Saturday, May 30, 2015

Get excited for Ethopian food!

First we lost Galangal.  Then Egané, followed by Plateau, Chinese Mirch, Rodizio Grill, Saigon Cafe, and the incredible Kit's Thai Kitchen.  Restaurants that feature interesting and different food seem to have short lifespans here, but, alas, there's hope!  Teff is coming soon!  They're going to serve Ethiopian and Eritrean food right across from Mill River Playground.  Ethiopian food is hard to describe, but it's probably unlike anything you've had before.  I love the meat dishes served extra spicy.  I'll definitely write a mouth-watering post about Teff once they're up and running!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mysterious Manhattan Street

Just blocks from the gleaming new high-rises at Harbor Point and the hopping bar and restaurant scene of downtown Stamford lies a pocket of utter decay.  If you've ever been to the train station, you've probably driven right past Manhattan Street, which is tucked in between Atlantic Street, the Urban Transitway, and the train tracks.

This odd little street has intrigued me ever since I happened upon it during my ramblings about town.  Even when the buildings were occupied they were in bad shape, and they've gotten worse since being vacated.  The condition of these buildings, and that people were living and gathering in them, is startling considering the general affluence of our city and county.

Now that the whole street is empty (as part of the train station redevelopment), it holds a whole new level of interest for me, since I've always been fascinated with abandoned buildings and urban decay.

I'll add some captions to provide context or commentary, but I think the pictures mostly speak for themselves.

This is a close-up of the notice taped to the red door above.

This was the view inside that slightly ajar door in the picture above.

On the door was another warning from the city about the dangerous condition of this building.

The owners apparently took the matter seriously, because when I walked by a week later, the door was boarded up.

And a week after that, it was secured with a steel roll-door.

I don't want to turn this into an editorial, but who keeps buildings that they own in this horrible state?  I don't understand why someone would buy expensive real estate and then let it crumble to the point where it's basically condemned.  Were they taking the loss in property value as a tax write-off?  Were they just betting on the train station development to push the values up?  Even if that were the case, why would you forgo even the most basic maintenance, especially considering people were living in the buildings?  I can't imagine the conditions that people had to tolerate inside those apartments.

Here's a look inside the window with the bars on it:

One of many broken upstairs windows.

This furniture store looked desolate even before it closed.  I could never tell if it was an actual functioning business.  It moved to a new location on Henry Street, and the old store was the site of an arson in December.

More open and broken upstairs windows.

That DirecTV dish looks a little out of place on such a decrepit building.

A creepy open cellar door.

An antique radio-TV combo inside the vacant church.

Another abandoned church.

Does anyone have any idea when this store closed?  Even before the street was vacated, I never saw it open.  Did anybody ever buy anything there?

Another creepy basement door.

Apparently, this wasn't a coffee shop but a club - and the site of a murder in 2011.

At the corner of Pacific Street and the Urban Transitway sits this new or renovated building, but it's completely empty.  My guess is that its surroundings make it a hard sell.

At the end of Pacific Street you'll find this great old brick factory building.  You can almost picture those giant wooden double doors being used to bale hay or unload Yale and Towne locks.

Bonus: a partial ghost sign!

Here's a shiny rendering of the proposed redevelopment at the train station site.  That smaller building on the left looks like it's on the site of present-day Manhattan Street.  Maybe the owners of the abandoned buildings that currently line the street were, in fact, hoping for generous buyouts.  We'll see what happens with this ambitious -- and contentious -- project.