For Montclair Local


Robin Woods is a Montclair girl-about-town, writing about activities, stores, restaurants and interesting people that catch her eye. She’s written memoirs and personal essays as well as music and fashion columns for various NYC newspapers.

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Always on the lookout for interesting storefronts and sidewalk displays, I discover things that stop me in my tracks to take a closer look. It was the huge painted cast iron rooster that invited me go into Jerry's Antiques & Estates to further explore the displays in there. They reached literally from floor to ceiling. Owner Gerard Del Turo, "Jerry," opened his shop in 2007, and stocked it with furniture, jewelry, furs and even a taxidermy bear.

The irony of the bear hanging from the ceiling above a rack of vintage furs was not lost on me.





These are not newly-designed furs made to look old, worn decades ago. “Fur is in again,” Jerry said, as I tried on amazingly warm and heavy mink coats, Persian lamb jackets, fur hats and scarves.

I fell in love with a white mink poncho that was a combination of wrap and coat, with an opening to slip in your arms and hands. The shoulder pads were so deep and high that it made me look like the most fashionable linebacker in the world. It was just my size, and perhaps someone will buy it for me as a Valentine's Day gift, much better than flowers or chocolates.

I explored case after case of antiques and statement jewelry, both in precious metals and costume pieces. There's not enough of me to carry off a necklace with 20-carat stones in bib style reaching halfway down my chest, but the one-of-a-kind pieces are sure to be a conversation starter and invite envy,


Fans of Antiques Roadshow know that antiques are 100 or more years old. Jerry learned what to choose for sale by taking art courses throughout his life and becoming an appraiser. Appraisers work with people to arrange estate or house sales. I thought that estate sales were only for the very rich, but that’s not necessarily true: Jerry told me that both are the same. He goes into homes to appraise items, arrange for private sales, or to add to his eclectic collection of in-store antiques.

Chalk-painted furniture is all the rage, with Mid-Century Modernists looking for vibrantly

Antique ring at Jerry's Estates and Antiques. NEIL GRABOWSKY/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL

colored pieces brought back with paint to look old, although dating back from the ’50s or ’60s. The bright blues and greens are pops of color, drawing your eye to vintage barware sets, silver, gold or plated flatware and utensils.

There's a downstairs display area as well, spanning the whole store. I reluctantly came back upstairs after admiring the sets of Fiesta-ware, old cameras, racks of clothing and even collections of pipes enclosed in wood cases, bringing back memories of my dad and his cherry flavored tobacco. I agree with Jerry when he says “it's a consistent treasure hunt every day in every way.”


Want to see your Valentine more clearly? Perhaps it's time to put things into focus by visiting Dr. Frank Barnes and Dr. Tanya L. Carter, ODs. (Doctors of Optometry). The long time married couple share a practice in the South End Business District, seeing patients from age 6 months and up for routine full eye exams and eye therapy. Asking how they survive working together on a daily basis, Dr. Carter said, “we pass like ships throughout the day.”

Dr. Barnes sat me behind a phoropter, an alien looking machine with many lenses to look through while focusing on the Snellen Eye chart letters, going from large print to tiny. Measuring for glasses or contact lenses, he asked “this one, or this?” as weak to strong lenses passed over each eye in tandem. This allows Dr. Barnes to come up with my exact prescription. The autorefractor is another computer-controlled machine used during an eye exam; it sees how light changes as it enters the eyes.

Robin at
Drs. Barnes and Carter, Frank Barnes/Tanya Carter

It was time for me to try on frames and lenses. Styles change each year, with different sizes of frames and lens colors en vogue. Dr. Barnes showed me tinted lenses in fashion colors, made for indoor and outdoor use. The yellow lenses made me dizzy, providing more depth perception and clarity than I could tolerate, but which might be good for sunglasses. I always wear them outdoors, even on cloudy days, as protection against the sun's ultraviolet rays. Winter eye woes result from sun reflection from the snow, so make sure that you always wear sunglasses if you're a skier or snowboarder. The pink and red lenses looked chic and cool, and reduce eye strain; while green lenses transmit color evenly.

Dry eyes and infections are also more common this time of year, with conjunctivitis (pink eye) spreading through daycare and schools, then back home to you. Although swollen, red eyes with thick mucus stream isn't your best look for a romantic dinner, it's easily treatable with the application of ophthalmic antibiotic drops or ointments. Put on your favorite tinted lenses for the duration.

Dr. Carter has a downstairs office where she can provide vision therapy, physical therapy for the eyes and brain. It's non-surgical treatment for lazy eye, crossed eye and double vision. Eye therapy helped me with Amblyopia, where one of my eyes is more dominant than the other. It's also a good idea to get a prescription for eyeglass from a doctor of optometry, as those chic fashion readers have the same generic magnified lenses for both eyes.

Eat your leafy greens and Omega 3's, take your vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, zinc and copper because you belong to me.

Plus, I want you to see the look on my face when you surprise me with a vintage Hermes Birkin bag or fur stole.


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