|General||Library Services||Children/Young Adult||Township||Help the Library||Contact Us||Virtual Village|
(I) Dr. Bell, we've had the tape on now for maybe forty five minutes and a most impressive history of what you have contributed to the town. Now, why are you moving? We are losing you. We, as residents who are continuing to live here, are losing you and I wonder why or would you like to talk about it?
(N) I don't mind telling you. For one thing, we had purchased a home in West Englewood about three, almost four years ago. It was our intention to continue to live in Teaneck but at the time, there was a certain amount of turmoil that took place in my present residence. I was involved, you might say, in other ways in Teaneck as well. Having been a resident at my present location since 1960 when we moved in, in about 1970 Alexander Summer decided to build a house next door to me. Now at that time, there was another dentist, his name escapes me for the moment now, how quickly they pass on, but it happened to be the father-in-law of Ed White who was the dentist and had as I say a residential home right next door to me and Ozzie Epstein was the chairman of the Planning Board at the time and he says, you know they are going to build a big building on the corner. And the telephone company had an office on Cedar Lane next to the apartments on Cedar Lane here on the corner off of Queen Anne Road and at the time, Alexander Summer had his office where the Hudson City Savings Bank is now and he had a little shack on the corner. It was an empty lot. So I said to Ozzie, I said well it is OK with me if it is zoned for whatever they are going to put up, I can't stop them because I have been the liaison for the Planning Board for the board of education for a number of years as I was the chairman of the finance committee, I served in just about every capacity over the twelve years so I knew how the Planning Board worked and I knew that every ten years they had a master plan and they had to change things and so on. Lo and behold, I wake up one day and they're knocking down my neighbor's house next door. I didn't even know he moved out. That's how quietly it was done. And the next thing I know, they are excavating, the shanty by the way burned down very mysteriously. There was a fire and there was whatever and now they were excavating the whole street right up to my property, knocking down the Class A residential home. So I went down to Mrs. Christianson who was then the township clerk and I says, how come they are knocking down the Class A residential home right next door to me? And nobody knew anything about it, nobody could object except that Mrs. Degatti came to me and said to me, how could you let them do that? And I said, let them do what? I don't even know what's going on here and I was very active in town, and should have known more of what was going on than the average citizen of the community. In any event, Mrs. Christianson said, well they have a building permit and they are going to put up a very substantial building and a parking lot right next door to you. I said, how can they do that? It is Class A residentially zoned? And she says, well I guess it is, they have permission or whatever and we started to look at the, what took place and somehow or other, nobody was ever notified of the change in the zoning, but someone had changed the color on the map in the master plan in 1970 so that it was no longer Class A residentially zoned, it was B2 business zoned for office buildings which permitted a parking lot next door to me.
(I) What does this say about the running of the town? When somebody can change the color on the map?
(N) Well I brought all of this up but at the time, Frank Hall was on the board and Brad Menkes and all of these people were very active in the council and I was very friendly with all of these people and they said, well, you know how it it Milton. These things happen. Nobody knew how it happened. But shortly thereafter, Werner Schmid was then township manager and they were all patients of mine by the way. Werner Schmid and Eleanor Kieliszek, her teeth should all fallout by now because that's all right, I had taken good care of her. I mean really good care of her over the years. Evidentially, it was prejudice in reverse I found that Ozzie Epstein who was one of my good friends and supporters when I was on the board of education was chairman of the Planning Board. All of these people on the council were all my friends and my supporters and either they were patients or friends and I worked with them on campaigns and so on. They all dismissed what had taken place within the government and when I went to Ozzie Epstein, I said, listen, if they changed the zoning, why did they stop? I saw the plans, they are putting up this tremendous building for $1 million next door to me with parking right up to my property line. I said, why don't they go up to the street? This is split block zoning. He said, well, we would do it but how would it look? You were on the board of education at the time and you are so well known in town. This actually was told to me by Ozzie Epstein and Brad Menkes. All my good friends. We are still somewhat friendly, you know. We see each other. But in any event, they said, besides which, you don't have parking. So being a good citizen and accepting things, firstly I noted that Alexander Summer had extended, when he had his building, it was higher than was allowed. Now I was watching and I knew what the regulations in the community were and he had exceeded the height and he had exceeded the building, the way he had planned it and so on, so I sued him and all the neighbors were there to back me up except when it came time and the suit was there and they had to put up money, nobody wanted to put up any money. One person, Mel Eldein. And I didn't take his money. I said, well, if I am going to call the shots here, I will do it on my own. So I put up the money and it was a considerable amount and I sued him to the point that I held him up for one year and at the end of the year, I could see the handwriting on the wall. Once again, it wasn't what was right but it was who you knew and Trautwein was the judge at the time for this case and he called me into chamber with the attorney, our attorney, and he said, Dr. Bell, you are absolutely right. He exceeded the height, he did everything wrong and by the way, the man that did all of that and I assume was the one that changed the zoning map so he could get access to it was the fellow that was fired, Dunlop, the building inspector and because of that, he was fired. He is the building inspector in another community adjacent to us.
(I) I believe Tenafly.
(N) Tenafly, right. So in any event, he was a good building inspector. He knew what he was doing and he knew how to do things and he got things done. In any event, he had left and Trautwein called me in and said, while you are absolutely right, there is another law that goes beyond all other laws, it is the law of economic waste. I am not going to tell Mr. Summer to take down the building and I think you ought to settle with him. And it was quite obvious through the whole trial that for some reason, every time my lawyer made a point it meant nothing and anytime there was an insignificant point made by the other side, Trautwein permitted it and so on. It seemed prejudice to me quite frankly. And I had a meeting with my attorney and he says, you know, you better get out of this the best way you can because you are going to end up with nothing. So the deal was struck where I was reimbursed for all my legal fees by Alexander Summer and I learned to live with him. It was one of those things. You tried to be a nice guy and you learned to live with it and that was it. Lo and behold, I think it was 1976, the property next door to me became available.
(I) Now which way?
(N) On Chadwick Road, 203 Chadwick Road. And I had, before the person that owned it and moved into there had owned it, I had made a bid on that house because the couple was moving away to Pennsylvania that lived there, was an elderly couple, they had no children and I had made a bid to them and they sold it for less money to this couple because he was the super in the apartments in the back and he used to do work for him and so on and I could understand that. He gave it to them for a couple of thousand dollars less and they had a family and all and he felt that he wanted them to have it. And they lived there for about four years, four or five years.
(I) From 76 to
(N) No, up until 76. I bought it in 76. And I think it was 76 or 77. But anyway I bought the house from them with the idea that I would take a little strip actually and just add a little bit of parking and now go back to the town for a variance because I felt that this house and the property next to Alexander Summer, you could never sell it as a house. Who would want to live next to Alexander Summer with the cars parked under your bedroom window and garbage, all his garbage is stored right under my bedroom window. I didn't complain. Good neighbor. I even helped Alexander Summer, he had another appeal, he wanted to add on out front of his building on Queen Anne Road. I came down. He thought I was going to be against it and I said, look, you let him put up the building there, why can't he put out, you know, he had rain coming in his front porch there so I came down, I even appeared in his behalf. But I felt there are certain justice in this world but I haven't found it yet. In any event, I bought the property from this couple in 76 or 77, I'd have to look up the papers. And they were building another home in upstate New York, he had gotten another job, and he sold me the property and I had paid him a premium price. He made money on it.
(I) Excuse me, that property had a house on it?
(N) Had a house on it which they were living in. You asked me why we are moving. I want to tell you some of the things, it is all related. In any event, we bought the house and it was a nice house, people lived there for all the years that I had lived there. I assumed that the house was in fairly good shape. Now, I was going away on vacation so I think it was 77 and the house was empty and it seemed like it was OK. I bought it in the summer months. It was after the winter and the spring. It was in the spring because we went away for the summer. And I turned it over to a real estate agent in town who were patients of mine. They were next door to United Jersey Bank. Fay House. And I said, Fay, get a nice tenant, rent the house. I might as well rent it out while it is there. It had a three car garage. So I would use the garage. I said rent the house without the garage and without the driveway because I am using it and I want to make that into parking. It is an odd-size lot. It goes back 140'. It is a very large lot. It is 100' x 140'. And I figured I'd take a strip and add to my parking over here. Meanwhile, I went to the township and I asked for a variance and I started to apply for a variance so that I could convert the house and meanwhile I bought a house in West Englewood so I could move out and convert the building to an office building but it is very much like a building on Manel Place in Teaneck Road, I think it is 951 Teaneck Road. That's where I got the idea. It is an old house that was converted to many offices with their own entrances and this house lays out very well for that by the way. And it made sense to convert it into a professional office building. It would be a natural transition into the residential community; it wouldn't change the character of the street and so on. So I spelled it all out for the council and all and lo and behold the hospital had made an application for a variance about a year or so earlier and a bunch of the neighbors in my area here had decided to fight the hospital. In fact, they asked me to fight the hospital and I said, what are you crazy? I am not going to fight Holy Name Hospital. They were there before I was. I mean if you didn't like the hospital, you shouldn't have moved in in the first place. That was my attitude. I was always a supporter of the hospital. I think it is an asset to the community quite frankly.
(END OF TAPE 1 - SIDE 2 - BEGIN TAPE 2) ... Holy Name Hospital and many of them were good friends of mine. In fact, they were patients of mine and I knew them from the Center and I knew them from other groups and so on so lo and behold, when I made my app1ication for a variance, they appeared and said, in fact they called me, they were my good friends, they said, Milton, we don't want you to have more parking where you are. I said, you know, I didn't buy it for you. Where were you when they knocked down Jack's house? They decided for me what I am going to do with my property. I said, where were you when they built Alexander Summer's house?
(1) These were your so-called friends?
(N) Yeah. I said, where were you when I needed help? They built next to me. They park right up against my building. What am I supposed to do with it? He says, you don't want me to ... so there was a battle that ensued. Now the house had all kinds of problems. Fay House did me a favor and she rented to a very nice family of blacks, no husband, just a lot of kids and two women. I don't know whether they were their children or not, they were young kids, old kids, they were getting money from the government to, as foster parents or whatever, and there were all kinds of parties going on there. I don't have to describe, it was not the best family that they could have rented to but in addition they knew all the tricks. What were the tricks? When it rained, the roof leaked so they called the town Board of Health and complained. And I must have had forty violations on that house and I kept them all, I have them, the windows don't open, the window is broken, the gas doesn't work. Lo and behold, winter comes and I find out that the boiler doesn't work and hadn't worked in five years. The family that lived there, lived there with a fireplace which he pulled out. He had a special heating unit in the fireplace and that's how they heated the whole house with wood. They never used it, and it cost me about $2,500 to $3,000 to get the oil burner to work. And I finally got it working and filled it up with oil and so that they had heat because I had all kinds of violations and of course you can't let people live in a house without heat. The hot water worked thank God but the heat didn't work. And constantly the roof leaked. I had people try to patch the roof. It was a Spanish tile roof and I finally got an estimate of $10,000 to pull the roof off and put another roof on and I felt it just wasn't worth it to do this. In any event, I got a bright idea and I put an ad in the paper that, if you have the lot, I have the house and I sold the house without the lot to a couple of builders who intended to move it across the street where they are building a house right now on Chadwick Road and Queen Anne Road and I sold it to them with the provisory that they had to leave a clean lot, they had to fill in the foundation and that they could do whatever they wanted with the house. Lo and behold, it would cost them too much to move it. The Public Service wanted something like $50,000 to (inaudible) and to turn it around across the street. It was just too much. But they still had a good deal. They scavenged the house. They wanted the roof, the tiles and so on. And so one day they came to finish the job according to their contract and they had to knock it down and their were neighbors out there picketing and they, my son had parked his car in the garage so they came in, this was early in the morning like a quarter to eight, and they said, Dr. Bell, would you remove the wagon, he had a jeep in the garage and I went out to move it and I turned around to drive out and they wouldn't let me drive out. They blocked the way. The police were there. This is a quarter to eight in the morning. And I asked the police, I said, this is ridiculous, I want to go out to the bakery. I want to remove the car. Would you kindly get the people to move? And they were in front and the police told me, don't you dare move that car. If you hit anybody, you are going to be responsible and so on. And I couldn't get my car out of the garage. So I backed it up and I am talking to the police and the next thing I know, I was attacked by three people and I ended up with a brace on my wrist for six weeks. I had to go to Holy Name Hospital and Dulligan put a cast on it. That's a different case entirely but my lawyer convinced the judge that I self-inflicted my injury. I mean why would I go out with a crowd, they were like a bunch of Nazis on Crystal Night or something. They were going crazy out there. And they attacked me and I was hurt and so I am not too pleased with my neighbors here for one thing. And took a very, like a Ku Klux Klan almost I felt. And after everything I've done,
(I) Excuse me. Just so I understand, your immediate neighbors?
(N) They were neighbors from down the street here. One of them was Dr. McAuliffe. Dr. McAuliffe was one of those who grabbed me and trespassed and admitted a trespass on my property and yet I lost the case. It was an open and shut case until the jury came in and my lawyer was convinced that he was telling them the law rather than presenting it as a fact of the case and although they all lied, there were three against one and the witnesses were three against my word and my housekeeper's word and she was right there and she actually broke up the fight before the policeman did and I had already been injured. They had torn my shirt and so on. But circumstances were such that I was not to prevail in court so I lost. In any event, we won the variance in court. Now the town council, my friends, Brad Menkes was I understand the writer of the edict, came up with the ruling that I had the variance and I could convert the building to an office building, a B2 zoned office building that provided for any of the professions in the building but I couldn't have the parking which really doesn't make sense because the philosophy of the town is that if you have an office building, you should provide off street parking though there are many violations in town. Now we were back to square one where originally I said, give me the same privilege, give me an office building and I didn't have parking. Now that I had parking, they said you can have the variance but you can't have the parking. So I already have the building permit by the way to convert the building to an office building. Which it will be.
(I) How about the parking?
(N) I can't use the parking which doesn't make sense.
(I) So you got a vacant lot over there, you got a variance so that you can change this to an office building but you can't have parking.
(N) That's right.
(I) Did anybody ask why?
(N) Because some of the neighbors that were so well organized and they lost every item with the Holy Name Hospital
(I) They'd rather have cars parked in front of their house?
(N) Obviously. It makes a lot of sense, right? But that's one of the reasons, now I couldn't afford to pay the mortgage on the other house, on this house and the lot and everything else and the legal, it cost me $25,000 in legal fees to fight this thing, to win the variance and fight the neighbors and so on and I am still not finished because of the, some of the legal fees that I had incurred. In any event, I sold the house in West Englewood.
And my wife and I feel that firstly, we were willing to compromise. We wanted to stay in town. But frankly we felt that after all of our service and after everything we had done in town, that we weren't treated nicely and so we felt that since there was no real place in town to and no house that we really liked, we were looking around and we fell upon a place that we fell in love with which is a very unusual lot in Cresskill on Lamb's Lane. It is very unusual and I hope you will visit us there someday. In any event, we drew up what we thought was an ideal retirement home and we are building it. We started from scratch. It is, I would say, 70% completed right now and we should be getting in after the first of the year. However, we still feel very close to Teaneck. We do not intend to resign from our temple. We do not intend to resign from our many, many good friends in Teaneck and so we will maintain our friendship with our people and we are not that far away. We are ten minutes away actually. However, there is nothing in Teaneck, frankly we looked into Glenwood Park
(N) Glenpointe condos or whatever and frankly I think a drunken architect designed them. And I just could not stay in town with something like that. I couldn't see spending the money they were asking quite frankly for the Glenpointe condos and you know, you walk in, they were asking over $225,000 and you walk into a foyer, to a kitchen and you had to walk through your dining room in order to hang up a coat. I mean they didn't even have a closet where it belonged or a three story with an elevator with a single car garage. I mean it just didn't make sense. So we are able to build a house almost with everything that we want for almost the same price they were asking for the condos and it just didn't make sense. I think if they had built something, designed something better, we would probably have ended up in Glenpointe frankly but there is nothing in town that suited what we wanted. I mean we are approaching senior citizen age and we want certain things that we've become accustomed to. We want to live in a certain style. Certainly this house is a lovely home, has been for almost twenty five years. We've lived in town for over thirty years now and we love Teaneck. Really. So that as far as the school system goes, I have to tell you that I never went back to a board of education meeting after I left the board because I felt like I was an interloper. That if I were there, I was looking over their shoulders. I felt guilty and I said, OK, I've made my mark, whatever it was, for better or worse, you do what you have to now. And I stayed out of all the politics and I stayed out of the board of ed and never went to another board of education meeting after I left my last meeting in 1975. I know some of the people on the board, I supported them, financially, and voted for them and so on but I didn't want to get involved in politics of the town. Quite frankly, I am a little upset with the politics of the town because of some of the treatment that I have gotten over the years.
(I) This is perhaps a question you cannot answer but maybe you can try. Do you think that your experience with, as you say, what you have given, service every way, the experience that you had in Teaneck, do you think it is peculiar to Teaneck or could this have happened in other communities in the metropolitan area?
(N) I have no way of really knowing. I know that it happened in Teaneck. I know that frankly I've had a little taste of Cresskill, I've had a little taste of Bergenfield, I have been a property owner in other areas, I've helped my mother-in-law and father-in-law when they lived in New Milford and so on and I, by the way I took another job in Teaneck for a while. I was the Chairman of Business and Industry for the town council.
(I) That was an appointed job.
(N) An appointed position but after 1975 and I tried to bring a certain feeling to the job. I had met with storekeepers and chamber of commerce and other people. I took it rather seriously. And I think I have some business acumen and I visited other communities and besides my personal experiences with other communities, and I found that for some reason, Teaneck adopts a posture of an adversarial position whenever somebody comes into the municipal building for a building permit or for anything. Or if they want to change something. The Board of Adjustment or the Planning Board, they're not sitting there to help the citizens of the town. They sit there and say, what do you mean you want to do this? You can't do this, you can't do that. And it continues to the point that while I was chairman of Business and Industry, I tried to bring that to the council. I tried to tell them, I says, it has to come from the top down, from our township manager if you will, from the council if you want the people to feel that you are helping them and you are working with them, that you are really a part of the community, they have to change that posture and they never did and so I resigned because I wouldn't be part of it. Because people were coming to me and saying, you know, I want to change a sign and they are giving me a hard time. They don't like the way, the art work on my sign or whatever and really, there were some pretty silly things I think. For instance, there was one storekeeper opened up some years ago and they wanted I think it was Ice Cream and Something and part of their name, they had an ice cream cone and the town actually was complaining or the Architectural Site and Review Committee or whatever it was that had to approve the sign didn't like the ice cream cone. I mean it was such silly things that I couldn't be part of it. That's why I resigned from that. And quite frankly, in other communities, they sort of, when someone comes in, they welcome them and say how can I help you and it is a much warmer feeling. I don't find that in Teaneck. Even to this day.
(N) I think it is just the people who go by the book whether, I own property in town. I brought probably some of the finest tenants to Cedar Lane. I don't know whether you know it. But I own CVS, Hit or Miss, I own that whole block between Elm and Larch on Cedar Lane. I invested there and I had some visions and some help with somebody and it was the old Food Fair property, Pantry Pride had it at the time and we converted it and I brought in CVS, Hit or Miss and a camera store that owns four other shops in another community and Dr. Rosen has a lovely office there. We dressed up and beefed up that part of town. In fact that part of town, business wise, has really improved tremendously over the last seven or eight years since I bought that property. That piece of property down there and all the stores around there were really in the doldrums at the time. Bringing in AAA tenants like that has helped the business community in the area. For instance, even J&J Drug store was worried because CVS was coming in and it improved their business. It brought more people into the area and everybody is doing better business in fact. In fact the new owners of J&J Drug Store came in before the Planning Board and I happened to be there that night for some reason or other and they wanted to expand their store which they are going to do by the way I understand. But they came in and the plan was for 5,000 square feet and the chairman of the Planning Board said, well, somebody picked up if you have 5,000 square feet, you have to have so many parking spaces that you must provide and so on and so forth. However, if you come in with 4,999 square feet, and I got up and I said to them, you know this is another one of your silly, ridiculous regulations. 4,999 square feet is better than 5,000 square feet. You are going to make a man go back and spend $1,000 for plans to revise it to cut down one foot so he shouldn't have to comply. And they finally gave it to them I understand but it was that sort of position rather than helping him and saying well, we can walk away because they could have. Right at that point, they made him go back and revise his plans. But these are the things that are constantly going on in town.
(1) Do you think that this, as you have described, this situation that existed in Teaneck is in any way connected with our form of government. That we have a council/manager form of government which is fairly unique in the state. Do you think that this, there is any connection between these two?
(N) It is a possibility I guess because I am not as close to, though probably closer than most citizens, I am a pretty good tax payer in town. I guess other than Holy Name Hospital and some of the others, I own a pretty good piece of property in town and plus this property and the other property, I am paying three tax bills each year in town and I am aware of what is going on as far as the school system, as far as the taxes and what's appropriate and so on. But I'll tell you, I get as the landlord, I get calls, in fact I call them up, I used to get letters. The town is very strict and it should be as far as cleanliness and I have no argument with that. That I think should be but I think that the guy that they hired as a new person on the job in the Department of Health, that is his job. That's fine. But I would get a letter every other day, you know there is some dirt in the parking lot or whatever and right across the street, the township parking lot would be a lot dirtier than the lot I have. I have it cleaned on a regular basis and I pay for it and I know what it is all about so I am really trying to do a job. I am the one that paid for the trees around there that they, in fact, by the way, that's another gripe I have. I don't know why the council picked those bushes that they put up on Cedar Lane instead of some real trees. In the years that we have been here, we should really have some trees on Cedar Lane that would be trees, that would look like something. They planted some decent trees on Larch Avenue and they are growing nicely but on Cedar Lane, they plant these bushes. I don't know what they are. And I go there and I cut them back myself and I feed them and I, when they are knocked over by a car, I just fixed one up. It is living and I think that it beautifies our town and I take pride in my property and in my town and so forth but when I used to get these letters it irked me because it is not like New York City where nobody knows anybody else. I picked up the phone and I called the building inspector and I say listen, if you have a problem, pick up the phone and call me. I am Dr. Milton Bell. I own the property. I said I don't want any more letters from you. Just pick up the phone. So now he does me that favor. He calls me on the phone and immediately whatever it is, it is taken care of if it is an oversight on our part and that's how I like to operate and that's the way I think a town like Teaneck should operate. I think that if a taxpayer or a citizen of the community is violating something or there is a problem or something, the town people get their salaries because we pay the taxes. They're there to serve us. And if you don't like the job, or you don't like what I am saying, you shouldn't be in the job. Because they are there to help us, not to hinder us, not to harass us, they should be there to help us. That's what a little community like this, as far as I am concerned, should be. That the council, I was always very friendly with everybody, board of ed and so on, we know everybody, if there is a problem, you pick up the phone and you call them. And you say, hey, can't we fix this? And you take care of it.
But you don't send formal letters with threats of subpoenas and so on and so forth. We are not that type of a government and so when you asked me about township management type of government, I don't know. I would like to think that that type of government you are closer to the people and that you could work together with them but for some reason, they hire people, like even in our Fire Department, they have a guy, I won't mention names but he's the inspector for the building department from the Fire Department, and the guy goes wild sometimes and he goes by the book and he doesn't know, he is dealing with people. He is dealing with books and mortar and stone all the time and I haven't heard one person saying a kind word about him. He never helps anybody. He is always there in an adversarial position. And these are some of the things that ask any plumber, any electrician., any tradesman, that has to do a job in Teaneck that requires a permit, and they'll tell you that Teaneck is the toughest and worst town to work in. Why should we have a reputation like that? It doesn't have to be. It does not have to be. If I were in charge of it, I know I would change things. It doesn't mean that we have to do things in violation of the codes or the regulations or the statutes. It is just that it has to be administrated in a more humane way, one where a friendly way, a warm way. There is a way of doing it and getting, you know there are a lot of bosses that get things done and have a wonderful staff and a wonderful relationship and other bosses, the staff thinks are terrible and they have lots of turnover and lots of fights and adversarial positions and it is an unhappy situation., I think we have an unhappy situation in our town that doesn't necessarily have to be. That's my feeling. I've been through it. I've been the butt of many situations that really should not have had to be this way. I don't think they use much common sense in a lot of their decisions. That they do it for expediency. I think they do it for votes sometimes because they feel that their constituency, like my good friend Eleanor Kieliszek who does everything for constituency. Everything is for show, she wants votes, she is very ambitious and I know she'd like another job beyond the council job that she holds now and I think I know her better than anybody in town because she sat in my chair for many an hour and we used to discuss the town. I think that basically she started out, she loved the town but then her ambitions got ahead of her quite frankly. And I could say this for some of the other people on the council as well. But she's the gal in particular because I've had a lot of experience with her. She lead the neighbors that picketed my house. I mean, if anybody owed me a favor, you think it would be her. To pick up the phone and say, hey Milton, we are coming down or whatever. Never did. And that's the way it turned out.
(1) I have one more thing, one more thing, but we can go on. There have been changes in, demographic changes in the town. We have certainly in the years I have lived here and we've lived here together, we've had a heavy Orthodox community, we have a heavy Pakistani/Indian community, etc. Now, I am not saying we shouldn't have Orthodox Jews and we shouldn't have Pakistanis or whatever and maybe those are the two things that I shouldn't have picked out but, in your opinion, has this changed the complexion of the town and if you wish to correct me and say, let's not talk about Orthodox Jews, let's talk about somebody else, that's fine too. I am just talking about different groups of people moving in.
(N) I think that Teaneck being a bedroom of New York City and part of the megalopolis of New York, metropolitan New York, I think it attracts people, one, a lot of people like the fact that we are an integrated community and it attracts a certain type of person there. I think that the Orthodox, while they started in a very modest means on West Englewood Avenue, there have been some split-offs from there as well as from the Teaneck Jewish Community Center where people felt that we weren't Orthodox enough and they started their own on Queen Anne Road so what happened, as they grow, and they've really outgrown their present quarters, the fact that you have a community which is gives easy access to New York by bus where they could be a one car family and take the bus to work and the wife has the car to do the shopping and so on, this particular area for instance where we are in right now in Teaneck lends itself very nicely when a Jewish community starts an Orthodox temple and then can walk and they can buy houses that are available and become available and they're not paupers by any means. They can afford to buy some pretty nice houses. In fact here the houses they are building across the street from me, who do you think is going to look at a house like that? It has no backyard, very little front yard, a little bit of side yard on Queen Anne Road. Four bedrooms, it is on an undersized lot. It is a big, big house. Who would buy a house like that? The only people I see looking at it are people from the Orthodox community because they can walk to Schul. So it is an attraction the fact that they can walk to temple and they can leave by bus, easy access to the city, has attracted a lot of Orthodox to the town. I can't speak for all of the others in the community. I know that we had a big influx of blacks in the northeast and throughout town in fact because they liked the integrated community. We have many blacks in voting District 3 I know on Chadwick Road here, we have three/four/five families. They are lovely people. They are good people. Of course Willy didn't want me to have my parking lot. They had just moved in and of course the previous people probably would not have objected because we were very good friends and neighbors and so on but in any event, they, the fact that I was going to put in 25 foot of shrubbery and it would look better than it looks now, there was no common sense. There was a lot of incitement by some of the neighbors and they were organizing against the hospital as I said. Anyway, we are getting off the track but I don't know about all the rest of them. But I know as far as the Orthodox community that they come in, they do not use the school system.
(I) How do you think this is going to affect the school system?
(N) I think that it will probably make the school system less integrated because they send their kids to Yeshiva or to Solomon Schecter School and so on and unless they can balance it out ultimately, I think that the school system is going to be in a lot of trouble. If it isn't in it already which I am not aware of. I know that we had over 3,600 students in the school system when I was president of the board of education and I think there are under 6,000 now, I don't know what the actual numbers are right now but if it is under, and the number of blacks at one time was 20% when I was president of the board of ed. Now I understand that the school system is approaching 50%. So it will be a new problem and new problems will have to look for new solutions obviously. Frankly I am tired of fighting. I've had my fights in town and I've been in the forefront of the early integration of the school system and my own little problems here where I felt that my neighbors should have been helpful rather than hindering. I felt that they should have used a little common sense and understood that I was going to put in, and it was approved by the Architectural Site Review Board, a 35 foot row of hedges that would have beautified the area and made it look like a park. There was no change in driveways and so on. And certainly it makes more sense than putting the cars out on the street. To me, it is just, it just lacks any consideration so far as common sense. They just did not use their heads on this at all as to what was right in addition to the fact that maybe they should have listened to someone that knows what he is doing business wise and otherwise. You win some, you lose some. That's how I look at it. I am not bitter about it. I am not
I) I was about to congratulate you on the fact that you have no bitterness. I think that is wonderful.
(N) You win some and you lose some. I have had too many nice things happen to me in my life to be bitter about anything. I am at a point in life where I have some wonderful things. I have had a change of career which we didn't speak about but I, we have come up, I am a co-inventor of a new process that
(END OF TAPE 2, SIDE 1, BEGIN SIDE 2)
SIDE 2 IS BLANK - TAPE JUST ENDS HERE.
Teaneck Public Library
840 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666
Tel.: (201) 837-4171, Fax: (201) 837-0410