Two sections of town, two different reactions


Riverside and Old Greenwich residents and merchants are stoic in the face of a ten-year disruption of their lives while the bridges in those areas are replaced.

“We need bridges, don’t we?” Penelope Smithers says. “Then that’s what we have to do. You say three, why not four bridges, to ensure future growth? Want to reroute I-95 to its original proposed path through Tod’s Point? It will be unpleasant, but if it would help Greenwich, bring it on!”

Compare this to the reaction of Cos Cob residents when back in 1983 the Mianus River bridge was temporarily shut down for, what? Two weeks? Three? My God, their wails soared over the traffic noise that the Greenwich Association of Realtors described as “the quiet tinkle of a babbling brook”. “We want reparations!”, they cried. “We want a new school! A grocery store! A library! We want balloons on every corner and free pony rides!”

And they got it all, though the balloons deflated, the ponies wandered off, the grocery store closed when it refused to accept food stamps and the library, to try to meet the needs of residents, stocked its shelves only with pop-up books for adults and coloring books for the children like “My Daddy is a Snowplower”.

We acceded to their every demand yet they are still complaining, twenty-nine years later. The latest “gimme” their politicians Frankie Fudrucker and Peter Tesei insist on is a new pool in Byram so that their neighbors can bathe with their western peers. Give me a break.

The difference between Riverside and Cos Cob? A stiff upper lip and a quivering one.


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40 responses to “Two sections of town, two different reactions

  1. Greenwich Gal

    Oooh, that was kind if ugly! CF – have you ever thought about reading that Norman Vincent Peale book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People?”

  2. Cos Cobber

    You’ll get nothing but dust, noise, traffic tie ups and plenty of union labor at $100 an hour gourging on pizza and bagels and you’ll like it!

    OG and Riverside shall get nothing extra!

    PS – I have a couple of ponies for sale. Found them in ’84.

  3. CatoRenasci

    I never figured you for such a snob, CF, but I suppose that’s what growing up in Riverside does for you. My grandfather, who was a consummate snob, made a point of never, ever, letting it show outside the family.

    Let’s see just how stoic your Riverside and Old Greenwich paragons of (small r) republican virtue are when faced with the actual disruption year-in and year-out. As far as I can tell, it will be a cluster-f*** and a disaster for every business below the railroad bridge. I’d also bet there will a dip in real estate below the Village, and perhaps in all of OG and Riverside.

  4. Anonymous

    Actually the bridge was closed for something like six months, wasn’t it?

  5. Stanwich

    Wow, CF, that was an ugly rant. I might agree with your sentiments on the Byram pool (for that much money we should get something that rivals the Baths of Caracalla) but you need to tone it down about Cos Cob. Cos Cob is a great area of town, centrally located with different areas to appease very taste, including very nice and pricey homes. Not everyone can or wants to live in Riverside south of the Post Road (like me) or on some backcountry private lane. Your comments about Cos Cob are beyond irritating, they are just downright rude and offensive. Some casual reader of your blog, perhaps a family looking to relocate, might not truly understand your warped humor and actually think you’re writing the truth about Cos Cob. You are stigmatizing a whole section of town just because you think it is funny. I don’t think it is funny anymore.

  6. It took them 6 months to get the temporary two lane truss in place and years to completely rebuild the bridge. Traffic was well and truly hosed all over town that year.

  7. So Greenwich

    Maybe Dunkin Donuts will reconsider its new OG location . . . .

  8. peeps

    Stick it in Cos Cob’s cheek.

  9. Anonymous

    I live south of the village and my initial reaction was that of “oh sh*t” the traffic will be crazy. But maybe it will be a good thing. Maybe it will keep traffic out of town b/c of the trouble navigating through Riverside. On a different note, Chris, do you ever think the town will “take” some land and make a sidewalk that runs from OG all the way to Tods? Someone is going to get hit one of these days by one of the “people movers” flying along Shore Rd.

    • Anon, I was all for more sidewalks (and still am, in some instances) until I saw the cost involved in building a sidewalk on Lockwood Road in Riverside. Not that one wasn’t needed there and not that the money shouldn’t have been spent – judicious use of tax money is, after all, why we pay taxes in the first place – but I’d never really focused on what’s involved until I saw this being built. All utilities, poles and all, had to be relocated, retaining walls removed and rebuilt, driveway cuts, bedding for the sidewalk, the paving itself, and so on. If I remember correctly, all of that took about a year for what was essential a fairly short length.

      A sidewalk to the beach would be even more expensive – they should probably replace Tod’s Driftway, while they’re at it, just as a for instance. Again, I’m not saying it shouldn’t be done, only that there’s a huge financial cost entailed. Of course, if we gave up on the Perfoming Palace at GHS, ….
      UPDATE: Just as a by the way, the town has an easement (or maybe it owns, I forget) over the first 8 -12 feet out from either side of a public street so no taking is involved. That saves a little on eminent domain compensation but in the grand scheme, not too significant).

  10. Georgie

    People who can’t stand the CF humor…..switch the channel.

    Interesting, CF, how you zing ALL the “fringe” neighborhoods (Bailiwick, etc) and yet the only neighborhood residents’ constantly to complain are from CC?

  11. Cos Cobber

    Because Georgie, we care about and love Cos Cob. Those other places are asleep, boring and have little to no passion stirring.

    Btw – who you calling fringe? Fringe? Cos Cob is the hub, the center of gravity for this town, holding together the back country with riverside/OG. The Cobs is alot of things, but not fringe!

    Peeps / CF – I’ll take neither cheek – thanks.

  12. peeps

    Cos Cobber – I meant for CF to be on the losing end of that suggestion, but as a start, maybe you could start a FB page for all the good things about Cos Cob. The obvious things are the Drawing Room, Garden Education Center, and art exhibits at the Cos Cob Library. Also the great seafood at the Fjord Fishery store. I couldn’t go into all the old memories of growing up there, as I wasn’t part of it, but I think you could get a great collection of vintage photos of Cos Cob childhood memories and also PR for current businesses.

    Oh, and I’ve got a curb and have to listen to people in my town arguing that they want curbs, too. There are down sides to curbs. When you park in front of your house, you can’t inch onto your lawn to make the road fit other cars more easily. Lawnmower blades hit them, as opposed to being able to glide right over the edge of your lawn and the street. They also install sharp ones lately, and you can scrape your tires. I also think that streets with no curbs are more attractive because they look more rural and less citified. I personally believe they are not worth the cost.

  13. Cos Cobber

    I love the FB idea peeps….maybe I will get around to it some day. At the moment playing ‘comment tag’ with CF occupies most of my spare ‘computer time.’

  14. Anonymous

    The cost to install a proper well-made sidewalk is (or can be) staggering. Not to mention the logistics involved and potential snags. I know because I just had one installed around our home. Lotta folks think it’s so easy, just do a little digging and nail some wood together for the forms, and voila. Well, it’s not that easy. At least, not if you want the sidewalk to last 50-75+ years and not disintegrate.

  15. @ So Greenwich: “Maybe Dunkin Donuts will reconsider its new OG location . . . .”

    I wouldn’t bet on it. Up here in Ridgefield, during last year’s weeks-long power outages in August and Sno’tober, people couldn’t drive anywhere because of downed trees. Nevertheless, they crawled, hauled and dragged their butts to Dunkin’ Donuts. Other places along Main Street were open; there was even free food at our Rec Center. No matter. We (including me) needed our fix, and boy, were some of those patrons (excluding me😉 ) nasty until they got it!

  16. Walt

    Dude –
    Nice job, Weasel Boy!! You managed to piss them all off!!
    But Cos Cobber is correct. Cos Cob does hold it all together. That is why it is out “Taint”. Taint Stamford and taint Greenwich!!
    And I never could figure out why you prefer Riverside and Old Greenwich over backcountry? You are anti social and want to live in a cave, for Pete’s sake. So what gives?
    Your Pal,

  17. Rick

    “Greenwich Gal (February 28, 2012 at 9:26 am)
    Oooh, that was kind if ugly! CF – have you ever thought about reading that Norman Vincent Peale book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People?”
    Chris Fountain (February 28, 2012 at 9:35 am)
    It’s by bible, GG, but perhaps I shouldn’t read it with a mirror.

    HAte to break it to you guys, HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE’s author was Dale Carnegie……

  18. OG17

    Lucas Point owns the Driftway, easement states that the road may not be widened. Since the real problem is people speeding how about cops handing out tickets. Maybe more speed bumps on roads instead of the much more expensive sidewalks? However, I would like to see sidewalks on Summit which would make it safer for kids walking to Eastern. BTW when was the last time the Eastern part of town was the recipient of a large capital project? The state of the Civic Center is a disgrace, at least they finally got a new roof after having to resort to buckets…

    • That’s right, OG, I’d forgotten that about the easement. Ownership of the driftway was an issue in the Brendon Fatboy beach case because Lucas Point had the right to keep the easement from being over-burdened. It didn’t work up at the Connecticut Supreme Court level, but those judges were determined to force Greenwich to open its beach, the law be damned. One of the most dishonest decisions I ever encountered, by the way, with cases cited in support of the decision when in fact those cases simply didn’t say what the justices claimed they did, facts deliberately distorted and so on. A very, very bad decision, regardless of where you stood on the issue. Corrupt judges, and judges who deliberately mistate the law in order to achieve a desired result are corrupt, harm the republic.

  19. Walt

    Dude –
    This is a movie I tell you. How the spoiled little brats of Greenwich deal with a Dunkin Donuts and a bridge rebuild!! They act like the world is ending. Kind of like “The Russians are Coming The Russians are Coming”!! You ever see that flick? Pretty funny. Eva Marie Saint was an eatable little peach in her day, wasn’t she?
    I will start drafting a treatment. I already have it written in my head!! Go shoplift us some yellow legal pads and some pencils from CVS. The Ticonderoga #2.
    Don’t screw this up. You load.
    Your Pal,

  20. Georgie

    OG17: To think as you point out that the Town paid for a brand new roof and left the dilapidated ECC old building below….and then out of the blue comes a pool for Byram.

    From a pure, practical standpoint….no way the Eastern Civic Center that is open year-round, hundreds of kids use—built in the 1960’s, surpasses an outdoor pool used 2 months of the year and used by far fewer residents.

  21. So Greenwich

    OG 17 – I totally like the idea of more cops down there. Clearly they could get their monthly quota simply by spending a single nice day down there. It would be welcome by many. Personally, I’d also like to see them enforce the crosswalk that is on Shore Road and Nawthorne as my kids do ride their bikes to get around town.

  22. Fringelover

    I agree wholeheartedly with Stanwich at 1030….Cos Cob bashing is getting old.Really old. at the very least, spread the joy and bash other Greenwich areas as well- Cos Cob seems to get more than its fair share on this blog

  23. pulled up in OG

    CF @ 11:02 – Let’s dig up Lockwood again and bury some power lines just to show ‘em how it’s done.

  24. AJ

    Yes it was Dale Carnegie, and certainly not Wee Andrew Carnegie, and even more so not Mr. Power of Positive Thinking, or Napoleon Hill who, though he never mentions who he was writing about, was, I believe, writing about Wee Andrew. Dale’s book is a good one though: how to praise without flattering; it can work wonders if your in sales.
    Putting sidewalks on Lockwood and the Driftway would be one of the worst ideas they’ve had since they destroyed Tod’s with the Parking lot over the marsh by the Yacht Club, and built the sea wall around the point. It would totally destroy the character of the place, and where would you take the land from: none of the houses on those streets have very deep front yards?
    Why does it take ten years to replace a bridge? I remember them replacing a bridge on a six lane expressway up here. They prefabricated the whole thing, got every thing ready — and that all took quite a while — then when they were ready, they replaced the bridge overnight. No disruption necessary. When the Thruway bridge collapsed it was an unbelievable nightmare to get from one end of town to the other. I can remember sitting in traffic for ever. The morning after it happened we launched at Tod’s and took a boat ride over to see what happened and just sat there staring in disbelief. The scariest bridge to me, though, is the outer lane of the Williamsburg Bridge that goes from Brooklyn to Manhattan. I don’t like the Tappan Zee much, either.

  25. Greenwich Gal

    My bad – I forgot which was which – Peale vs. Carnegie. It has been a few years since I read this stuff. Old Fashioned but a good message nevertheless.

  26. You could always go after Indian Harbor, Chris.

  27. greenwich dude

    you come to fwiw for the real estate news and greenwich gossip, but no question you stay for walt and the cos cob potshots. gotta love this place!

  28. Mustache Pete

    Is Indian Harbor inhabited by calabrese? aka Awopohos

  29. Fred2

    What I do not get is why it takes 4 YEARS to do that?

    Really? Are they hand digging new foundations? Using a crew of two?

    I’m looking at the bridge and thinking EVEN IF you are replacing the foundations AND you do this in 2-4 steps this is a circa two month project per bridge.

    1 week to build a traffic diversion, 1 Week to shore up everything so that you can keep using the other half. 2 weeks to destroy one side, 2 weeks to pour the new concrete and give it time to firm up. now switch sides, 4 more weeks. I week to clean up and repave.

    Ok, I’m exaggerating probably, but I can’t believe this should take that long.

    While you are working get everyone in cars to go around, pedestrians can be given some sort of temp structure to get over or under.