Thursday, October 30, 2008

24-hour party people

We all know what Stamford is: a nice (if kind of vanilla) place to live, work and play. If there's one thing Stamford is definitely not, it's a 24-hour town. With that in mind, I present to you, just for fun, the CTW's 24-hour businesses (not counting ATMs and vending machines).

Newfield Avenue CVS

When you get a craving for cheddar cheese Combos at 3 a.m., there's only one place to go: CVS. Mountain Dew, beef jerky, cheap plastic appliances from China. They've got them all at your local neighborhood 24-hour CVS. I wonder if the one-hour photo counter is open all night, too.

Bull's Head Diner

With the demise of the venerable Stamford Diner on Summer Street, Bull's Head might be the only 24-hour restaurant in town. Bull's Head has you covered at 3 a.m. when you want burgers, salads, pies and Greek specialties like moussaka, baklava and papadokolokodopolous.

Grove St. Dunkin' Donuts/Hope St. Donut Delight

Coke vs. Pepsi. Nike vs. Reebok. Super Nintendo vs. Genesis. Some brand rivalries destroy friendships and tear families apart. The Great Donut War of 2010 might be the most devastating one yet.

Anyway, if you need a Bavarian creme fix at 3 a.m., stop by one of these

High Ridge FedEx/Kinko's

The last time I needed to print or copy anything late at night was back in college when I had a paper due or something. Since then, I haven't had to make copies at 3 a.m., but it's good to know that I can. You can print, collate, bind, enlarge, reduce and do all the other fun paper things you want at any hour of the day or night thanks to our 24-hour Fedex/Kinko's. If they offered late-night origami, I'd be there.

Stamford Florist

OK, it's technically a vending machine, but I think this thing is simultaneously hilarious and awesome. When your wife/girlfriend/mistress kicks you out at 3 a.m. (probably because she found out about the other two women) and you need to make nice-nice, your only salvation is Stamford Florist's 24-hour flower machine.

So to recap: If you live in Stamford and need a dozen roses, a Hallmark card, a cruller, color copies and a feta burger at 3 a.m., you're in luck (and quite possibly pregnant). Anything else, tough cookies.

Monday, October 27, 2008

R.I.P. Video Hut

Well, the last mom-and-pop video store in Stamford is no more.

North Stamford Video on Long Ridge Road and Videoplex on Bedford Street have been gone for years, but Video Hut held on. Maybe it was their corner location. Maybe it was because their "behind-the-curtain" selection was pretty good ( I'm told).

Blockbuster bludgeoned these stores, but Netflix was the final nail in the coffin. In a twist of fate, Blockbuster is now on the receiving end of Netflix's sword and may close a bunch of stores.

The worst part (besides the employees losing their jobs and the owners going out of business) is that I had no idea it was closing, so I missed out on buying their used videos for pennies :( When Blockbuster killed the local store in my hometown, I got a bunch of horror movies for $2 each. Score!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's chili out there!

Or rather it's The Best Chili in Stamford contest, being held this Saturday!!!

The cookoff will benefit the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County. The Police Department, local restaurants and amateur chefs will compete from 12-3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Society, 20 Forest St. (across from the Avon).

The judges are you! That's right, whether you're Joe Six-Pack, Joe the Plumber or Joe Mama, you can choose the tastiest, beefiest, spiciest, bestest chili in town! I'll be there sampling them all!!

Check out the Advocate article about the event: Chili of champions.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Yay, another future stalled construction project!

From the Projects That May or May Not Be Built and/or Completed file comes Metro Tower, an office building planned for construction next to the train station. It's part of the Metro Green mixed-use, transit-oriented complex, and it was just approved by the Zoning Board:

I wonder which will finish first (if ever), this building or the new parking garage for the train station.

You can see it better if you click on the image for a larger one, but this rendering is amazingly detailed (aside from the old Thomson sign). The power box on the lower left is actually painted, just like the ones all over Stamford!

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.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Happy Oktober!

It's October now, time for the baseball playoffs and the NFL season (Bills are 4-0! Woo!). It's also time for wearing lederhosen, drinking beer out of steins and gorging on sausages and other artery-clogging German food!! Oktoberfest, yaaaah!!

Only problem is, I can't find any Oktoberfest celebrations in the FC. Does anybody know of one around here?