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Old 04-21-2011, 12:01 AM
 
5 posts, read 13,397 times
Reputation: 14

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCT View Post
You think it was better when downtown Stamford was an empty wasteland. You should then consider moving to any of the hundreds of abandoned cities across the country that would love even a 10th of the development that has occured in Stamford in the past 20 years. Stamford isn't the only place that has seen old stores close. Fortunately it has found new stores to take its place. Jay

I just discovered this site so forgive what may be a long time between JayCT's post, and my response to it. JayCT was commenting upon a posting by WAYDOH, who said "Stamford is changing and I don't think it's for the better." Apparently JayCT is either "young" or had not lived in Stamford prior to the total disaster called "Urban Renewal" that began in the 1960s.

I was born in 1939 and raised in Stamford and I absolutely agree with WAYDOH. Of course I respect the right of others to a different opinion but, for me, I wouldn't THINK of living in Stamford today. That "empty wasteland" that JayCT refers to was CREATED by so-called "Urban Renewal" prior to which Stamford was a beautiful "small" city with relatively low taxes, low crime and a feeling of community. From Ridgeway, north, on the one hand, and East Main Street, north, through Glenbrook and Springdale on the other, Stamford has maintained its character even with new development. But downtown? Well, if I haven't anything good to say about something I may as well say nothing.

My guess is that WAYDOH may be a few years younger than me, yet old enough to remember the "old" Stamford. I, too, was a John J. Ryle student, went to Cloonan when it was Junior High School (on Henry Street) and SHS (Rippowam hadn't been built yet). I remember walking from Waterside to the South End to attend Cloonan (Imagine! Walking to school!) and from Waterside to Stamford High in good weather. Alternatively we could take a Connecticut Company bus to SHS...for which we received a student half-fare discount. Yes, we actually had to PAY for the bus in those days... as it should be when you receive a service.

Stamford had eight movie houses. The Stamford Theatre on Atlantic Street which was owned by the same people who owned the Avon on Bedford. Both were basically "MGM" houses (I believe they also showed 20th Century Fox films). The Palace on Atlantic screened Columbia Pictures (and, I believe, Warner Bros.). The Strand, two doors down from the Palace, tended to show second run features (and eventually was used in an early attempt to revive Vaudeville and live stage entertainment). The beautiful art deco Plaza Theatre on Main Street was home to Universal Pictures. The Rialto, further down on Main, not too far from the city's main Fire Department, was THE place for kids to go on Saturday. Second run? How about 3rd, 4th or 5th run? It was the place to be if you wanted to see the scary movies: Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman, the Mummy, they were all staples. Saturday afternoon would give you a double feature, a Three Stooges or some other "short", a travelogue, newsreel and a handful of cartoons....all for a big 12 cents (18 cents for adults). And it had the best popcorn. Put a dime in the machine, hold a paper bag under the chute and, when the machine "stopped", lift the lever to let the popcorn flow out and fill your bag. The State Theatre (now State Cinema) on Hope Street was another "go-to" theater for kids on Saturday and was the place to catch a movie you'd missed when it was first-run "downtown". The "new" theater in town was the Ridgeway. So plush, so refined, and balcony seats that actually reclined a bit for comfort!

Summer Street was a beautiful "avenue" with beautiful old homes lining both sides from Spring Street on north, the only "commercial" things being the Dairy Queen, a hot dog stand and the Ridgeway Shopping Center. It was the site for the annual "Firemen's Parade". The crossroads of town was Atlantic Square, where Atlantic was intersected by Main Street, before Main Street was truncated to make way for the "box" they now call the Mall. If anything ruined downtown Stamford the Mall was it. Before then people actually walked around town, from Strauss and J.C. Penny stores near the main Post Office to the shops on Bedford Street, and from the Associated Service appliance store on Main Street, just east of the bridge over the Rippowam, passed the Town Hall through Atlantic Square to Feurer's Record store, W.T. Grant's five-and-ten, the Plaza Theatre and on to the Telephone Building and the main Fire Department.

Stamford was never known for architectural gems, but it did have a few buildings in the downtown area that were, and still are, in that category (subjective comment, I'll admit). It's most beautiful gem is the main Post Office on Atlantic Street which, sadly, I recently heard is to be closed. The Ferguson Library (before the addition) is another one as is One Atlantic Street (originally the First Stamford National Bank). Landmark Square and Bloomingdales (now UCONN) and the Police Department were the last truly well designed buildings that blended well with their surroundings. All that followed were New York City wannabees.... and they don't make it.

So, yes, JayCT, Stamford has had a lot of development in the last 20 years. But "new" is not synonymous with "better". Old stores closing and being replaced by new stores is not the issue. That is the normal process of a town or a city's life cycle. But ripping the heart from a city and plopping down a monstrous bit of construction (the Mall) that cut the city in half, and bulldozing another swath through the center of the city (Tresser Blvd) to replace Main Street as U.S. Route 1 - these are not "improvements" by any stretch of the imagination. They are, if anything, criminal assaults on what had once been a beautiful, walkable, livable city.

And to the owners of Curly's Diner ^5! May you live on forever.
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:28 PM
 
7 posts, read 35,725 times
Reputation: 13
Bravo!

I couldn't agree more.

As a kid in the 70's (pre-MallStrosity), we enjoyed a "real downtown".

Whether it was getting dragged to Greenbergs once a year for school clothes (on credit no less!) or for new sneakers from the same nice salesman that used to work at Kaylore's, it was OUR town. Not some shopping destination with a Sbarro and a 13 level parking garage.

Thanks to all that have posted.

PS: Across the country, DQ's are doing away with the real Butterscotch Milkshake. Truly one of Stamford's great traditions....
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:57 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
35,002 posts, read 57,095,967 times
Reputation: 11245
Bluefog and narajkaj - you are both new to this forum but if you would read my many past posts you would know I am definitely not the type of person that equates new and shiny with being better. I do however believe that people look back on the past and always think things were so much better in the old days and totally forget what they were really like.

Complaining about Stamford's development and longing for the days when the town was deserted is not my idea of reality. Stamford made a decision to grow from a small city to a major one over 50 years ago. It was done for a reason and that was progress. If it had not done that it would probably look like Bridgeport today or any of the hundreds of cities across our country that saw a mass exodus of industry in the 60's and 70's. Stamford has been very fortunate that their plans to feed off New York worked so well and brought thousands of jobs and a lot of money to the city. It has one of the most successful urban development programs in the country and that is a lot to be proud of.

Instead of lamenting change, embrace it. Change will happen no matter what you think or want. Just hope it is a good change and not bad. Jay

Last edited by JayCT; 04-28-2011 at 12:18 PM.. Reason: Correct typo
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:51 AM
 
21,658 posts, read 31,289,235 times
Reputation: 9835
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCT View Post
Bluefog and narajkaj - you are both new to this forum but if you would read my many past posts you would know I am definitely not the type of person that equates new and shiny with being better. I do however believe that people look back on the past and always think things were so much better in the old days and totally forget what they were really like.

Complaining about Stamford's development and longing for the days when the town was deserted is not my idea of reality. Stamford made a decision to grow from a small city to a major one over 50 years ago. It was done for a reason and that was progress. If it had not done that it would probably look like Bridgeport today or any of the hundreds of cities across our country that saw a mass exodus of industry in the 60's and 70's. Stamford has been very fortunate that their plans to feed off New York worked so well and brought thousands of jobs and a lot of money to the city. It has one of the most successful urban development programs in the country and that is a lot to be proud of.

Instead of lamenting change, embrase it. Change will happen no matter what you think or want. Just hope it is a good change and not bad. Jay
You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to JayCT again.
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:24 AM
 
5 posts, read 13,397 times
Reputation: 14
JayCT is certainly entitled to his view as I am to mine. But he is not entitled to misrepresent my view. I do not long for the days when Stamford was deserted but, rather, for the days when it was a city for Stamford residents to enjoy, not one for metropolitan area folks to drive to, shop, then go home.

Downtown Stamford only became deserted when a few politicians and their influential cronies won the battle....and it WAS a battle....to turn Stamford into a rich man's White Plains. To say the Urban Redevelopment Commission ran roughshod over the citizens of Stamford, and especially the downtown small property owners, is an understatement. Stamford did not make a decision to grow from a small city to what it is today (I won't characterize it as a "major" one). There was no vote of the people, not even a non-binding one. Being a representative democracy the Board of Reps made that decision. But I was around at the time. The debate was years long. It was not without rancor and a feeling of total betrayal by many.

Oh, it brought jobs and a lot of money to the City...not to mention a lot more crime, congestion, out-of-sight housing costs which make it almost impossible for native born Stamfordites to live there once they leave their parents' nest, and taxes so high the city has to provide a special property tax credit for the elderly or see them move away with their kids.

If this be success, grant me failure. If this be progress, grant me stagnation. If this be something to be proud of, pray tell what does it take to cause shame?

I don't lament change and, yes, it will happen. And I do hope it is a good change when it occurs. Unfortunately, in my opinion, what has happened to my beloved home town is anything but good. And I would venture, again, in my opinion, that the majority of those who think otherwise are either too young to have known Stamford before the debacle known as "urban renewal" or (and pardon the paraphrasing ) "look back on the past and always think things were so much worse in the old days and totally forget what they were really like".
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:32 AM
 
Location: connectthedots
47 posts, read 87,705 times
Reputation: 17

i remember stamford to. i live here LOL
HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
35,002 posts, read 57,095,967 times
Reputation: 11245
I am not "misrepresenting" you but I do question how realistic your view is. Like many cities in the 1950's and 1960's Stamford was facing a major flight to the suburbs. Not only were the middle and upper classes leaving as well as businesses closing and jobs leaving, they had few choices to do soething to stop it. Urban renewal looked to be the answer. No one knows for sure it is was good or bad but think of it this way, would you rather have Stamford be say a Waterbury or Bridgeport which was highly possible.

As for your comment on Stamford not being a major city, I would say that any city that has nearly 70,000 jobs is a major city particularly in Connecticut. Jay
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Old 04-25-2011, 06:34 PM
 
Location: connectthedots
47 posts, read 87,705 times
Reputation: 17
Default next

i am going back to
rhinebeck ny to live
scuse me for butting in. but i think stamford cares more for money then the people that pay its tax. it went up so high people lost there homes.
while the rich dont get taxed acording to what they cant pay like the middle and lower class. they get taxed on the same scale as the non rich.
its descusting how it can take somones home knowing the home owners intake and taxing them beyond what they can pay. so stamford can have a trolly car on main street that will raise tax there to. its not my fault we mooved to stamford when i was a kid and couldent stop it.
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:24 AM
 
5 posts, read 13,397 times
Reputation: 14
Apparently JayCT and I have different views on the meaning of "realistic". In reading the posts I really do wonder if he was even alive, much less around Stamford, at the time this urban "renewal" debacle took place, or has he simply read the PR spewed out by those responsible for it. Not having been to Waterbury or Bridgeport in many years I'm in no position to say whether I'd have preferred to see Stamford resemble them or have it as it is...with a "Berlin Wall" dividing it in half. Personally I find it hard to imagine it being worse than it is. Different, maybe, but not worse.
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Old 04-26-2011, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Coastal Connecticut
21,804 posts, read 28,185,347 times
Reputation: 6711
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefog1084 View Post
To say the Urban Redevelopment Commission ran roughshod over the citizens of Stamford, and especially the downtown small property owners, is an understatement. Stamford did not make a decision to grow from a small city to what it is today (I won't characterize it as a "major" one). There was no vote of the people, not even a non-binding one. Being a representative democracy the Board of Reps made that decision. But I was around at the time. The debate was years long. It was not without rancor and a feeling of total betrayal by many.
It would've happened regardless of the politics. Its location is ideal as a center of employment and as a satellite city of NYC.

No votes or development groups needed. It would've grown due to that one factor: location.
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