Column: ‘Wolf in White Van’ maneuvers through Montclair and environs

Sometimes topics hang around a while before becoming a column. A case in point is Sunday’s, in which I belatedly write about John Darnielle’s book “Wolf in White Van,” published in 2014, read in 2017 and finally a column in the back half of 2018. Still, from your standpoint I hope the delay doesn’t matter. “Wolf” is almost certainly the first major novel, and perhaps the only novel period, set in our very own Montclair.

If enough people read the book and respond, or simply respond to my posed questions about certain settings in the book, there will be a follow-up.

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Column: Shoppers’ memories of Broadway store live on

On Monday I compiled comments I’d solicited on Facebook about the old Broadway store into several usable paragraphs to have ready after Tuesday morning’s demolition ceremony for Wednesday’s column, due a couple of hours after I got into the office. But the ceremony proved lively enough that I didn’t have room for the previously prepared material.

So I set it aside to use in Friday’s column. Very little goes to waste here. I also have some Culture Corner items, an item about some upcoming appearances by yours truly (two of them this weekend) and a Valley Vignette. Above, a view of the store under construction from early 1968.

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Column: Former Broadway store falls to wrecking ball

Demolition was already underway, but a public ceremony Tuesday at Montclair Place to mark the end of the old Broadway department store involved a crane with a wrecking ball slamming into the facade. Fun! I was there to witness it and write about it for Wednesday’s column. Above, a view of the store from Central Avenue; below, the south side of the store as the wrecking ball swings.

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Riding herd in Montclair

Circa 1968, two 15-year-old pals in Montclair decided to play a little prank involving the Montclair Drive-In Dairy on San Bernardino Road and Central Avenue. They’d long admired the galloping cow figure on the sign. So one night Carl climbed up the pole sign and atop the cow, holding onto the horns like handlebars, while Bill Marino took a photo.

Marino, now 64, shared the photo with me recently when we met to talk about Debbie Reynolds’ appearance in 1970 at Montclair Plaza. I snapped a photo of his photo and he told me the story.

Carl’s “ride” on the cow didn’t last long.

“The neck went ‘chkkk.’ I said, ‘You better get down, Carl,'” Marino said. Carl did. And that was the last time they horsed around with the Montclair Dairy cow. (The cow and dairy, alas, were long ago put out to pasture.)

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Column: 55% raise for Montclair council OK’d 3-2

Usually I attend only one Montclair City Council meeting per year, but here I’ve gone to two in a row. At the first one, some council members reversed their decision on a 30 percent raise to return to the original proposal of 55 percent. Monday night they made it official — with two dissenters. I report out from the entertaining meeting in Wednesday’s column.

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