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March  20

Who's Buying the Movie Rights?

Yeah, a lot of Phil Read's profile of Steve Plofker in today's Star Ledger is standard retread. He doesn't have the allure of his "cosmetics diva" wife. He's buds with Montclair mega-developer John Cali. His name is on philanthropic rolls all over the state. His detractors call the town that rises on the ashes of the Marlboro Inn "Plofkerville."

But we're thinking there might be a Hollywood remake of a movie like "The Hustler," inspired by this little nugget about a cue-to-cue matchup between Plofker and that other great Baristavillain.

"He's an avid pool player. He's just not good at it," said Richard "Dick" Grabowsky, who made a real estate splash when he bought the block-long Hinck building, whose location at Montclair's landmark "six corners" makes it perhaps the town's premier commercial site.

To Grabowsky, Plofker is just a regular guy. "He is not a snob in any respect. I bumped into him ... with his wife and kids at a Rolling Stones concert," Grabowsky said.

He, too, points to Plofker's many charitable contributions. "The guy's got a good heart," he said. And he uses a word uttered by more than a few when asked about Plofker's attributes: "smart."

"Yes, I taught him not to play pool with Dick Grabowsky, but there's not much else I can teach him. He's a very bright guy," he said.

The Plofkers' tax bill, by the way, is $55,257. Ok, you nattering nabobs of negativity. Read started it. This morning only, it's open season on the Plofkers.

March 20, 2006 in Scooped by Phil Read, Again | Permalink


Can you say "puff piece"?

Posted by: latebloomer | Mar 20, 2006 10:53:48 AM

"To Grabowsky, Plofker is just a regular guy. 'He is not a snob in any respect. I bumped into him ... with his wife and kids at a Rolling Stones concert.'"

This cracked me up. Just because you go to a Stones concert, you are not considered a snob? Where were his seats? First row center or nosebleed section?

Posted by: Miss Martta | Mar 20, 2006 10:58:08 AM

I know, that got me too. Rich baby boomer going to Stones concert-- must be a man of the people. Salt of the earth, so to speak.

Posted by: latebloomer | Mar 20, 2006 11:01:09 AM

Wouldn't it be great if Steve Plofker, John Cali, Micheal Bateman, and other similar type individuals within our immediate area got together and used their demonstrated enormous talents to do something on behalf of keeping Mountainside Hospital, like keeping it alive and functioning ?

How about it people, why not ???

Posted by: barista reader | Mar 20, 2006 11:20:32 AM

I love that Grabowsky suddenly is the yardstick by which "regular guys" are measured. Takes one to know one, ey land baron? These two wouldn't know a "regular guy" if they were evicting one.

As for the Stones, any band whose tickets START at $60 is no longer a fan off the "common" or "regular" guy. Rolling Stones Inc. is just as corporate as most of its boomer fanbase. "Satisfaction," apparently, is measured in door take, licensing and royalties. Remember when the Stones sued the pants off of The Verve for using a quarter-second of a Stones sample in "Bittersweet Symphony"? You had to listen really hard to hear it, but apparently the Stones' stooges did just that... turning that small band's hit single into a huge financial drain. There's your hero of the common man. "Sister Morphine" indeed.

Posted by: notteham | Mar 20, 2006 11:22:45 AM

While the Mountainside Hospital idea would certainly give Plofker and Grabowsky some more redeeming qualities, it seems unlikely.

More likely, given the hospital's location near the train station and on the GR/Montclair border, would be them, Cali and perhaps LeFrak turning the hospital into a Starbucks, Trader Joe's, Crunch Fitness, Jamba Juice and Chipotle on the first two floors and no fewer than 200 units of "new hospitalism" condominiums, complete with "ER-kitsch" hallways, "nurses station" doormen and rolling cart room service. You could even pay someone with a key to come turn on your plasma screen and digital HD cable hookup for a daily fee. Maybe, for the height of "luxury," the management board will offer to change pampered young professionals' bedpans for no extra charge.

Posted by: notteham | Mar 20, 2006 11:32:49 AM

Boy, were it that these people could be as evil as they are portrayed. I don't really know Steve, except in passing, and while I may not like his work, he is not the ogre that Melinda would like to portray him as.

I do know Dick and John, they are each, frankly, wonderful people.

I think it is perfectly OK to disagree with anyone's 'vision,' but really, try to remember these are all neighbors.

Posted by: Kevin Lee Allen | Mar 20, 2006 12:00:26 PM

When you're as civil to some of your neighbors right here on this website as you want us to be to developers, maybe I'll start listening to you.

Posted by: latebloomer | Mar 20, 2006 12:05:39 PM

Just a couple of "regular" joes, right.

As one of their neighbors, I question how neighborly some of their plans have been. Dick's slowly winning me over, especially as it seems less likely that he has any power to force Rainbow to close.

However, I don't know how neighborly it is to flood relatively small parcels with units that the town's infrastructure seems painfully unable to handle. "New Urbanism" is not short of critics and the aesthetics and framework of the town are endangered by its very prinicples.

Each time they ram a variance-heavy plan through the zoning board, their public image is tarnished all the more. This is why the perspective of the public at large differs so widely from that of their inner circle. We don't know them as friends and don't criticize them as people -- we criticize on the basis of what they are, speculative developers whose "vision" often runs in direct conflict with the lives of people in the town they hope to shape. From a neighbor's perspective, they are like neighbors who put a giant addition on their house that block both our sun and view... and never even ask the rest of their "neighbors" how it would affect them. A group of people working for the betterment of their community is a "neighborhood." Someone who acts only in their own interests who couldn't give a damn what others think of their plans is merely a "fellow citizen."

Posted by: notteham | Mar 20, 2006 12:16:49 PM

"Open Season on the Pflofkers"???
Barista, why do you do this?

Posted by: njholdem | Mar 20, 2006 12:19:37 PM

she only reported on what Phil Read did in the Star Ledger.

Posted by: pissant | Mar 20, 2006 12:47:26 PM

Just glanced at the article again-- it really is a puff piece.

For example, Martin Schwartz is extremely articulate and knowledgeable. He was a leader of the group that tried to preserve the Marlboro Inn. And the only quote they can come up with from him is that Plofker served "a good hotdog" at the hearing?

There is virtually no word from the people who are disturbed at the way Mr. Plofker is negatively impacting the town. Instead you get a bunch of wealthy cronies, apologists and politicians raving about what a swell guy he is.

This is journalism?

Posted by: latebloomer | Mar 21, 2006 8:04:32 AM

Quite frankly, I'm becoming turned off by all of this developer/Plofker, etc. bashing. To me, it sounds like personal bitterness and plain old envy. I certainly hope that any casual reader that comes to this site understands that many of us actually welcome the changes being introduced to our town. Those of you with too much time on your hands allowing you to fret and complain should consider doing something proactive rather than finding anonymous company in each other's misery.

Posted by: Reader | Mar 21, 2006 9:54:32 AM

What do you welcome about these changes, Reader? Of what benefit is to the town when developers are allowed to squeeze as many overpriced buildings as possible onto our land, which takes away from the character of the neighborhoods, and puts further stress on all our services, which further raises our exorbitant taxes?

It's certainly not about envy. I don't care how rich someone is, as long as their wealth doesn't come at the expense of others. Unfortunately the two often go hand in hand.

Posted by: latebloomer | Mar 21, 2006 11:02:13 AM


I'm not sure why you say that "Those of you with too much time on your hands allowing you to fret and complain should consider doing something proactive rather than finding anonymous company in each other's misery."

I post on this site and am a busy person with no "time on my hands" to speak of. From what I understand there are approx 7,000 hits per day on this site. By posting I'm communicating with lots of other people.

I am *not* anonymous. You can feel free to email me- I'll even write back though it may be at 3am - when my "free time" kicks in.

We're not just complaining- we're giving our opinions, thoughts, and suggestions.

Why complain about the fact that we're communicating- tell us what you like about Steve Pfloker and the developments that he's been involved with. I'd like to hear it.

Posted by: badd_patti | Mar 21, 2006 11:13:10 AM

Funny that "Reader" accuses us of being anonymous, while his "address" is "anon@anon.com."

Posted by: l | Mar 21, 2006 11:18:24 AM

Do you like your taxes high? Developers like Plofker add to our taxes through removing commercial ratables and replacing them with residential ones that often add to the taxpayer costs of educating the kids of the buyers of the oversized homes. They prove their neighborly status through their actions in how they overdevelop and therefore burdon and congest the city.
Look at Hoboken, with ten years of insane growth, you cant swing a stick without hitting a luxury condo. Try parking a car there. Try driving from one end to the other in less than fifteen minutes (its a mile square). The only difference is people move out of Hoboken before putting their kids into the public school system.

Posted by: Jimmy229oz | Mar 21, 2006 11:26:48 AM

Dear Reader : Next time let's have them put in YOUR backyard.

Posted by: Crisco McMansion | Mar 21, 2006 11:40:43 AM

I agree with Latebloomer. The Star-Ledger article reads like a puff piece, as if it were placed by a PR firm. Midway through it, his attorney sloughs off any references to past lawsuits, putting them in the "occupational hazards" category, the same way that a defamed physician might refer to malpractice suits.

If the intent of this article was to show Plofker in a "new, improved" light, then it has failed miserably.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Mar 21, 2006 11:42:15 AM

The Star Ledger article on Plofker was a complete puff piece. Does anyone else in baristaville remember what made our town so unique?? I'm of course referring to the Montclair, before Plofker, and other greedy developers started pillaging here.

Unlike these developer-pirates that came here in the 1990's, I ACTUALLY grew up here. My parents are from...here. What happened to my childhood Montclair that promoted diversity, and culture??

Do any of Mr. Plofker's projects add actual character to our town? From this angle they only add more millions into his account. He's not a celebrity.
He's just a greedy opportunist.

How does a collection of $1.7 million homes, and $600K townhouses promote diversity? Where will all of these affluent new residents send their children to school? Don't we already have enough overcrowding in our classrooms?

Montclair homeowners will face a rude awakening, when our properties are re-assessed next year. Of course, my fellow taxpayers in the 4th Ward are already painfully aware, that our taxes have been inflated for many years.

Posted by: Montclair 1967 | Mar 21, 2006 2:42:27 PM

I visited this blog first time and found it very interesting and informative.. Keep up the good work thanks..

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