Thursday, March 27, 2008

Boycott Pitney Bowes!

Pop quiz: What do Bridgeport, Danbury and New London have that Stamford doesn’t?

Answer: A professional sports team (or two)! Bridgeport has minor-league baseball and hockey teams, New London has a minor-league baseball team, and Danbury has a minor-league hockey team (one whose owners are being investigated for mob connections!). I’m not counting the WNBA team in Uncasville, because they wouldn’t have a home if not for Mohegan Sun.

Now, why do these crummy cities have teams when Stamford doesn’t?


That’s right, the postage meter people hate sports. OK, maybe they don’t hate sports, but they killed Stamford’s shot at playing host to an AHL expansion team.

You might be familiar with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the minor-league hockey team that plays at the Arena at Harbor Yard. But did you know that that arena was originally proposed for the South End?

It’s true. It was all part of the Admiral’s Wharf plan a few years back; this plan included a housing complex, waterside park, ferry service, office buildings, hotel and corporate training center (some of which will be in the Antares South End project). There was also a proposal to build a sports and entertainment arena somewhere down there, but nooooo…big, bad Pitney Bowes said that they didn’t want the additional traffic, and threatened to move their manufacturing out of Stamford if the arena were approved, so the arena proposal was dropped.

Guess what PB did not long after that? MOVED THEIR MANUFACTURING OUT OF STAMFORD. You can’t make this up. Industrial giant strong-arms small city, then screws it. Film at 11.

Why were they complaining anyway? Most events would’ve been held at night, when PB employees would already be gone. Maybe they preferred their current surroundings? Have you ever driven down by the Pitney Bowes factory?

It’s a freakin’ wasteland! I half-expected a gang from The Road Warrior to come and chase me away.

So the good people of Stamford miss out on having a first-class sports and entertainment venue, where we could go to see Hannah Montana, Cirque du Soleil or Sesame Street on Ice. (I do, however, find it ironic that in a reverse of the trend where cities are blackmailed into building stadiums, Stamford was blackmailed to not build one.)

I really wish they had built the arena down here. It would draw people from Westchester, Putnam County, northern Fairfield County, and even Bridgeport, since they’d be going against rush hour traffic. One of the biggest reasons the Arena at Harbor Yard and its resident sports team aren’t doing so well is because many people from this part of the county aren’t going to sit in an hour of traffic (or more) to see a hockey game - at least not that often. Now if you put that arena at the opposite end of the traffic problem, people don’t have to fight the traffic.

In my previous post about the Ritz-Carlton, some people said that the city should focus on filling “the hole” next to the mall. Wouldn’t a downtown arena be the perfect addition to Stamford? It would be the freakin’ crown jewel of Fairfield County. They would even have a ready-made parking garage in the mall next door!

So thanks, Pitney Bowes! As a show of my disdain, I will never use one of your postage meters. I’m quite happy licking my own stamps (yes, I even lick the self-adhesive ones).

(Click the image below to read comments from my original post. You can post new comments at the very bottom of this post.)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Puttin' up the Ritz

Hi everyone! I’m JR, a new contributor to the Mr. Stamford blog. I live and work in this beautiful city, and I’m keenly interested in Stamford’s economy and development. I also love Stamford’s dining scene and exploring everything the city has to offer. For my first post, I thought I’d share a discovery I made the other day. I spotted this sign across the street from the Rich Forum:

That’s right, it looks like they’re finally going to tear down that awful deserted block next to the Atlantic Street post office. It’s about time they got started on turning this... ...into this! Granted, I won’t be able to afford a room in the hotel, let alone one of the luxury condos, but I’ll still be thrilled to see a first-class housing and retail development in Stamford. White Plains has one in the City Center, so why not Stamford? It’ll bring in mucho tax dinero and help lure more people to live and work here, which only makes the city more vibrant and fun. You can bet the Rich Forum can’t freakin’ wait for this place to fill up. It’s also nice that no one is being relocated or eminent domained to make room for this. Of course some people are against the gutting and repurposing of the post office building, and some are against the demolition of the post office addition, but these don’t bother me. For one thing, the building isn’t that old. If this were an 1860s Pony Express depot, then it would be a different story. Secondly, at least they’re not pulling a Penn Station and bulldozing the whole thing. Most developers wouldn’t hesitate to raze a building that’s only 70 years old; you have to give these guys credit for respecting Stamford’s past and absorbing it into the project. And now, just for fun, some other views of this fabulous project:

(Click the image below to read comments from my original post. You can post new comments at the very bottom of this post.)