My his­tory in the South End

Stamford Advocate - - Opinion -

I read Su­san Halpern’s ar­ti­cle (Dec. 2 op-ed, “Sav­ing his­tory in the South End”) and thought it needed an­swer­ing. Born on Har­bor Street more years ago that I want to ad­mit, my grand­par­ents pur­chased land to house their grow­ing fam­ily. The South End was a farm at that time and was the per­fect place for new im­mi­grants com­ing from Poland and other East­ern Euro­pean Coun­tries to set­tle with their fam­i­lies.

The Yale & Town Lock Man­u­fac­tur­ing Com­pany at that time was the city’s largest em­ployer. Then came Pit­ney Bowes and their in­ven­tion of the Postage Meter, which we all thought would last for­ever. The old Shick Ra­zor Com­pany still stands on At­lantic and Gar­den Streets, wait­ing for re­newal.

Yes, we have a lot of his­tory in the South End and my fam­ily and I were and are a part of it. Af­ter World War II things started to change, the old Pol­ish, Rus­sian and Greek fam­i­lies started to move out, sec­ond- and third-gen­er­a­tion fam­i­lies sought their own iden­ti­ties and started to pop­u­late Glen­brook, Spring­dale, High Ridge and to go out of town where land and hous­ing was more af­ford­able.

The South End was al­ways a work­ing class neigh­bor­hood with af­ford­able hous­ing of no great his­tor­i­cal value. The older res­i­dents moved or passed away and new peo­ple moved into the South End. The Rus­sian and Greek Churches sold their build­ings and their con­gre­ga­tions moved. There was a long time that the South End was the lead ar­ti­cle in the Stam­ford Ad­vo­cate, one of their edi­tors told me at that time that good news does not sell news­pa­pers.

Come to our present time, the Yale & Town site had a dev­as­tat­ing fire, Pit­ney Bowes de­cided to down­size. There is a great loss of jobs and va­cant build­ings, some with en­vi­ron­men­tal problems are sold to the de­vel­oper Antares, with a plan to re­de­velop the South End. We who al­ways thought that the “South End will rise again” were en­cour­aged with hope for the fu­ture.

The South End NRZ was born, of which I proudly say I was a found­ing mem­ber. They took the lead and ev­ery de­vel­op­ment plan was dis­cussed at their monthly meet­ings. Antares then sold their op­er­a­tion to Build­ing & Land Tech­nol­ogy, who were de­vel­op­ers from Norwalk at that time. The big­gest prob­lem in the South End was B & S Cart­ing. BLT bought B & S Cart­ing as they promised the NRZ.

Now we come to to­day, 2018, and BLT wants to build a res­i­den­tial build­ing on the old B & S Cart­ing prop­erty and Ms. Halpern wants to hold BLT hostage. In the last 10 years Stam­ford was the only city in Con­necti­cut to have a pos­i­tive em­ploy­ment rate, thanks to the plan­ning and vi­sion of BLT.

We are a city alive and well. Are we per­fect? No one is. If you have never been to Har­bor Point I in­vite you to visit the park, restau­rants and water­front walk­way, it will be worth your time. Ac­tiv­i­ties are fre­quently held there for all to en­joy, not just for the res­i­dents of Har­bor Point.

Merry Christ­mas and Happy Hol­i­days to all.

Al Koproski is a Stam­ford res­i­dent.

Michael Cummo / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Vis­i­tors look at booths dur­ing the fourth an­nual Stam­ford Art Fes­ti­val in the Har­bor Point area of Stam­ford in July.

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