It’s been another busy week in Essex County and we’ve got all the headlines to get you caught up. Among the highlights: a Microbrewery Makes its Way into Bloomfield, Montclair Schools Implement Mental Health Initiatives, and a Music Against Hunger Benefit Concert to Take Place in Montclair. Read on for more news you missed in the Montclair area + beyond for the week of April 23rd.
Montclair Bike Bus Launches This Friday
Montclair Bike Bus is officially launching on Friday, May 5th. With routes planned to all of the major elementary schools in town, a large turnout is expected. With a plan to ride every Friday following the launch until the end of the school year, children, adults, and town leaders are ready to join in on the fun.
The Bike Bus initiative is a grassroots, parent-led group who are committed to making Montclair a safe place to ride bikes. Be sure to follow Montclair Bike Bus on IG for more updates.
Newark’s Iconic, Hotel Riviera: Sold
Per Jersey Digs, the 101-year-old Hotel Riviera has been sold to new ownership. A joint partnership between Jeff Blau and Pride Investment Group purchased the 220-room, eight-story hotel for $8.5 million dollars. Official plans for the renovation of the hotel have not been solidified as of now but can be expected in the future.
Varitage Brew Coming to Bloomfield
View this post on Instagram
Microbrewery, Varitage Brew is making its way into Bloomfield at their new construction, located at 58 Washington Street. Co-Owners Mark Costa and Neil Levine recently shared an update on Bloomfield Center Alliance, Inc.’s Facebook page stating that they are “trucking along…trying to get the framing done as quick as possible.” They assured locals that “things are starting to get real.” The Montclair Girl got an exclusive sneak peek a what the microbrewery will serve and the co-owners were proud to announce that there will be a beer for everyone – classic ales, lagers, IPAs, sours, pastry stouts, and others. Read more about the brewery here.
30 Trees Planted at Newark’s Ivy Hill Park
Thanks to a joint partnership between the NJ Tree Foundation, the PSEG Foundation, and the Arbor Day Foundation, 30 trees were planted at Ivy Hill Park this past Tuesday, as reported by ThePatch.com
“As a highly developed area, Newark faces issues such as pollution, flooding, and the urban heat island effect,” shared NJ Tree Foundation Program Coordinator, Crystal Wessel. “Planting trees in Ivy Hill Park will help to address these issues in the immediate area, and will also bring together the community as they work together with PSEG to plant the trees.”
Mud Clay Studio Officially Opens in Montclair
Be on the lookout for Mud Clay Studio, which recently opened its doors at 370 Bloomfield Ave in Montclair. This pottery-making studio has weekly pottery classes for adults, teens, and children as well as clay dates, summer camps, and memberships for the more experienced potter.
The studio will celebrate its grand opening on Sunday, May 7th from 12:00PM to 5:00 PM. Stop by to check out the space, meet the team, play with clay, and win great prizes. Giveaways are already underway. Enter to win exclusive Mud Clay prizes here.
Solano Exp Opens Shop in Clairidge Lobby
View this post on Instagram
A new gift shop, featuring jewelry, fashion, and other home goods handmade by women in Mexico, recently opened in Newark. The boutique brings traditional yet modern pieces to life and reflects the culture and traditions of many different regions of Mexico.
These hand-made, one-of-a-kind pieces help showcase different female artisans living in Mexico and pay homage to their rich and vibrant culture.
BofA Provides Free Admission to Select NJ Museums
Bank of America, Merrill, and Bank of America Private Bank cardholders can gain free general admission to a number of museums in New Jersey starting on Saturday, May 6th, and Sunday, May 7th. Among these museums include Liberty Science Center, The Newark Art Museum, Morris Museum, Hunterdon Art Museum, Wheaton Artis and Cultural Center, and Montclair Art Museum. Cardholders can enjoy these benefits the first full weekend of every month through the Museums on Us program.
Lazlo Plants Opens Shop in Montclair
View this post on Instagram
This brand-new shop, located at 602 Bloomfield Avenue, recently opened its doors and features a one-of-a-kind plant shopping experience for all plant lovers.
The shop carries familiar favorites, rare plans from around the world, and terracotta + modern ceramics along with a wide range of plant accessories.
Montclair Literary Festival Coming This May
(Photo Credit: Succeed2gether)
The Montclair Literary Festival will be held this Wednesday, May 3rd through Thursday, May 11th, with the official Festival Day happening on Saturday, May 6th. This community-wide event, which works closely with the Montclair Public Library, Watchung Booksellers, and a team of local vendors will be filled with poetry readings, book talks, discussion panels, activities for the whole family, and so much more.
While most of the festival is free to the public, there are a few ticketed events in which proceeds from the ticket sales would benefit, Succeed2gether, a Montclair-based non-profit 501(c) organization that focuses on the inequalities in educational resource access for low-income families in the surrounding areas. Read more about the Literary Festival here.
Grand Prize Awarded at Montclair Film’s Emerging
(Photo Credit: Montclair Film)
Last week, Montclair Film held its second annual screenwriting competition at Cinema505 where they celebrated the winners of the competition. The grand prize winner was awarded the opportunity to partake in a professional table read while all winners and finalists received professional script notes from the judges.
The Emerging Screenwriting Competition is based on the work of screenwriters in grades 8 through 12 and focuses on a wide range of styles and voices that showcase diverse talents using screenwriting as a way of expression.
Bloomfield + Newark Schools: Best Music Education
Congratulations are in order for the cities of Bloomfield and Newark, both of which earned a spot on the 2023 list of Best Communities for Music Education. The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation base its list on schools that support music education in addition to providing an educational foundation for creating a well-rounded student.
Out Montclair Announces 2023 Montclair Pride Headliner
Montclair Pride will host their week-long celebration beginning on Sunday, June 4th with a kickoff concert at the Wellmont Theater. The concert will feature UK singer-songwriter, Declan McKenna as part of his ‘The Big Return’ worldwide tour.
The concert leads into a week of events, ending in a day-long festival on Saturday, June 10th in downtown Montclair. Tickets for the concert are on sale now and can be purchased here.
Montclair School District Launches Mental Health Initiatives
As per Montclair Local, the Montclair School District has implemented new programs that will address mental health within the district. The April 19th Board of Education Meeting was focused on the district’s mental health and anti-bullying initiatives which are tailored to address all members of the school community.
“This isn’t just about our students,” shared Maggie Shaver-Dock, the district’s Mental Health + Anti-Bullying Coordinator. “It’s about our students, about our families, about our staff, about our administrators, and our community support. A lot of these initiatives and resources are targeted for anyone in the school community that needs them.”
The district is constantly working on new strategies to address the mental health needs of the Montclair community.
New Businesses Welcomed at Newark’s Gant Gilbert Arts Collective
Two new businesses were welcomed into Newark this past week as part of an arts collective. The ribbon-cutting ceremonies honored both BlkBoxNwk and Plants + Poets Café at the 505 Clinton Avenue building (both located on the first floor).
According to Patch.com, Invest Newark shared that “BlkBoxNwk is an art gallery and performance space operated by John Murray, the previous owner of The Coffee Cave and The CAGE, both in downtown Newark. It is an affordable, accessible, and high-volume space for artists to express themselves and showcase their craft.”
Plants & Poets Café is “a vegan restaurant operated by local, serial entrepreneur Rashena Burroughs, who also operates Blueberry Café, The Zucchini Bar, Aqua Phit, and Magic Cones Ice Cream. Plants & Poets will be offering vegan food and poetry readings in a plant-filled, comfortable atmosphere,” shared Invest Newark.
Short Hills House Tour Postponed
Originally scheduled for the last weekend in April, the Short Hills House tour will be postponed due to weather. The open house events will now take place on May 7th at 11:00AM and 1:00PM.
The event is typically held in April in honor of World Autism Month but was shifted to the following weekend due to the impending storms projected for this weekend. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit children with autism and other advocacy groups.
Featured this year are a few homes each with an average price point of $3 million and will be organized like an open house, giving outsiders a glimpse into these marvelous dwellings. Tickets can be purchased here and include light lunch, treats, and giveaways.
Newark Native + Actor Bill Bellamy Launches New Book at Symphony Hall
Newark native, Bill Bellamy, stand-up comedian, actor, and now author launched his new book, TOP BILLIN’: Stories of Laughter, Lessons, and Triumph with a book signing at Symphony Hall this week. The book signing was a kickoff to his book being released in stores that day.
The memoir recounts Bellamy’s shift in career from Corporate America to pursue a career in comedy. It even talks about his experience working at MTV, interviewing some of the most legendary celebrities of all time. The book is available in stores now.
Bloomfield Townwide Garage Sale: Still On
Even with the inclement weather we are expecting this weekend, the Bloomfield townwide garage sale is still set to happen this Saturday, April 29th and Sunday, April 30th. The town plans to add an additional two days for the following weekend.
According to a news release from the town, “Despite inclement weather reports in the area, the Township of Bloomfield has announced it will go ahead as planned with its community town-wide garage sale on April 29 and April 30. However, to accommodate residents they are extending the event to the following weekend (May 6 and 7), and fees will be waived for any registrants on the new dates. Existing applications will also be honored should they decide to participate next weekend instead.”
Residents must still register for the garage sale, though fees and permits will be waived.
Adopt-A-Mountie is Back
For the second year in a row, the town of Montclair and other leaders of Montclair Mutual Aid are raising funds to put together dorm room kits for some Montclair seniors heading to college in the fall. This initiative will benefit students who need financial assistance in purchasing basic essentials for college life. To partake in this community service project, please consider making a contribution here.
Frankie Valli Honored At Newark Street Renaming Ceremony
(Photo Credit: Joanne Timeo-Sheehan)
Newark native and legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Frankie Valli was honored this past week in his hometown with the renaming of a street in Newark. The singer’s name will now don the corner of Stephen Crane Plaza and Franklin Avenue.
Minimum Lot Depth Requirements in Montclair
Montclair is currently proposing an ordinance that ensures the preservation of proper property lot sizes due to subdivision and home setbacks from the street and other surrounding homes, among other parameters. Council Members are working hard to maintain the character of Montclair and take their responsibility for protecting the homes and their property seriously. A more detailed explanation of this ordinance can be found here.
Montclair Becomes a ‘No Place for Hate’ School District
View this post on Instagram
Montclair High School, Renaissance Middle School, and Glenfield Middle School are joining Buzz Aldrin Middle School and officially participating in the Anti-Defamation League’s ‘No Place for Hate’ initiative next school year.
The program is student based and supported by teaching staff and the Anti-Defamation League to implement initiatives such as pledging to fight bigotry, conducting school climate surveys, and planning schoolwide events to help spread the message.
Superintendent Jonathan Ponds is proud that the schools will be involved in this program. “I am thrilled by the fact that our three middle schools and our high school will have all gone through this rigorous training, which is acknowledged as one of the most effective school-based anti-bias and anti-bullying programs in the country,” Superintendent Jonathan Ponds said. “My hope is to make Montclair an entire ‘No Place for Hate’ district.”
SOMA Interfaith Holocaust Rally + Service
Remember and Tell, an organization that provides educational insight on the Holocaust hosted their annual Holocaust Remembrance service this weekend. The rally and service were held at Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in South Orange this past weekend on Sunday, April 23rd and featured the voices of Holocaust survivors as well as others involved in the organization.
Music Against Hunger Concert to Benefit Toni’s Kitchen
A benefit concert at Tierney’s Tavern hosted by The Doug Hall Trio + Friends and NJArts will take place Friday, May 12 at 8:00PM. The concert will feature The Doug Hall Trio + Friends, Big Mamou, The Reticents, Ira Siegal + Lenie Colacino, and the Trisonics with other surprise guests. All proceeds will be donated to Toni’s Kitchen, a mobile food ministry of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Montclair that provides access to healthy food to those in need.
Farm Camp Registration Now Open
The Montclair History Center, Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H, and the Montclair Community Farms are excited to host another exciting summer of farm camp for children to learn about the town of Montclair and where their food comes from.
According to the Montclair History Center, “Farm Camp supports youth development by promoting a positive interest in nature, historical living, and agriculture. Our mission is to provide the best camp experience for youth, while also providing a beneficial learning experience about food, animals, our earth, and its agricultural past. Our campers have the chance to be in the garden each day and participate in activities related to each age level’s theme.” Register for summer sessions of Farm Camp here.
Streetscape Safety and Improvements
At a recent town council meeting, members dedicated time to ensuring that roadway and safety enhancements were made a priority. Some of the notable advancements made include:
- Making the intersection of Franklin Ave. and Virginia Ave. a multiway stop
- Adding parking meters to Gates Ave. between Bloomfield & Union
- Upgrading a significant stretch of Mt. Hebron Rd.
- Advancing an update to Montclair Ave. & Watchung Ave., for ADA curb ramps, signage, and crosswalk striping
- Roadway improvements from water main breaks, at Midland & Bloomfield and Greenwood & N. Willow