Silent Protest on Gray Street

The anti-PSE&G banners are waving from houses on Gray Street, and a spray painted message greets visitors turning onto the street from Glen Ridge: “NJSA 48:3 PSE&G IS NOT ABOVE THE LAW. SHOW FINAL PLAN [illegible] OR LEAVE.” Residents were tipped that PSE&G trucks would show up today — and they did — but workers say they are just there to fix a gas leak. Indeed, a strong gas smell did permeate the air on the Montclair side of the street.

Residents were not out on the street, protesting vocally. But one, Ola Adedipe, driving by, stopped for an interview. “The city sold us out,” he said, referring to Montclair’s settlement with PSE&G following a hearing at the Board of Public Utilities in Trenton.

As for the workers being on the street just to fix a gas leak, he asserted, “That is not true. It’s a lie.”

He also had a racial theory on the PSE&G v. Gray Street issue. “This used to be a slave street,” he said. “The slaves lived with the [rich people’s] horses. It’s a shame. Everything in America is color coded, black and white, rich and poor.”

NJSA 48:3 refers to a law allowing gas-lit communities, like Glen Ridge, to refuse power lines — something that Glen Ridge residents on the street want the borough to invoke. Mayor Peter Hughes has said he opposes using the measure.

This summer, residents of the street came home to find mature oak trees cut down to make way for new power lines. They assert that their street — part of which is in Monclair, and part in Glen Ridge — is being used to upgrade power service to the Glen Ridge Country Club.

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  1. I wonder if the so-called adults on this street can embarrass themselves further?

    What a terrible example to set for children.

  2. All the ingredients for a suburban scandal, graffiti and slavery.

    I do agree though I’m pretty sure most power companies look at the historical maps to see where slaves were housed in order to do their work. Have you seen the streets of Virginia lately? Nothing but chopped up trees and power lines.

  3. “This summer, residents of the street came home to find mature oak trees cut down ”

    Trees? Wasn’t ONE tree cut down and others “brutally” prunned?

    Facts getting in the way of the narrative?

  4. PSE&G did an awful hack job on the trees, no question. The residents have a right to be angry.

    That said, spraying large graffiti messages in the middle of the street only adds to the overall eyesore.

  5. Spraying the message on the street defaces the neighborhood. The perp should be found and charged, and be forced to pay for clean-up. Stupid act, and it brings a thug mentality to the conversation.

  6. Spray paint washes off, the utility poles will be there for decades. Did you also notice the four houses for sale on the side of the street hosting the utility poles?

  7. I’m all for upgrading the grid. These are the same people that complain that PSE&G needs to do more to prevent outages. Gray Street is one of the more affluent sections of Essex County, I’m not buying any insinuation that these residents are disenfranchised in any way. Some people just refuse to be happy.

  8. In GR the poles should stay behind the houses not in front. PSE&G should have the right to service these areas when needed. The Historic District does not allow poles on the street…..Nuff said. What do we need? A “super committee”?? What’s our Historic Preservation Committee’s stand on this?

  9. HPC’s purview is strictly buildings — I don’t believe the ordinance extends to utility lines. That said, I would imagine there’s a consensus
    opposing power lines in the street, although I can’t speak for the Commission.

  10. I don’t understand- I thought the GRCC already got their power through connections on Yantecaw Ave in Bloomfield/Glen Ridge.

    Is there a way to check the grid??

  11. The Country Club is hooked to a line off Yantecaw and between Harvard and Gray, they need a lot of power. PSE&G is coming today- there are no parking signs and 3 police cars on the street now.

  12. I can’t wait to see what other proverbs come up on the graffiti stricken Gray st. Im willing to bet that there is a tonka truck or wheelbarrow with the same color yellow in someone’s back yard. The perp should be easy to find. I can only imagine that this defacement was on the Montclair side, as GR protesters are gentlemen and not hooligans. haha

  13. I have not researched this, but I think the historic district of Glen Ridge (which is most of the town) may include jurisdiction over more than just the houses – perhaps someone can confirm this. I think the gaslights and even their method of street gutters may be included in their historic overlay. Regarding PSE&G, I had read somewhere that it had been decided to allow PSE&G to put up poles throughout GR in order to remedy the ongoing power problems experienced in town. Personally I feel it is a shame – too bad these local towns, including Bloomfield, didn’t have the foresight that East Orange did, and put the power lines underground. Half of our street is in EO and it look so much better without the ugly power lines. As for PSE&G, they are HORRIBLE at trimming trees. It is a travesty. There is NO excuse for the massacre they inflict on these street trees to ostensibly prevent interference from branches. They cut the trees in half throughout the tops, sometimes only leaving one side of the treetop, or else having the tops stick up awkwardly on both sides of the wires with a huge gap in the middle. They ruined a whole bunch of trees in my neighborhood when they did it last year, I believe it was. Next time they are coming, I’m going to stand in front of my street tree and refuse to let them touch it! They don’t need to do this. They could do it much more discreetly and in a way that would make the tree healthier, not uglier. They could at least trim other parts of the tree to make it look more even. They don’t even try. It is a hack job, pure and simple, and I support the residents of Glen Ridge who are fighting them.

  14. 1. While the hippie signage will have you think the work is being done exclusively for GRCC, in REALITY it is for many, many residences as well. How convenient to target a country club… Love also how they will have you think the country club insisted the lines ran through Grey Street. They could care less where the lines were run – that was EXCLUSIVELY a PSE&G decision.
    2. Have you seen that street? Yuck. Doubt some tree pruning and a few power lines would impact property values.

  15. “2. Have you seen that street? Yuck. Doubt some tree pruning and a few power lines would impact property values.”

    Plus the constant din of the slave drivers’ whips.

  16. Dose: I’ve seen that street. I’ve walked on it many times. It’s a pleasant street with actual people – as in with feelings and mortgages – who live there.

    The attitude you have shared is uglier than any part of Essex County I’ve seen.

  17. thank heavens “dose” is here to stick up for the country club!

    always easiest to slime your neighbors while hiding under a fake name, eh “reality”??

  18. So the theory that passes for “reality” according to “doseofreality” is that a hippie sprayed the street. Dose, consider changing your screen name to “doseoftheory”, it’s more accurate.

  19. @doseofreality ” it is for many, many residences as well” how is this possible when the street is only 2 blocks long?

  20. Contrary to the blinded views of the Gray Street residents who believe they are the center of the universe, there are actually “many many” residences on OTHER streets in the area who have experienced chronic outages and will benefit from the repair work.

    Although they are not as convenient a target as a country club.

    PSE&G is the culprit here. That I will agree with you on.

  21. There are several local streets that are like MEWS streets where the horses, coachmen and their families lived nearby to suburban villas… example that I can think of is Cross Street in Montclair. Country estates usually had barns for their carriages and horses but closer to the big cities, suburban estates were smaller and thus had ornamental carriage houses, usually in the same style as the “villa” because it was within view of the main house….(but far enough away to not smell the horses). Where properties were smaller, MEWS streets existed that served the adjacent villas and Gray Street may have one of these.

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