The holiday season is officially upon us, which means everyone is busy — so we’ve done the work of tracking down the latest news in the Montclair and the greater Essex County + North Jersey area, so you don’t have to. Among the headlines: Montclair Schools take next steps on $187M bond referendum; Newark’s ‘Shop With a Hero’ event benefits 250 local children; Bloomfield eatery makes Yelp’s Top 100 list; and so much more. Keep reading for all the North Jersey news you missed this week in Essex County and beyond.
Best of Montclair 2022 Winners Announced
The wait is finally over: we have the winners for the Best of Montclair 2022! After weeks of voting and local businesses working hard for your support, we have finally closed the polls and have tallied the votes to see who has won the title, and of course the bragging rights, of being the “best” in town. Click here to check out the local winners.
Miracle Pop Up Takes Over Verona Bar
The Parkside Social in Verona has been transformed into a holiday pop-up by the Miracle team once again for the 2022 season. Located at 706 Bloomfield Avenue in Verona, the Miracle on Bloomfield Holiday Pop-up has taken over the space, and we had a chance to stop by and check it out. Winter-themed cocktails, holiday décor, bartenders in ugly sweaters — the Parkside Social does the absolute most to bring the holiday cheer. Click here to read about this Christmas-themed pop-up in Verona running through January 1st, 2023.
United Airlines Buys Boeing Planes, Creating New Jobs
In a historic agreement, United Airlines has purchased 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliners from Boeing, with the possibility of purchasing 100 more. According to Patch, the new planes are expected between 2024 and 2032 and would bring with them the need for more employees, effectively creating new jobs.
Watchung Avenue Train Station Waiting Room Now Open Via Timed Lock
Commuters at the Watchung Avenue Train Station in Montclair have contacted local officials regarding the waiting room hours, wondering when it’s actually open. According to Baristanet, the waiting room has been closed to prevent vandalism but is now opened + locked via a timed lock. The room is open from 4:45AM to 5PM Monday through Friday and remains closed on the weekends. Posted hours on the waiting room door are old.
Newark Hosts Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
On Tuesday, December 13th the City of Newark hosted the 37th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, reported Patch. The event was held in the City Hall first floor rotunda at 5PM and included musical performances, a “Message of Hope” from the mayor, and a visit from Santa.
Classic Film Festival Returns to West Orange January 8th
The 17th Annual Classic Film Festival will return to West Orange on Sunday, January 8th. According to Baristanet, the featured films include The Adventures of Robin Hood, Abbott and Costello in Jack and the Beanstalk, The Princess Bride, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Field of Dreams, and more.
Dave’s Hot Chicken Now Open in North Jersey
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A California-based hot chicken chain that started in a parking lot has made its way to the Garden State. Dave’s Hot Chicken was founded by four friends in their quest to make the best hot chicken in Los Angeles. Now, the brand has grown into a national chain, with franchises from coast to coast and in Canada. The new location at 57 Route 23 in Wayne is the company’s first New Jersey outpost. Click here to learn more about this new spot.
Make Music Winter Celebrates Winter Solstice in Montclair 1/21
For the sixth year in a row, Montclair will celebrate the winter solstice with the Make Music Winter event, Baristanet reported. An outdoor Holiday Bells event will kick off the event at 2PM in front of Gift Bar, located at 465 Bloomfield Avenue. Holiday carols and live music events will also take place at Java Love and Watchung Booksellers.
Maplewood Glee Club Postpones Holiday Show
The all-male chorus known as the Maplewood Glee Club holds an annual holiday show every December but had to postpone this year’s event due to rain and snow. According to Patch, the group is working on a new date and will release new information once available. The Maplewood Glee Club is the state’s longest-running men’s chorus and consists of 45 members from North Jersey.
Bloomfield Center Alliance Uses Grant to Beautify Downtown
The Bloomfield Center Alliance recently put a state grant, awarded earlier this year, to use beautifying downtown, per Patch. The funds purchased flowers to hang from lampposts and new trash cans, with more planned ahead.
Newark Office of Film Releases Local Wu-Tang Film Locations
The Newark Office of Film recently released a list of local locations used while filming “Wu-Tang: The American Saga”. According to Patch, the locations include Military Park, Independence Park, Commerce Street, 33 Washington Street, 744 Broad Street, South Ward, Robert Treat Hotel, and Symphony Hall.
Santa Visits Montclair This Week via Fire Truck
On Saturday, December 17th, Santa Claus drove through Montclair wishing everyone happy holidays while riding a fire truck, per Baristanet. The tour began at 1PM, headed south from the Montclair Fire Headquarters and lasted about two hours.
Newark’s ‘Shop With a Hero’ Event Benefits 250 Local Children
On Saturday, December 17th the City of Newark teamed up with United Community Corporation to host a “Shop with a Hero” event in which 250 children shop with a first responder, doctor, nurse, EMT, firefighter, police officer, or teacher. According to Patch, each child got $100 to spend on a mini shopping spree that also benefits local businesses.
Maplewood + South Orange to Host Menorah Lightings This Week
Maplewood and South Orange are hosting three menorah lightings this week to celebrate Hanukkah. At 5PM on Sunday, December 18th, South Orange will host a lighting in Spiotta Park. According to Patch, the event will include refreshments, treats, and crafts for kids. There will also be a menorah lighting at the WNTR Market on Tuesday, December 20th. The third event will take place Maplewood Jewish Center will light a menorah at 6:15PM on Wednesday, December 21st in Ricalton Square.
Pilots Seen Picketing at Newark Airport
On Wednesday, December 14th, a number of pilots were seen picketing at the Newark Airport, Patch reported. According to an employee involved in the protest, a proposed 14.5 percent cumulative pay increase and overtime + training pay has not been enough to meet demands. Other airline workers including flight attendants and cargo workers have also been involved in protests lately.
Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in NJ List Features Bloomfield Eatery
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Blue Steel Pizza Co. in Bloomfield made the cut for Yelp’s list of Top 100 Places to Eat in New Jersey, according to Patch. The restaurant, located at 285 Glenwood Avenue, has 286 reviews that rank it at 4.5 stars. Known for its Detroit-style pizza, Blue Steel Pizza Co. also serves up cocktails that are worthy of writing home about.
Montclair Schools Take Next Steps on $187M Bond Referendum
Leaders of the Montclair School District are making progress on the $187.7M referendum that is slated to repair and upgrade district buildings. According to Montclair Local, the six-year project now has a construction manager. The matter was approved by 84% of Montclair voters in the November 8th election.
Newark Restaurants Make the Yelp List of 100 Top Places to Eat
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Three restaurants in Newark made this year’s list of Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in New Jersey. According to Patch, the three restaurants include Urban Vegan, which places fourth; Sabor Unido, which placed 21st on the list; and Casa d’Paco, which placed 43rd.
New Pet Shop Opens in Maplewood
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Maplewood resident Rick Engler opened Baxter’s Pet Supply at 1874 Springfield Avenue, on Saturday, December 10th. According to Patch, the shop supplies pet food, toys, treats, and accessories.
Local Duo Opens Design Studio in Maplewood
A new design studio recently opened at 745 Prospect Street in Maplewood. SPACES, owned by Hollie Velten and Victoria Bailey, sells pillows and fabrics for the home, per Patch. The studio specializes in creating highly personal, elevated homes and commercial projects in the area.