Who decides street names?
New York State Town Law §64(9) states that naming of streets is a power of the Town Board. Jeffrey Osterman, Bedford’s planning supervisor, says there hasn’t been a new street to name in Bedford in ten years. He says, “The Town Historian alone named new streets, usually after an individual who played a significant role in the town’s history, but more currently, the police department is involved because of safety and emergency services.”
Dick Lyman, supervisor of the Town of Pound Ridge, says early in the town’s history, many streets and roads were named for the Native Americans who once lived there, and that tradition gradually gave way to developers who began naming streets for their children, citing Peter’s Lane and Nancy’s Lane, so named for the developer Lawrence Malawista’s offspring.
In the 1960s, the Historic District Commission stepped in and put a stop to the practice. “At that time, a decision was made to name roads for historic personages. That’s why we have Major Lockwood Road, Major Talmadge Road, and Colonel Sheldon Lane,” Lyman says. “Later, the development of Dann Farm was named the same way.”
Lyman says this brings us to the most recently named road in Pound Ridge, Joshua Hobby Lane. “Hobby appears to have been a local minister; according to Phil Pessoni, the former Town Historian. Records show he performed some 24 marriages,” Lyman says. Little else seems to be known about Reverend Hobby except now he has a street named after him.