Posts Tagged ‘hope street’

Not long ago, my dad was back in Stamford and found himself on the real-life Hope Street, as opposed to the blog Hope Street.

He told me the traffic got so jammed that he pulled onto a side road to get away — costing himself a chance to drive down his home stretch of Hope Street, where the old family home at 1107 Hope used to be.

Granted, he is not tremendously sentimental. And there is nothing today at 1107 to which he is attached. Still, the story says something about just how bad the traffic is these days around my grandparents’ old homestead.

According to the Stamford Advocate newspaper, the city plans to do something about it.

The next phase of an ongoing series of Hope Street improvements will widen the road between Camp and Weed Hill avenues — the stretch where my family lived — while also adding a left turn lane at the Springdale School.

Daily traffic counts have reached 7,500 to 8,000 vehicles, apparently, and that’s too much for the road to take in its present form.

August 1968. Looks quiet enough from this view, doesn't it?

Summer 1968. The Hope Street of my childhood memory is a fairly busy road, but it looks positively bucolic in this photo. (I believe 1107 would have been somewhere behind the clump of pines at center rear of the pic.)

Of course I can’t help but wonder what my grandfather would make of today’s Hope Street.

For one thing, his was not the easiest driveway to get into or out of, with a coat of shrubbery at its entrance and a well-traveled sidewalk demanding the driver’s attention.

Add a couple thousand more cars to the daily commute, and I’m sure notations like “WAITED 10 MINS IN DRIVEWAY” or “FENDER BENDER PULLING OUT OF DRIVEWAY” would have made their way onto his calendars.

All that extra traffic would have meant more grime on his porch, requiring more frequent hosings and paintings, too.

The street’s character has not entirely been lost in the bustle, though. I note in the news story above that Mayor Michael Pavia calls the area “really the last village in the city.”

That suggests to me that some of Hope Street’s old charm is intact. I think my grandfather identified strongly with the Springfield neighborhood of Stamford, so he would be pleased to know the village hasn’t been completely forgotten, paved over or otherwise overrun.

(There’s a Springdale Neighborhood Association now that has probably done a fair amount to keep the village’s character intact. My grandparents sold up and moved away eight years before it was founded, so they were never members. I could see them joining if the option had been open to them, though.)

My grandparents lived through a few major projects on Hope Street, including the installation of sewers in the mid-1970s.

Now, it’s someone else’s turn to watch the jackhammers blast and the bulldozers churn, all to accommodate the latest wave of progress.


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The approximate location of 1107 Hope Street, spring 2013. Courtesy Google Earth.

This post was originally scheduled for April 15, more or less the second anniversary of Hope Street. But it seemed dreadfully slack to ask people to vote for me in a blog contest and then take a week off. So my week off will wait … until now.

I think I’m going to continue the tradition I established last year, and mark this blog’s anniversary by taking a week off.

Doesn’t seem like two years since I started doing this, but indeed it is.

It’s been an interesting 12 months here at Hope Street. See, I front-loaded the first year with the calendar entries that seemed to offer the easiest blog posts, as well as those that seemed to be the grabbiest for a non-family audience.

As time goes on, the calendar entries I have to work with tend to be more open-ended — which means the posts tend to be more about me, and more impressionistic, and more creative, as opposed to being recaps of some specific moment in family history.

Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. (But look on the bright side: At least I haven’t written any more of my awful poetry lately.)

I’ve still got a bunch of calendar entries saved up. Some of ’em will be more interesting than others, of course. But if you like it here, be assured we’ll keep doing this for a while yet.

I appreciate all those who follow the blog and read every week, or even some weeks. I’m not sure why you do it sometimes, but it’s nice of you.

The usual grovel is still in effect: If you like what you read, please consider sharing a link on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media in which you participate. Hope Street remains a strictly noncommercial thoroughfare; I’m only in it for the eyeballs.

Perhaps you will enjoy revisiting (or, if you’re new here, reading for the first time) what I consider my greatest hits from the past 12 months:

I’ll be back with more next Monday (unless I get guilty about taking a week off and decide to post something else in midweek.)

Be good.

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I went back to Stamford and its environs this past weekend for a family wedding. (Here’s wishing many years of happiness to Frank and Donna.)

I didn’t quite have as much free time as I thought I might, and didn’t get the chance to visit the parts of Stamford I remembered.

My dad got in a couple days before I did, though, and took his camera around town. I’m going to shamelessly steal his pictures and those of my grandfather for a quick comparison.

1107 Hope Street, July 1966. (I'm guessing July 'cause the flag is out.)

August 2011. My dad guesstimates that the mock-Tudor condo at the right is closest to the footprint of 1107 Hope. The entire complex, with something like 14 condos in all, now has the mailing address of 1111 Hope Street.

Readers who remember my earliest blog posts (all three of you) might also be interested to know that the neighborhood second-run movie theater mentioned in this post and shown in this photo is still open for business.

In my grandfather's photo, this theater is showing "The Night They Raided Minsky's," with Jason Robards. In my dad's, it's showing "Horrible Bosses," with Jason Bateman. Draw your own conclusions about the progress of American cinema.

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