Friday, October 3, 2008

Stamford vs. New Haven

My wife and I recently spent the day in New Haven, and since we had previously only gone to Ikea, it was my first time walking around the city and taking it all in. Based on my admittedly brief and superficial impressions, here's my head-to-head comparison of the City That Works and the City That, um, Yales?


Stamford has a nice variety of dining options, including Thai, Middle Eastern and Indian, and ranging from crummy diners (I'm looking at you, Curley's) to the amazing Napa and Telluride.

New Haven has a bunch of famous restaurants, including
The Union League Café, consistently voted the best restaurant in Connecticut; Ibiza, run by famous chef Luis Bollo; Louis' Lunch, which claims to have invented the hamburger; and Pepe's Pizza, which often has a 90-minute wait for its pizza.

However, Zagat's has reviewed more restaurants in Stamford than in any other CT city - check it out.

Advantage: Push (New Haven has fame, but Stamford has quantity).

Professional sports teams (past and present)

Thanks to Pitney Bowes (see my post on Mr. Stamford for details), we have zero professional sports teams in Stamford.

New Haven has had three baseball teams: the Elm Citys (1875), the Ravens (1994-2003) and the West Haven Yankees (no years available); three hockey teams: the Eagles/Ramblers (1926-51), the Nighthawks/Senators (1972-93) and the Beast (1997-99); and even an af2 (Arena Football League's minor league) team, the Ninjas (2002).

The closest Stamford has come to pro sports is when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers played a preseason game at Terry Conners Rink. Sad.

Advantage: Duh, New Haven.

Professional tennis tournaments

New Haven: 1.
Stamford: 0.

Advantage: New Haven.

Maria has never been to Stamford (her loss, right?).

Higher education

New Haven: Yale, Southern CT State, UNH.

Stamford: UConn Stamford, University of Bridgeport satellite campus, Sacred Heart University satellite campus.

Advantage: New Haven, plus a bonus point for Skull and Bones. Stamford's only secret society is the Illuminati that, according to the nutjobs, run this town and refuse to build anything on the Hole in the Ground.

College football

Yeah, it's only the Ivy League, but it's still college football, and the annual Harvard-Yale game is a huge nerd rivalry (losers get wedgies). Fun fact: The Yale Bowl is the second-largest football stadium in New England behind Gillette Stadium.

Advantage: New Haven. Wow, this is getting bad.


OK, we've got to win this one. Stamford has been ranked the safest city in America, for crying out loud! New Haven is one of the poorest cities in Connecticut. Walking around downtown, you can see the disparity between the Yale/shopping/upscale dining crowd and the working poor waiting for the city bus.

Advantage: Stamford.


Stamford is fine if you want a nice pair of khakis or an overpriced Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirt, but New Haven has a few streets lined with different, non-chain stores. One store we saw sells beautiful handicrafts from poor countries around the world and provides a fair wage to the people who create them. You won't find that in the stupid Stamford Town Center. See also: My post about Blandford.

Advantage: New Haven.


Stamford has been the backdrop for a lot of movies over the years, including a big batch just last summer. Here's a list off the top of my head: Scenes from a Mall, Reservation Road, Revolutionary Road, College Road Trip (Why all the road movies?), In Bloom, What Just Happened?, Righteous Kill, and the 8-time Oscar winner The Horror of Party Beach. Stamford Talk has a bunch of posts about the movies filming in CT.

New Haven has...the latest Indiana Jones movie, which I've heard was a stinker.

Advantage: Stamford.

Rock n' roll

Toad's Place. Doors song. 'Nuff said.

Advantage: New Haven.

And the final tally of my far-from-complete comparison (drum roll, please):

New Haven: 6

Stamford: 2

Ouch. Can somebody remind me again why we all love Stamford so much?

OK, that helps.


Always Home and Uncool said...

NH also had the Cutters (2004-7), a Can-Am independent baseball team. Miss those Raven games. The Yale field is run down but the $1 dogs and Elm City beers couldn't be beat.

I like to think of Stamford as the meat between the pretty bread and overpriced condiments that are Greenwich, Darien and New Caanan.

Stamford Talk said...

You love Galangal? Really? Yeah, I suppose it's pretty good. I do not love the decor though.

I love Stamford because the jobs are down here, and commuting is a living hell.

Always Home and Uncool said...

Did I say condiments? I meant "cheese."

Jonathan "JR" said...

Galangal used to be primo, but it's fallen off recently. It was the first restaurant I could find a picture of online.

Since I finished my post, I've thought of a few other categories that Stamford wins: Beaches, parades and proximity to NYC. That brings the total to 6-5, woo!!!

Next I'll compare Stamford to Waterbury so we can get a blowout win :)

Anonymous said...

Now that was fixed.stamford wins Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. buy the way pepe,s the most over rated place on earth.

Anonymous said...

The food in New Haven is so far superior to Stamford its not even funny. Stamford hosts restaurants owned by failed NYC restauranters. The people in New Haven at least try to make good food, decorate properly and charge normal prices. In stamford the food is bad, the staff is poorly trained and you pay 15% premium over New York.

New Haven being far enough out and having a proper eclectic feel due to its college atmosphere is always going to have better food, better atmosphere and better prices.

Its NEVER about quantity, its about quality. Too bad New Haven is so far away from stamford or I would go there to eat regularly. Now if I want good food its New Canaan or Greenwich.

Seriously if the best Stamford can offer are Market, Napa and Columbus Park, we have a long way to go.