Parents Just Don’t Understand

From the Star Ledger:

Parents willing to give grown kids a break in Northeast

Parents of grown children in New Jersey – as well as the rest of the Northeast – tend to be more lenient when it comes to letting their college graduates live at home, according to a new survey by Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

The Coldwell Banker poll of more than 2,000 people found most respondents said four years after college was too long for offspring to be living at home. But in the Northeast, five years was the breaking point.

Northeasterners were more lenient in other ways.

About 23 percent of Northeasterners said there is no time limit for how long grown children can live at home, compared with 17 percent of Southerners.

In the West, 15 percent said young adults should never live at home, while only 9 percent of Northeasterners held the same opinion.

“In terms of transitioning into independent adulthood, it’s almost as if 27 is the new 18,” psychotherapist Robi Ludwig, lifestyle correspondent for Madison-based Coldwell Banker Real Estate, said in the report. “Living at home can be a great opportunity for young adults who need some time to get on their feet, but it’s only beneficial if the time is used wisely. Our 20s are a very crucial time because the decisions we make and the lessons we learn then influence who we become as adults.”

A recent Pew report found that 36 percent of young adults between 18 and 31 were living in their parents’ homes – the highest share in four decades and up markedly from before the recession.

This entry was posted in Demographics, Economics, Employment, National Real Estate. Bookmark the permalink.

109 Responses to Parents Just Don’t Understand

  1. Fast Eddie says:

    A recent Pew report found that 36 percent of young adults between 18 and 31 were living in their parents’ homes – the highest share in four decades and up markedly from before the recession.

    Mother do you think they’ll drop the bomb
    Mother do you think they’ll like the song
    Mother do you think they’ll try to break my balls
    Ooooh aah, Mother should I build a wall
    Mother should I run for president
    Mother should I trust the government
    Mother will they put me in the firing line
    Ooooh aah, is it just a waste of time
    Hush now baby, baby don’t you cry
    Mama’s gonna make all of your
    Nightmares come true
    Mama’s gonna put all of her fears into you
    Mama’s gonna keep you right here
    Under her wing
    She won’t let you fly but she might let you sing
    Mama will keep baby cosy and warm
    Ooooh Babe Ooooh Babe Ooooh Babe
    Of course Mama’s gonna help build the wall

    Mother do think she’s good enough for me
    Mother do think she’s dangerous to me
    Mother will she tear your little boy apart
    Oooh aah, mother will she break my heart
    Hush now baby, baby don’t you cry
    Mama’s gonna check out all your girl friends for you
    Mama won’t let anyone dirty get through
    Mama’s gonna wait up till you get in
    Mama will always find out where
    You’ve been
    Mamma’s gonna keep baby healthy and clean
    Ooooh Babe Ooooh Babe Ooooh Babe
    You’ll always be a baby to me
    Mother, did it need to be so high.

  2. grim says:

    Why does it take 500 pages to say this? Because buried in the 500 pages are numerous loopholes that will never be discovered until much after this legislation has been put into effect.

    From Bloomberg:

    Softer U.S. Mortgage Rule Said to Be Proposed at End of August

    A new version of a rule requiring lenders to keep a stake in risky mortgages that they securitize will be proposed by U.S. regulators in the last week of August, according to two people familiar with the matter.

    The 500-page draft regulation written by a panel of six agencies will replace a more stringent proposal for the Qualified Residential Mortgage rule, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plan isn’t public. The first version drew protests from housing industry participants and consumer groups when it was released in 2011.

    The plan will require banks to retain a slice of mortgages when borrowers are spending more than 43 percent of their monthly income on all of their debt. The earlier version would have required banks to keep a stake in loans when borrowers were spending more than 36 percent of their income on all loan payments and in loans with a down payment of less than 20 percent. The rule will carve out mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, one of the people said.

  3. Juice Box says:

    Stay at home son. I know a few.

  4. grim says:

    This must be why the Northeast is so wealthy, so prestigious, and so f@cking beautiful.

    (I hear the BC Unicorn Herds thrive in these areas, something abou feeding on gold stars, soccer trophies, and coddling.)

  5. grim says:

    Somewhat disturbing news this morning, especially for Bergen County residents (that still live at home with their parents, and probably drive a BMW), its been discovered that the very tasty Fruit Stripe gum is actually Unicorn Bacon. Sorry to destroy your world view so early this morning, not that you are awake to see it yet. Get a f*cking job and move out you lazy shit.

  6. Fast Eddie says:

    its been discovered that the very tasty Fruit Stripe gum is actually Unicorn Bacon.

    LOL! :)

  7. Comrade Nom Deplume at the beach says:

    [5] grim

    But that would mean that unicorns fall into the genus sus and not equus?

  8. Is it too early to put on Pink Floyd and start cleaning my guns?

  9. grim says:

    From CNBC:

    Mortgage apps defy rate dip, hit lowest in more than a month

    pplications for U.S. home loans fell last week to their lowest level in more than a month despite a slight decline in interest rates, data from an industry group showed on Wednesday.

    The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, slipped 4.7 percent in the week ended Aug 9. That was the largest decline since the week ending June 28.

    The gauge of loan requests for home purchases, a leading indicator of home sales, fell 5.4 percent, resuming a downward trend that was interrupted with a slight rise the prior week.

    A five-basis-point dip in 30-year mortgage rates to 4.56 percent was not enough to lure potential buyers into the market. While the rate was the lowest since the week ending June 21, it was still well above the year’s low of 3.61 percent.

  10. Fabius Maximus says:

    #29 (previous thread) AG

    “This blog is racist. I’m offended.”

    You will always hold the distinction for the most racist comment on this blog.

  11. grim says:


    I tend to agree, most of the corporate booking tools I’ve used have been downright archaic, having more in common with a circa 90s website than any of the common travel apps. Even worse, I can routinely find more convenient routes and schedules at lower fares outside of these tools, and save the booking surcharges too.

    Sorry Concur – you guys are outdated, get with the times or go away. Your non-compliant outrage has more to do with protecting your back-end booking commissions than providing a useful alternative. Maybe if you really try hard to scare finance into thinking they’ll lose money if employees book some other way.

    I’ve used one in particular, which is provided by a well known internet travel provider, and 100% of the time I can find a better fare option on the public site, that I can’t in the corporate tool version. I’m sure this has to do with business rules that were setup regarding preferred carriers, minimum/maximum stays, etc etc. The one that always ticked me off was it wouldn’t display the higher fare options, which almost always coincided with end-of-day travel, but the problem was it left you with the only other option being an additional overnight stay, which almost always cost more than just taking the higher priced flight, and then you lose half the next business day traveling. Way to go guys. Second to this was booking on preferential carriers even though your home airport wasn’t even remotely a hub for that carrier. Don’t force Southwest to be your preferential carrier when a huge segment of your employee base is in the Northeast, two intermediate stops and a 11 hour total trip time to save $150?????

  12. Brian says:

    11 – I once sat at table once during a board dinner where two directors…one of sales, the other of compliance….discussed this very thing. One of the reasons given that systems like that exist, is because people were caught submitting for reimbursement for hotel stays or plane flights they never took. They would book them, (at a higher rate), then cancel them, and find a cheaper option, submit the higher bill for reimbursement, and pocket the difference.

  13. 1987 Condo says:

    #11 Concur…I “concur”…I use the other tools to find my route than see if it is on Concur, if not, we have the option to call and make alternates…

  14. anon (the good one) says:

    apple back to 700 in a few more weeks.

  15. anon (the good one) says:

    @chrislhayes: Comprehensive survey of DA’s across the country finds 10 (ten!) prosecutions of voter impersonation fraud since 2000

  16. Comrade Nom Deplume at the beach says:

    [15] anon,

    Do you really think that governments in places where it occurs most have any interest in prosecuting it? Hell, in Philly, they encourage it.

  17. Painhrtz - Disobey! says:

    Nom I don’t even respond anymore, need ID to buy cigarettes and booze but for the most important function of our republic a verbal confirmation is just fine.

    Regarding the article high cost of living, parents who come from immigrant back grounds and are used to multi generation households, parents who themselves may have done it. There are a lot of factors why this occurs in the northeast as opposed to the rest of the country. Plus if mom and dad live in a nice suburb and all your friends are there why woudl you want to go live in a rat hole apartment with 4 roomates you can’t stand.

  18. Anon E. Moose says:

    Brian [12];

    Seems to me that reimbursement shenanigans wouldn’t be a problem if the company just paid for the travel directly. The problem mentioned is self-inflicted because the companies are so cheap to push their cash flow travel advance expenses onto their employees’ credit cards.

  19. chicagofinance says:

    Unicorn Placenta Harvest Bacon

  20. chicagofinance says:

    Unicorn Placenta Harvest Bacon Capsules…..

  21. Juice Box says:

    Primary turnout was very low yesterday. Booker is a shoe in for the Dems, Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

  22. Brian says:

    22 – What exactly did he do for Newark again?

  23. Comrade Nom Deplume, drinking at the beach and posting right now says:

    We really needed a study to tell us this????????–studies-find-214456020.html

    BTW, they also single out Pious, er, Prius owners. Fabius, you listening?

  24. Juice Box says:

    re: #23 – He did shine the national spotlight on Newark and got paid handsomely for it, remember the feud with Conan O’Brien? I think his speaking fees went up after that spat.

    He also was appointed by Gov Christie to fix the Newark schools. (reform). Per Christie he put Booker statutorally is in charge of the Newark schools. That went well right? Scores up? Graduation rate up?

    Booker is the Peter’s principle in action, promoted up because he can speak well. Don’t look at his work product however. In his victory speech last night he is promising to work on marriage equality down in DC, and well as child poverty. I There is no mention of previously discussed topics here like parenting and birth control, that is too taboo in Newark.

  25. Comrade Nom Deplume, drinking at the beach and posting right now says:

    [24] redux

    Actually, I wish I was back in Pennsy right now so I could take my 12 gauge and do something about the car alarm up the street that keeps going off. I wonder if it’s a Beemer? Sounds like one.

  26. clotluva says:

    Joyce, from yesterday’s thread-

    Are you talking cronyism on the Federal or local levels? I think the dynamics of the two are completely different.

    On the Federal level, companies like GE, Boeing, and Westinghouse receive special treatment for a couple of reasons. (1) The government does not want to be forced to buy key technology from foriegn companies and lose important competencies (technology and innovation independence being analogous to energy independence). (2) To the extent that these companies have foriegn competition (i.e. Seimens, Airbus, Areva) that is being subsidized by other governments in various forms, it is in the US’s interest to help the US domeciled corps do whatever is necessary to compete on a global level. It all boils down to a relationship based on the mutual need for self-preservation. But to my previous point, I’d argue that these circles (both in govt and corps) are becoming more dynamic and more of a meritocracy. No one cares about your pedigree. If you can’t do the job, you are someone’s liability. (And if your definition of cronyism is “cozying up to the govt”, for better or worse the gov makes the rules, and success comes easier working with them than against them.)

    On a local level, if someone on the town council is known for giving no-bid multi-million dollar paving jobs to his brother-in-law, the issue is typically a lack of due process and transparency. Better by-laws, along with large doses of scrutiny and public scorn, can be effective. If the gov official happens to be truly sociopathic and immune to feeling shame (and powerful enough to remain entrenched), then perhaps it’s time to decide to either sharpen the pitchforks or head to greener pastures.

    Just my perspective.

    189.joyce says:

    August 13, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Not trying to nitpick. Maybe it is dying, but the corporate/govt crony network in all industries is doing nothing but picking up steam.

    clotluva says:
    August 13, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    My perspective is that the “good ol’ boy” networks are dying…

  27. clotluva says:

    Also from yesterday – thanks Libtart and Chifi for the Hawaii recommendations.

  28. joyce says:


    I disagree with most of your post, but c’est la vie. I posted this last week I think; NJ picked a $4.7 million bid (rather than $2.5M) for it’s jersey shore restore ads.

  29. Painhrtz - Disobey! says:

    Nom what is the difference between a BMW and a Porcupine. A porcupine has the pricks on the outside.

  30. grim says:

    Thought Booker was Newark’s resident super hero. Not a week goes by that he doesn’t wrestle down a mugger, single handedly put out a fire (and save the widow in the 8th floor walk up apartment before hand, stop a car jacker, fix a traffic light, solve world hunger, rescue at least a dozen cats from trees and a freezing dog named Cha Cha, etc.

  31. veronason says:

    Hi to all-long time lurker here

    I am interested in buying an estate sale. They do not provide a seller’s disclosure. When is advisable to arrange an inspection?

    1. Before making an offer?
    2. During attorney review?
    3. During contract?

    The house has gas but it’s an old one so I don’t exclude there might be a tank somewhere around. I like the house and seems in a good shape. Thanks!!

  32. Juice Box says:

    re# 31- 30,000 tweets is impressive especially tweeting while shoveling snow, and there is nothing wrong with combining politics and personal charisma to make a job out of speaking on the lecture circuit. The problem with Mayor Booker is that he already had a full time job to run the city of Newark and not tour the nation while he was mayor. heck after Gov Christie personally put him in charge of Newark Schools you would think he wouldn’t have time to even take a coffee break.

    If Booker wins and make it to the US Senate, he will have to cut back on his PAID speaking. Congress is not permitted to earn more than 15% of their salaries in “outside earned income.” Congressional rules recognize that serving is a full time.

    I am sure he will work well down in DC on marriage equality and child poverty, but anything that is a serious issue like cutting spending? Nah he will toe toe party line.

  33. clotluva says:

    29 – Joyce

    I’m not familiar with the specific shore restore issue, but if in fact the two bids were deemed equivalent, then it would seem as though there was an issue with due process, transparency, etc. (I’d add accountability into the mix), consistent with my perspective on local cronyism. A lot of time for “one-off” construction projects, the owner’s reps don’t even know what it is they are asking for when they put the bid out. So when the bids come in, they are comparing apples to oranges.

    What about my post do you not agree with? I’m interested in your particular perspective, if you’re willing to share.

    joyce says:

    August 14, 2013 at 9:49 am


    I disagree with most of your post, but c’est la vie.

  34. Fabius Maximus says:

    #17 Brian

    Start fracking beside the Ramapo fault line, that’s a great idea. But what’s a few earthquakes when there is cheap gas to be had. Right Chi?

  35. joyce says:

    Perhaps later I can get into more detail… in a nutshell, I disagree with your conclusions. At the federal level, I think the corruption/cronyism has little (or nothing) to do with key technologies and foreign vs domestic. Most of the gigantic companies are multi-national anyways. “They’ll work with democracies, dictators… doesn’t matter.” Plus, what about all the money spent in Wash DC regarding Finance, Healthcare, and on and on which has nothing to do with key technology.

    Regarding helping domestic firms compete with foreign subsized firms, (again the multi-nationals have no home) this is simply not true for each industry for each company. It comes down to who you know, like everything in life it seems.

    Locally, you said “issue with due process, transparency, etc. (I’d add accountability into the mix” … if that’s not corruption/cronyism, then what is?

  36. Anon E. Moose says:

    Brian [22];

    Kept the inhabitants from revolting. The occasional rescue from a burning building or two, a little distraction tailwind help from the Whitney Houston funeral. To me Booker doesn’t seem such a bad guy, I know where he is at politically, but I might call him a ‘worthy adversary’. However, as his hostage video shows, he’s unwilling to take the punishment for straying off the leftist reservation.

  37. anon (the good one) says:

    @ScottBix: Among the 254 counties where food stamp recipients doubled between 2007 and 2011, Mitt Romney won 213 of them

  38. joyce says:

    Arlington, Texas — A family with a passion for gardening and conscious living was raided by the Arlington SWAT team early Friday morning. All 8 adults present in the house were initially handcuffed at the gunpoint of heavily armed SWAT officers, including the mother of a 22 month old and a two week old baby who was separated from her children during the raid.

    Here is the press release: At around seven thirty last Friday morning, inhabitants of The Garden of Eden, a small community based on Sustainability, were awakened by a SWAT raid conducted by the City of Arlington for suspicion of being a full fledged marijuana growth and trafficking operation. Ultimately only a single arrest was made based on unrelated outstanding traffic violations, a handful of citations were given for city code violations, and zero drug related violations were found.

    The entire operation lasted about 10 hours and involved many dozens of city officials, SWAT team, police officers and code compliance employees, and numerous official vehicles including dozens of police cars and several specialized vehicular equipment that was involved in the “abatement” operation. Witnesses say that there were helicopters and unmanned flying drones circling the property in the days prior to the raid that are presumed to have been a part of the intelligence gathering. The combined expenses for the raid itself and the collection of information leading up to the fruitless raid are estimated in the tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

    Ms. Smith says “the City codes are in violation of our natural and Constitutional rights to live freely while causing damage to no one, and since there is no damaged party, there has been no crime committed on our part.”

    I say they deserved it.

  39. Dan in debt says:


    Don’t you worry about Cory. He’ll be compensated by the likes of Carl Icahn subtly hinting to him to buy AAPL Aug $480 calls right before he tweets out he bouught a ton of Apple shares. Remember, Congress still doesn’t have to disclose their stock trades and that sure isn’t limited to 15%.

  40. Brian says:

    Hey, they’re calling the shale deposits the “Newark Basin”. Cory Booker shoud be fracking in Newark. Think of all the jobs he could create!

    35.Fabius Maximus says:
    August 14, 2013 at 10:37 am
    #17 Brian

    Start fracking beside the Ramapo fault line, that’s a great idea. But what’s a few earthquakes when there is cheap gas to be had. Right Chi?

  41. Brian says:

    39 – dirty hippies.

  42. Painhrtz - Disobey! says:

    Joyce well obviously they need teh to justify the full cost of their swat team. Notice they never do these sorts of things at real drug dealers place of operations, because they may actually get shot at there.

  43. grim says:

    1. Before making an offer?

    No, this would be a complete waste of the $500-700 you might pay for an inspection. Besides, many inspectors won’t do this, since technically you have no right to be on the property. The only time I might recommend this, is before entering into a deal that has to potential to be a long, drawn out, short sale. In which case, blowing up 500 bucks to find a problem that kills the deal is a really cheap price to pay.

    2. During attorney review?

    Perhaps, but you might run into timing issues. Nobody is going to hold up attorney review for your inspection, especially if it’s going to take a week between scheduling, conducting the inspection, and then providing the report.

    3. During contract?

    This is where it will typically happen. Every house is as-is, should the inspection uncover material problems with the property that the seller is unwilling to cure, the buyer can cancel. Many look at this as a univeral “out” for a buyer, usually because every inspection will find enough defects and problems such that the buyer can request everything be “cured” prior to closing, but it isn’t always.

  44. Anon E. Moose says:

    anon [38];

    The point being Obama is making his political opponents’ constituency into powerless, penniless beggars — they’re easier to keep under your thumb. His ruling-class constituency is doing just fine…

  45. veronason says:

    thanks grim!

  46. clotluva says:

    Re 36. Joyce

    Thanks. Do you fault insurance companies, healthcare providers, and financial concerns from promoting their self-interest on the Hill? Do you fault the staffers for representing the best interest of their Members? Do you think it is in a company’s or member’s best interest to employ an incompetent person, based on their pedigree? Do you expect individuals and organizations to sacrafice their own self-interest without stimulation for the “public good”? I’m definitely not saying there isn’t any corruption or waste, but if there is a constituency with a unified agenda that is not being represented, then our laws permit those constituents to organize and advocate. And I’ve seen very small public interest groups be highly effective in derailing corporate agendas. I’m still amazed that no one stepped up to effectively lead Occupy Wall Street.

    And as an aside, U.S. domiciled companies will work with democracies or dictators only as long as the U.S. govt will allow them to (see

    In the end, I don’t think it is who you know, but who you represent, and how effectively you do it, that counts.

  47. nwnj says:

    #46 Once again anon proves he’s uncapable of anything but parroting a twitter feed. The story her is that that food stamps usage DOUBLED in 254 counties under Obama’s watch. I woudn’t expect those areas to favor a re-election.

  48. chicagofinance says:

    I know. Booker really appears to be a done nothing… empty suit….

    Brian says:
    August 14, 2013 at 9:24 am
    22 – What exactly did he do for Newark again?

  49. Brian says:

    Can I write in clotpoll?

    50.chicagofinance says:
    August 14, 2013 at 12:34 pm
    I know. Booker really appears to be a done nothing… empty suit….

    Brian says:
    August 14, 2013 at 9:24 am
    22 – What exactly did he do for Newark again?

  50. chicagofinance says:

    I disagree on the Peter Principle charge… is really an issue of delivering results. Of which he has done little if anything…..

  51. chicagofinance says:

    I know people here do not really appreciate Christie, but he did a good job marshaling resources for NJ after Sandy…..give him credit for that reality…..

  52. Brian says:

    For me, this senate race is down to either writing in NJweedman or Clotpoll.

  53. Painhrtz - Disobey! says:

    A vote for scrapple is a vote for anarchy, vote Clot 2013!

  54. Brian says:

    Yeah I mean, you don’t see very many anarchists on the ballot these days. What’s up with that?

  55. Libtard in Union says:

    I heard people talking about scrapple over breakfast. Then they smartly decided on the corn beef hash.

  56. grim says:

    Booker put $50 million of the Facebook $100m donation towards the teachers contract to pay for $12,500 annual performance bonuses for “highly effective” Newark Teachers.

  57. anon (the good one) says:

    attacking your own people is a no-no. but I’m on the army’s side on this one.

    @BreakingNews: Egypt’s stock exchange, banks to close on Thursday following violence, official says – @Reuters

  58. Brian says:

    No sign of a New Jersey housing bubble, according to report

  59. I cede all my support to- and fully endorse- njweedman.

  60. joyce says:

    I think our differences are mainly semantics. I’ll try to hit each of your questions:

    -Yes, I fault the people who use the blunt force of govt for their personal financial gain. And of course this goes for both sides of the table during the bribery negotiations.
    -Does Members mean members of congress/govt? If yes, absolutely.
    -It’s not in a company’s stakeholders best interest to employ someone other than the best available candidate. However, it is in the best interest of the person getting the job so if they can tap their connections (friend, family, etc) why wouldn’t they? Ask many regulars here, they can tell some stories of incompetent people working in medium and large organizations. For lower, middle, and some higher level positions, there are several candidates who can do the job and do it well enough to not F things up. So if you hire your friends nephew over the most qualified candidate… it won’t blow up in your face.
    -No I don’t fault people for seeking what’s in their best interests. However, they should be able to force others to pay for their product or pay higher prices than they would have to. But this series of questions and the next statement about organizing a constituency makes it seem like you have no problem with someone robbing someone else as long as it’s facilited by an intermediary known as the govt.
    -For the last comment regarding the govt letting or not letting companies operate abroad, the special interests own the govt see examples like the pretend free trade agreements.

    clotluva says:
    August 14, 2013 at 11:52 am
    Re 36. Joyce

    Thanks. Do you fault insurance companies, healthcare providers, and financial concerns from promoting their self-interest on the Hill? Do you fault the staffers for representing the best interest of their Members? Do you think it is in a company’s or member’s best interest to employ an incompetent person, based on their pedigree? Do you expect individuals and organizations to sacrafice their own self-interest without stimulation for the “public good”? I’m definitely not saying there isn’t any corruption or waste, but if there is a constituency with a unified agenda that is not being represented, then our laws permit those constituents to organize and advocate. And I’ve seen very small public interest groups be highly effective in derailing corporate agendas. I’m still amazed that no one stepped up to effectively lead Occupy Wall Street.

    And as an aside, U.S. domiciled companies will work with democracies or dictators only as long as the U.S. govt will allow them to (see

    In the end, I don’t think it is who you know, but who you represent, and how effectively you do it, that counts.

  61. Anon E. Moose says:

    Whatever anyone’s reasons for being for/against Chris Christie, the whole post-Sandy Obama tour is an absolute red herring to me. State and Federal executives routinely tour areas damaged by natural disasters, to get a personal view of the scope of devastation (and for the photo ops). Obama and the Feds were dispensing the money; CC’s state of NJ needed it. Christie played according to socio-political norms and niceties by not sticking his thumb in the eye of the executive whose help was due and warranted, but also needed.

    Compare to Booker’s comments that demonizing investment companies like Bain Capital might not be such a great idea — especially in a state where many of those investment capital types live and Booker aspires to higher statewide office. Except the Obama camp will tolerate no variance from the official party line; and Booker quickly heeled to when called on the carpet.

  62. joyce says:

    “However, they should NOT be able to force others to …”

  63. NJGator says:

    Yesterday’s Grim as racist discussion made me recall this article written about Montclair several years ago…much of it still true.

    Integration Anxiety: Montclair, N.J., has embraced racial diversity like no other town in America. But race, it turns out, is never a black-and-white issue.
    By Lise Funderburg

    The New York Times Magazine
    November 7, 1999

    How many of you who are white think about being white all the time?” asks Michelle Fine, speaking to a racially integrated class of seventh graders last spring at Renaissance Middle School in Montclair, N.J. Fine, a white woman and Montclair resident, is a nationally regarded social psychologist who specializes in education issues. Today she’s wrapping up an oral history course she has volunteered to teach along with the school’s principal, Bernadette Anand.

    For nine weeks, these students have considered nothing less than the meaning of race in Montclair as they have documented the town’s 40-year history of school desegregation. They have interviewed residents, reviewed court cases, read mountains of newspaper clippings and watched segments of the civil rights documentary “Eyes on the Prize.” Yet none of these students connect to feeling white, and Fine’s question is met with silence. She tries a different tack.

    “White kids, when you go into a store, do you feel like you are white?”

    Dust particles drift into the rays of light spilling through the classroom’s tall, arched windows. Students look down at their desks and stare into space. Finally, Kendra Urdang, a white girl with a South African mother and a Canadian father, answers yes, sometimes, when she’s in a store filled with black people. No one else speaks. Fine tries again.

    “Kids who are African-American,” she says, “when you go into a store, are you reminded about being black?”

    Suddenly, several students leap from their chairs, clamoring to give examples of local stores where they have been followed, searched, accused of stealing, asked to leave. Daryl Shelton, a serious-faced 12-year-old, names a toy shop in town, and three other black students nod their heads vigorously, “mm-hmming” in recognition.

    “I was with him, right?” Daryl begins, pointing to his best friend in school, a tall white boy named Kyle O’Donnell. Kyle’s mother was giving Daryl a ride home when she stopped for an errand. All the kids piled out of the car. “His younger sister went into this store,” Daryl says. “Then when I try to go in, I can’t. They always bring up, ‘You have to be 18 or older.”‘
    In most cities and towns across the country, Daryl’s tale of being singled out because he’s black would be regarded as sad but not surprising. But this is Montclair, a suburban enclave 12 miles west of New York City that is renowned for being racially and socioeconomically integrated, for welcoming everyone who is willing to mow their lawns and pay their taxes. That reputation has attracted blacks and whites — including the presidential hopeful Bill Bradley — who have chosen not to default into more common patterns of racial segregation. In most of the country’s metropolitan areas, 79 percent of whites and 33 percent of blacks live exclusively among members of their own racial groups: they borrow sugar from people who would check the same box on a census form or file in the same tax bracket.

    All Americans are going to have to face integration sooner or later, whether they want to or not. Although in the 1990 United States census, whites made up 84 percent of the population, some demographers now project that this figure will drop to 50 percent in the next half-century. People can retreat to only so many gated communities, themed dorms and homogenous executive lounges.

    For more than a century, Montclair residents have struggled to live the integrated life. When newcomers buy houses, they often assume that they have put a down payment on diversity. Yet once you get past the Kumbaya hype, self-congratulatory civic boosterism and media accolades, stories like Daryl’s appear with disturbing frequency. Montclair’s experience, then, holds lessons for the rest of the nation. Diversity is still a concept very much under construction here.

    No one has defined what constitutes a truly integrated community. But Montclair (pop. 36,313) is a serious contender. In a landmark study published last year, researchers for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) identified some of the characteristics that undergird a “successful, stable, racially and ethnically diverse” neighborhood. Montclair fits HUD’s criteria; it has, among other things, a mixed racial balance since at least 1980 and the willingness of residents to identify their community as diverse.

    During the last 30 years, while other communities became all black or all white as industrial decline, white flight and gentrification took their toll, Montclair has remained roughly 30 percent black and 65 percent white. A varied housing stock has helped preserve its socioeconomic mix. Home prices may average $334,000, but rambling Victorians with sprawling lawns often stand a stone’s throw from apartment buildings and tiny clapboard homes where more than 2,200 people live below the poverty line. And while most of the town’s poor are black, many of its middle- and upper-class residents are black as well.

    Like many of the towns and neighborhoods in the HUD study, Montclair is older and physically attractive and has more than its share of amenities. It has a nationally recognized art museum, four movie houses, six theaters, four bookstores, 48 religious congregations, 154 acres of parkland, Montclair State University and a heavenly fried porgy sandwich made to order at the Fin and Feather. And while it’s a point of civic pride — and of tax-revenue woe — that Montclair has no mall, it does have five shopping districts, a Gap and two Starbucks.

    Culture, food and lattes may boost the community’s appeal, particularly to integration-tolerant ex-urbanites (and a stunning number of celebrities, from the tap dancer Savion Glover to the makeup mogul Bobbi Brown, as well as Bill Bradley). But it’s the enduring mix of race and class that sets Montclair apart from prototypical suburbia. “Racial and economic exclusion continue to be hallmarks of suburbanization,” writes W. Dennis Keating in “The Suburban Racial Dilemma.” Although most residents will argue that the town has yet to achieve the physical, social and spiritual integration Martin Luther King Jr. once described as “the beloved community,” hardly any of its streets are totally racially isolated.

    The HUD study also notes that in diverse communities, schools typically offer a rallying point for people to come together — the place where “social seams” are stitched together. And indeed, Montclair’s 11 public schools are perhaps the town’s most integrated institutions. Thanks to zealous compliance with a 1976 state-levied desegregation order, the district’s 5,930 students all have significant exposure to kids of different races and classes. Montclair operates a “controlled choice” program that relies on magnet schools, a lottery and town-subsidized busing. And unlike a similar, recently abandoned program in Boston, it has largely gone undisputed over the years. But the schools are also where the pressures on racial harmony are the greatest, threatening to fray those seams beyond repair.
    I need seats in the middle,” Michelle Fine calls out, trying to make room for Marvyn Rice, today’s guest and one of 25 black parents who successfully brought suit against the school district in the mid-1960’s. Rice is among a parade of subjects, most of them still Montclair residents, whom Fine and Bernadette Anand have invited to the school and whose stories have helped personalize the abstractions of the town’s history for students.

    Volunteers bring chairs into the center of the room with an eagerness that probably won’t last into high school. Rice responds generously to students’ questions, carefully unfolding rich anecdotes. Between inquirers, she sits primly, hands folded in her lap. “I just want to mention that Mrs. Rice is a real, live hero,” Fine says, when the students have exhausted the list of scripted questions. “So take the moment!”

    Those involved in the early days of school desegregation in Montclair still shudder at the battles fought. “Those were Armageddon arguments,” Montclair’s mayor, William Farlie, remembers. But in those days, the principle at stake — that barriers to equal education should be removed — bore a noble, if nave, simplicity. Nowadays things are messier. Fully sharing power and resources across race and class lines — often called relational diversity — is something no one has done before. The skirmishes over educational access that fill P.T.A. meetings and op-eds in The Montclair Times are inevitably complex: Is a budget cutback racist, for example, if it affects more blacks than whites? More whites than blacks? Should district resources be dedicated to keeping the school population “stable,” which is often code for “middle class” and “not too black?”

    Nationwide, Fine says, perceptions of an institution’s worth shift depending on whether whites or blacks are in the majority. Consequently, the slight black majority (53 percent) at Montclair High sometimes sets off alarms for real estate agents who show prospective buyers around town and for some white and black parents deciding where to send their children. “There are a lot of whispers about tipping,” Fine says, referring to concern over maintaining current racial percentages. “I get calls from friends who say, ‘My kid’s class is imbalanced.’ I know right away that means there are too many black people in the room.”

    In 1993, for instance, some parents became panicked when Bernadette Anand, then the head of the Montclair High School English department, along with some of her colleagues, devised a world literature class that was open to everyone. By jettisoning prerequisites, world lit renounced the ability-based groupings that in Montclair and across the country too often default into racial equations — advanced placement equals white; remedial equals black, especially black and male. The town is striving to close the achievement gap between black and white students (which also exists nationally).

    To that end, Anand had declared war on “tracked classes,” but in so doing, assaulted the protected inner sanctum that allows middle- and upper-middle-class parents to comfortably keep their children in the public schools. After acrimonious debate, the school board voted to go forward with the class, but a swell of parents — mostly but not all white — plucked their children from advanced-placement classes and out of the system altogether.

    Many liberals in town characterize those who left the system as cloaking their racism in a pro-meritocracy argument. But Brenda Farrow White, an African-American woman whose husband, Herman, was the school board president for two years, and whose children attend Montclair schools, is more generous toward parents who put their own needs in front of larger social justice issues. “Parents are, by nature, not objective when it comes to matters regarding their children,” she says. “All that matters to them is what is good for Johnny or Susie. Or Laquesha or Tanesha.”

    The board of ed also noticed that an increasing number of students — again, mostly but not exclusively white — were leaving the district, particularly at the middle-school level. Many transcript requests indicated parochial- or private-school destinations. The white kids were clearly middle and upper middle class. (Montclair’s white working-class stronghold virtually disappeared during the 60’s and 70’s.) But black kids also departed, and administrators surmised that they, too, were from well-heeled families. People in town have come to call this exodus “bright flight,” unwittingly equating economic standing and intelligence.

    With the explicit goal of “stabilizing” the district, the superintendent and school board opened a third middle school in 1997, which became Renaissance. This one would be smaller than the others — 75 children per grade versus 200 — and would offer educational innovations normally identified with private schools. The hope, says Michael Osnato, the superintendent, was that these components would “retain and return” the education-savvy middle class. The school was designed, in other words, by the district to stanch bright flight, but this goal created new tensions.

    Anand, for one, was interested in creating a learning environment that valued achievement and equal access for all students. She remembers how white attrition dominated school board discussions. “That’s what they cared about,” she says. “They felt that if the whites left, the whole town would go down. Then we’d have a whole bunch of blacks here, and I’d be perfectly happy to teach them.” Anand’s first planning meeting was with Fine, whose older son is now a Renaissance seventh grader. The two women quickly became allies, promoting their vision of the school. “We’re people you don’t invite to parties,” Anand jokes, referring to their fierce commitment to social justice.

    Fine says that together they decided that the school would only succeed if its curriculum tapped the talents of every child — a familiar tenet of progressive education. The tendency to value certain kids over others is so endemic to school systems, Fine insists, “it’s in the air-conditioning.” Disproportionately, she explains, “kids who have had the cultural capital and the social reinforcements for getting it right tend to be elite kids, and in this town, that means white — or some middle-class black — kids. And then kids who learn that they don’t quite get it right, who would be more hesitant in the class, who wouldn’t feel as entitled to speak their minds, tend to be working-class African-American kids.”

    In its third year, Renaissance offers rigorous instruction, longer school days, innovative field trips and an extensive community-service program. This is an increasingly complicated endeavor in the jumbled classrooms of Montclair, as a new wave of poorer blacks move into town, and children who can’t afford class outings sit next to the children of millionaires. Anand’s strategy has proven popular, but at a potentially disturbing price. As of last year, Renaissance was the only middle school in the district with a majority of whites. If the school continues to attract whites disproportionately, Osnato’s aim to “recapture the market share” may be met, but Fine counters that the school will have failed in a different way. “What does that say about poor and working-class kids?” she asks. “Are those kids not valued as much?”
    Others voice different concerns. One white parent, who describes herself as “an old leftie,” complains that Renaissance’s good intentions have gone too far. She says her child has “gotten lost” despite Renaissance’s small classes and links this neglect to race. “I’m happy that race is an issue in a positive sense, as a topic of discussion,” says the woman, who asked not to be identified for the sake of her children. “But there does seem to be a feeling that if your child is white, he or she doesn’t need any extra help. Now, it’s a correct assumption that if you’re white, you’re likely to be privileged; but it’s also assumed that you don’t need any support in learning.”
    And middle-class whites aren’t the only ones who are worried about their kids getting lost. Debra Jennings, 41, says that the African-American parents she knows have different reasons than whites for pulling out of the public schools. “I would say only one out of 10 feel like their supergifted child is not going to be sufficiently challenged,” she estimates. “The other nine are worried about teachers’ low expectations, particularly if the child is a boy. Those parents will tell you that their child was being painted with a certain brush, and they did not want that to happen.”

    Jennings has sat on the school board, run for mayor and co-founded a watchdog group called Concerned African American Parents (CAP). She’s currently the associate executive director of an education support group, the State wide Parent Advocacy Network. In Montclair, many blacks are reluctant to discuss the tensions of intraracial class divisions, and Jen-nings is known for specifically representing the town’s working-class and poor blacks. “There’s no such thing as ‘bright flight,”‘ she says with a scowl. “It’s ‘I-can-afford-it flight.”‘
    On the theory that power lies in the hands of the informed, CAP focuses on information dissemination — mostly through a quarterly newsletter and a biennial Parents’ Expo. Jennings says even white parents rely on CAP’s school-budget analyses to understand how money is being spent in the district. Yet communication gaps between the races persist.
    Despite Renaissance’s explicit mission to raise the bar for everyone, CAP had serious reservations about the district’s starting a new middle school. “We had two questions,” Jennings recalls. The first was about how, in a year of draconian budget cuts, the district could afford a new program. The second, she says, was why Renaissance didn’t do a better job of including poor black parents when planning the school. “There were attempts made to reach out to African-American parents,” she concedes, “but most of the parents they reached out to were middle to upper middle class. There was really no outreach to African-American parents who were more typical — more working and middle class.”

    Socioeconomic status matters, Jennings says, because wealthier families often have the luxuries of time and resources to lobby on behalf of their children’s needs. “When I look at the parents who are at Renaissance,” Jennings explains, “I don’t criticize them, but almost all have been heavily involved in their children’s education. I felt like that kind of energy should have gone into some of the other schools — because we need more African-American parents in the other schools. We don’t need a concentration in one school.”
    Elliott Lee is part of that concentration. An Ivy League graduate and a senior program officer of a locally based foundation, he has a daughter, Andrea, who is an eighth grader at Renaissance, and has been an involved parent, joining Anand’s curriculum development committee and participating in a loosely organized lobby against budget cuts. He has even considered seeking a seat on the school board.
    Thirteen years ago, when Lee and his family moved onto a predominantly black street in Montclair, he wasn’t prepared for the chilly reception from his new black neighbors. “I thought because we were black and they were black, they would welcome us,” he says. “But we weren’t just black people, we were the outsiders driving up property values and forcing the old folks out.”

    Class-consciousness is creeping into all of Montclair, he contends, and no one wants to admit it. “Most people are willing to talk about the folks with resources coming in and supplanting those who’ve been here a long time,” Lee says. “What isn’t talked about are the new black folks coming in who aren’t well off, trying to get their kids into better schools. That would send the wrong message about Montclair. A lot of people — white and black, but maybe more white folks — want Montclair to be less diverse than it is. They want it to be middle class. It’s one thing to have poor people who’ve been here for years, but it’s another thing to be known as a place that attracts them.”
    A teacher’s aide walks through the Renaissance hallway last spring, ringing a hand bell to signal the period’s end. It’s lunchtime, and students in the oral history class lunge for the door. Kids fill their plates — it’s pizza day- and then make a beeline for their seats in the basement cafeteria. Day after day, the long tables fill up according to a carefully worked-out calculus of race and class.

    “I sit at the semipopular/unpopular white girls’ table,” explains Susana Polo cheerfully.

    “I think it has to do with the music people listen to,” says Trevor Sage-El, the student council president at the time and a biracial boy who sits at the popular black boys’ table.
    “My friends are 75 percent black and 25 percent white,” says Ashley Carter-Robinson, who is black and chooses to sit at a table that’s all black and all girl, except when Daryl Shelton’s friend Kyle O’Donnell invites himself over, seemingly oblivious to whether he’s welcome.

    “Four of my black friends sit with us,” says Kendra Urdang, “and the rest of us are white at my table. I have mixed friends, but honestly, my best friends, more of them are white because in this school it is a bit more separated. When there’s a clique of only black people, one time I went over to that crowd and they just ignored me.”

    In these social striations, the children are not much different than the adults. Despite all that Montclair has going for it, despite the widely expressed desire for relational integration, if you ask residents, black or white, whether people cross the color line socially, most will say no, not really, or not very often. Maybe at Watchung Booksellers or Sharron Miller’s dance studio or the Luna Stage theater — but they’re exceptions. Even supermarkets have the reputation of being patronized along racial lines. (King’s is white, Pathmark is black, Fresh Fields is for anyone with a full wallet.)

  64. Here’s who I would use to form a NJ human centipede:

    Christie-Booker-Lautenberg (dig him up)-Menendez-Holt-Lesniak-Corslime-Lonegan-any Rutgers coach-any Rutgers admin-each member of NJ Supreme Court

  65. freedy says:

    What’s 65 a book

  66. Brian says:

    If Booker leaves Newark for the Senate, can we have Bloomberg run Newark after he’s gone?

  67. ccb223 says:

    Bloomberg wont take the demotion

  68. Libtard at home says:

    I would put Sharpe James in the back of the centepede.

  69. Libtard in Union says:

    Maybe add Pete Cammarino too.

  70. homeboken says:

    Booker put $50 million of the Facebook $100m donation towards the teachers contract to pay for $12,500 annual performance bonuses for “highly effective” Newark Teachers.

    So that means there are 4,000 “highly effective” teaches in Newark? Does not compute…

  71. Anon E. Moose says:

    GTG Alert – Repeating call for interest – NJRER GTG now scheduled for Thu 8/29 from 6:30 PM ’til whenever; venue — Sunset Pub and Grill at 425 Beaverbrook Road, Lincoln Park, NJ 07035 (, with a nice view of the runway.

    Pipe up in the comments, or to john (underscore) doebinski (at) yahoo (dot) com to confirm if comming.

  72. Comrade Nom Deplume, Bostonian says:

    [39] Joyce,

    If you dig deeply enough, you will probably find that they were suspected preppers.

  73. Comrade Nom Deplume, Bostonian says:

    I am currently watching the latest extreme water sport that has appeared in cean City. I call it jetpack guy and it looks wild. Has this shown up off the Jersey Shore ?

  74. Painhrtz - Disobey! says:

    Moose to far for me on a school night

  75. Anon E. Moose says:

    Con’t [73];

    That is, pipe up if you have not already done so…

  76. Anon E. Moose says:

    Nom [75];

    This thing?

    I hadn’t seen the two-person version. I like that the water draw tube is only about 25′ long – it limits how far you could fall. ;-)

    And this is coming from a ‘crazy’ guy who flies those little prop-powered spam can airplanes.

  77. clotluva says:


    Thanks again for elaborating. I guess I just manage my expectations differently in that in many situations where people feel there is some sort of conspiracy, I see a group of people acting in their rational self-interest. In my experience, if you want to be an agent for change, you have to be part of the conversation (e.g. have a clear mission, agenda, and constituency; gather data to derive alternate solutions; conduct outreach to decision makers; participate in panel discussions and hearings, etc.) using the channels available. I don’t posit that it is a trivial amount of work, but to think that some benevolent entity is doing this for you is delusional – and railing against corporate/govt cronyism in general, while cathartic, isn’t an actionable strategy.

    Of course, it would be nice if decision makers spent their days mining blog comments for the purposes of identifying and selecting individuals having the raw genius and capacity to fix the world’s problems…but alas, that isn’t reality. Reality is messy, life isn’t fair, and actionable solutions take a lot of effort. Do good work and people will pay attention. (Maybe that friend of your relative will even recommend you for a sweet gig! :-p)

  78. joyce says:


    Citicorp, a commercial bank holding company, merged with the insurance company Travelers Group in 1998 to form the conglomerate Citigroup, a corporation combining banking, securities and insurance services under a house of brands that included Citibank, Smith Barney, Primerica, and Travelers. This merger took place a year before it was legal to do so (in violation of the Glass–Steagall Act and the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956). Alan Greenspan gave them the go ahead.

    Is this not an example of a group of people acting in their own self interest as well as a conspiracy?

    “An agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act.”

  79. Anon E. Moose says:

    Pain [76];

    J&R Cigars on Rt. 10? Lib, could you do Whippany?

  80. joyce says:

    I have no problem with people doing what’s best for them. But the line is drawn when those actions constitute force and aggression against someone else [unless in cases of self-defense].

  81. Bosnia shoving it up our arses. 0-2 at the half.

  82. Anon E. Moose says:

    Scapple, watching the game now?

  83. Painhrtz - Disobey! says:

    J&R cigars serves booze?

  84. chicagofinance says:

    Moose….that is way TF up there….can’t you try something more centrally located, such as Red Bank?

  85. chicagofinance says:


  86. Libtard at home says:

    Do they serve booze? I could do it there, though watching for a prop plane to crash sounds a lot better than cigars. And I know where the J&R is.

  87. joyce says:

    Young Frankenstein?

    chicagofinance says:
    August 14, 2013 at 4:52 pm

  88. joyce says:

    give him an extra buck

  89. Anon E. Moose says:


    I’d love to get you to come, but here’s my problem with Red Bank (

    It seems that the Irish pub in Cranford where Nom hosted a GTG (and I’ve been back there since) isn’t too far from the intersection of the circles, though farther south.

    However, it seems like ‘cigars’ has struck a chord. I’m happy to hear that, actually. I suggested a lunch there once among my office mates and got some surprisingly strident anti-smoking opinions. Yes, they serve booze.

  90. Michael says:

    80-Joyce- She just put the dagger in that debate!! Good evidence!!

  91. chicagofinance says:

    Moose: just screwing around……J&R’s is a possibility…..I can’t confirm now….if we have a washout weather wise that week, it means that I will be in the office, and I can almost guarantee that I will go, but if the weather is good, I have to go to Sesame Place for two days that week, and I have to be in AC on Fri…..

  92. chicagofinance says:

    A cigar and Oban is almost impossible to turn down….

  93. chicagofinance says:

    Rags: I got the formal invite for 9/10… appears to be 8:30-2…breakfast, but no lunch….I think….

  94. Anon E. Moose says:

    So Lib knows where J&R is; we might get ChiFi to abandon Sesame Place if I do my rain dance (not that I want to disappoint the kiddies, or hurt Big Bird’s bottom line); Pain, this close enough for you to steal away on a school night? It’s closer to me, and I’m the only nut who gives a flip about the airplanes, so I think we have a consensus….

    [REVISED] GTG Alert – Repeating call for interest – NJRER GTG now scheduled for Thu 8/29 from 6:30 PM ’til whenever; venue — Montecristo Lounge at J&R Cigars, 301 Route 10 East • Whippany, NJ 07981 (973) 887-0800 (

    If you haven’t made your intentions known, pipe up here in the comments, or by e-mail to: john (underscore) doebinski (at) yahoo (dot) com to confirm if coming.

    Grim, if you could, I think we’re ready to post on the front page.

  95. Michael says:

    Anyone figure out why democrats keep endorsing Christie? Seems weird. Are they just being front runners? Trying to be on the winning side for political hookups?

  96. 67684 104783I identified your weblog internet site on google and check a couple of of your early posts. Proceed to sustain up the superb operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN Data Reader. In search of forward to reading extra from you later on! 225291

  97. Libtard at home says:


  98. Libtard at home says:

    Spam 100

  99. Juice Box says:

    FFL draft that night and no getting out. I would come if I could hold my liquor and draft at the same time which is impossible. So by a drink on Clot and pour it on Chi’s head..and if I could I would send a bouquet of burbon. How about a weekend night old men?

  100. Again, I fully endorse njweedman.

    And, we got 4 goals in the 2nd half and smoked Bosnia. Best we’ve played in a long time. Bradley and Altidore are at a different level (mostly because they’ve gotten lots of minutes on quality European clubs).

  101. Ragnar says:

    Chifi – if it lasts until 2 I cannot imagine there wouldn’t be lunch. But I’ll plan to catch up with you after the meeting, and if the food was no good we can find some.

  102. Comrade Nom Deplume at the beach says:

    [78] moose

    Yep, looks like it. But the tube had to be a lot longer than 25 feet. They were getting at least that high, and mor like 35-40 off the deck.

  103. dpcpsxml says:

    tlEeVr uqftwufivdxz, [url=]yxvcyqfunyfe[/url], [link=]qhbfkzbisotj[/link],

  104. ‘the ability to learn more about listen to educate yourself regarding music

  105. ffevvbog says:


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