I've seen hundreds of movies at the Clairidge — and was sorry to see it and every other theater shuttered when COVID-19 hit. On Sunday, Oct. 24, my wife Bibi Pasternack and I finally returned to the Clairidge, now under the aegis of Montclair Film. I've been a member since its founding and say: Bravo Montclair Film!

I'm giving the new Clairidge my highest rating: four stars. The bright, reimagined outer lobby, with its LED lighting, comfy seating lounge and giant video screen; the coolly updated interior lobby, with the venerable popcorn machine one of the few survivors; and the refreshed screening rooms all point to the way we'll all be seeing movies from now on. Seeing the excellent "Red Rocket" with a nearly sold-out crowd, followed by a fascinating Q&A with the filmmakers ... yeah, man, that's why we love to go to the movies.

But (you know there's always a but): The refurbishment overlooked one thing that was sorely needed: automatic door openers for those surprisingly heavy outside doors, on both Church Street and Bloomfield Avenue. My wife, Bibi, Bibi uses a wheelchair. For her, and anyone with mobility issues, those doors present an unyielding barrier that says "keep out." I applaud the Clairidge for its gently sloped ramps and the fact that every theater has workable seating for the disabled. But first you have to get in.

I usually get her through those doors all by myself, but it looks like bad Twyla Tharp. On occasion, I have depended on the kindness of strangers who see us struggling (apologies to Tennessee Williams). But if they were automatic doors, I wouldn't have to.

Ted Dupont


Montclair Local's Opinion section is an open forum for civil discussion in which we invite readers to discuss town matters, articles published in Montclair, or previously published letters. Views expressed and published in this section are solely those of the writers, and do not represent the views of Montclair Local.

Letters to the editor: To submit a letter to the editor, email letters@montclairlocal.news, or mail "Letters to the Editor," 309 Orange Road, Montclair, NJ, 07042 (email is preferred). Submissions must include the name, address and phone number of the writer for verification. Only the writer's name and town of residence will be published. Montclair Local does not publish anonymous opinion pieces.

Letters must be no more than 500 words in length, and must be received by 5 p.m. Monday to be eligible for potential publication in that week's Thursday print issue. Letters may be edited by Montclair Local for grammar and style. While our goal is to publish most letters we receive, Montclair Local reserves the right to decline publication of a letter for any reason, including but not limited to concerns about unproven or defamatory statements, inappropriate language, topic matter far afield of the particular interests of Montclair residents, or available space.

Town Square: Montclair Local also accepts longer-form opinion essays from residents aiming to generate discussion on topics specific to the community, under our "Town Square" banner. "Town Square" essays should be no more than 750 words in length, and topics should be submitted to letters@montclairlocal.news at least seven days prior to publication.