Bears 1, Hunter 0, which is exactly how I hoped it would turn out – the idea was to traipse up and down (small) mountains and hang out with the guys. All very manly and mostly unproductive. One bear lost his life to the cause but not by me. I did get lots of mud spattered all over my Honda Ridgeline, making it look a little less suburban and mas macho. Cool.
Haven’t checked real estate transactions yet but one reader sent me this link to the Greenwich Reform Synagogue’s plan to buy “The Mayor of Cos Cob”, Lou Caravella’s property on Orchard. The neighbors are up in arms, naturally, and vowing to stop it, but it will be a fun battle – this will involve First Amendment issues and won’t be a fight over a drive-thru window at Starbucks. Remember the Cos Cob cross, if you’re feeling nostalgic for tooth and claw neighborhood love fests. This quote from a concerned citizen aptly sums up the spirit of cooperation, understanding and neighborly reasonableness we can anticipate: “We’re willing to listen to them, but our position is totally non-negotiable,” said one opponent, Nicole Cranberg Crosby. Whoo boy, fasten your seat belts.
If I had to guess, by the way, I’d expect to see a for sale sign on Caravella’s son Randy’s liquor store shortly. Randy’s selling his property to the Jews along with the self-proclaimed Mayor and it’s unlikely, given the tenor of the neighborhood even before the battle shapes up, that many locals will be stopping by to stock up on booze from Randy’s shelves. He’s getting a good price for his land, however, and he can always join his father in Florida and thumb his nose at his former customers from there.
All that said, and in full understanding of basic human nature that abhors change of any kind, I wonder whether, long-term, a new synagogue will seriously affect the neighbors’ lives – certainly it won’t “completely destroy our property values”, as one hysterical woman insisted to Greenwich Time. St. Paul’s Episcopal church opened up down the street from my childhood home in Riverside in, I think, 1956, and Riverside home values seem to have survived just fine. Of course Episcopalians are a dying breed, having lost all political power and most of their beliefs, but that wasn’t the case fifty years ago, when the church did generate a fair amount of traffic on Sundays and no one moved out, houses weren’t abandoned. Besides, it’s my understanding that synagogues are active only during the High Holy Days and remain shuttered and unused the rest of the time, so what’s a little traffic ten days a year? Should be some great entertainment at the P&Z hearings the next few years.