Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Winthrop Hotel Block

The Winthrop Hotel is the building that houses Zavala, an excellent Mexican restaurant that will have to be desribed at a later date. It really is good, but space constraints don't allow us to do it merit today. Today is about the block of buildings that sit on this parcel without a smidge of wiggle room.

Counterclockwise as viewed from the air: besides the old Winthrop Hotel, which also houses Channel 3 News and some empty offices with excellent views, There is The Galley Restaurant, The prominent, eccentric Subway Building, Captain's Pizza, The Y-Knot Cafe, The Oasis, the old Caruso's building, the Bank Street Roadhouse, a parking lot and a builing that was refurbished to be a hotel/restaurant that has the words "Dining Inn" over its windows but hasn't been either as long as anyone can remember.

For those who don't know, there is a courtyard in the middle of these buildings that isn't used for anything and isn't visited by anyone. The courtyard is about twenty feet square and the sun only shines directly into it at noon in the summer. That is the only space open to the sky in this dense collection of brick, timber, pipes, wires, lead paint, asphalt, tarpaper, tyvek, and ingenuity.

It is the most citified block in Connecticut's Whaling City. If it were a temporary autonomous zone up to code, all the offices and apartments would be rented, every storefront would be filled, and the courtyard would the base of a luxury condominium mixed-use skyscraper taller than the SNET microwave tower. It would make as much sense in Manhattan or Shanghai or some other world-class economic, cultural, dynamic powerhouse of a city.

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