A real highpoint of the suburbs

Jesse Fried • Jul 11, 2017

A resident of Montclair once communicated to me that, in contrast with neighboring suburban towns, Montclair "has a vibe." I interpret this comment to mean that it is a somewhat interesting place, which I agree with. It has an art museum, a decent if bourgie restaurant scene, and a kind of fascinating socio-economic gradient. By the latter I mean that it has some modest, quasi-urban neighborhoods and some fabulously wealthy neighborhoods, all of which one passes through as one travels up Bloomfield Ave. Towards the bottom of the hill you have basic barbershops, barbecue restaurants, and things like that. On side streets there is actually a bit of an "Urban-Suburban" vibe. As you go up, you get to more famous Montclair restaurants like "Cuban Pete's," and it looks like a very nice suburban downtown. Finally at the very top is the art museum, which is definitely more than most suburban towns can offer. Liberal, cultured New Yorkers have been known to categorically eschew NJ "except maybe for Montclair."

A former co-worker of mine who moved reluctantly to the North Ward of Newark after growing up in New York, and is not so happy with New Jersey living in general, mentioned having Montclair nearby as one of the redeeming qualities.