cowardly Lion lived on Forest Street, we might be hearing “If I Were King of the Forest”…

  25. LOL This thread is fun… I’m trying to think of more…Oh there’s “The Who” at the end of Park Street… there wasn’t an Orange Submarine… was there?

  26. Thank you, Frank! I’ve been enjoying it, too. 🙂

    I guess The Who had “Pinball Wizard” and you were referencing “The Wizard of Oz.” Meanwhile, I can see how The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” may have changed color if had run aground on Orange Road…

  27. Spot on, Dave. Have you been on Jerome (Kern) Place recently? He’s a local guy from Newark who attended what is now Barringer H.S.

  28. LOL! Nice, silverleaf and Frank! I HAVE been on Jerome (Kern) Place recently, but didn’t know Kern was from this region. And many people (you two are not among them) don’t know that the “Pleasant Valley Sunday” song has local origins, stemming from when Carole King and then-hubby Gerry Goffin lived in West Orange.

    Sorry it took a while for me to respond. “It’s Too Late”? Probably not…

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