Saturday, April 09, 2005

A breath of fresh air.

A breath of fresh air is slowly emerging from the city of Bridgeport. The earth is slowly being moved and rays of opportunity are beginning to emerge. For many years, the Bridgeport earth has remained fallow and barren. But seeds of opportunity are beginning to sprout.
Bridgeport is an old industrial city. I began as a full-time resident fo the city in 1986 when our family moved there from our spacious colonial in Fairfield. I visited the city in prior years for occassional visits to doctors and Scientific Shoe Fitters on Broad Street. And I worked several summers as an employee of People's Bank.
On one of the first trips to the city was when I worked at Connecticut Bank and Trust in Fairfield. It was a late afternoon summer day when there was a raging rainstorm that had hurricane strength winds. Too intimidated to approach the apartment at the age of 21, I called my dad to get me safely home. Change whirled at that time with the new surroundings of home and the eventual settling into a new home.
My side of the city is within a suburban context. The streets have trees and shrubs that line North Avenue. Old colonial homes line the street and a Christian Science church sits on the corner of Clinton and North Avenue. That would be the route that I walked many mornings and evenings from my bus stop. This area has also been home for the Barnum Street Parade.
For the first year of my employment after Fairfield University, I worked at the BankMart in downtown Bridgeport on Main Street. I met Willard Sillers who was a vibrant Black businessman who had a warm smile and enthusiasm for what he did. Here was an opportunity to grow and become accustomed to full-time work within the city. Many an afternoon lunch hour was spent at the next door Wendy's restaurant. I loved their cups of Chili and Frostys.
And on the other side of the bank was the NewsCorner which had many news publications from the area with the Morning Telegram and the Evening Post being sold there. Rows of magazines lined the store and books filled the aisles too.
Around the corner the Hi-Ho mall was there with a fountain in the center of the mall with an elevator that went to the second level. It was a peaceful place with businesses such as a bookshop and several good restaurants to eat at and department stores also. Fromt that first year of work, there were plenty of opportunities to find work to do and ways to spend an afternoon lunch hour.
Currently, the city has added attractions such as the arena at Harbor Yard and the Ballpark at Harbor yard where I have seen our Bluefish play baseball and several concerts. As these seeds have formed, the city has added many special faces with smiles. I can see the enthusiasm an usher at the Arena has when he shares with other bus riders the various concerts that are being worked at and booked. The ushers are dressed in their vests with the Arena logo on them.
Seeds of change are happening. It is important to remember that as these seeds are forming, they must die in the ground and begin to emerge as life. This is now happening through the Loft apartments and several new restaurants and stores emerging throughout the city.

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