For what it’s worth ... ‘Crown jewel’ slightly tarnished
So Mayor Martin thinks Stamford is Connecticut’s “crown jewel.” Anyway that’s what His Honor said in his “State of the City” address Wednesday. Considering the choking all-day traffic, the over-development of luxury apartments, schools that are bursting at the seams, high taxes and plans to put up high-rise buildings in neighborhoods whose residents don’t want them, the mayor seems to have gone overboard. Especially when we have 81,769 commuters (58,230 of which are single-occupancy drivers) driving into Stamford every work day, as Joe McGee, vice president of the Stamford-based Business Council of Fairfield County, told me on Wednesday. Hey, don’t get me wrong; the city has a lot to offer or my wife and I never would have come back to my hometown after a year in Denver.
Notably, in his address, Mayor Martin said the city has a lot of “catching up to do” when it comes to street paving. It sure has, given the atrocious condition of scores of roadways in the city from the South End to Eden Road in North Stamford. With the beach season only a few weeks away, it’s incumbent on the city to move quickly to repair two of the worst, Cove Road and Weed Avenue, both of which are major arteries to Cove Island, along with the horribly rutted roadway leading into Cummings Park from Shippan Avenue.
Local quiz: Why is a street in the Cove area of Stamford named Waterbury Avenue? (Hint: if you answered :the city of Waterbury, you’re wrong.)
In light of it having lost a number of stores in recent months, a good way to get more people to shop at the Stamford Town Center (aka, “The Mall”) would be to eliminate parking fees. All the more so since the Town Center is going to face tough competition when a new mall, which will include some high-quality stores such as Nordstrom, opens next fall in Norwalk. What makes Stamford’s Lord & Taylor all the more appealing is that shoppers park in a sprawling parking lot. Same for the Trumbull mall.
Having been a sportswriter for more than 25 years, I’m hardly anti-sport. But I’ve lost a lot of that interest in sports, especially baseball, which, contrary to the NFL’s braggadocio, is still America’s Pastime with thousands of major and minor league players. As it is, Major League games that averaged less than two hours in the past now drag on for more than three hours, mainly because of pitching changes. It’s rare for a starting pitcher to complete a game. Instead, it’s common now for up to 10 pitchers to appear in low-scoring games. No wonder the average age of a big-league fan is 57 years old and that most kids think the game as it is played today is boring, a bad portent for the game’s future. Also, it seems wrong to me that it’s now common for players such as Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Bryce Harper, now with the Philadelphia Phillies, to sign long-term contracts that will pay them more than $25 million a year. Be still my beating heart.
Answer to local quiz: Waterbury Avenue in the Cove is named for one of Stamford’s most notable early day residents, as are some other Stamford streets such as Lockwood Avenue.
University of Connecticut recruiting a female player from Croatia shows how much women’s college basketball has changed. The Husky men’s team has been doing it for years. I liked it better back when I covered quite a few UConn basketball games and some of the players were from Connecticut, such as such as Chris Smith of Bridgeport and Rashamel Jones, who hailed from Port Chester, N.Y., but was a standout for Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford.
Jack Cavanaugh, a Stamford native and resident, is an Advocate columnist. He’s a veteran print and network reporter and sportswriter and the author of six books.