MontClairVoyant: Read This Humor Column and Become a Roads Scholar


When you saw U2 last month, the band sang “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Were they singing about Montclair?

Josh Yua-Tree

You know the answer, but do you also know how our town’s roads got their names? Read this column and find out! For instance, Appleton Place was named for a 2,000-pound iPhone that was tested before the smaller model was introduced.


I don’t buy that. Rather, I didn’t buy that. What about Buckingham Road?

Tarmac and Cheese

That’s where Buckingham Palace was until 1965, when it got moved to London by the same crew that transported Crane House from Glenridge Avenue to Orange Road. Their truck wore out three pairs of windshield wipers crossing the Atlantic.

Dodd Street?

Drove Near Grove

As you can tell from the four letters in that street’s name, it was where 3D printing and “O, The Oprah Magazine” were born. When that magazine was 3D-printed by mistake, it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for mail deliverers.

Fidelity Place?

Hi, Fidelity!

People on that block never stray from their spouses. Things can be different on Afterglow Way.

Graham Terrace?

Not Graham Chapman

People toting marshmallows and chocolate bars flock to that street to make s’mores, though the chunks of paving they tear up are hard on their teeth. Dentists can repair those teeth AND plug the s’more-caused potholes with fillings.

Harrison Avenue?

Not Lennon-McCartney Avenue

Named after America’s 19th-century presidents William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison, who lived during a time of longer writing but still got banned from Twitter for their 140-million-character tweets.

New Street?

Roads Scholar

With its various older buildings, it was named on Opposite Day.

Parkside Place?

Al Greenery

A puzzler. It’s near the side of a park, and it’s a place, but no one has a clue why the street is called Parkside Place.

Summit Avenue?

The Summit of All Fears

A no-brainer — the name comes from that street’s inch-high elevation that offers stunning views of tree bottoms.

Are there any roads in town that should be renamed?

Moniker Lewinsky

After the July 24 decision to approve the too-big redo of the former Warner building, Lorraine Avenue could become Planningboardcoweredunderthethreatofadeveloperlawsuit Avenue. Might need a variance on street-sign width…

Ah, I see by that answer that you’re longing to return to more substantive topics next week after today’s rather trivial column reeking of “fake news.” But first…

Bright Bart

After The House of Windsor (Place) was trucked to London along with Buckingham Palace, that missing-a-home road was no longer one of Montclair’s “Complete Streets.”



Dave Astor, author, is the MontClairVoyant. His opinions about politics and local events are strictly his own and do not represent or reflect the views of Baristanet.




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  1. If readers of the above column have their own fake histories for some Montclair street names, I’d love to see them. Then again, maybe there’s already enough “fake news” out there… ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. VERY funny, silverleaf. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you! I remember that song, and even still have the “45” single!

  3. “Not your best column. I wouldnโ€™t goose the commentsโ€ฆ”

    Frank, not your best comment dude. On behalf of all Baristanet readers I think you need some downtime in the comment section, say 20 years or so. Come back in the year 2037 and maybe let us know your thoughts on all of the development that has taken place over the last two decades (and of course how it all represents an affront to all of humanity)

  4. Frank, I decided to go with a silly change of pace this week. Will get more serious (seriocomic) again next week. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I have no problem with silly.

    PS: I am surprised you omitted Montclair Propekt (formerly Montclair Ave) as the street to tie in all the local current events.

  6. Have any of you noticed the height of the crane at the new hotel? Usually they construct the cranes to be just a little higher than the planned top of the building. That hotel is gonna stick out like the Eiffel tower of Montclair. Hope everyone thinks it was worth it.

  7. Thanks for the comment, Stu. I HAVE seen that ridiculously tall crane. I agree that “The MC” hotel will be way too tall, and I guess the crane is showing us what’s coming. A disgrace that the town approved something that many stories. (And the Eiffel Tower is much better-looking. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  8. Good one, Stu!

    In all seriousness, even “The MC” name bugs me. The developers think they’re being casual and un-corporate or something, but few are fooled. They’re just trying to make a big profit like any other far-from-hip company.

  9. The crane is a skillful nod to the old name ‘Cranetown’ and as such, should receive landmark status.

  10. There’s nothing like success. Now the Southend Business District is getting their very own cellular antenna facility.

  11. LOL, Spiro! That is VERY funny! ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe the crane could even be pictured on the town seal…

  12. Didn’t know that, Frank. Necessary, I guess, but I hope it won’t be too noticeable and/or ugly.

  13. I’m hopeful the first installation will be only minimally intrusive with proper heights & screening. But, I don’t know what will happen here with the number of antennas over time once it is established as a telecommunications site. It seems once one operator is in, the others follow.

    The Williams-Sonama site in Upper Montclair was originally approved for 3 antennas – before it was designated a historic district. Now part of the historic district, it has 30 antennas. Maybe future technology innovations will make these antenna farms obsolete.

  14. Yes, Frank, those things do seem to multiply. It WOULD be great if future technology made cell towers less noticeable. It’s particularly annoying, and almost funny, when one sees them (in various parts of the state and country) disguised as VERY fake-looking trees.

  15. Along the same line, and potentially ore distressing, is the current municipal review of allowing wireless equipment on light poles. These designs can range from butt-ugly to minimally intrusive depending on type & equipment. The tricky part for the Township is that we don’t have expertise in this.

    For instance, I don’t think the HPC, which reviewed the issue last night, doesn’t realize that there is minimal oversight of future design modifications. SO, what may be originally approved as tasteful, may not remain that way.

    Further, I doubt the Township is aware of the Federal “Shot Clock” regarding the deadline for reviewing such applications. Specifically, Federal Rule 6409 60 day rule (Spectrum Act, Section 6409(a)).

    Just giving a heads-up to MintClair.

  16. “These designs can range from butt-ugly to minimally intrusive depending on type & equipment” — in addition to Montclair perhaps not having expertise in this, Frank, is the ultimate design look also a question of whether the town does this on the cheap or not? And is PSE&G involved?

  17. Not at all. I can’t see the Township doing this on the cheap. I’m assuming the Planning Dept asked the HPC to review for appropriateness, but I’m not sure the HPC was provided the legal parameters in formulating their review questions.

    I would think PSE&G is involved as they own most if not all streetlights in town. However, the agenda item description said decorative street lighting. As far as I understand, we just pay the cost difference for decorative street lighting (e.g. S. Park). There are very little decorative streetlights in town.

    I’m also guessing a certain amount of tree pruning is involved for the added height required.

    I’m confident it is one of the usuals – Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile – that initiated this, well prior to last night’s meeting, so the clock maybe already ticking.

  18. Thanks for the information, Frank!

    I should have phrased my previous comment differently — I assume whichever wireless provider(s) is/are involved would foot all or much of the installation bill, and maybe also pay something to Montclair, with Montclair perhaps having some oversight over whether the provider(s) do an installation that looks good?

  19. Appleton Crane was a real estate developer circa 1870s – 80s. In Rutherford, there’s a Crane farm that he subdivided into a neighborhood and the development was called Appleton Heights.
    (this historical fact is not fun enough to be fake news)

  20. Thank you, frankgg! You are definitely a Montclair history expert! I’m sure the real histories of the local street names I joked about are often fascinating and sometimes surprising. For instance, I just assumed Appleton was the last name of someone rather than the first name of someone (with the famous Montclair last name of Crane).

  21. Thereโ€™s nothing like success. Now the Southend Business District is getting their very own cellular antenna facility.

    My {partial} factual error, Dave. Apparently 320 Orange was approved by the PB as a 6-sntenna telecom site in late 2005. It appears there are about 12 antennas now and not sure what this latest application covers. So, it appears the farm is growing.

  22. Appreciate the additional information, Frank. Thanks!

    I’m guessing that the appearance of more antennas than originally approved must happen rather often in various towns…

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