I’m a recent high school graduate who has lived in the small Township of Montclair, New Jersey for the last four years. Montclair is known for its motto, ‘Where the suburbs meets the city’. Some say parts of Montclair is similar to New York City, which is less than 20 miles away. Like the Big Apple, Montclair has a diverse mix of restaurants, an art scene and a rich culture of music.
Locals and visitors eat at the great restaurants like, Raymonds, Cuban Petes, Bamboo which are all my favorites especially Cuban Petes. Raymonds is a great restaurant that serves comfort food with a Latin twist. Bamboo is Thai food and they also serve sushi, and play soft music inside. Cuban Petes, serves scrumptious Cuban food and I highly recommend all to try this place! You feel as if you are in Cuba from the moment you walk through the door.
If the weather is right, visitors can take a stroll throughout downtown Montclair where they can enjoy a traditional Ethiopian meal at Mesob, then walk over to Clearidge Cinemas to catch an Indie film, and then head around the corner to the square on Church street to catch a local band performing summertime classics. You can also find up and coming artists in small coffee shops or at the Meat Locker — a popular place that is more for the younger generation but all is welcomed. This is a spot where bands, aspiring singers and rappers show off their work.
There will be a Jazz festival, August 17 from noon to 6 p.m. This will be the fourth year the festival has come to Montclair. Smooth jazz will be played by the young and seasoned professionals. I recommend jazz lovers should attend, and its free, so thats a plus.
Concerts and good eats isn’t the only thing Montclair has to offer. Those who are interested in the arts can a visit the Montclair Art Museum, which is currently featuring works by Lee Arnold –a British born artist who uses film, animation, video, photography, drawing and sound for his works. The town also hosts fashion shows during Fashion Night Out, held at the end of summer, to highlight local clothing designers and boutique shops. Born Again Vintage is one of my mom’s favorite places to shop in town. Our tastes are a little bit different, my favorite retail store is Urban Outfitters…both stores are located in the heart of downtown Montclair and in walking distance.
The Township of Montclair has been here since the mid 1800s and a lot of the buildings are still here, just used as newer stores. My high school, Montclair high school has been around since World War I. Most of the schools have been here for a while, back in the day when people were still segregated the White children went to Mt. Hebron, which is located in Upper Montclair, while the Black children attended Glenfield. Both of these schools still stand today but of course no longer segregated, which I am happy given that I am an African American teenager. I couldn’t imagine living in a town that was racially divided. I’m glad to say Montclair is very diverse and well integrated.
If visitors would like to know more about the rich history of Montclair, I suggest they meet and have an in-depth conversation with Mayor Jackson. He’s a graduate of Montclair High School as well as his children. Besides, he’s the Mayor of the township and I’m sure he would be able to teach visitors a lot more than I would.
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