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March  11

Dark Humor

Remember Montclair author Larry Dark? Seems he's no fan of Hempstead at Montclair. Dark puts pen to paper and serves up a sarcastic "welcome" to the future residents of McMansion Hamlet, in this letter to the Montclair Times...

I would like to be one of the first to welcome our new neighbors to the Hempstead at Montclair. Welcome! This high-toned name evoking the English countryside is apropos of a development of 10 grand houses on a lot where only a single hotel once stood. New Hempstead at Montclairians, you truly are brave pioneers of the “New Urbanism.”

You also, not incidentally, know a bargain when you see one. Your spacious new home is the largest that can be built under existing zoning laws, making clever use of every available inch the law allows. And for only $1.7 million, you will have the advantages of both residing in a cavernous abode and living in intimately close proximity to your neighbors — a mere 12 feet away! (I have never understood those haughty snobs who insist on so much space between their house and others.)

You can’t beat the location of the Hempstead at Montclair for convenience, either. It is especially well situated at the intersection of two major roads where trucks bearing much-needed consumer goods frequently rumble by. You are smart to purchase such a well-constructed home at such an affordable price. (Believe it or not, people pay nearly as much for old houses.) A developer able to situate 10 exclusive homes on a plot of that size would never, never, I am certain, cut corners in workmanship or materials.

In no time, the rest of your neighbors in their modest houses, so out of scale to yours, will overcome their jealousy and happily welcome you not only to the Hempstead at Montclair, but also to Montclair itself. I, for one, will be sure to give a friendly wave as your Hummer H2 impressively thunders by.



March 11, 2006 in Seen in Cyberspace | Permalink


Yet another tantrum.

Once the developer sells the houses and moves on the hatred will need to therefore be transposed on to someone else. In this case, the new owners.


p.s. as sarcasm it could be a lot better crafted and funny. (vitriol by itself isn't so funny).

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 11, 2006 10:22:55 AM

Sorry, but the sight at Watchung and Grove looks like a house factory-as if a big crane is going to be employed to pluck each house up and drop it into its proper lot.

Posted by: late | Mar 11, 2006 10:39:33 AM

By way of atonement, the not-as-funny-as-he-thinks Mr. Dark (as in Cooger & Dark's circus in "Something wicked This Way Comes?") might want to bake a nice cake for each new resident of Hempstead by way of a welcoming gift. These poor folks will be moving into a seemingly bottomless pit of rancor, after all.

It's also curious that Mr. Dark chose to air his bile in a paper that the new Hempstead residents-to-be have probably never heard of or seen yet. So very courageous of him.

Posted by: cathar (8T) | Mar 11, 2006 12:31:18 PM

Can you believe ROC and Cathar have basically the exact same opinion to offer. Wow. I for one am I shocked. Next thing you know Miss Martha will have the exact same opinion. And then, even more remarkably, The Iceman will weight in with exactly the same opinion. And then someone will post something else, and them all 4 of them will all post about how that person is naive and mean spirited and and how they represented a misguided "liberal" viewpoint of some kind. Now that will all be truly incredible.

I thought the piece is funny as hell. But I am obviously not well schooled in the use of sarcasm and how it should properly be contructed.

Posted by: montclair_is_crazy | Mar 11, 2006 12:54:16 PM

>>>"Yet another tantrum. Once the developer sells the houses and moves on the hatred will need to therefore be transposed on to someone else."<<<

a "tantrum?" i see it differently. larry is expressing, quite effectively, what many of us have felt as we watched too many houses squeezed on to a small piece of property. and the houses are immense. they are not even completed yet, and my sense of proportion and aesthetic is assaulted every time i drive or walk by. fewer houses, better proportioned to the property, and i don't think you would be hearing this outcry from larry and so many others.
$1.7 million dollars is a lot of money to pay for a house. of course, everyone's needs and desire differ. personally, for that money i would wish to have a back yard, a patio, maybe a little space for one of those wooden swings with a canopy over it, for warm, quiet, private afternoons with my family.

Posted by: i'm fran, dammit | Mar 11, 2006 1:07:56 PM


Honey, u know I always agree whatever you say.

Hugs and kisses

Posted by: Iceman | Mar 11, 2006 1:08:53 PM

Dark is hitting some obvious points & reaching for some others. Hempstead is at the intersection of 2 truck routes? Not exactly. But if that were true, it'd be true regardless of what was built on the site. Filler.

I'm just wondering if home buyers get to have a cool semi-Anglicized address for their $1.7 million:

Biff Yupton
8, The Hempstead
Lorry Cross
Fair Dorking Corners
Montclair, NJ

Posted by: crank | Mar 11, 2006 1:25:43 PM

"...my sense of proportion and aesthetic is assaulted every time i drive or walk by. fewer houses, better proportioned to the property, and i don't think you would be hearing this outcry from larry and so many others. "

No doubt, but wouldn't it be better to, well, move on? The "battle" is lost and all the continuing "outcry" seems futile and only harmful to the "outcrier". Imagine all the teeth gnashed to nubs over this.

They are not to your liking or aesthetics. So? Don't buy one!

All this (yes, I am afraid) tantrum throwing like Mr. Dark's over what *other* people do with *their* property is pointless.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 11, 2006 3:38:19 PM

It's never "pointless." What "other" people do with "their" property directly affects "everyone's" quality of life in "our" neighborhood. If you had a neighbor put a portajohn up on his front lawn, which is two feet overgrown with weeds, and toss beer cans off his front porch I'm sure you'd raise a stink. I'm sure if someone put Christmas lights all over their house and lit them year-round you'd raise a stink as well. Why? Because it affect your neighborhood and how you view it.

Cutting down all the trees on your property creates shading and runoff issues for your neighbors. Packing a lot with one home definitely creates runoff and noise issues for your neighbors. Renting a house out to rowdy college kids would create noise, pollution and other quality of life. However, these are all things that "other" people can do with "their" property."

This development (and I can't believe I'm saying this AGAIN) directly affects the traffic, schools, noise levels and, yes, aesthetics of the neighborhood. If we don't want this to happen again, and judging by previous posts on the subject we DON'T, it's in our interest to keep the issue in the town's face... not just here, but at public meetings and forums as well. If we don't want to see the same grotesque subdivisions that are plaguing Nutley, Bloomfield, Clifton and the like, the line must be drawn somewhere and it must be drawn BY US. There is no moving on. Had Jane Jacobs "moved on" there would be no Greenwich Village. It's time, more than ever, to make noise and take the fight to the town mothers and fathers. We can't do anything about saving local, independent businesses except frequent them... we CAN stop gross overdevelopment by making noise and influencing zoning and variance policy. This town is OURS... all of ours, everyone who lives here. We don't have to just sit and take it.

Sorry ROC, but you've just opened the mouth for war, buddy.

Posted by: notteham | Mar 11, 2006 4:02:54 PM

Dentures yet, Notte?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 11, 2006 4:06:24 PM

I Rogoberta Notte!

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 11, 2006 4:08:39 PM

wrong thread, but I appreciate the reference.

Posted by: notteham | Mar 11, 2006 4:10:46 PM

We MUST shun those who purchase at the Hempstead.

(.... Unless of course they are an interracial or gay couple with an adopted kid of a difference race. In that case, I think we should just smile say, "welcome neighbor, nice house.")

But really, all this fussin'? I'm confronted everyday with the ugliest split/level houses- 4 of 'em right at my backdoor. And did you ever really look around town- all you see are house crammed next to each other with a driveway separating them.

Yes, they have a postage stamp of a yard, but who are we to judge folks who'd rather have a big 'ol house and no yard? Isn’t that their “choice.”

Last thing, part of the perceived size of those homes is because they sit on a hill. Looking at them from Wachung they look huge because they are 10 feet above the street...

Regardless--- WE MUST SHUN.....

Posted by: profwilliams | Mar 11, 2006 4:16:30 PM

Speaking of megastructures, when can you check into the new Hotel Montclair located at Watchung and Upper Montain?

Posted by: blowfish | Mar 11, 2006 4:53:22 PM

Upper Mountain

Posted by: blowfish | Mar 11, 2006 5:10:27 PM

To Montclair_IS-Crazy:

May the eggs of 10,000 fleas infest your armpits. And learn to spell my name correctly, you pathetic pismire.

Posted by: Miss Martta (8T) | Mar 11, 2006 5:30:06 PM

Here fishy fishy.

Hook line and sinker.

Posted by: So easy | Mar 11, 2006 5:43:55 PM

Fish don't come when you call them.

Posted by: silly willie | Mar 11, 2006 5:57:42 PM

What notteham said!

We need to let the town know that further travesties of this kind will not be endured in silence.

Posted by: latebloomer | Mar 11, 2006 6:59:21 PM

We need to let the town know that further transvestites of this kind will not be endured in silence.

Posted by: Dennis Rodman | Mar 11, 2006 7:20:15 PM

Oh, Notteham, you are so right.

There are many who would very much like to let go of the fact the current mayor and council illegally delayed action on pending matters until they could assure they'd have the votes to pass it the way they wanted it to go.

If Ed no longer likes the looks of Hempstead, if must be because he's no longer getting invites and feeling fabulous rubbing elbows at Chez Plofker.

And, election day's coming up. It's a mere year away. Heaven forbid the voters should remember whom the blame. It's probably time the council implemented some stuff that sounds like zoning reform or land-use management, huh?

But first, we have to be made to forget he led the charge to allow the demolition of an historic building, the transformation of residential backyards into parking lots, and, and, and (yes, you 8-Ts, I AM hyperventilating) the approval of the whole Hahne's-becomes- upscale-retail-and-housing and the parking deck-becomes-its-private-parking and the hotel-goes-up-in-place-of rare, existing affordable rental housing, cuz the mayor's got a vision, innit?

Posted by: Majestic | Mar 11, 2006 7:27:29 PM

Why wait? Impeachment!

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 11, 2006 8:06:33 PM

Speaking of incomprehensible rants, what ever happened to Garrett Morrison? Is he a valet at Red Cheetah?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 11, 2006 8:10:45 PM

If a majority of the voters wanted greater front/side setbacks for remods or new construction, the new powers that be would put like minded people on the zoning and planning boards.

Same for ground coverage ratios, rental to more than 2 unrelated people, back yard paved lots, etc.

The rules are the way they are because nobody's forced the town to reconsider them.

Posted by: Paul from OB | Mar 11, 2006 8:22:01 PM

well ROC, all i can say is, we may have to just 'agree to disagree.' i believe there is a comfortable middle ground between "laissez faire" zoning and overregulating what people can or can't do with property they own. i continue to feel that montclair is a beautiful, graceful town. too many mcmansions in too many places and it won't be. it will be an overstuffed, overcrammed, overpriced, awkward mess.
remember the big fight a few years ago? someone decided to build a HUGE deck on their own property. something they perhaps had the right to do, except that they then completely destroyed a neighbors view of the city. there was some brouhaha over it. frankly, i felt tremendous compassion for the neighbor with the destroyed view. the deck builder could have perhaps worked with the neighbor to create a beautiful new deck which might have left some of the other person's view in tact. i guess they just didn't feel they had any obligation to consider their neighbor's needs. personally, i differ. if i am doing something that affects a neighbor, i have traditionally discussed it and worked out a solution they could live with. i felt it was the decent thing to do. how about you, ROC? what are your thoughts on that?

Posted by: i'm fran, dammit | Mar 11, 2006 8:28:33 PM

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