Sure, people gripe about Montclair. Nothing is perfect. Traffic. Trees. Supermarkets. Stairways. But at this time of year, we remember to count our blessings. We asked you what you’re grateful for in Montclair, and the answers came thick and fast. Here are some of them, with more online. Feeling thankful? Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post it!
Kate Albright, photographer: “I’m grateful for Montclair Local for getting to know our community better and helping document it.”
Jay Cee: “Thankful for being six generations strong in Montclair. Thankful my children are humble and honest. Thankful the Montclair local has kept the focus of the town… our village.”
Rachael Quinn Egan: “Being able to see NYC from Mills Reservation. Our integrated public schools. Our unique and eclectic stores, bars, cafes, and restaurants. Our parklets! The sledding hills. The trees. Our town pools. Our old houses.”
Bud Eager: “Yantacaw Park.”
Diana Hakim Fennelly: “COPE Center!!”
Dorothea Benton Frank, “Dot’s Desk:” “The colors of autumn, that we have such a vibrant cultural life, great restaurants, and our unique population of creative minds.”
Michael Guerriero, owner, Gelotti: We are most thankful to be able to boast that the best gelato outside of Rome is made right here in Montclair, NJ! And it wouldn’t be possible without this tremendous family of a community!
Linda Jorgensen Guilbert: “Also the people who ALWAYS rise to the occasion.”
Elizabeth Jackson: “The people! It attracts a certain kind of person not found in these quantities elsewhere.”
Jacqueline Jacobson: “The Montclair Film Festival.”
Connie Crowley Keys: “Our fantastic small businesses. Jonathan at The Light Closet fixed a chandelier for me recently for $11.50!”
Nik Lee: “The friendly staff at Kings. Not the prices, but the staff keeps me going back.”
Loyla Louvis, “Mother Matters” (forthcoming): I’m thankful for the families in Montclair. It’s a privilege to work with such a diverse group of parents who take pride in parenting and are open to change.
Jasmine D. Malloy: “The Montclair Art Museum. I miss the Cultural Affairs department of Montclair.”
Krikor Markarian: “Small businesses.”
Steve McCarthy: Our HBO film “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists” has a special MFF screening in Dec. 3 at the Claridge.
Rich McMahon, councilman-at-large: “I was at the hardware store today where I spoke with one of the unfortunate souls who lost his home in the fire the other night.He said that the outpouring of support has been overwhelming and added that, ‘Montclair is a great town to be living in when you get burned out of your home.’ He unexpectedly warmed my heart. Fortunately such a devastating fire doesn’t happen here often, but when it does it’s gratifying to know we take care of our own. I’m thankful that my growing family and I live in such a caring place.”
Elizabeth Oguss, Montclair Local Listings editor: “Two things: The abundance of natural beauty and respite to be found in a town only 12 miles west of Manhattan, and the richness and intersectionality of our cultural institutions.”
Gwen Orel, culture editor: “I am thankful for the terrific library, that the town has such an irresistible bookstore and for all the people on my beat who keep life interesting.”
James Powell: Soo thankful that we’re not full of ourselves.
Gail Prusslin, vice president, board of trustees, Outpost in the Burbs: “I am thankful to live in a progressive-minded community where people support and care about human and civil rights, the environment, and the arts. We may be far from perfect, but I know that so many spend time working and volunteering to help make Montclair and the world a better place.”
Michelle Riccardelli: “All of the amazing restaurants! Such diversity of cuisine.”
Mia Riker-Norrie, general director and founder, Opera Theatre of Montclair: “I’m grateful that Montclair is a place that supports multiple nonprofit arts organizations.”
Erin Roll, reporter: “I’m thankful that Montclair has a well-stocked public library and two well-stocked indie bookstores.”
Robert Russo, councilman-at large: “We are so thankful in the Russo family to still have mom, Florence Russo, with us this year at 99 and a half going on 100 hundred next April. Best wishes to all those who help make this a Happy Thanksgiving in our unique and progressive town of Montclair, as we celebrate our 150th anniversary!”
Stefanie Sears, reporter: “I am thankful for Lacordaire Academy and Montclair State University. Montclair was my place of education for about 10 years and I wouldn’t have had it any other way! I’m also thankful for Studio Players!”
David A. Shaw, senior minister, Union Congregational Church: “I’m thankful for the Montclair Clergy Association- a group of religious leaders in our community who support one another both in spite of and because of our differences.”
Maya Stein and Amy Tingle, The Creativity Caravan: The leadership of its residents: Montclairians work hard to enrich and inform the community-at-large (Bike & Walk Montclair and See Gallery come to mind specifically). The town is a nest for important conversations: Montclairians do not shy away from engaging in healthy debate. Montclair is a wellspring of ingenuity and experimentation: We have loved being part of a community that encourages and celebrates creative action. A sense of being part of the global family: Montclairians recognize their part in both local and national issues, and mobilize quickly to “be a part of the change” they wish to see in the world.
Allison Task, “Ask Task:” I am thankful for the people I know at the places I go. I think of friendships that I’ve built at JavaLove — people like Bob Silver, Richie Fulco, Jill and Peter, Kayla and Monte, the omniscient Jon Bell…Obi Wan and Penny (yep, they are dogs). I am so very happy to see their faces, share more than a few words, and move on with our lives. Friendships and community are built on consistent unplanned meet ups. I love the people I’ve come to know in these places at these times.
Deborah Ann Tripoldi, editorial assistant: “I’m very thankful for my new friends and the new adventures I’m on. “U” all know who you are.”
Robin Woods, “Robin’s Nest:” “I am thankful that we chose the lower downtown area as our adopted home, where multicultural families are welcome and accepted. There are many interesting and wonderful people living near us, and I am able to walk to just about everywhere I need to go. Every day brings new experiences for me, from vegetarian friendly restaurants to great new local shops. Maybe I’ll finally unpack the six huge moving boxes that I’ve been storing in the closet.”
—compiled by Gwen Orel