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What Do These Roads Have in Common?

Coming to your local retailer this winter: The Hamptons Street Game.
Lately, there has been talk of a particular road in the Hamptons and a movement to keep its recognized name. Regarding this matter, I support the position of the guy whose name sits atop the paper you are reading.
This got me thinking about the origin of the names of some of the famous streets in New York, and that indirectly led me to create The Hamptons Street Game. Whether you live in the Hamptons, or are a regular visitor, this game will challenge your trivia skills as well as your awareness of the East End.
But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, so let me start by explaining how this all came to fruition. I decided to throw an end-of-summer party. This is the second party I have hosted this season. The first was a block party that I previously wrote about, and no one showed up. It was important that this party was a success. So I decided to throw a trivia party at a friend’s house in East Hampton. Everyone loves trivia games.
In order to attract guests, my trivia party needed to be unique and over-the-top. So I decided to make the trivia questions based on famous New York streets. After some research I constructed clues, based on facts, which would hopefully lead the participants to the correct answer. Finally, last Friday night, with more than a two-dozen people in attendance, the game commenced. Playing the part of Alex Trebek, I began:
Clue: “John Jacob, who was at one time the richest person in the United States and was one of New York’s famous residents, was the inspiration for the naming of this place.”
Answer: Astor Place
Clue: “Anthony was one of the founders of The New York Historical Society and this street in Greenwich Village ran through his farm.”
Answer: Bleecker Street
Clue: “This street’s current name is due to its wide lanes. Before that it was known as the Wickquasgeck Indian Trail and then was renamed de Heere Straat by the Dutch.”
Answer: Broadway
Clue: “This street got its name from a culvert that was built in the beginning of the 19th century to drain heavily polluted ponds.”
Answer: Canal Street
Clue: “The fourth President of The United States would approve of this avenue.”
Answer: Madison Avenue
Clue: “This street was named after, believe it or not, a barrier in the 1600s across from what was then the north side of settled Manhattan Island to keep out invaders.”
Answer: Wall Street
And so the game continued. The only problem was that after about 45 minutes, I had run out of New York street trivia. Luckily, there was still plenty of high-end alcohol and caviar pizza left.
With the crowd getting restless and clamoring for more of my trivia, I called a party audible and grabbed my well-worn East End map. Now I was armed with the names of the streets in the Hamptons, but unfortunately I had no idea of their origin. Then I started thinking, “why can’t I make up some clues about some streets in the Hamptons…even if it aint so?” And thus, The Hamptons Street Game was invented.
I first tossed an easy one,
Clue: “You might encounter a hairy creature on this one.”
Answer: Everyone present was a reader of Dan’s Papers so they all said in unison, “Werewolf Path.”
I continued,
Clue: “A Bouncy Financial Institution”
Answer: Springy Banks Road
Clue: “They carved canoes out of big trees and then paddled them up the waterway”
Answer: Roanoke Avenue (Row-an-Oak).
Clue: “A Figgy Treat”
Answer: Newtown Lane
Clue: “You might poopy in your pants while driving on this one”
Answer: Pantigo Road
Clue: “Loose Skin”
Answer: Sagg Road
Clue: “Tiger might rent a house on this one”
Answer: Woods Lane
Clue: “Very clean trees on this road”
Answer: Scrub Oak Road
Clue: “Could also be called sand hill or sand ridge”
Answer: Dune Road.
As the evening progressed and the alcohol continued to flow, it was evident that the Hamptons Street Game was a hit. It seems I had made up a clue for almost every road, street, avenue, path and anything else that could be driven on in the Hamptons. Every participant, except for the pizza delivery guy, who was passed out on my couch, agreed that I should trademark and patent the game, for a winter release throughout the East End.
When the evening was done, I was compelled to call for several taxicabs to make certain my inebriated guests made it home safely. When the dispatcher asked for the address, I responded, “Quincy, Norah and Tom might live on this street.” He must be good at trivia too because without hesitation he answered, “The cabs are on the way to Jones Road.”
I will always remember this summer fondly as the one where I hosted my first truly successful Hamptons party. Oh yeah, and I invented The Hamptons Street Game. It has been a great summer!
*  *  *
Werewolf Path
Several weeks ago, I wrote that I would demonstrate at Town Hall in Southampton to prevent Werewolf Path from being renamed Old Sag Harbor Road. No proposal was made to that effect as it turned out. So things can remain the way they are. “You and Hagstroms and Apple can call it Werewolf Path, we at town hall will call it Old Sag Harbor Road.

Victory! Sort of.  — DR

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