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March   6

North by Northwest

North_by_northwest_2 Run for the hills.

It's not maniacal cropdusters you have to worry about. It's Montclair's sky-high taxes. And, Star Ledger reporter Phil Read has found you the perfect refuge, a little north by northwest of Baristaville: Little Falls.

For a number of Montclairions, Little Falls offers two big things: lower property taxes and a chance to downsize without losing proximity to Montclair stores and restaurants.

"The reason people are going to Little Falls is taxes: capital T, capital A, capital X, capital E, capital S. That explains it," said Carol Rhodes of Rhodes, Van Note Realtors in Montclair.

In 2004 (the last data available), the average house in Montclair sold for nearly $480,000, while Little Falls prices averaged $326,500. The average property tax bill in Little Falls in 2004 was $5,671. In Montclair, it was $12,356. That $557-a-month savings could put a new luxury SUV in the driveway.

Extra bonus for those with red-state leanings, Little Falls is more Republican-friendly than Montclair, the story says. But no worries for Montclair refugees who want to have their sushi and eat it too. Raw fish is now on the menu in Little Falls.

Of course, it's Little Falls that always floods after a big rain. So be sure to spend some of that tax savings on a catamaran and some basement waterproofing.

March 6, 2006 in Scooped by Phil Read, Again | Permalink


While Little Falls is in very close proximity to Montclair, I decided to move a little further up the highway to the southern portion of Wayne, in the Packanack Lake neighborhood. It's about 15 minutes from Montclair State, no flooding issues, lower taxes (since its in Passaic County bordering Essex County, with the northern portion of Wayne bordering Bergen) diverse housing stock, and close to everything as well as NYC transportation. I'm originally from Upper Montclair, and moved into a similar 4 bedroom house with a bit more land and a view of the lake, only difference is my taxes in Montclair were $16k and in Wayne they are $9k.


Posted by: Jennifer | Mar 6, 2006 11:57:20 AM

What about Verona and Cedar Grove? Even closer to Montclair, and the taxes are lower too!

Posted by: Julsey | Mar 6, 2006 12:13:37 PM

I can't believe that there isn't a tax revolt going on in this town!!!! It will be just a few short years and my family will be driven out by the high taxes. There's no structure in place to reign in the spending so it's going to get worse and worse! Can we all wake up the town gov't & BOE so they get the message that there is NOT unlimited funds available for this town???

Did anyone else see the legal notice of increases in salaries for some positions in town? Did you know we employe people with the following job titles?: Tree Climber, Senior Tree Climber, Parking Meter Repairman, Automotive Mechanics Helper, Senior Citizen Bus Driver....

Aren't these things that we could get done by farming the tasks out and not have to carry the costs of employees of the town??? When/where will this end????

Posted by: Tired | Mar 6, 2006 12:34:42 PM

But we get so many better services in Montclair. Wait, a minute. Uh, sorry...

Posted by: offhand | Mar 6, 2006 12:34:59 PM

Or Bloomfield, where the taxes are lower still but Montclair is but a 2 minute drive across many of the same streets.

On Little Ferry...it has little of the charm of Montclair and much of the traffic from Willowbrook Mall and Rt 46. No thanks.

Posted by: todd | Mar 6, 2006 12:36:31 PM

"While Little Falls is in very close proximity to Montclair..."

So, you moved to a town that is in further proximity to Montclair.

Posted by: crank | Mar 6, 2006 1:02:03 PM

Montclair is not the center of the universe.. It is a beautiful town and I like it here, but I would live in Cedar Grove, Verona, Wayne, or the Caldwells, which are all very beautiful towns as well, minus some attitude. As someone who has lived in Montclair for the past few years, I find it quite odd that many of the people I met refuse to dine/shop outside of Montclair (unless its NYC of course) So I let them in on a little secret... there **IS** life outside of Montclair!

Posted by: Annette | Mar 6, 2006 1:13:30 PM

"close proximity" is not always redundant. Although, perhaps "closer proximity" would be better.

The American Edition of the Oxford dictionary gives the following example of the proper use of "proximity"

"Do not place microphones in close proximity of television sets."

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 6, 2006 1:20:34 PM


"close poximity to television sets."

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 6, 2006 1:21:29 PM

Hey crank, I'm checking barisanet.com and working on some projects at work at the same time... Sorry for the confusion (if any)... close proximity, close(r) proximity... whatever works. Was just trying to get a point across.

Posted by: Jennifer | Mar 6, 2006 1:30:16 PM

I left Glen Ridge for Wayne also, but to Pines Lake, which is about 40 minutes from Montclair. I am about 2 miles from Bergen county. I do still visit Montclair, but have found there are plenty of excellent (and cheaper) restaurants here. The schools are excellent, it is racially diverse, and we have the benefit of less traffic, more nature and a 1 1/2 miles long lake with a beach. My son's class size in GR was supposed to be 26 for this year, here it is 21. My new house is about the same size as my house in Glen Ridge, but with more land, way less crime and on a quieter street. My taxes went from $10,700 in GR to $6900. Wayne believe it or not has a lot of similarities to Montclair as far as services and stores. For example, Sunrise Bagels in Montclair originated here in Wayne about a mile from my house. I highly recommend Wayne, especially the lake communities, to anyone looking to lower their taxes.

Posted by: the bystander | Mar 6, 2006 1:32:41 PM

the bystander:

Pines Lake is such a beautiful cute community, and I completely agree with you about the similarities with Montclair/Wayne. Have you ever been to the Greenhouse Cafe on Ratzer Road or the Village Inn Restaurant off of Runnymede? I found them both to be great places if you've never tried them before.

Posted by: Jennifer | Mar 6, 2006 1:41:09 PM


"The usages that critics have condemned as redundancies fall into several classes. Some expressions, such as old adage, have become fixed expressions and seem harmless enough. Others, such as consensus of opinion, close proximity, hollow tube, and refer back, can be pointlessly redundant in some contexts yet defensible in others. In these cases the use of what is regarded as an unnecessary modifier or qualifier can sometimes be justified on the grounds that it makes a real distinction in meaning. Thus a hollow tube can be distinguished from one that has been blocked up with deposits, and a consensus of opinion can be distinguished from a consensus of judgments or a consensus of practice. In other cases the use of the qualifier is harder to defend. There is no way to revert without reverting back and no consensus that is not general."

While Little Falls is in close proximity the implication is that Wayne is in "farther proximity". (ie farther nearness). While inelegant I do think the statement meats the basic rule of language - a clear meaning.


"So, you moved to a town that is in further proximity to Montclair."

I think you mean "farther" while she means does indeed mean "further".

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 6, 2006 1:46:26 PM

"Statement meats" yikes! "meets"

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 6, 2006 1:48:25 PM

oops oops

I think you mean "farther" while she does indeed mean "further".

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 6, 2006 1:55:30 PM

>> I think you mean "farther" while she means does indeed mean "further". <<

Just seeing if anybody was awake out there. ;=) And I think that you're missing a couple of commas there, or a Delete key.

Actually "close proximity" seems to have become such an accepted expression over the years that I'm about to throw in the towel on it. Wait, that's messy. I should just throw the towel over it? Oh well, y'all know what I mean, right?

Posted by: crank | Mar 6, 2006 1:56:16 PM

Jennifer - I tried to email you directly but it bounced back. Your postings over the past year actually helped solidify our decision to move to Wayne. Thanks for giving us an idea of what life outside Glen Ridge/Montclair could be like!

I haven't tried those two, but we love Positano on Berdan in the Point View area (next to Sunrise Bagels). After eating there the first time, I said to my husband, "I know what has been missing in my life all these years - this restaurant." It's the perfect casual Italian place where you can bring your kids and let them have pizza but you can have a really nice Italian dinner with wine and not break the bank. I never could find that place in Montclair - at least not for the right price. There's a new Indian place I want to try, but I forget the name. Have you been to Lake Sea on Rt. 202, right on the lake? Pretty good Chinese food and you can sit lakeside at sunset - feels like you're on vacation and you spend about $50 for a family of 4.

Posted by: the bystander | Mar 6, 2006 2:44:52 PM

the bystander:

I definitely think Wayne is a great investment, and I've seen a few posters on here who also agree. It's unfortunate that its barely mentioned in media such as the NY times as much as Montclair is. While I think the majority of Wayne is quite nice, I'd definitely lean towards the Pines Lake and Packanack Lake communities since it has much character and charm.

Also, I love Positano! And I tried googling Lake Sea but could not find any info. I'll be sure to drive past. Also, forgot to mention another great restaurant w/ very affordable prices. It's on Packanack Lake across from the Clubhouse called Gencarelli's (not the bar part but the restaurant facing Lake Drive West.) But out of the ones I mentioned, Greenhouse Cafe is a favorite of mine.

Posted by: Jennifer | Mar 6, 2006 3:07:25 PM

Well, finally! I've been self-servingly touting Little Falls for years when I had my antique store.

Little Falls is a town on the verge. Obviously, from a commutability standpoint (3 train stations) and proximity to all major highways. Nice homes (some lovely & affordable Victorians), The Mill, etc. It's a quiet mosaic of a town, whose government & image does not necessarily represent the diversity of its people. This will change, in fact is changing.

And noone mentioned the modest Passaic County taxes. The regional high school may be iffy to some, but the lower schools are absolutely top-notch.

There is an adorable downtown, which is getting better all the time. "We" just got new sushi & Portugese restaurants and a *gorgeous* martini bar in the former Sage Gallery on Main Street!!

My customers and friends know I had every intention of re-opening across the street but "life" & financial pressures sadly put the kabosh on that. I hope everyone will visit The Little Falls Antique Center, which opened just a few weeks ago in my old space. It's really nice ;-)

Posted by: Bethe Danon | Mar 6, 2006 3:14:24 PM

Jennifer - thanks for the restaurant tips - I will check them out. Try looking for "Look See" on 202/Terhune Drive. They recently changed their name to "Lake Sea".

The moral of the story is, I guess, that there is life outside of Montclair/Glen Ridge, and it has lower taxes! I honestly didn't think there was a better town on earth than Glen Ridge, and I still miss it and the wonderful people there, but I am very happy and pleasantly surprised at how much we are enjoying Wayne.

Posted by: the bystander | Mar 6, 2006 3:49:32 PM

Conan saw a hawk swoop down on his back porch and attack a dove. Please make sure all trolls only leave the shelter under the bridge at night. I need to camouflage the foot hair.

Posted by: The Iceman | Mar 6, 2006 3:50:35 PM

I think people who are priced out of Montclair (and who are obsessed with living close to it) definitely should look into Little Falls (away from the Passaic River towards the Montclair, Cedar Grove side) Little Falls is a really quaint town, and will only get better with time. As someone who works in Montclair and lives in Wayne, I also highly recommend Wayne. Gotta love the Passaic County taxes yet still be near everything.

Posted by: Michael | Mar 6, 2006 3:50:43 PM

I once wanted to move to Wayne--Wayne, Maine that is. I figured it was the only town in the US that actually rhymed with its state name.

Posted by: godlikeingoal | Mar 6, 2006 6:44:33 PM


I don't have to worry. I'm a hawk, not a dove...:-)

Posted by: Miss Martta (8T) | Mar 6, 2006 7:02:35 PM

Miss M,
Good line, we missed u today.

Posted by: the Iceman | Mar 6, 2006 7:19:44 PM

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