YES! Weekly’s ten best street names

by Brian Clarey

Odd Street

Save for the fact that there are no addresses that front it, there’s nothing particularly odd about Odd Street, a short (very short) thoroughfare in a working class neighborhood. It is hard to find in the maze of streets bounded by Florida, Freeman Mill and Randleman in the southeast corner of the city, and it is the kind of neighborhood where someone might shout, ‘“What are you doing?’” from her front porch while you take pictures.

Christmas Place

When you hear of Christmas Place, up in the northwest quadrant of Greensboro, you might imagine candy cane trees, lots of twinkling lights and perhaps a tiny train which threads through the neighborhood, dispensing toys to all the good little boys and girls. You’d be wrong. The street, in a subdivision consisting mostly of brick townhomes, is not the kind of place you’d expect to see Santa Claus. But maybe it really comes to life in December.

Famous residents

In Greensboro we like to recognize our really famous sons and daughters of the city in the time-honored tradition of naming a stretch of road for them. O. Henry, Dolley Madison, George Preddy and Edward R. Murrow all have stretches of Greensboro roadway that bear their names. No word yet on the Rick Dees Thruway.

Druid Street

Ever wondered about the Gate City’s connection to Stonehenge? It’s pretty thin ‘— there’s a piece of road about half a block long just off Lee Street named for the ancient sect buttressed by an appliance store and a residence with a sign on the fence: ‘“Beware of Dog, Perro Bravo.’”

Dick Street

Just down the block from Druid is a street with a very funny name ‘— funny, that is, if you share my juvenile sense of humor. But it’s included on the list not because it is likely the most stolen of all Greensboro’s street signs, but because there was once a legendary punk rock collective on the street, a precursor to the many party houses in the Gate City, where Flying Anvil owner Andrew Dudek honed his chops. This was before the beard, we assume.

Grendel Road

Why, you ask, would someone name a street after literature’s first badass monster? We don’t know, but we think it sets a much better tone than, say, Main Street. Don’t screw around on this street, the name says. And cut your damn lawn while you’re at it. On this Greensboro street off Muirs Chapel Road between Friendly and Market there hangs a Children at Play sign, a staunch reminder that as rough as Grendel was, his mother was even tougher.

Robin Hood nostalgia

While it’s no secret that Greensboro has its share of, ahem, Merry Men, not everybody knows about the neighborhood in the north end of town named for the heroes of yore, where you can stand on the corner of Robin Hood Drive and Friar Tuck Road. Robin of Locksley might have had a good time pillaging in this middle-class, suburban neighborhood, though in his tights he might stand out just a bit.

Enchanted Lane

Ah, Enchanted Lane, where gumdrop trees provide shade over chocolate streams and lollipop bushes, and nymphs and sprites hide and frolic. Well… not exactly. This ambitiously named street, part of the Holiday Hills subdivision in the southeast part of town, is populated by low brick ranch houses without the benefit of sidewalks. Still, there might be a gnome or two running around after dark.

Vinegar Hill Drive

Depending on who you ask, Vinegar Hill was named either for the battle of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the prison uprising in New South Wales, Australia, the Brooklyn DUMBO neighborhood (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Underpass) or the novel of the same name by A. Manette Ansay. And then there are those who believe that it’s the place where pickles are born.

Noodles Avenue

Okay, so Noodles Avenue doesn’t exist anymore ‘— the short stretch off of Summit Avenue where it used to live is now a huge pile of orange dirt that will soon become phase IV of the Village at Northside development. But it makes the list because it’s funny and it raises all kinds of questions, the most obvious being: Why would someone name a street after pasta?