The late Scotch Plains resident Pat DiNizio will have a portion of Scotch Plains’ Montague Avenue named after him, with a ceremonial street sign saying Pat DiNizio Way added at the corner of Montague Avenue and Westfield Avenue, where he lived, and where his mother still lives. The unveiling ceremony will take place April 17 at 5:30 p.m.
“We’re hoping his mom is up to coming out of the house, and pulling the cover off, and unveiling the street sign,” said township manager Al Mirabella. “I know the mayor will say a couple of words, I’ll probably say a couple of words, and a couple of others. Maybe somebody from the band will come and say a couple of words.”
It also has been announced that the Smithereens frontman’s side band, The Scotch Plainsmen, will perform a pre-fireworks tribute set at the Scotch Hills Golf Course, on June 30.
Mirabella says the street renaming is, partially, a result of fan demand.
“There were a few fan sites that started talking about a tribute to Pat,” he says. “I was getting emails from around the country about, ‘What are you guys doing for Pat? Can you name a street after him?,’ from Florida and California, and almost everywhere in between. Then we started saying that we were going to do that, and people got excited, so they did a poll and (Pat DiNizio Way) is what won. So that’s what we are going with.”
Mirabella — who has been the township manager for four years, and is also a Union County freeholder — says he knew DiNizio well.
“Pat was very interested in politics, and I used to run into him and, you know, we talked a little bit about politics,” he said. “He just was always around, and we developed a nice friendship.”
The Smithereens played at some Union County-sponsored music festivals, and DiNizio would do a show, every summer, as part of Scotch Plains’ free, outdoor concert series. Along the way, he befriended many town residents.
“He wasn’t one of these guys who played, dropped the mic and ran off the stage,” Mirabella said. “He’d stay after, talk to people, sign stuff for people. He definitely had that charm.”