Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Boonton Projects

My mother has lived in Boonton N.J. for almost 60 years. When my family first moved there we shared a house with my aunt and uncle and two cousin, Stevie and Sheila. It was not a two family house. We all lived in this big old house together. Stevie and I were born two weeks apart. We thought we were twins until we were six years old when we came home from school and found out we were no longer living together-- ripped apart so to speak. But hat's another blob and a lot of therapy. The point is we lived in this nice little town, where people are friendly and live goes on without incident. I was visiting mom this weekend and she is pretty much the same but her companian has returned so I'm much better. Anyway, Today we went to the Boonton farmers market, which is at the top of main street, on plane street. This will only mean something to you if you watch the Soprano's. As we were walking through the four produce booths I started to sing the school song which goes:
“There is a banner in the sky of streaming red and black and under it all Boonton’s foes are gallantly turned back.”” All but David Chase, the creator HBO’s The Sopranos.

So I thought, David Chase what did you have against Boonton, N.J? Why do you pick on us?

When the Soprano’s premiered and Meadow had one of her two credit cards taken away she blamed her problems on “those bad kids from Boonton.” We all thought that was cute-- we were the bad kids from Boonton, all grown up and fine upstanding citizens. But for those of us who remain Boonton residents the finale took the wrong turn down memory lane. Jackie Jr. gets shot in the head in the Boonton Housing Projects. Hello!? Boonton … Housing Projects... these would be located right next to the farmers market but I don’t think so. There is one small public housing apartment building that is located next to a sweet old Baptist church, parallel to and one block removed from Main Street. It is hardly a dangerous teaming hotbed of crime.

Let me speak frankly Mr. Chase, as a former Boonton High School Bomber. Boonton is a really nice town. There is a long and curving one lane commercial thoroughfare (about one mile) with three traffic lights. This main street is lined with small antique stores, assorted restaurants, hardware stores a colorful old library, some funky and fine clothing shops, a number of crafts stores, a few pharmacies, and an historic movie theatre—one of three in the world where you walk in under the screen and have to turn around to see the picture. At one end of Main Street is the town hall, and the volunteer fire department,. At the other is a small park, where Santa greets the children every year, and a large park, called the Tourne, where people hike and climb. We have two small shopping malls, one with an upscale King’s supermarket, a terrific deli, and a great newspaper store. The other has a gourmet A&P, a great big video store and is, of course, very close to McDonalds.
There are a few elementary schools and one regional high school all small and situated so that no one in town has to take a bus to get there. There is the Reservoir Tavern, one of the great eating places in the metropolitan area and there are the people, blue collar, white collar, pink collar and no collar, Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Moslems, Irish, Polish, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Indian, Pakistani, and Chinese. A wonderful mix of cultures, colors and religions.
If you are looking for a Soprano kind of danger you are looking in the wrong place. The most danger you’ll find here is an occasional traffic delay caused by the elderly gentlemen from the fabulously beautiful incredibly manicured retired fireman’s home who, acting as elementary school crossing guard, may have a problem with a reluctant child.

My husband and I have worked and traveled all over the world—hundreds of cities, many countries we have both encountered places in which we did not feel secure but when we moved back to the NY area for a year we didn’t buy machine guns, dawn our bullet proof vests, purchase military gear or take our lives in our hands to move back to Boonton. We simply knew it would be a safe and happy place for our 10 year old daughter to reside. Which she did for a year and there were no violent episodes--except when some kid called her pig snot and she cried for hours.

So Mr. David Chase. I don't know what happened when you visited Boonton, all the way from your home in the upscale community of West Caldwell but maybe you ran into a Boonton Bomber (that would be a football player not a terrorist) and they pushed you around. Here's what I think, If someone didn’t do it when you were 16, we should have taken you past the projects that don't exist and driven you uptown, to the top of Main Street, and beat the tar out of you at the Boonton Diner or on a Saturday at the farmers market. The Boonton Projects indeed! We're just sayin...


Anonymous said...

Nice read, I'm also from Boonton and currently reside here.

Bomber Pride!!

Anonymous said...

I don't watch the Sopranos, but I live in Parsippany so I appreciate Boonton's unique character and charm. I often drive there to take long walks through its various neigborhoods, and Main Street just can't be beat.

Long live Boonton!

Anonymous said...

i live in b-town and all i got 2 say is, if u mess with the best die like the rest!!! BOMBERS RULE

Anonymous said...

You dont "know" about the mafia influence there because if you did it wouldnt be a secret anymore would it? You live in North Jersey, the families run EVERYTHING, get over it.

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temporary internet miami said...

aww I love this readying because you remind me when I was young...
I grew up there too

Anonymous said...

he should have said Newark, there is no shortage of
housing projects in Newark, all of them filled Heroin Crack and firearms, deadliest place in NJ.