Monday, December 22, 2014

The End or the Beginning for Historic Preservation in Bloomfield?

This weekend, several of Bloomfield's most active Facebook pages lit up with the revelation that one of this town's oldest homes had been destroyed. Rich Rockwell, a  trustee of the Historical Society of Bloomfield, posted photos that elicited over 100 responses by shocked residents on several social media groups. Mayor Venezia noted that the action was done without notice or application for permits.

 The property at 43 Montgomery St.had been listed on the Multiple Listing Service earlier in the year for 250k, but attempts to show it to Bloomfield representatives interested in preserving it were discouraged. It was ultimately sold outside of the MLS for 212k.

Fines of $1,000/day are being assessed the new owner of the property, but the leveling if this potential landmark cannot be undone. However this was not the last potential landmark to be available for purchase and preservation. A much larger and better maintained historic home is still on the market in Brookdale. Located at 1694 Broad St., it is a stone's throw from the Clifton line which may explain why it was believed to have been occupied by such historic dynasties as the Van Houtens and Van Ripers.

Beginning in January, Bloomfield's Historic Review Board will have expanded powers to consider the landmarking of structures beyond the Historic District.. Residents who have visited historic homes such as Crane House in Montclair and Kingsland Manor in Nutley are well aware of the value of such homes as a hub for community education and pride,

It took the destruction of Penn Station in NYC to create a Landmarks Preservation Commission that ultimately kept Grand Central Station from the wrecking ball. Perhaps the outrage over 43 Montgomery will lead to more successful efforts in preserving and celebrating Bloomfield's history.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Watching Out for Your Neighborhood

At a recent town hall meeting hosted by our new Police Director which was taped by WBMA-TV, residents were given the opportunity to ask Director Sam DiMaio about changes planned for Bloomfield's Police Department. I asked him if any incidents from the department's weekly Police Blotter report were held back from the public, He stated that everything was included and revealed plans to add continuing comprehensive statistical updates to their public website in the near future(Many local stats can be found on the state police website. , but it requires scrolling through hundreds of NJ town stats.)

The issue of neighborhood watches was one of several issues raised by Maria Probst, Bloomfield Pulse Editor(photo). Since that initial meeting discussion threads on The Pulse and Citizens of Bloomfield Facebook groups have followed up on the idea by organizing several new neighborhood watch groups. Mike Lo has started a new Facebook crime watch group for the Halcyon Park area that is a good source of info for any interested neighborhood or block. Lo's FB site also has dates of many planned crimewatch meetings with the BPD throughout December.
A former lifelong resident,Vinnie Mossucco Esposito, posted this recollection of how neighborhood watches have worked in the past:
 " I lived in Bloomfield for 50+ years. In all those years we always had a neighborhood watch with a monthly meeting. We alternated homes for the monthly meetings. A PO would attend the monthly meetings. It was not only informative but it brought a sense of closeness and bonding between the neighbors. We all looked out for each other. The PO would ask us questions as we asked him many questions. He would advise us on safety, crime, do's and don't's along with giving us lessons in self defense. Our street was patrolled day and night. 
I'm a bit puzzled as to why some people seem to think this neighborhood watch is something new? Every town has a neighborhood watch. It's been in Blfd, like I said for over 50+ years I lived there. The biggest problem home owners and renters face is not having outside lights on from dusk to dawn. 
Also a (inside) light in your front window and never keep high bushes or trees covering your front windows. And never pull shades down, keeping your home in total darkness day and night. It appears you're not at home. Our street was lit up like Christmas all year round due to outdoor lights both front and back. And we knew every single neighbor and their kids. The best thing you can do instead of dividing the town between north/middle/south when it's ONE town only is get involved and make sure you become members of your neighborhood watch program and you'll begin to see more police patrolling your streets. Ban together instead of fighting which side of town is better then the other. It gets you no where fast!!! You're all ONE and ONE for ALL." 

Monday, October 27, 2014

On Overcoming What My Be the Last Hurdle to Scientific Glass Purchase

Our guest comments are by former BOE President Mary Shaunessy:
Great news about the Scientific Glass site in the mayor's announcement below, but we can't forget that the effort to save this, our last substantial piece of open space, was started in 2001 by a small group of determined citizens who formed the Third River Bank Association. Led with unwavering strength by now Councilman Nick Joanow, the group--dubbed "the river rats" and crackpots by its detractors, distributed thousands of pamplets, held multiple fundraisers to hire technical experts (this was crucial to our success), penned scores of letters and editorials, held informational seminars with environmental leaders from across the state, and took multiple trips to Trenton to plead the case in front of the DEP. (Please see link to the Third River Bank blog below, created and sustained by Susan Hebert and Geoff Gove). 

Other steadfast sources of inspiration and support: Senator Ronald Rice, who helped us when our local politicians ridiculed us, Rutgers Environmental Law Clinic and Greg Remaud, of New York/New Jersey Baykeepers, who not only lent moral support to keep us going, but provided financial and expert resources to acquire nearly six acres of land. Several of the BTRA founding members who worked so hard to keep the fight going have passed, notably Larry Kramer and Anne Delker. They would have been so proud to see the completion of their efforts, which finally came to fruition with a council majority who finally understood the importance of saving this environmentally sensitive land. A dozen or so really committed people with common dreams can make a difference. 
I'm encouraged to see other Bloomfield groups taking on the charge for other worthwhile causes. Herewith the old BTRA blog:

Monday, September 15, 2014

New Green Space for the Third Ward?

With the purchase of Heartbreakers, our new Mayor and Town Council have demonstrated a willingness to take dramatic steps to transform problematic properties into assets for this township.

It was followed soon after by a creative 30 year bond proposal to purchase the former Scientific Glass site for use as active and passive recreation space. Councilmen Lopez and Bernard justified their dissents on the Liongate site, in part, by comments that stoked up a south end vs north end debate on Facebook forums. Updated reports on contamination at Felton Field have also fueled the debates on the need for more usable open space in the Third Ward.

Most recently, Clinton residents of Watsessing Heights have begun a movement to turn a blighted property located off Clinton St. into potential green space. Tonight"s Town Council meeting has reportedly added the possibility of purchasing the site for discussion in Closed Session. Also on the town's wish list are historical landmarks that have recently come onto the residential real estate market such as this one on the Clifton border.,

Sunday, June 15, 2014


The best thing you can say about Heart-Breakers GoGo is that it has a catchy name and is centrally located.  It never had an especially great reputation -- even among strip club devotees. After years of late night disturbances. both inside and outside, the x-rated night club, the town recently shut down the club and sold off their liquor license. Now the council has decided to make sure another after hours club doesn't replace Heart-Breakers by buying the club outright.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

New Forum in Brookdale on Energy Aggregaation Issue

Energy Aggregation & What it Means for You
-- at Councilman Joanow's May Town Hall Meeting Wednesday May 21 at 7:30 PM in IHOP at 1129 Broad St. in Bloomfield

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

The Ins and Outs of Bloomfield's Facebook Groups

Bloomfield can now claim the distinction of having the most Facebook groups of any New Jersey town. Some are more active than others. "Closed"  groups require you to join them in order to read posts.

This is still a work in progress, so links need to be copied and pasted. Let us know of any we've left out.  Citizens of Bloomfield 1936 members 295  512 open closed  150 Halcyon 127 closed 4329
(Residents of Bloomfield NJ) 24 pba 5,098 nj chat 84 closed 112 closed 16 closed closed Save Bloomfield Now page HAAL page 769  257 page 1408 page 6908 1055