Hopefully, not affectively ineffectual --- since February

Sturm(drain) und Drang

The jackhammers are yammering like the Katzenjammer Kids, by yiminy, and the Siena is a-building, ( 'a very big building', Groucho Marx would offer at this point with a cigar waggle), but thanks to the fun of contributing to this web site, (and earplugs), they are relegated to yet another background noise, joining others, like that coming from Newark and Teterboro flights. Due to layering of departing flight patterns of the two airports, the planes coming out of Teterboro have to fly at a pretty low altitude for a while until they get to our nearby 'mountain' (I know it's not very tall, but there's boulders 'n stuff up there!), which is where they can go (well, one place they can go) to a more typical, higher, fuel saving, less noisy altitude.

Due to the proximity of our neighborhood to said mount, those prop planes and jets hit the throttle just about right above our heads, say 200 or 300 feet up, and this auditory assault takes place usually at 4:30, ('Oh-Dark-Thirty" as Lucky Vet would put it).  The future top floor Siena residents (penthouse folks) will be even closer than we are to those low-flying corporate and parcel jets; do they know that yet? Was that factored into their quality of life calculations? Oh, gli lagrimi di futuro degli Sienese!!

The work crews start around here promptly at 7 AM, and move through the day's steps briskly, at least to the casual observer. Their clamor heralds the installation of bigger storm drains in the neighborhood, new curbs, and mods to the sewage and other utilities systems. Wonder what the raccoons do when they work on the storm drains, as it is common to see them coming out of them onto the streets. Have you ever seen them? Freaky little human-like hand/feet.

Looking forward to all the changes in the Crescent/Plymouth (that should be "the The Crescent/Plymouth) area.  Belgian blocks, big new neighbor pictured below, Salvation Army re-do, eventual departure of the congregation of Christ Church, big changes. (Actually, I'm looking forward to the end of the changes, so we can all catch our breath around here, what with the aforementioned stuff, PLUS recent construction of the parking deck, an inflexible parking meter regime which works against merchant interests, the eventual 'development' (subjective term) of the former Gibbs building on Trinity/The Crescent/Plymouth, Mr. Grabowsky, et al., alas.

Speaking of that gentleman, first of all, thanks for the comfy new seats in the Clairidge Theater, which got me back in there for the first time in years for 'Namesake' with Montclair-born Kal Penn, but wow, raising rents threefold for now-usually-previous tenants of some of your properties?  I am not blessed with the vision(s) of the movers and shakers (although I do like Shaker furniture), but to me, there are at least two ways to gamble in New Jersey, and one of them is to go to Atlantic City. The other one is to bet on making Church Street into a tiny Rodeo Drive. But hey, we all get by, at least most of us.

The Siena is shaping up. The BID could use an anchor-type commercial presence in lieu of the late lamented Hahne's, which served that function before. Maybe the businesses moving into the Siena (like the Sports Club) will draw folks, and work synergistically with all the shops to increase shopper volume. As a neighbor, I fervently hope so, despite my snarky commentary at times. (By the way, Ecco Bella is also opening soon).

There was a Street Fair on Church Street today, and the mosaic on the facade of the Siena was supposed to be unveiled. I checked around 3 P.M. and still covered. Maybe later. Your insipid, I mean intrepid, reporter will update you. (See report here)

The turnout seems good. Montclair is often blessed with a decent amount of foot traffic, and businesses come and go on Church Street, but some businesses survive and thrive over the decades, such as Raymond's, a consistent quality performer over decades, with an understandably-devoted clientele, and Bean's, the excellent, elegant neighborhood coffee store, now in business for 37 years.  You should go in there to see the artifacts and ephemera at the back of the counter, and the decades worth of coffee jokes on the wall next to the register. They have a lot of tea and pottery related choices for the discerning taste, so check it out, as it is vintage Montclair, and that's why you come here, n'est-ce pas?

The always excellent Farmer's Market is back, at the train station on Walnut Street. This was the earliest (June 9) start date in recollection. Good turnout for both vendors and buyers on the first day, and I went early in the morning. Handshakes were readily proferred across the front lines of local commerce, as stand personnel recognized long-time customers. There was some good looking produce already, and the pickle and cheese stands were back. A bit windy when I went, but nice day generally. I went back next week (I usually go every week, for the fellowship, all corniness aside), and got us some pictures, to be seen here.)

The Gibbs parking lot is getting extremely overgrown by the hedges. There is a significant overhang of several feet. Perfect loitering opportunity - be careful neighbors!  Why, rumor even has it that the baseball-capped bad boy of recent Commerce Bank fame had cooled his heels and shamefacedly (red-facedly?) hid his booby-trap-decorated red hands briefly beneath said neighboring, inadvertently sheltering, shrubbery.  Who's to know, right? Am I right or am I right?