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August  28

Keep Off the Grass Turf

Pick up today's New York Times and look in the Jersey section for Paula Span's column about the downside of Montclair's new artificial turf playing field. The field apparently comes with a 10 foot fence and a padlock. And neighbors, who used to play sandlot baseball and throw Frisbees to dogs there, aren't welcome.

... my neighbor Christine used to take her twins to the field to play. But the last time they walked over, carefully skirting the edge of the fake turf to sit in the new bleachers and take in lacrosse practice, some guy -- a coach? a parent? Christine wasn't sure -- objected. "He said: 'What are you doing here? You can't be here. Go away.'" she said. "I didn't argue. I went away."


Span goes on to muse about how "jock culture... mingles with the obsession over healthy SAT applications" in a suburbia where nobody can kick a ball without "filling in paperwork and carrying insurance."

If you build it, we guess, they won't come.

August 28, 2005 in Controversy | Permalink


She's right - these facilities should be open - we all paid for them. This is an agenda item with the BOE this Fall.

Posted by: Ed Remsenq | Aug 28, 2005 12:29:44 PM

I can't believe the snootiness of some people in this town.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Aug 28, 2005 4:03:33 PM

Excuse me, do you have any grey poupon?

Posted by: Frosty | Aug 28, 2005 4:35:42 PM

And I purchased my home near Brookdale when there was a duck pond and I miss watching my kids feed the ducks. Oh, and have you tried to play a game of neighborhood soccer or softball at Brookdale? Times change, people adapt. Why that woman wouldn't ask a simple question when told she couldn't be at the Watchung field is beyond me. I have sat with my children and watched many practices on those very bleachers and never once been challenged, if you can believe it, people even smiled at me! All that being said, however, I do appreciate the town council taking a look at the issue.

Posted by: sheesh | Aug 28, 2005 7:26:20 PM

The Star-Ledger article is about Woodman Field, but the Span piece was about a field across from an elementary school-- Watchung, yes? Do they both have astroturf?

Posted by: latebloomer | Aug 28, 2005 9:53:01 PM

Thank God, GR's Hurrell field still has grass and a cinder track!

Posted by: PAZ | Aug 28, 2005 10:03:52 PM

What's good about a cinder track?

Posted by: Chris | Aug 29, 2005 1:12:57 AM

I always get confused: are the kids today hopelessly obese coach potatoes or are they driven by maniacal parents hoping for Ivy League redemption to participate frenetically in sports to the exclusion of having a leisurely childhood?

When I was a kid we were all thin, healthy and beautiful but all we did was hang out at the shake shack and have wacky but innocent adventures. Or was that the "Archie" comic books?

Posted by: MiloG | Aug 29, 2005 9:27:17 AM

I'll bet this is the same field hockey/lacrosse coach who has been ruling Watchung Park for years with an iron fist. It started in the early 90's when they cut down several trees to make the field space big enough for field hockey. They put down sod and put up big fences. And even though the folks in the neighborhood had been using that field for decades for soccer, frisbee, pick-up football, etc. it suddenly became off limits. Not only did this guy kick us out several times when we dared have more than two people use the field at once, he even called the police on us and told them we were doing drugs.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Aug 29, 2005 10:01:23 AM

I run on both the Brookdale and GR tracks; the cinder is much preferable to... whatever that spongy post-recycle tire stuff at the park track is.

Posted by: waves2ya | Aug 29, 2005 10:47:22 AM

The kids are either jocks or couch potatos,one or the other, but there are way too many of the latter, kids spending all their time on the Internet, often playing games involving shooting things or chopping them up with swords while looking for "herbs" or "relics" that don't actually exist. We weren't all thin when I was a kid, but even the ones who didn't play organized sports spent a lot of time running all over the landscape in the great outdoors. I have a feeling that there is a large segment of the current generation that will have only be able to tell their kids about the "whacky adventures" they had with their Playstation II.

Posted by: G. D. Frogsdong | Aug 29, 2005 12:22:51 PM

when was there a male field hockey coach in montclair?

Posted by: late | Aug 29, 2005 6:00:43 PM

OK, dogs running around catching frisbees I can understand - but keeping kids out ????

This is crap - what are we paying taxes for ?????

Posted by: RightSaidFred | Aug 29, 2005 10:40:48 PM

Late, I thought he was a coach, he may have just been a dad, but he was associated with the team, or acted like it, in the 90's and lived VERY close to the park.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Aug 31, 2005 12:08:00 PM

Pete, now I know who you are talking about..I think he sported a ponytail, right?

Posted by: late | Sep 2, 2005 9:51:10 AM

Yes late, he's the one. Sorry for the "late" response.

Posted by: State Street Pete | May 10, 2006 12:56:03 PM

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