Six Questions For ... Matt(hew) Davis. He and his wife moved from Hoboken to Montclair in February 2004, three weeks before their twin boys were born. They have a daughter finishing sixth grade at Mt. Hebron and their boys are second graders at Watchung School.
Q) What do you like most about living in Montclair?
A) I am constantly impressed by the quality of the minds of people I meet in town—lots of smart, interesting people here. There are times when I worry about the homogeneity of the liberal/progressive consensus of Montclair, although that's a huge reason that my wife Dana and I migrated here. I will worry and then I will pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV and get really thankful for living in a place where I feel like so many of my personal values are shared in the community.
Q) Can you tell us about any of your favorite places here ... the restaurants, stores?
A) Hmmmmm. Well, Tierney's is excellent as a "local"—the burger is top-shelf accompanied by a malt beverage—and it's been a fun place for my band The Thousand Pities to play. For pizza, I am partial to a couple of Valley Road establishments: Soho Pizza and Enzo's. For Chinese you absolutely have to go over the hill to Chengdu 1 in Cedar Grove. I'm very happy to have Fin Raw Bar in town now—a welcome addition! As an avid reader (mostly of non-fiction) I love having Watchung Booksellers and Montclair Book Center nearby.
Q) What's been your favorite vacation ... with and also without kids?
A) Let's start with the "without kids" part of this answer. Dana and I have some wonderful memories of New Orleans from the times we've been there. That's a town we could navigate together for lots of fun, stellar music, and mounds of amazing food. As a family, we got to visit Sweden for a family wedding a few years ago. On the same trip we stopped in England where we have some of the best friends anyone could hope for. I wish the kids had been a little older so they could have more concrete recollections, but I loved that trip. Any place where we go and the kids are seeing something for the first time, it's a thrill. There's a lot to that business about seeing things through the eyes of a child. Magic.
Q) How do you juggle being a Dad, work, making music?
A) Well, it's not easy. It's pretty frenetic. And I know there are lots of people out there who completely understand that from their own similar vantage points. And it does seem to get crazier as the kids get older and begin moving off in divergent directions, doing different activities. The music thing is really kind of a selfish pursuit and I am so thankful that my wife understands my need for it and encourages it. For years she told me to get back to doing it for myself and she was right. I am very lucky. For a few years I was stay-at-home Dad as well as working part-time doing Web information design and consulting, but I find the structure of being back at a full-time job extremely helpful. Somehow these things seem to be balancing themselves out. My kids are all doing well these days—as developing humans and in school—and I think that's the best barometer I have for how things are going.
Q) Is there a secret place in Montclair you like ... like a favorite spot in a park or a favorite gym?
A) These spots are not exactly "secret" but I love the Presby Iris Gardens at this time of year and I never, ever tire of the view from Eagle Rock—though I guess that is technically in West Orange.
Q) What would you improve about Montclair if you could?
A) No place is perfect, but I really am very happy here, overall. It's more a national issue, really. We are probably better off than most communities this way—but I'd like to see more arts programs in the schools—during the day or in after school programs.
Also, The Thousand Pities will perform Friday, June 8, at the Rent Party in South Orange. The Rent Party is a series of shows whose proceeds all go directly to the Community Food Bank of NJ. More info about the show can be found on the band's shows page: