The words to the song, Downtown, downtown , come to mind when I think of the city of Bridgeport, in which I live. A collection of small shops and of restaurants are on my mind when I see the city. A place of promise for the past few weeks when the women's NCAA tournament and the President of the United States made visits to our city-decisions made recently and done with great poise.
To see the exhibit of the history of the women's basketball program that grew from roots in someone's imagination to the point where it is today with national television exposure and even a WNBA draft. The women's program at UCONN has grown over the years.
Back to a couple of years ago, I attended a first round game with Penn and UConn. That game was a blow out with UCONN controlling that game for that day. I saw the UCONN cheerleader with his hat going up and down the stands of 9,000 for that game. He paused and let me take his picture for the moment. Fast forward to this year when the 2nd round games produced a couple of nail biters with the Huskies winning by 2 and then losing by 2 the next time. Seeing the mascot of my alma mater, Fairfield University Stags, made me feel home in my living room while watching the game.
Then the other night, to watch on television, President Bush, walking in Bridgeport to the Playhouse on the Green, was good to see. and to hear him discuss with the current and potential political leaders the promise that health care can have for our country.
Besides these promising glimpses of the seedlings emerging from the ground our city has a lot to do. At times when talking with my parents, I share my views and experiences of life within the city. At times, they say ,"be careful going into Bridgeport, you know anything can happen." but I am and am aware of risks-but there are risks anyday of life, too. Perils can happen when knees meet the pavement, too.
The times I am in downtown are for a bite after work at the local Quiznos restaurant that opened for business a few months ago. Their colorful palate of their name against red and green shows promise to the city that anything can happen on the palate of opportunity,and I tell them that I spend one saturday a month with my favorite memoir writing group to discuss how our experiences in life have affected our lives. I reflect to them on how they once had lunch over business one afternoon at a deli in the former HiHo/Crossroads Mall. That was the same spot that my dad and I once went to Sears on the city bus to purchase my first typewriter after college to work on resumes and letters to my family.
Looking out at the Urban Green housing project at a former Citytrust Bank that I used to do business at shows promise. right now, there is scaffolding and a sign stating "we knew"-that is the promise for our city is in seed form. As in the move, Field of dreams, "if they build it, they will come. Walking under the platform of the scaffolding there, I saw an empty bottle of Snapple iced tea laying against the metal base of the scaffolding and an overturned metal support. Right now it is silent and abandoned. But within 1 to 2 years, it will be vibrant and will spread life to the rest of the city with a stronger residential base.
Last June, I attended a party of a friend of mine in the Reads artspace Lofts. I heard new muscians playing some instruments and singing and had the opportunity to help welcome my friend Louis, into the city that night. Then we spent several hours to the next day watching the musings of Seinfeld and hearing Sarah Brightman's concert on DVD on a big projection screen television.
So the words to that song, Downtown, come into my mind and welcome me to a time when the city will be ripe and be a place of delight for my friends to enter to celebrate our lives. Vive Bridgeport-a passageway to a safe shelter.
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