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