Friday, September 29, 2006

317 Main Street

According to the Perspectives column in last Sunday's News-Times, 25 years ago this week Nolan Enterprises was in the process of renovating the then-73-year-old Godfrey building on the corner of Main and Crosby streets into "nine new studio-style apartments." Why is it that new Main Street construction hardly ever follows this pattern of street-level shops and housing or offices above?

Here's a closeup of the detail over the front windows.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

17-19-21 Library Place

Who needs to go to Boston or New York, when Danbury has its own classy rowhouses like these, just a few steps from Main Street? As you can guess by the address, they have a view of the side of the Old Library. Unfortunately, they also have a view of the construction of the new parking garage. Still, how cool would it be to have an address on Library Place?

Look at the details in the brickwork and the ornamentation. You won't find this kind of construction in a new apartment or condo.

I don't know if the interiors have been maintained as well as the exteriors have been, but I certainly hope so. This trio is a treasure.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Another Rainy Day Book

It's Friday, and it's raining here in Danbury. So what else is new? I'm swamped with the start of the new semester, that's what. But I am also privileged to have a copy of the most beautiful textbook that I have ever had the pleasure to buy. I never had anything like this in any of the math or computer science classes I ever took.

You can search for the Smithsonian Book of Books in Worldcat, which will find you a copy in a library near you. Not all libraries with on-line catalogs participate in WorldCat, so you might want to check your local libraries, too.

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11 Memorial

The September 11th Memorial occupies an honored position in the smaller of the two Main Street islands that comprise Elmwood Park, directly in front of the old courthouse at 71 Main Street.

The glass monument, designed with approximately the same proportions as the World Trade towers, is etched with the names of the Connecticut victims of the attacks. The memorial was dedicated two years ago today.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Wasted Resources

I'm feeling simultaneously virtuous and suckered. What can induce this state of mind? Why, doing yardwork on a beautiful holiday afternoon, of course. I mowed the lawn today. If ever there was a human activity more wasteful of both human resources and petroleum resources than keeping a lawn, I'd like to know what it is. Next year shall be the year of the edible landscape, and I don't mean for sheep and goats. (I'd have a goat, but city ordinances forbid me to keep even a chicken or two on my quarter acre, so I'm pretty sure goats are ruled out, too.)

Here are two Main Street sites that illustrate another way to waste precious real estate. Neither of these buildings seems to want to be on Main Street, as demonstrated by the vast expanses of asphalt that they have placed between themselves and the sidewalk. Both of them would be more at home in a strip mall. Fortunately for the rest of Main Street, these buildings are almost directly across the street from each other, and so can keep each other company.

The supermarket is within walking distance of several multiple housing units, both rentals and condos, and yet the parking lot was clearly designed for far more automobiles than I have ever seen there. Maybe this is the only way that the big chain supermarkets know how to build, regardless of the location. They could have used some advice from Gristedes in New York City or Caraluzzi's in Bethel, and located it with an entrance, or at least a walkway, from the sidewalk, so as to be more welcoming to pedestrians.

The smaller building, by contrast, seems to have too few parking spaces for its purposes. I wish the building had been sited so that the entrance would be closer to the sidewalk, and with the parking spaces at the rear of the building, as many Main Street commercial buildings have done.