Go Home

daily dish

July  24

How Shallow Can We Get?

Margarita_mix Sure, there's been a lot of bad shit going down in the world lately.

But hey, you know, we did catch a break with the weather this weekend. And when there's a breeze in the air on a summer night, a girl's thoughts run to Margaritas.

We bought this whopper of a Margarita Mix at the Millburn Shoprite the other day, after visiting the kick-ass Millburn municipal pool.Millburn_pool Now there's a town that knows how to cool off its residents in the summer. Vast, clean, plenty of grass, plenty of shade, classy-looking plastic Adirondack chairs and a 15-minute adult swim every hour -- all for $230 a year.

Actually, we've done quite a bit of pool slumming lately. Yesterday, we went to the JCC-Ewing, home to the famous (and historically landmarked) Trenton Bathhouse designed by Trenton_bathhouse_2 Louis Kahn. Not as schnazzy as Millburn, but equally capacious, with a nice run-down comfortable vibe and green corrugated fiberglass canopies to deliver shade.

But we digress. It was Margarita mix we were talking about. You're supposed to fill this bucket with water and stick it in the freezer and just be able to dig out glass after glass of Margaritas for your friends. So what if we don't have nearly that much room in our freezer? A party in a bucket for under five bucks. How can you lose?

We know there'll be local news to report one of these days. Just not today. Meanwhile, what's your summer drink (or pool) fantasy? And if anyone has a cool pool for the Barista to try out, just give us a whistle.

July 24, 2005 in Froth | Permalink


I think we should have a contest: find somewhere in the US, anywhere, where people pay 14-20K a year in property taxes and get public pools that look as crappy as ours, with the complete lack of amenities we have. I would take a wild ass guess that the public pools of Detroit probably look nicer than ours.

Posted by: you_gotta_believe | Jul 24, 2005 1:41:37 AM

You fill the tub with water and not tequila? What's with that?

Posted by: Nancy | Jul 24, 2005 9:12:17 AM

Water, tequila, yeah, whatevah.

Posted by: Barista | Jul 24, 2005 9:29:37 AM

Louis Kahn got it just right at the Trenton Bath House. It's very simple, functional, and ultimately beautiful. There has to be a happy medium for the Glen Ridge Pool house, something between painting the trailers we have now and the dolled-up faux-train-depot design that was too expensive. Let's keep looking for the solution!

Posted by: Karin Robinson | Jul 24, 2005 10:49:00 AM

Had some of that Margarita bucket last night-- different brand, bought at Wegmans. Tasted awfully artificial to me.

Posted by: latebloomer | Jul 24, 2005 11:30:01 AM

Best place for Margaritas, IMHO, is in NYC, right off the E Train line at 4th Street. Place called Margaritas-what a concept! They have Margaritas in many different delicious flavors, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, lime, orange...yum. Plus if you are lucky enough to get a seat by the window, it's a great place for people-watching.

As for pools, I have to say I am loving the Verona Pool. It's big, has swim areas and lap lanes, and you're allowed bring in your own food, coolers, etc. (no beer, though). To me this is a big deal, since when I lived in Montclair and belonged to the town pool, they only allowed you to bring in water, that's it! What was up with that? One day, I was sitting at the pool, minding my own business with my book, a bottle of water and a bag of sunflower seeds. I have some "sugar issues" and am supposed to break up my meals/snacks throughout the day. This young pool nazi came over and told me I couldn't be eating them in there. Now mind you, I was very neat about the hulls, placing them in a separate bag I had brought just for that purpose. But she wouldn't hear of it.

I found their policies VERY restrictive.

The other thing that Verona offers is picnic tables with umbrellas, for use for free; and free movies on Wednesday nights in July (in fact, on Wednesdays and Fridays in July, night admission is free to ALL Verona residents). Montclair offered none of these amenities.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Jul 24, 2005 12:20:52 PM

I've heard that the pool to beat is Maplewood -- an award-winning public pool(although I'm not sure who's giving out awards for pools...). I know someone who has an apartment in Manhattan and bought a weekend/summer house in Maplewood because they loved the community and the pool that much.

Posted by: Liz | Jul 24, 2005 12:38:16 PM

Ahem, Miss Martta, we were looking for an invite?

Posted by: Barista | Jul 24, 2005 2:32:04 PM

".... after visiting the kick-ass Millburn municipal pool."

Which goes with the excellent schools and taxes that are half Montclair's.......


Posted by: carya | Jul 24, 2005 3:45:02 PM

Margaritas in a bucket? No, no, no. It's simple. One can of frozen margarita mix. Fresh fruit. Tequila. Ice. A blender. Lime sections for garnish. Wetted salt for the rims of the glassware. It's not hard. I make mine with either blackberries of strawberries.

Or if I'm feeling mildly Gallic (those were the days), kir royales with good sparkling wine, some of that Israeli brand of black currant juice (as opposed to creme de cassis, which cuts into the wine too much if the wine is a good one) Lofa and, again, lime sections.

Last suggestion, which old Italian guys taught me in the back room of the "Mercury Social & Athletic Club" in East Rutherford when I was about 18: "boil-peeled" white peach slices, white wine and peach nectar (Goya or Libby's does just fine, in a 4-1 ration favoring the vino. In a pitcher over ice, with, again, limes. For a Sicilian variation, a light (in color, sort of like German reds always are) semi-dry red, with everything else the same.

And then a toast to future Supreme Court Justice Roberts!

Posted by: cathar | Jul 24, 2005 6:11:07 PM

(in fact, on Wednesdays and Fridays in July, night admission is free to ALL Verona residents).

Night Admissions! You mean that they actually allow commuters to use the pool? Why can't Montclair do that? Leaving one pool open for an extra hour during the week shouldn't cost that much more, and it would allow more taxpayers to use what they are paying for.

Posted by: Bitpusher | Jul 25, 2005 12:01:34 AM

I second the Verona Pool, to which I've been a visitor! I've heard Verona residents call it the "number one reason to live in Verona".

Posted by: Renae | Jul 25, 2005 8:19:09 AM

Rather than put up with capricious and arbitrary rules, expensive memberships, and the young pool Nazis, just whizz up a batch of the following concoction and get near your lawn sprinkler. In San Antonio is a wonderful Mexican Restaurant called La Fogota. They always seemed to have the best tasting and most potent Margaritas I ever had. I finally found out that they use a commercial mix, but they use half tequila and half Everclear - 180-proof grain alcohol. No wonder I kept waking up on the lawn. After making the basic Margarita, swirl a couple of ounces of Passion Fruit syrup around the top.


Posted by: conan the grammarian | Jul 25, 2005 8:25:42 AM

Barista: You're welcome to come as our guest if you want.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Jul 25, 2005 8:47:50 AM

Maybe Montclairians put up with crappy town pools because most of them belong to swishy pool clubs, like Bradford and the oddly-named Beach Club on Grove Street. The longer I live in this town, the fewer people I seem to see at the town pools. Maybe my friends are growing too prosperous to associate with me any more.

Posted by: walleroo | Jul 25, 2005 9:32:58 AM

Barista, do you have to be a town resident in Millburn, Verona, etc. to use the town pools? Just curious. I'm assuming you do.

Posted by: patrick | Jul 25, 2005 10:11:28 AM

From what I understand, the Montclair Beach Club used to have a large area filled with sand, making it, well, beach-like. The sand is now gone and there's a playground in its stead. But that's where the name came from. (I can't imagine anyone considering that club "swishy". Expensive, yes. Swishy? I don't think so.)

Posted by: jjw | Jul 25, 2005 10:33:07 AM

Those "swishy" alternatives like Bradford are full of members because life's too short to put up with obviously inferior alternatives when you've got the cash for something better -- especially when it's 95 degrees outside. And like it or not, more than a few people in Montclair have got some mad money for things like private swim clubs.

I know there's a certain socialist sentimentality in Montclair, but to design our pools using an East German aesthetic seems a bit much. Any chance we could negotiate a compromise? Maybe a modern American public swimming pool with a bit of grass & shade in exchange for an annual May Day parade?

Given our current tax rate, shortage of land, and this town's operating expenses, it will be a cold day in hell before any of us get to experience a "nice" pool in Montclair.


Posted by: JK | Jul 25, 2005 10:57:47 AM

Louis Kahn can design your bath house, but unless the staff runs a mop through there regularly, who cares.

The grounds at the South Orange pool are wonderful, and at $30 per a bargain. That is except for the bath house, which is not cleaned enough for my taste.

Posted by: Shabe | Jul 25, 2005 11:09:37 AM

I also like the way the Barista cavalierly used 'shit' in the lead of this post. Another perk of blogging.

Posted by: Shabe | Jul 25, 2005 11:12:45 AM

JK, not being able to afford swank Bradford doesn't make one a socialist, just a crummy capitalist.

Posted by: walleroo | Jul 25, 2005 12:32:05 PM

I'll take the GR Community Pool any day. 3 mins from home, pull up a lounge chair and I'm transported into a meditative state away from the hustle and bustle of the day. No need to drive to some other burg when we all know how precious a commodity our time is nowadays.Vive Le GRCP...
p.s. Congrats to Lance 7 !!

Posted by: PAZ | Jul 25, 2005 1:13:25 PM

I hear you Walleroo, the Socialist crack was only directed to our miserable pools' design, look, & feel. On a related note, I'm waiting for ROC or Cathar to start ranting about the Un-American evils of "State-Sponsored recreation."

For all of us Montclairians who long for one big groovy community melting pot, where class & other barriers are at least temporarily forgotten, a nice community pool is a great way to bring people together. Unfortunately, a real effort was made to make these pools as miserable as they could possibly be.

Maybe there is some way the town could build one big beautiful pool for all of Montclair (sell the 3 current pools to developers & take the money to build a "real" pool?), but I wouldn't hold your breath.

Posted by: JK | Jul 25, 2005 1:54:04 PM

JK, I shan't rant about those "evils." Sorry to disappoint you. Nor, however, do I belong to any sort of "private club" other than a gym which has a pool open all year. I don't intentionally associate with either General Bullmoose types or with the Little Red Schoolhouse crowd.

But here are two pools worth visiting: the one at Runaway Rapids Water Park in Keansburg and the one run by Spring Lake on its boardwalk. Both will happily accomodate Socialists and Capitalists alike, and neither resembles in the slightest Montclair's own communal plunge.

And if you'd prefer swimming in a lake, don't forget Shepherd Lake in Ringwood, part of the state park there. (Weirdly, it's easier to reach via NY - take 17 north to the exit in Sloatsburg in Orange County that reads "Ringwood.") It's clean and uncrowded. Oh, but there are hourly church bells from an on-site carillon and, on weekends, seemingly constant skeetshooting fire from a gun club. Both will no doubt annoy certain posters no end. Others will find their respective sounds refreshing. Both will probably rate them as politically prescient.

Posted by: cathar | Jul 25, 2005 2:20:00 PM

I love the Millburn Pool. The staff is amazing, the water is crystal clear, and the bathrooms are clean! Plus, the lifeguards are the best looking in the tri-state area!!

Posted by: Chris Empo | Aug 26, 2005 11:01:42 PM

Click & Jump to our INSIDE PAGES:

· In Case You Don't Look at Our Announcement Box
· Window Painting
· Flatulent Friar
· Ballyowen -- The Best $140 a NJ Golfer Can Spend
· Corzine Budget Gets MSU Calling For Action
· Open Space Call For Action
· Closed For Renovations?
· Thrill Seekers
· Heroic Dudes
· Making Montclair's History Demo-Proof

May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004

A Friend Writes
April Fool's!
Bada Bing
Barista Does the Math
Barista's Sunday Poll
Betty Says
Brand New
Civic Virtue
Comings and Goings
Culture Club
Current Affairs
Cute as Hell
Don't Ask: Dating in Baristaville
Flu Shot Central
Food and Drink
From the Crazy Mixed-Up Files of Raymmmondo
Funniest Home Videos
Good Reads by Neil Baldwin
Growing pains
Help Your Barista!
In Your Dreams
Intersections We Hate
Karma Violation
Lights! Camera! Craft service!
Lights, Camera..... Roll Tape
Major Dudes
Marlboro Inn
Movie Mojo
Only in Montclair
Our Favorite Diversions
Paranoia Beat
Parties We Crashed
Party With Baristanet
Photo of the Week
Pop Culture
Postcards from the EB
Really Freaking Weird
Scooped by Phil Read, Again
Scot's Photo Journal
Seasonal Decorating Violation
Seen around town
Seen in Cyberspace
Shopping With Barista
Songs We Can't Get Out of Our Head
Suburban Archeologist
The Daily Chat
The Sunday Barista Poll
The View from Her Pickup
Those Crazy Kids
Time Capsule
We All Bow to Java
We Ask Random Strangers
Where For Art Thou?
Win Stuff
Yard Sale Treasure Map