Last night, we were suprised to hear the sound of jazz music coming through our front window, at first thinking our neighbor might be having a party, then realizing it was LIVE music from a concert going on in Watsessing Park. According to the Essex County website, it was the Carrie Jackson Quartet, performing as part of the 2008 Essex County Free SummerMusic Concert Series, which I only know because I Googled it this morning out of curiosity.
Last month’s Dionne Warwick concert in Brookdale Park, which I first heard about the night of while having dinner at Vinnie’s, was part of the same series and while I wouldn’t have attended that one, it was a little disappointing to find out about last night’s as it was happening because we would have probably shaken the Sandy Hook sand out of our Neat Sheet, grabbed a couple of chairs and walked over to check it out. I don’t recall seeing any promotion for the concert series in The Star-Ledger (which I pick up sporadically), or Bloomfield Life (which I pick up weekly), or Baristanet (which I check daily), or even a flyer stapled to a telephone pole somewhere between the Park and the train station, but maybe I just missed it?
Thanks to Baristanet, I did find out about the Honeybee Fest this past weekend in Montclair and we swung by on our way out to Alstede Farm to check it out as a result. A nice random diversion — the Honeybee Fest, that is; other than the nice weather, Alstede Farm was a bust, paling in comparison to Maskers and Lawrence Farm Orchards — we got a glimpse of Walnut Street and the Farmer’s Market (much bigger than Bloomfield’s effort), as well as random areas of Montclair and West Orange.
Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be much going on in Bloomfield beyond free movies at the Library, the weekly Cruise Night on Broad Street, and some random events at Piano’s that dominate the “events” section of Bloomfield Life. I took a walk through the Center after work one day last week, after grabbing a margarita and some chorizo at Señorita’s (yum!), and was left feeling a little depressed about the area. Though I’d seen it a dozen times, it hadn’t really registered that Heartbreakers was go-go club situated so prominently on Bloomfield Avenue, and that half the storefronts on Broad Street were either empty or occupied by businesses whose long-term prospects seem shaky at best.
The area closest to the train station is even worse, with the majority of storefronts empty and abandoned, leaving Steven Mohn Furniture and Señorita’s looking like random roses blooming in the middle of a ghost town.
The new comic book store, The Comic Book Market, on Washington looks nice but the first time I went in there I was extremely disappointed in their rather limited and somewhat random selection of books. That they close at 7pm doesn’t help much, either, and has delayed my decision to switch from Midtown Comics which is no longer convenient for me, despite my preference to support a local business.
I’ve been intrigued for a while now by the Multi-Media Arts Center, but despite plans to open in the Spring, their website still says “Coming Soon” and, walking or driving by, it’s a bit of a sore thumb on a broken hand at the moment.
Hopefully the latest development plan for the Center comes together quickly and is successful.
Outside of Bloomfield, there’s a couple of exciting events tonight and tomorrow, in Montclair and Newark, as two very talented friends of mine will be performing their work at Cha Ma Gu Dao (featured recently in NJ Monthly) and NJPAC, respectively. Rich Villar will be performing his excellent, thought-provoking and often humorous poetry at the former, while songstress Maya Azucena will be dazzling the outdoor crowd with a set at the latter. Both are highly recommended.