Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tree Lighting on the Green

Here are some photographs from Friday night's tree lighting ceremony, and a few photos of some of the winners of Main Street's Third Annual Holiday Decoration Competition (I took photos of more than just these, but for some reason the camera didn't save them). The Green will be lit up all month--it's worth a visit.

Vintage Restaurant

Universal Copy

John Bale Book Company

Friday, November 21, 2008

Presidential Votes

UConn has published the results of the election with breakdowns by town. It's interesting to see that Waterbury and Naugatuck are very nearly surrounded by a sea of red, while almost the entire rest of the state is blue.

More election maps are online at

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Getting Ready for Spring

Last week I planted bulbs in my front yard. Iris, because they've always been my favorite; hyacinth, because they smell nice; and anemone, because they came in packets of 25 multicolored, so they'll help fill in the yard.

My neighbor across the street was interested in what I was planting, since he has the best view of my yard. My next-door neighbor heard us talking and came out to see what was happening. I don't think he'd ever seen anyone garden before. It was a revelation to him. I showed him the photos and descriptions of what the bulbs will become in the spring, and he was amazed that something so large and beautiful could grow from something that looks like a cross between a potato and an onion. He said something to the effect that he doesn't understand how anyone could not believe in a high power when you see how a tiny little seed or bulb can be put in the ground and then grow into a large plant. I had a similar thought earlier this year, when I saw the first tiny little sprig of a plant growing from seeds I had planted. Life is truly miraculous, and gardening can have a positive impact on people's lives.

In Waterbury, the Brass City Harvest has been doing a lot of good work to bring gardening and fresh fruits & vegetables to the inner city. They have a newly launched blog at Check 'em out!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Staying Current

The Hartford Courant has a reputation for being biased against Waterbury. This is something that can be seen going back decades. I don't know what started this "tradition" at the Courant, but maybe one of the reasons it continues is that they haven't bothered to stay up-to-date on what's happening here. Take, for example, their official description of Waterbury on their website: "Principal industries are manufacture of brass and copper products, clocks, and watches."

I'd say that puts their knowledge of Waterbury at least thirty years behind the times.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


(photos taken in 2007)

A lot of factory buildings tend to be ugly behomeths, especially if they were built during the 20th century. During the 19th century, factory buildings were typically beautiful brick structures. Many have been rehabilitated, converted into dynamic apartments, condos and shops. Many others have been demolished, and it seems that Waterbury is about to lose another one. The abandoned factories at North Elm and Cherry Streets are going to be replaced with a new facility. It's a real shame. For years, I've been hoping that someone would rescue them. Rehabbing them is on my wish list of things I would do if I won Powerball.

A portion of the old watch factory was converted to Enterprise Apartments, and, as you can see from the photo, it looks really nice:

By contrast, here's the depressingly hideous, cement-block, bunker-style housing on the opposite side of North Elm Street (why does it seem like the ugly architecture stays forever, while the attractive architecture gets destroyed?):

I don't know for certain, but the neighboring Benrus factory might also be not long for this world:

Last, but certainly not least, here is the main office building for the factory complex, designed to look like a miniature mansion. I don't have a lot of hope remaining for its future.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Good Music

After I moved to Scovill Row last year, I kept hearing some fantastic music being played in the neighborhood. I did some online searching and finally discovered that what I was hearing was Bachata, a style of music from the Dominican Republic. My favorite bachata musician is Zacarias Ferreira--his Dime Que Falto CD (I almost called it an album...) is fantastic.

A couple of weeks ago, I started to notice a flyer cropping up all over Waterbury and Hartford (and presumably all the other cities in Connecticut). Ferreira is going to be putting on a concert in Waterbury on November 16 at Salon La Fatima (Our Lady of Fatima Church) on Baldwin Street.

If you aren't familiar with his music, here are some good links to listen to:
Dime Que Falto
Ay Amor
Es Tan Dificil
Se Marcho El Amor

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Local Public House

I've had a terrible time remembering the new name of T. Pic's bar, probably because they haven't gotten new signs up yet. So here it is: The Local Public House. Conjures up images of old Irish pubs.

When I was there the other day, I got a little history lesson from my fellow drinkers. Before it was T. Pic's, it was 457 (after the street address). Before that, it was No Fish Today. Before that, it was something I can't remember now (sorry!).

There used to be a bar just down the street, in a building that was lost to fire, that had the longest bar in Connecticut. It is believed that the bar was purchased and moved out of state.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Mattatuck Cafe Reopens

The Mattatuck Museum has been without a cafe for several years, but they are finally re-opening it this week, Wednesday, November 5. This time around, the cafe will be run by the Bunker Hill Deli. Sandwiches, soups, salads, all available Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30 - 2:30.

If you still haven't stopped by to see the new history exhibit, now's the perfect time--see the history, eat some lunch, and if the weather is nice, borrow one of the MP3 players and a map, and tour some of downtown's architecture.