Home Essex CountyBloomfield 22 News Stories You Missed This Week in Montclair + Beyond

22 News Stories You Missed This Week in Montclair + Beyond

by The Montclair Girl Team
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Springtime showers throughout the week have quickly brought another Easter weekend upon us. It’s been another busy week in Essex County and we’ve got all the news to keep you up to date. Among the highlights: a new Caribbean restaurant opens on the Bloomfield-East Orange border; upgrades to Newark Airport will cut travel time for local commuters; and a benefit concert at Just Jake’s for a child cancer patient from Bloomfield will take place next weekend. Read on for all the news in Essex County for the week ending March 31st, 2024.

Have a news story or press release? Email it to hello@themontclairgirl.com.

Among the Headlines:

  • Father and Son Duo Open Caribbean Restaurant on Bloomfield-East Orange Border
  • More Details Emerge About 2026 World Cup Final at MetLife Stadium
  • Over $800 Stolen from Seafood Truck in Montclair
  • Montclair Police Discover ATM Skimming Device at Montclair Bank Drive-Thru
  • Montclair Musician Earns Prestigious Royal Distinction
  • Montclair Woman-Owned Architecture Firm Breaks Ground on Green Bay, WI Market
  • Montclair Author + Illustrator Release Their First Joint Children’s Picture Book
  • Montclair Schools Solar Project to Save $100k Per Year
  • Benefit Concert for Bloomfield Child Cancer Patient Taking Place at Just Jake’s
  • Newark Airport Receives Five-Star Rating, Among Nation’s Best

New Lackawanna Plaza Redevelopment Plan Approved by Montclair Council

lackawanna station montclair

The decision to greenlight the Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment plan comes after years of debate and public discourse. In October 2023, the plan was approved by the Montclair Town Council in a 4-2 vote. After being met with two lawsuits shortly after alleging conflicts of interest over the plans, an entirely new ordinance was created. The new plan is materially the same as what the Council has previously approved, and contains an acknowledgment of the legal conflicts that have held up progress on the project. The new plan passed on its first reading with a vote of 5-1 on Tuesday, March 26th, 2024. Click here for more about the newest Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment plan in Montclair.

The Ivy at Chatham

Montclair Schools Have Multiple Projects Underway but Fall Short on Updates

At Montclair’s Board of Education meeting on March 18th, attendees were left wanting more after updates on various projects have been withheld from the District’s website and sparse among the public overall. According to Montclair Local, Legacy Construction Management is in charge of a $187.7 million, six-year project to repair and upgrade Montclair Public Schools and they gave only a brief status update at the meeting. Conor O’Brien from the construction company stated that, “As these projects progress, we’ll start providing photos of actual progress so people can see the start and the progress throughout it and the completion as they get through.” Other projects such as Bond Referendum Projects are not being up-to-date on the website, as the last schedule that’s currently posted is from June 2023. In response to public complaints, the District shared a dedicated email to answer questions related to the Bond Referendum; some residents argue it shouldn’t have to be emailed but posted instead. Conor O’Brien from the construction company stated that, “As these projects progress, we’ll start providing photos of actual progress so people can see the start and the progress throughout it and the completion as they get through.”

New Youth Book Club Beginning This Summer in Montclair

Out Montclair and the Montclair Public Library are presenting a new book club for youth ages 12 to 18, “Queer Reads for Teens.” The club will highlight young adult books with LGBTQIA+ characters and stories and will meet once a month, per Patch. The first meeting is set to take place on June 14th at 4:30PM. For more information and updates, follow the Out Montclair and Montclair Public Library social media pages. Those who are also interested in getting involved can take this survey.

Sesame Street Attraction Coming to American Dream Mall


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The Sesame Street gang will join the Nickelodeon and Dreamworks characters as a new 13,000-square-foot attraction will open later in 2024 at the American Dream Mall and entertainment center in East Rutherford. According to Patch, kids will have immersive experiences at the “Sesame Street Learn + Play Educational Play Center” which will include arts and crafts, playgrounds, workshops, a faux “bike shop,” and much more. There will also be a separate toddler play area for younger guests as well as party rooms for booking events.

Montclair Police Discover ATM Skimming Device at Montclair Bank Drive-Thru

An ATM “skimming device” — used to capture card data from customers — was found attached to the drive-thru ATM at the Bank of America located on Valley Road in Montclair. According to Patch, a technician reported that he found the device while making a repair on March 19th. It isn’t known when the device was attached to the ATM but it has since been confiscated and processed for fingerprints. Nutley has faced a similar issue recently when a skimming device was found at the Proponent Bank on Washington Avenue last week as well as another identical issue occurred in January.

Father + Son Duo Open Caribbean Restaurant on Bloomfield-East Orange Border


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A post shared by Bacchanal Junction (@bacchanalnj)

Father-son duo, Parris and Tristan Jordan, opened their Caribbean restaurant and bar — Bacchanal Junction — at 558 Arlington Avenue in Bloomfield last weekend. Patrons can expect, “an array of mouthwatering dishes like Shark Bites, Jerk Salmon, and Stewed Kingfish with Creole Sauce. Island-style drinks like the Hibiscus Buccaneer and the Caribbean Kiss Pisco Sour are among the many exotic cocktails guests can anticipate,” per Patch. Parris has had a long career in consulting and hotel development by spearheading projects totaling over $20 billion in value, while Tristan has a degree in hotel and tourism management from New York University along with his experiences in an extensive culinary journey.

Newark Attempts to Remove Commissioner Over Infrastructure Dispute

Newark’s City Council passed a controversial resolution — building The Mulberry Commons Pedestrian Bridge to connect Penn Station to the park of the same name in downtown Newark — in January that may be shedding light on a longstanding feud between city officials and preservationists. According to Jersey Digs, the purpose of the legislation was to oust a city commissioner who was “unsupportive” of the project. The commissioner, chair of the Landmarks + Historic Preservation Commission Richard Partyka, was accused of engaging in “unnecessary and unsupportive communication” about the bridge by allegedly writing a letter to the State “which did not support the project.” The walk-on resolution passed the City Council with seven votes; however, the hearing to depose Partyka, scheduled for January, never came to pass. Commissioner Partyka has since resumed holding meetings after a two-month hiatus.

More Details Emerge About 2026 World Cup Final at MetLife Stadium

fifa world cup 2026 metlife stadium nj

In 2026, USA, Mexico, and Canada are joining forces to bring together the sports event of the year. As of February 4th, MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford has been named as the final venue to host the FIFA World Cup 2026 final game, per NJ.com. The FIFA World Cup 2026 will take place from June 11th through July 19th, 2026. Since the announcement, other details have come out surrounding what Metlife and the surrounding area are doing to prepare for the event, including new construction around the stadium and a new state campaign. Click here for more information surrounding the 2026 FIFA World Cup and how to get to and around MetLife Stadium.

Nitrous Oxide Tank Confiscated Outside Wellmont Theater

Police responded to an anonymous report about people selling balloons filled with nitrous oxide at the Wellmont Theater on Seymour Street on March 22nd. Otherwise known as “laughing gas,” the police found a 20-pound filled tank hidden near some parked vehicles, per Patch. There are no other details known at this time.

Montclair Native Takes Talents to Military Academy

Montclair High School senior David Thom-Rogers is set to attend the Military Academy in West Point and join the Army football team in the fall after a successful season. The Army will be receiving one of the top defensive backs in the state in David as West Point coaches are looking for him to play either free or strong safety. According to Montclair Local, David — one of four co-captains of this past season — is credited by head coach Jermain Johnson for bringing his high school football team to an 8-4 season. He’s also one of the major reasons the Montclair football program revived itself after seeing its 2022 season abruptly end after having to forfeit for using an ineligible player. Coach Johnson and David are both headed to the Phil Simms North-South All-Star Football Classic at Kean University on June 9th.

Over $800 Stolen From Seafood Truck in Montclair

Montclair Police reported stolen seafood from a delivery truck parked on Walnut Street on March 19th. While making a delivery, the individual in charge of the truck left the roll-up door open and discovered that a white box containing 27 pounds of Icelandic cod filet fish was missing when he returned, per Montclair Local. A separate crate, reportedly containing over ten pounds each of octopus, lobster, shrimp, and six-ounce tuna steaks, was also missing. The stolen seafood is valued at $895.50 per an invoice the driver supplied to police. An investigation is ongoing.

Newark Reintroduces ‘Re-engagement Center’ to Help Local Youth


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A post shared by City of Newark, NJ – City Hall (@cityofnewarknj)

Newark officials and community members gathered for a grand reopening event at the “Re-engagement Center” at 375 McCarter Highway inside the Newark One-Stop Career Center on Tuesday. The center is designed for youth aged 13 through 24 where they can reconnect with programs leading to a high school diploma or an equivalent credential, therefore putting themselves on a positive pathway to employment, per Patch.

Two Teens Shot Near Newark School

Officers responded to a call about a shooting at West Side High School in Newark around 2:46PM on Tuesday. According to Patch, police found a 17-year-old male and a 15-year-old victim with gunshot wounds. Both were transported to University Hospital for treatment as the 17-year-old is currently in stable but critical condition whereas the 15-year-old is in a stable condition. A third victim suffered a “non-shooting-related injury” while running away from the scene. Police are working with the Office of Violence Prevention and Trauma Recovery to make sure that children and families in the nearby community are safe. An investigation into the shooting continues and authorities advise that anyone with information can contact the Police Division’s 24-hour Crime Stopper tip line at 1-877-695-8477 or visit the Police Division’s website.

Upgrades to Newark Airport Will Cut Travel Time for Local Residents

newark airport new jersey

The board of commissioners at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey approved $160 million for design and construction on the “EWR Station Access project” earlier this week, which will add a new entry point to the rail station at the airport. According to Patch, Port Authority officials report that the project will include an extension of the existing pedestrian bridge over station platforms as well as tracks to a new public access area off Frelinghuysen Avenue; this will also include a pick-up/drop-off point for private vehicles, taxis, buses, and rideshare drivers, along with bicycle and pedestrian access. PATH riders will be happy, too, as the project will also improve connections to PATH train service from Newark Penn Station for access to job centers in Jersey City and Manhattan. Projections are saying the time for traveling between the South Ward of Newark and northern Elizabeth will be cut down from 40 minutes to 10 minutes.

Montclair Musician Earns Prestigious Royal Distinction

Vincent Carr — a conductor, composer, and organist from Montclair — recently became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists in the United Kingdom, one of the highest honors an organist can obtain. He is now among an exclusive group of Americans who have achieved this honor after undergoing an intense, multi-day test of his musical integrity, per Patch. Vincent obtained three highest-score prizes. He currently leads the education program for the American Guild of Organists, the world’s largest professional association of organists and church musicians, and is the director of sacred music at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Verona.

Montclair Woman-Owned Architecture Firm Breaks Ground on Green Bay, WI Market


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RHG Architecture + Design (headquartered in Montclair) has invested in a development in the Green Bay Public Market in downtown Green Bay, Wisconsin. The market is expected to have one million annual visitors and a $65 million economic impact upon completion, per the Green Bay Press Gazette. It will host 20 vendors, event space, and a demo kitchen that will offer fresh, locally sourced products. The opening is scheduled to coincide with the 2025 NFL draft taking place next April.

Newark Air Traffic Control to be Moved to Philadelphia

Federal authorities announced last week that they plan to transfer control of the airspace in the Newark area to Philadelphia in an attempt to help relieve chronic staffing issues and congested traffic in the Newark Airport area. According to Patch, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has signed a memorandum with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association to relocate control of Newark at New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) (N90) to Philadelphia Tower/TRACON by the end of June. This comes as a result of major delays due to a lack of air traffic controllers — a result of a backlog in training new controllers in recent years because of the pandemic.

Montclair Author + Illustrator Release Children’s Picture Book

books based north jersey

Montclair resident author, Melina Macall, and Montclairian artist, Kelly Weiner, collaborated to create their first children’s picture book together, entitled Bluemont Tails: Roxy The Hanoverian Horse. According to a press release from Mont D’or Press, the rhyming picture book promotes social and emotional skills while telling the story about a horse, Roxy, who lives at the Bluemont Equine Sanctuary in Colt’s Neck. The book is available now at all online and retail booksellers in softcover, ebook, and audio.

Benefit Concert for Bloomfield Child Cancer Patient Taking Place at Just Jake’s


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A post shared by Devon Marie (@devonmariemusic)

A benefit concert for a resilient six-year-old with a brain tumor, Maya Ciprian, will take place from 12PM to 4PM on April 14th at Just Jake’s, located at 30 Park Street in Montclair. According to Patch, Devon Marie, the lead singer of 80’s cover band Rubix Kube, is one of many family friends who have been pitching in to support Maya’s family as she receives treatment for her cancer diagnosis. Headliners and guest stars at the concert include social media favorites Adam and the Metal Hawks, Constantine Maroulis (American Idol), and Rubix Kube; door prizes will include signed memorabilia, guitars, drumsticks, show tickets, and other items. Tickets are $30 at the door and can be pre-purchased online while kids six-years-old and under are free. All of the proceeds will be donated to the Ciprian family.

Montclair Schools Solar Project to Save $100k Per Year

Representatives for a solar company working with the district told the Planning Board on Monday that solar panels installed at five Montclair school district facilities would save approximately $100,000 per year and carry 75 percent of the district’s electrical load. The project by Hesp Solar of Montvale to place the solar panels was brought to Montclair’s land-use authority as a “courtesy review,” per Montclair Local. Hesp, along with help from KMB Design Group, will install solar panels on the roof at Bradford Elementary School, George Inness Annex, Montclair High School, Northeast Elementary School, and at the Woodman Field fieldhouse. Sites in the district have reportedly already received a delivery of solar panels and are preparing for installation.

Newark Airport Receives Five-Star Rating, Among Nation’s Best

Skytrax recently awarded its highest possible mark — a five-star rating — to Newark Airport’s new $2.7 billion terminal. The rating was given after an audit and assessment of the terminal’s facilities, operations, and customer service, per Patch. The terminal was cited for its “outstanding multimedia features” in its review, which is one of only two in North America to receive its top rating along with LaGuardia Airport in New York City, another facility run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Changes Coming to New Jersey’s ‘County Line’ Balloting System

Election day is months away but legal battles over New Jersey’s balloting practices have begun already. On Friday, March 29th, a federal judge ruled in favor of plaintiffs who argued that the state’s ‘county line’ ballot design was unconstitutional. Per the New Jersey Monitor, the county line ballot system sees party-supported candidates grouped on the ballot, but now will be changed to candidates grouped by the offices sought. The plaintiffs in the case are a group of political candidates, including current Representative Andy Kim. The defendants are the county clerks of New Jersey and have expressed concerns about the logistical requirements this means for the June primary, according to the New Jersey Globe.

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