As a 14 year resident and 2004 candidate for Montclair town council, I have had the opportunity to get a real education on this very historic and interesting town!
Simply, the "042" and "043" are north and south designations. The dividing line is Watchung Avenue. That's it. That is the primary difference.
Interesting note about Montclair and its train stations: it has more train stops than any other municipality in the world! But from South End to Montclair University, the distances from train stations can vary from across the street (in some cases in the back yard) to a mile or more. I live about 1 1/2 miles from the Bay Street Station at almost the southernmost end of Montclair, in the "042".
The schools? All children can go to all schools. We have a magnet system that allows you to choose where your child based on how she matches up with a particular school's curricular focus. This eliminates the unfair advantage that once existed here and still exists in 500+ other towns in this state. The quality of a child's education should not be limited by how much his parents can spend for a home in the same town.
Both sides of town have access to night life. Again, the advantage is neutral. In the "042" are Trumpets, Just Jakes and Tierney's, three of the places where there is plenty of live entertainment of different genres. There are also a few spots in the "043" but because of its aforementioned more residential nature (it was the later developed part of town), there are fewer clubs. But you don't have to limit yourself to Montclair anyway! I am a jazz musician, and have found a plethora of jazz clubs on this side of the Hudson within a 45 minute drive. In West Orange, for instance there is Cecil's where notable headliners show up rather often. In Newark you have The Priory, where you can get a great dinner and a show. Then, also in Newark, there is the NJ Performing Arts Center where there are some great shows going on. Call or Email me, and I will gladly share some links and such with you.
The perceived difference is the name given to the "043". It is called "Upper" Montclair, but there is no differene in schools, services, etc. The film "Analyze That" was shot in a home in the "042". The actor Frankie Faison maintains a home on the same street as I, a few blocks away.
I hope this helps... .
Realistically it will take you 45 minutes to get to Penn Station via NJ Transit. You have to connect in Secaucus or ride to Hoboken's PATH. The station that I typically take is on the Montclair St. Univ. campus. The station is pretty new and state of the art. School system is based on "magnet system" where you can choose the school based off desired curriculum.
NIGHTLIFE!!! Montclair has some goodies. I love sports bars and nothing better than Just Jakes. Watch your games during the day and listen to kick butt live cover bands at night.
Bottom line, Montclair is one of the nicest sections of NJ to raise a family. Of course there are others, but you can't go wrong here. Let us know when you are ready to start looking. We'll talk it through over a cold beer at Jakes and we will get you familiar with the area all in a day. Having young kids myself, we know the kid's hotspots.
The vast majority of NJ local governments are townships and boroughs. (Montclair uses the Township form). There are also a few towns and cities. There is only one village (the Village of Loch Arbour) located near Asbury Park.
Now, I understand the "marketing" of an area by calling it a "village". It sounds so quaint and romantic. However I think it can be confusing to new residents, so I prefer to keep marketing terminology to a minimum. There really is no distinction between 07042 and 07043 as far as choosing a home.
Now, what to do about South Orange, which refers to itself as the Village of South Orange Township... Or the Village of Ridgewood, which does not have a Village form of government...
Interestingly, despite the current soft market, Montclair median home values are up over last year. Days on market is still around 50 or slightly under, and the average home is selling close to its list price. This is definitely not the case in many other communities in northern NJ, where typically values are off 10% over the past year. Certain towns, like Westfield, Summit, and Montclair, are still holding, even increasing. That is not to say the trend will continue, but it does say something about the character of these markets.
Also, one point of clarification, there is no Village of Upper Montclair or even Town of Montclair. Montclair Twp is a single municipality.
The two zip codes in Montclair are 07042 for the town of Montclair (Bloomfield Avenue runs through the center) and then the village of Upper Montclair which is 07043 which has slightly more upscale shops e.g. Williams Sonoma and other boutique-style shops on Valley Road at Bellvue Avenue . Montclair is very diverse but very vintage all the same. It is difficult to find a "modern" style home in either of the two areas because that is the beauty of the area and why people gravitate towards this cultural township. It truly represents "Americana" at its best attracting movie sets - it is not uncommon to see lovely older homes being used as a location for a movie being made.. Bloomfield Avenue is the main road that runs east to west right through the center where you will find all of the usual shops plus the popular night spots including a comedy club and really unique restaurants offering just about every cuisine around. The pedestrian area known as Church Street is really neat in the warmer months where you can walk around the artsy shops and cafes and listen to live entertainment. As far as homes are concerned - I refer to the four quadrants that run perpendicular to Bloomfield Avenue--the Estate Section in the southwest corner with some of the highest priced homes on South Mountain Aves and Lloyd Road which offer spectacular views of the NY skyline. The Montclair Kimberly private school is located there. In the Northwest corner ,Upper Mountain Aves and Highland Aves offer equally comparable homes with the lower Valley Road area running straight out to Upper Montclair (This offers more affordable homes, many multifamily and commercial stores and businesses.) The Southeast quandrant is known as the South End which has its own little village and the homes are smaller and very affordable for Montclair. The Northeast section of Montclair has its own new identity called "WoHo" - (for Walnut Street) where there are quite a few trendy cafes, bakeries and the like that you might find in Soho/Greenwich village. This area offers more affordable homes bordering the lower road of Grove Street close to the Glen Ridge border - with a fair share of multifamily homes.
I have worked with many New Yorkers moving to Montclair. I can supply their references upon request if you would like to hear first hand of their opinions. If you still happen to work in New York City upon your move, there are five train stations where you can take the mid-town express right to Penn Station. This has been a major attraction for Montclair for the past three years making it one of the top destinations for transplanted New Yorkers. The school system is a "magnet" system where you can chooose the school your child would be better suited to whether it be more scientific, academic or the arts. I have information on the schools, the cultural facilities, and all the wonderful things Montclair has to offer. Please contact me if you would like to be alerted by e-mail every time a home in your criteria arrives on the market. It's a great way to monitor the market until you a ready to purchase a home. My New York customers really enjoyed the homes coming to them rather than searching for them on various internet sites.
Lisa, I hope you make the move - it's a great time to buy a home - you won't be sorry.
RE/MAX VILLAGE SQUARE
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043
Here's an excellent link for a discussion of the schools in Montclair and their philosophy:
As far as the 2 zip codes, they are not really all that distinct. 043 includes the more consistently residential "Upper Montclair" area, while "042" has the downtown area and shopping districts, as well as some fine neighborhoods North of Claremont Av and South of Bloomfield Av. Both zips have train stations within short distances. The only section of Montclair that is not very close to the train is the South End. That section also contains some of Montclair's more affordable homes, mostly smaller Colonials.
There are plenty of spectacular homes both in 043 and 042, especially on the West Side. If you want a real treat, drive down Upper Mountain Av. and North Mountain Av through both zip codes. This is the Estate Section which runs along the West side of Montclair, pretty much from top to bottom. Lots of real estate "eye candy". However, even forgetting the Estate Section, "normal" Montclair is a wonderful aggregate of really beautiful architecture. You can drive down pretty much any street and see something of interest. Many homeowners in Montclair have enlarged and remodelled. The result is some very large and exquisite renovations which combine early 1900's architecture with state-of-the-art home technology and efficiency.
If you would like, I can send you a sample pack of homes from each section of Montclair so that you can identify some particular areas to examine more closely. I can also supply some photographs of each section from some of the many homes that I have appraised there. You can e-mail me through my website or call me anytime! You will find that Montclair is a charming and bucolic town, certainly one of the most sought after in New Jersey.
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors