Wellness is Everywhere HERE
Scores of Montclair entrepreneurs, together with health-related non-profits, do all they can to keep residents in tip-top shape.
Walk along Montclair’s main streets and its commitment to health and wellness is hard to miss:
Yoga studios, massage therapy centers, restaurants touting organic and vegetarian options, and practitioners of traditional and complementary medicine dot the streets. All told, Montclair has 14 acupuncturists, 26 chiropractors, 78 dentists, 117 personal trainers and 200+ physicians specializing in everything from pediatrics to plastic surgery to keep you looking and feeling your best. Add to that a host of non-profits working to making Montclair a healthier place for people of every age and income level.
Take Bike&Walk Montclair, whose members aim to make Montclair’s streets safer and encourage kids and adults to get moving. Its motto: Bikes and Feet on Every Street.“We ’re concerned about people who don’t have cars and those who, like my daughter, might not be driving yet but need to get around independently,” says Laura Torchio, a past president and current board member. “Speed is more of a problem than volume,” she adds. So the group works with the township to support “traffic calming” measures—narrowing lanes and adding curb extensions, for example —which work better than speed limits to slow drivers down.
“From a good place to live to a great place to grow older.”
Farming promotes health, too. “There are two farms in Montclair and every school has a garden,” says Angelica Diggs, coordinator of Montclair Community Farms. Since 2011, well over 4,000 lbs of locally grown produce has been distributed to senior residents and increasing numbers of youth have gotten involved. In 2016, a mobile farm stand built with funds from the USDA expanded the farms’ reach.
Another program, Aging in Place, set out to transform Montclair “from a good place to live to a great place to grow older.” Besides addressing issues like pedestrian safety, transportation and housing, Aging in Place launched the Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning, featuring free exercise, art and educational classes for those 55 and up.
For some older residents, Montclair’s Seniors in Taxis program is the ideal health promoter. Josie Zeman, 76, goes to the Y on weekdays. But walking there, working out and running errands is too much. So she uses the discounted taxi vouchers–“For $15, I get $30 worth of rides” —to get to the Y. “Afterwards I can walk to the library or Whole Foods or wherever else I need to go.” If the destination is a health-related facility, there’s no dearth of places to go.
Some, like Montclair South Dental on Orange Road, have been in town for years. Owner Fara Azar, DMD, bought the practice in 2006 after working there for a decade, her husband and office manager, Sahba Azar, says. The practice provides full-service dentistry, including cosmetic and restorative procedures, orthodontics, periodontics and traditional treatment. “We cater to people of all ages with all kinds of oral health needs,” he says. Noting that dental problems can adversely affect overall health, he adds, “We have a caring staff who care about our patients’ well being. Their oral health and general health are what we focus on.”
At Lemongrass, a store and studio on South Fullerton Avenue that opened in 2015, the focus is on healing–through meditation, yoga, rituals involving ancient Tibetan singing bowls, and more.
Owners Sylvia and Dhruba Neupane moved here with their children from Nepal in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.
Why Montclair? “I studied several towns and thought this was a good spiritual place,” Dhruba says. “It is a pleasure to bring our authentic culture and spiritual practice here.”
At Juice Culture on Valley Road, open for less than half a year, nutrition is the culture. Owned by Kacy Erdelyi, a Montclair Mom who missed the healthy smoothies and juice joints she left behind in moving from New York, Juice Culture specializes in cold-pressed juices, fruit, nut and yogurt bowls and hot infusion drinks. The kind of quick but healthy fast food that was once hard to find around town—and is not anymore.
What’s next? Healthy choices for pets. Lukas and Berube Healthy Pet Markets on South Fullerton Avenue is poised to open any day.