Go Home

daily dish

April   2

What Price Quaintness?


Apparently a lot. According to the Ledger today, Glen Ridge paid a quarter of a million dollars last year for the natural gas to fuel the town's historic gas lamps.

Today, the flickering lights cost $35.31 a year for every man, woman and child in this small sliver of a town with 7,123 people. In 1999, the little flames cost $90,490 to run. Last year, it was $251,544, and so far this year, the cost is running 17 percent ahead of just a year ago.

Although the gas lamps bathe the town in a lovely 19th century glow, and also provide a handy logo, they're not much for lighting things up - as anyone who's tried to drive or walk or look up house numbers in Glen Ridge at night will tell you.

There are no easy solutions, like switching to electric lights, because electric polls are behind the houses in Glen Ridge, and the town would need to get easements to run electricity from the back of houses out to the streets. (Hmmm. Eminent domain?) One idea being looked into is a $225 per lamp sensor to turn the lights off during the day. It would cost $150,000 to outfit all the gas lamps in town with these sensors. Sounds like a lot, but we bet the town's gazebo-loving fundraisers could manage that in just a couple of Sunday teas. (Picture above, from the town website, of the gas burning at dusk.)

April 2, 2006 in Sheesh! | Permalink


I say that each house should be required to plant 1 Solar powered flourescent light at the curb. That would light the streets about as much as the gas lights do.

Gas should be turned off except for Friday and Saturday nights to take advantage of the romantic ambiance.

Posted by: pissant | Apr 2, 2006 11:12:22 AM

I never thought i'd see the word romance and pissant in the same post.
Are you just an old softie at heart?

Posted by: Iceman | Apr 2, 2006 11:26:07 AM


I do know what the female libido requires. so, romance it is.

Posted by: pissant | Apr 2, 2006 11:33:29 AM

They should spend the money to rewire them. I mean, they could put some cheesey fake electric candles in there and it'd be cheaper and probably brighter.

Posted by: katie | Apr 2, 2006 3:36:58 PM

Hey pissant, does that mean your fave seduction song is "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?"

Posted by: crank | Apr 2, 2006 3:51:57 PM

Gas is around $6 now, and the futures market is looking at $8 to $9 down the road.

I can remember the gaslight tender coming around in South Orange. Had a little ladder and a key to open the lighting hatch. I'm sure he came around in the morning to turn it off

Posted by: Rail Paul | Apr 2, 2006 4:28:26 PM

"do it in the road" naw not for me.

more like "by the light of the shimmering moon"

though when you think about it, there are some major lush lawns in glen ridge

Posted by: pissant | Apr 2, 2006 4:55:42 PM

So, $35.31 a year, and going up to $41.31.

You know, given my $13000/year property tax bill, I just can't get worked up over forty bucks.

I certainly don't want the town going through the additional expense of digging up lots of yards and converting all of the lamps to electric. They'd probably wind up costing almost as much anyway, and it'd be years before the breakeven point was reached on the renovation.

Posted by: doug | Apr 2, 2006 5:07:37 PM

Yeah, lush lawns & blankets by gaslight... It's a vision to conjure with.

Posted by: crank | Apr 2, 2006 5:34:08 PM

All the Glen Ridge teenagers are partying indoors while the old folks are out getting nookie in the gaslit grass. The world is topsy-turvy. Oh, the calls to the police this summer are going to be precious.

Posted by: Chris | Apr 2, 2006 5:44:53 PM

that was $41.31 per person- it might be worth paying the $225 on a neighborly street by street basis.

Posted by: pissant | Apr 2, 2006 5:45:45 PM

add a bottle of nice wine to that and a small basket of after snacks and i'm set.

wonder what the fine would be. certainly less that a local hotel room.

Posted by: pissant | Apr 2, 2006 5:48:45 PM

Ok, so $82/year for my household, $164/year for a family of four, $252/year for a family of six.

Even if the device cuts the gas usage in half, it's still a drop in the bucket compared to our overall property taxes, unless you've got hundreds of people living in your house.

Let me know when we can cut a _significant_ budget item in half, and I'll be excited about it. (The 2005 budget was $10 million, btw. The gas bill was just 2.25% of the total.)

Posted by: doug | Apr 2, 2006 6:52:04 PM

Mayhap the town should issue an ultimatum to the populace: cough up [at least a certain portion of] this gas bill each year, or we're changing all the lamps to those icky, pinkish-orange ones Montclair uses!

I'd bet many, if not all, of the clearly affluent residents of Glen Ridge, New Jersey would come around in a heartbeat!

Posted by: amanda grace | Apr 2, 2006 7:02:11 PM

that's actually all true... the mayor told me that it costs about $30,000 per month to keep the gas lamps lit.

Posted by: yep | Apr 2, 2006 9:13:54 PM

So for $150,000 Glen Ridge can cut its gas bill in half. Should pay for itself in a year. How much will it cost to replace all of the gas lamps with electric and pay for the easements?

Posted by: Bitpusher | Apr 2, 2006 9:44:24 PM

soprano's update...how great was michael's logic tonite after the jesus freak tried to convince tony that the dinosaurs lived during man's timeon earth:
if there were dinosaurs when adam and eve were alive then they'd be running away from t-rex and that wouldn't have been paradise.

Posted by: Iceman | Apr 2, 2006 10:04:38 PM

ice- glad you turned your Desperate housewives off-I personally am Desperately Seeking Tony and the next episode of Soprano's already--

Posted by: cstarling | Apr 2, 2006 10:06:35 PM

yeah, c,
I told her that what are we nuts not to watch tony so we both said yeah, we'd rather watch da' soprano's. i friggin love his character and the vulnerability.

Posted by: Iceman | Apr 2, 2006 10:08:21 PM

I drove by these lamps today and noticed them for the first time, do they keep them lit in the day time all the time? Because I'm pretty sure they were, and that is a huge waste of money.

Posted by: katie | Apr 2, 2006 11:49:17 PM

I only refer to these people by the character's name, not the actor's name. Christopher is great though.

Posted by: katie | Apr 2, 2006 11:53:19 PM

Relax, Doug,
It doesn't matter how many people you have in your household for purposes of paying for the gaslights in Glen Ridge. Real estate taxes pay for them, and taxes are not assessed on basis of number of people in household. The expense is being borne primarily by the large property owners, which do not likely include many of the posters in Baristanet.

Posted by: Byron | Apr 2, 2006 11:55:09 PM

large property owners don't post here. where do they post?

Posted by: pissant | Apr 3, 2006 12:00:22 AM

I don't see what anyone's weight has to do with anything.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Apr 3, 2006 9:30:48 AM

Katie -

Yes, they're on 24/7. It takes more effort to turn them off and then on again than to run them all the time, is what I've been told.

Posted by: TwinDad | Apr 3, 2006 9:39:43 AM

Click & Jump to our INSIDE PAGES:

· In Case You Don't Look at Our Announcement Box
· Window Painting
· Flatulent Friar
· Ballyowen -- The Best $140 a NJ Golfer Can Spend
· Corzine Budget Gets MSU Calling For Action
· Open Space Call For Action
· Closed For Renovations?
· Thrill Seekers
· Heroic Dudes
· Making Montclair's History Demo-Proof

May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004

A Friend Writes
April Fool's!
Bada Bing
Barista Does the Math
Barista's Sunday Poll
Betty Says
Brand New
Civic Virtue
Comings and Goings
Culture Club
Current Affairs
Cute as Hell
Don't Ask: Dating in Baristaville
Flu Shot Central
Food and Drink
From the Crazy Mixed-Up Files of Raymmmondo
Funniest Home Videos
Good Reads by Neil Baldwin
Growing pains
Help Your Barista!
In Your Dreams
Intersections We Hate
Karma Violation
Lights! Camera! Craft service!
Lights, Camera..... Roll Tape
Major Dudes
Marlboro Inn
Movie Mojo
Only in Montclair
Our Favorite Diversions
Paranoia Beat
Parties We Crashed
Party With Baristanet
Photo of the Week
Pop Culture
Postcards from the EB
Really Freaking Weird
Scooped by Phil Read, Again
Scot's Photo Journal
Seasonal Decorating Violation
Seen around town
Seen in Cyberspace
Shopping With Barista
Songs We Can't Get Out of Our Head
Suburban Archeologist
The Daily Chat
The Sunday Barista Poll
The View from Her Pickup
Those Crazy Kids
Time Capsule
We All Bow to Java
We Ask Random Strangers
Where For Art Thou?
Win Stuff
Yard Sale Treasure Map