MontClairVoyant: Where the Streets Have Faux Names

It’s late August in this news-filled summer, so how about a silly change of pace for one week? I have just the thing: a column containing made-up origins of Montclair street names. For instance, why Crestview Court?

Moniker Lewinsky

A judge who lived on that road smashed a tube of toothpaste with her gavel one day. The tube’s contents splattered on the glasses of all 12 jury members, creating…Crest-view court.

Um…okay. Surely Washington Street was named for George Washington, right?

First in War, Fourth in Ward

No, it was named for Denzel Washington in 1916 after a Montclair time traveler saw a trailer for the 2016 film “Fences.” But George Washington did sleep in several New Jersey places — and was even awake for a few minutes here and there.

What about Alexander Avenue?

Recovering AA Member

That street owes its name to Alexander the Great, who pillaged Montclair in 333 BC after he couldn’t wreck Glen Ridge because it was mostly a historic district even back then.

Afterglow Way?

Cobblestone Temple Pilots

Thomas Edison was walking down that street one night when he dropped a light bulb. After the glow? Darkness on the edge of town. Don’t get me started on the origins of Bruce Road.


Barkway for Dogs

That one-block street got its name when a resident tried to emulate the Garden State Parkway by setting up multiple toll booths. Geese from nearby Edgemont Park revolted and acted out scenes from “The Birds.”

Lorraine Avenue?

Veggie Heaven-sent

Its name stems from when a family on that street substituted a Quiche Lorraine for a Frisbee. The game ended abruptly during a lunch of…Quiche Lorraine.

Erie Street?

Route Canal

Happened after that road turned into a Great Lake when a pedestrian spilled a six-ounce water bottle.

What about all the local roads seemingly named after universities — Harvard Street, Princeton Place, Rutgers Place, Yale Terrace…?

Sue Isshin Who Paid Tuition

It’s a little-known falsehood that every university in the U.S. once had a Montclair campus. Explains why so many parents in our town named their kids Freshman Composition or Sociology 101.

No parent ever did that.

Freshman Composition Smith and Sociology 101 Jones

With those names, your lives could be the subject of the first movie filmed on Montclair’s Hollywood Avenue since “Plan 07042 From Outer Space.”



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.



Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.


  1. Dave – Local roads seemingly named after universities; you omitted Amherst Place. Lord Jeff would not be happy.

  2. Also Williams St., Cornell Way, Hamilton Terr., Marquette Rd., Oxford and Cambridge. I assume driving on those streets will be virtual this coming semester.

  3. “I assume driving on those streets will be virtual this coming semester” — LOL, silverleaf! 🙂 I definitely left some university-ish local roads out of the column.

    Who knew Emily Dickinson (“The Belle of Amherst”) lived on a certain one-block road near Montclair State?

  4. That wouldn’t have been on (Ralph Waldo) Emerson Place, would it Dave?

    I’d be remiss not to mention Wellesley Rd. Remind me, is it open to drivers of both genders?

  5. The Identity Crisis In Street Naming? Award: Lane Ct.
    The Maxwell Smart ‘Missed It By This Much’ Award: Tennis Pl.
    C’mon, Tennis Ct. was yours for the taking!
    The Best Street Symbolism” College Ave becoming a dead-end.

  6. Ha ha, silverleaf! 🙂 🙂 (Both your lines.)

    The elementary school I attended was named after Emerson. But he never visited — unlike Buzz Aldrin’s appearance at the Mount Hebron Middle School renaming ceremony. Emerson dying in 1882 was no excuse…

  7. Those are great, Frank — with my favorite line being “The Best Street Symbolism: College Ave becoming a dead-end.” Depressingly hilarious. 🙂

    Yes, it’s odd that you can’t reach Normal Avenue and Montclair State by driving north on College Avenue, though one can walk over the curb “barrier.”

  8. Dave – Didn’t Emily Dickinson live near the library on (Nathaniel) Hawthorne Place? In the house with the seven gables?

  9. Ha, silverleaf! 🙂 Maybe that was Ms. Dickinson’s winter home? Hawthorne Place is south of Amherst Place…

Comments are closed.