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Old 12-16-2020, 01:00 PM
21 posts, read 16,396 times
Reputation: 45



For a host of reasons too numerous to explain, my wife and I are thinking of relocating to New London; perhaps as a retirement option. We're familiar with it to an extent, but on a recent visit (a nice, warm Fall day), the downtown was essentially dead. A few shops here and there, but not much to attract you. We were wondering if that's a Covid-related thing, or is it always like that? Seems to have so much potential!

We'd like to live close to a "downtown," being from Brooklyn, NY and liking a street-type vibe, but don't want to live near a ghost town either. Is NL on an upturn or down? Thanks-
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Old 12-16-2020, 03:27 PM
Location: Connecticut
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The area around downtown New London is very economically depressed. Very few people who could afford anywhere else would live there.
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Old 12-16-2020, 04:23 PM
Location: Beacon Falls
1,368 posts, read 998,207 times
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Didn't a lot of businesses pack up and leave a few years ago, due to higher taxes?
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Old 12-16-2020, 07:00 PM
Location: Coastal Connecticut
21,782 posts, read 28,131,791 times
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Not much better pre-Covid.

You'd be better off in New Haven if you want more of a Brooklyn vibe on the CT coast. Downtown, East Rock, Wooster Square. It's drastically better as a city with street life, dining, culture, etc. But more relaxed and less hectic than NYC. A lot of the new luxury apartment complexes are actually targeted at both Millenials and retiring Baby Boomers.

Other nice smaller downtowns can be found all up the coast, literally from Greenwich to Stonington. East of New Haven, options like Branford, Madison, Guilford, Old Saybook, Mystic, and Stonington.

Last edited by Stylo; 12-16-2020 at 07:36 PM..
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Old 12-16-2020, 07:10 PM
8 posts, read 6,623 times
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I would say New London is on a slight up turn. Mostly fueled by the Electric Boat going on a massive hiring spree, trying to get young engineers and such. Right now there is an apartment complex being build just a block down from downtown, with another one in the works, to be built the next block up. they is an effort to renovate the apartments above the store fronts, with varying results. everyone will tell you that south New London is a very nice, specifically south of the hospital. pequot ave, just south of downtown is a neighborhood call riverside, which is nice, with marinas, and resturants, etc. Downtown itself is kinda hit or miss, there are some nice restaurant and bars, lots of random art galleries, the art scene is pretty vibrant. its also a bit of a transportation hub, so you could take a ferry to Long Island, or Block Island or Fisher Island, there is a train station, bus station, etc. there is sort of a town square there. during the spring summer and fall months there is usually a bar crawl, or some type festival. Sail fest is the bigest one. covid definitely taken its toll so its not surprise that it looked dead. It can be hit or miss, a bit rough around the edges, but hey that is city life for you.
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Old 12-16-2020, 07:11 PM
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If you are thinking of retirement in that general area, maybe take a look at Mystic, which has a walkable area with a number of restaurants, shops and attractions.
New London could be an investment but the downtown area does not seem promising to me for retirees.
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Old 12-16-2020, 08:13 PM
847 posts, read 510,861 times
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I like New London. Personally, I think it's trending up, but who knows with COVID?

When my wife and I were first dating, she lived a walk to downtown. I was there every weekend and 2 months in the summer. I loved it. Both cute towns (Mystic, Niantic) and good shopping (in Waterford) are quick drives. New London residents get reduced prices to Ocean Beach (free to all off season.) L&M is good hospital and it's right there. Downtown has some decent restaurants and bars and I never felt unsafe. I regularly walked my small dog late at night in a loop up on the city side Ocean and Montauk. I never saw anything go down or had anybody say anything to me other than "what's up?" Yeah, it's a city.

A big chunk is economically depressed and there are city issues. If you are city folks, it won't be an issue. As retirees, you don't care about the schools. So...that's not a downside for you. One downside, though is taxes. It's high mil rate. The upside is that you can buy a heck of nice house or condo for MUCH less than the surrounding towns so you total tax bill won't be that much more than a similar properties in other towns.

There is certain charm about New London. A lot of people like to crap on it, but it's got plenty offer.
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Old 12-16-2020, 08:27 PM
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I don't think New London is that bad. It has an art museum, history museums, art galleries, and good restaurants. It's a college town (Connecticut College, Mitchell, and the Coast Guard Academy). It's a ferry hub and so gets busier in the summer. I've seen Bank Street quite mobbed on summer evenings pre-Covid. Locals have strong civic pride in their little city. It's a good place if you're looking for a sense of community.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a more bustling urban life, then New Haven is by far the better choice. If you can live a little further out from New London then consider Middletown as well as an alternative to New Haven. Closer to New London, you can also consider Westerly, RI, about 20 minutes north on 95. Norwich, CT is also not far from New London. It's quite similar to New London in many ways, but if you really need to live in that part of CT, then you can also give that city a look as well. Maybe you'll like it better.
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Old 12-17-2020, 06:23 AM
21 posts, read 16,396 times
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Thanks for the input, everybody. What I'm reading is pretty much what I figured...will keep checking and thinking things through. Much appreciated!
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Old 12-17-2020, 06:56 AM
Location: Cheshire, Connecticut USA
710 posts, read 403,883 times
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Some years ago I had a friend who went to Connecticut College and described New London as "Waterbury...but on the water."
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