By ROBIN WOODS
For Montclair Local
We’re thrilled to live in magnificent Montclair, New Jersey and there are so many ways to show our pride through decor, accessories and more.
Whether or not you’re a lifelong resident, recent transplant or just passing through, here are some ideas for you to get some Montclair swag.
My first stop was Makeready Gallery on Glenridge Avenue. Owner Maureen O’Brien has
“Greetings from Montclair” mugs for sale which portray the history of our town through vintage 1910 photos. The series of seven mugs show Delaware and Lackawanna R.R. Station, Erie R.R. Station, Upper Montclair Valley Road with trolley and other parts of town. They’re nice to collect, one or all. Keep them on display, ship them as a gift to your aunt in Miami or savor your coffee while seeing how Montclair looked in days of yore. The gallery also does custom framing and features local fine artists and artisans with exhibits, special events and sale of distinctive handmade jewelry items.
Meandering my way to the Central Business District, I had to go into East Side Mags on South Fullerton Avenue. It’s easily recognizable, as there’s a life size Spider-Man costumed mannequin to the left of the entrance. I had to take a photo with him. Doesn’t everyone?
Walking around with owner Jeff Beck and his colleague Ariel Schwarzer, I discovered how much the comic book world has changed. I wondered if there were any comics created or drawn by locals, and of course there are.
Taylor Esposito, a Montclairite, is the letterer for a comic called “GWAR,” with a cover made exclusively by him for East Side Mags Montclair. Ariel thinks that Montclair is the best location for the shop, with “so many cool people who are diverse in their tastes. They get it.”
Check under the front counter area to see a wonderful and whimsical hand drawn comic themed montage, created by Montclair illustrator Chris Wolffe. Jeff marvels how it just gets better and better being a business owner.
You can find Marvel, DC and Indie comics in stock. Drop in to play Magic the Gathering on Friday nights. You know that some kids will devour comic books while whining over reading for school. Comic books have extensive text using a wide vocabulary accompanying the graphics. Keep it age-appropriate by following the labels on the shelves, and you’re golden. Jeff and Ariel can also make suggestions if you don’t have a young one with you, or are feeling young at heart.
Sweet Home Montclair: I had to go there because it has our town as part of its name. Paul Giordano opened his shop in the Upper Montclair Business District more than nine years ago, while running his Paul Michael Events company. For your home or to give as lovely hostess gifts, you can find Montclair tea towels, cocktail napkins, coasters, cards and decorative mugs which are a big hit with local Realtors. If sweets are your thing, buy a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate-covered almonds, coffee beans and more confections packed in Tiffany blue boxes and tied with chocolate polka dot design ribbons.
Montclair Police Athletic League (PAL) is hosting their annual Easter Egg Hunt event on Saturday, March 31 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Wally Choice Community Center inside Glenfield Park, on Maple Avenue. Children up to age 11 are invited to take a photo with the Easter Bunny, play games, enjoy delicious food and hunt for Easter eggs, of course. Registration is required with a deadline of March 28 at montclairpal.org. Select register for programs at the top of the page. It’s a sweet tradition dear to our hearts, and part of what makes Montclair so memorable.
In this column:
• Makeready Gallery Fine Art and Custom Framing,
214 Glenridge Ave.
• East Side Mags, 7 South Fullerton Ave.
• Sweet Home Montclair, 246 Bellevue Ave.
• Montclair Police Athletic League, montclairpal.org
• Wally Choice Community Center. 49 Maple Ave.