The Murals of Closter
Journeys into Closter
Most every town has an attraction they try to tout as being of interest. Quite frequently generic, these places sometimes of interest, sometimes not. Just as often, though, these very communities possess authentic places of interest - attractions or aspects that capture the actual local spirit. And, often these little gems remain hidden from most.
Some murals around town in Closter may be described in that second category.
On a recent visit to the Borough Hall, while trying to navigate my way around unfamiliar territory, I stumbled upon two interesting wall murals side by side in the basement lobby near the elevator.
One depicted a Main Street scene in Closter, circa 1895. The other was of the High Street business district around the turn of this century. They were a pleasant surprise and a disarming one at that - capturing a sense of place - a feel for Closter then and now.
The other mural, outdoors, is relatively new. But in a short time it has become prominent and popular to locals.
It is located on a side wall of Rudy's Restaurant Pizzeria and Restaurant in Closter Plaza.
The itself business has been around since 1963 and owned by the present owners since 1977. But the place was refashioned a few years back - part of the makeover of Closter Plaza, which now includes a Whole Foods, Target, Bareburger and a lot more.
When the new exterior started to take form during the renovation, the new wall struck the owners as a barren and sterile. Talks started between the owners of the business and the plaza. Eventually the matter was referred to a Brooklyn-based artist Jason Naylor. From there, the story from idea to the present-day mural proclaiming "We love you to Pizzas" is nicely told in an entertaining 2018 piece in North Jersey.com (The Record).
For many decades, a giant mural graced the front of the Alexander's department store at the crossroads of Route 4 and 17 in Paramus across from the Garden State Plaza. It is till fondly recalled as a unique attraction though long gone and replaced by the IKEA that now occupies the site.
These murals in Closter, though not of the scale or fame of that one in Paramus, nonetheless in their own way make contributions to a quintessentially uniquely Closter feel downtown.