Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Monday, February 13, 2017

"Sleepy Hollow" Neighborhood: Looking for the rainbow's end?

Rainbow over Plainfield, September 15, 2011.
Where does it end?

Plainfield City Council is set to take up tonight a resolution "acknowledging" Sleepy Hollow as a "designated neighborhood" in the city (R 067-17).

I must admit I didn't pay much attention to this matter before its recent introduction -- and now, amendment. (Bernice wrote about it in 2015 when proponents came before the Historic Preservation Commission.)

But when I saw the map Bernice appended to her most recent writeup (see here), I was puzzled. In thirty years as a real estate professional in Plainfield, I would never have thought the streets designated in this map represented Sleepy Hollow -- and certainly not for any official designation.

From the time the English storybook houses were built in the late 1920s on the short side of Sleepy Hollow Lane that winds downhill (thus "Hollow") from Watchung Avenue, the term "Sleepy Hollow" was marketing fairy dust liberally sprinkled around by realtors eager to cash in on the cachet of the name.

It worked precisely because it had no exact location, sort of like the rainbow's end.

The magic allowed for hundreds of homes (mostly not within the designated area of the map) to be marketed as "in prestigious Sleepy Hollow" -- including many below Woodland Avenue.

John Grady, who is considered the moving force behind Plainfield's nationally registered historic districts, once remarked to me, apropos "Sleepy Hollow" that he thought the city would have been wise, at the time the historic districts were created, to have designated the entire section from Leland Avenue to East 7th Street to Woodland Avenue to Prospect Avenue and thence along the city line back to Leland and Cushing Road as "Sleepy Hollow". But by that time he had run out of steam and no one else took up the cause.

Map of proposed Sleepy Hollow neighborhood,
originally posted by Bernice (see here).
That would certainly be more defensible than this map.

The idea of fencing in "Sleepy Hollow" is a little bit like looking for the rainbow's end.

Good luck with that.

Theresa Ann Moroney Teacher and Plainfield bookstore owner was an avid reader and adventurous cook Theresa Ann Moroney of Plainfield, N.J., died on Jan. 19, 2017, from complications of breast cancer. Family and friends are invited to join together to honor Terry's life at The Landing, 311 Amwell Rd., Hillsborough, N.J., on Sunday, Jan. 22, for brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Terry was born on March 24, 1944, in Summit, N.J., to Mary Gallagher and David Moroney, the seventh of nine children. She graduated from St. Teresa's Grammar School, Summit, in 1958, and attended three high schools: Summit High for two years, followed by a year at Madison High, before graduating from South Plainfield High in 1962. Terry attended Fairleigh Dickinson University while working night shifts at her sister Catherine's diner, becoming the first member of her family to graduate from college with a B.A. in English in 1967. While at FDU she served as editor for the school newspaper. After graduation, Terry and her sister Grace travelled across the country. Terry began her teaching career at Westfield High in 1967 and continued at Plainfield High. In 1972 the call of the highway beckoned once more, and she and Grace continued their cross-country exploration. Upon returning to New Jersey, Terry met and married the love of her life, David Beck, and soon welcomed two sons into her world. In 1980 she reentered the work force, teaching adult education in Plainfield and New Brunswick, N.J., a vocation in which she took tremendous pride. In 1992 Terry returned to high school, teaching at North Plainfield until her retirement in 2009. In 1997 Terry opened "Another Look Books" in Plainfield. A labor of love, the used book store served the downtown community until closing its doors in the early 2000's. Terry was active in the Cook School PTA, and while at North Plainfield she served as advisor for the school newspaper and lent her aid to countless students; she took particular joy in helping her ESL students apply to college. She was an active member of the Plainfield Historical Society and the Democratic Committee in Plainfield. Terry was an avid reader and adventurous cook; the two pursuits birthed an extensive and lovingly used library of cookbooks and personal recipes. Terry was predeceased by her husband, David Michael Beck, in 2014. She is survived by her sons, Andrew David and Richard Evelyn; her daughter-in-law, Christine Beck, and grandsons, Damien Carter and Alexander David. The seventh of nine children, Terry is survived by her sister, Constance Costello Rooney. She was predeceased by her brothers, David, Richard, and James, and her sisters, Margaret, Catherine, Rosemary, and Grace. In New Jersey, Terry will be missed by her sister-in-law, Kathleen Moroney; nephews, Charles Femminella and his wife, Charlotte Ryden, Christopher (Gretchen), Sean (Karen), and Mark Moroney (Kelly); nieces, Regina and Renee Femminella, Maureen Pena (Joseph), Sandra Roberts (Steve Kosciolek), and Jennifer McBride (Sean); in Virginia, by Moyra Moroney; in Arizona, by her brother-in-law, Paul Beck and, in Hawaii, by John Beck; and many grand-nephews and grand-nieces. - See more at:

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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