Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Littlest Bike Shop

With an area of just over five square miles, New London is a pedestrian city that is also bicycle friendly. There are two professional bike shops in the city. Wayfarer Bikes is the oldest and most successful, located on Ocean Avenue in an old department store on the corner of Squire Street. There is another bike shop, the name of which I forget, in the old Red Cross headquarters on Williams Street just behind the Chinese restaurant now called Shanghai Garden (formerly the Fortune Cookie). Besides these two professionals, there is a small scale entrepreneur located at 77 Garfield Avenue, across from the American Legion Post.

Neither rain, nor snow, nor gloom of night will keep this amateur bike mechanic from the completion of his appointed avocation. He refurbishes old bicycles to almost new condition and arranges them on the porperty's front lawn. Everything about this mechanic's operation is homegrown and homemade. He arranges his products in a professional looking line, each one with a cardboard sign hung from the handlebars that reads, boldly and legibly in black magic marker "For Sale."

These are not the sportiest, lightest alloy, most fashionable bikes on the market. They are serviceable bicycles, made for city commuting and local errands. Some have bananna seats and chopper-style handlebars. Some are mountain bikes. Some look like ten-speeds with longhorn handlebars Lance Armstrong used to practice on when he was a tyke. Wheel diameter runs from ten inch to twenty-six inch. Training wheels are available. There are knobby tires and narrow, racing tires. Some bikes are all one color and others have mismatched pieces. All are affordable and all run smoothly without skipping gears or squeaking break pads. The cables are tight and safe, the tire pressure is up to the recommended psi, no more nor less. These are bicycles assembled and tuned for regular use and reliable wear.

77 Garfield Avenue is a home-based business, the kind of small-scale, boot-strap enterprise that keeps a city vital. It isn't for connosieurs or collectors. It is for people who need reliable transportation. If you need a bicycle to get around New London, you now know where to go without spending a lot of money on features you don't need. Support the little guy who knows his way around a sprocket and how to wield a can of WD-40. Tell him Whalehead King sent you.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Elm City Invasion!!

There is a loosely named, loosely organized, "New London School of Poetry." It is basically a dozen writers who gather every Sunday to enjoy each other's production. New Haven is popularly known as the cultural capitol of the Nutmeg State. New London is the cultural capitol of Southeastern Connecticut. It is time for New London to claim a new coronation.

New London's writers are fixing their bayonets. The men are pinning cockades to thier caps and the women are pinning carnations in New London's colors into corsages. There is going to be a convoy from the Whaling City to the Elm City. Writers of New London, unite! You have nothing to gain but your due!

New Haveners tremble at the thought of plucky, spunky, talented, take-no-prisoners, New Londoners are headed their way. Grand ideas, eloquently put, full of rolling vowels and pregnant pauses will be deployed against the fey, pretentious New Haven style. A rough and tumble bout of wits and have-baked lines will tussle and scuffle in the ivy-clad environs of New Haven. New Londoners like to deploy a shiv and a razor when they split hairs and parse sentences.

There's going to be a convoy. Breaker-breaker. Smokies will be on the I-95 ready to intercept the parade and stop the literary carnage. Get ready New Haven, New London is ready to take control and take charge and claim the crown.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Once upon a time, a dandy moved to New London, Conn. His profession was too look good. It was a trade which he studied and practiced in every spare moment. The world needs beautiful people. A small city needs all the beautiful people it can attract.

Sometimes, the smallest city can be the most handsome. Napoleon had charisma. New London is the second smallest city in the third smallest state. A good city is full of good people. It is what is on the insde that counts. New London is full of dandies and demimondes, of rakes and coquettes, of fops and of divas. Stroll New London's boulevards and you will find yourself amidst a cast of characters.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Dignified Company

The Casimir Pulaski Polish American Veterans's Club Post #1 and Auxillary is located at 51 Central Avenue in New London, just across the street from the main entrance to Riverside Park. It's across the street from the Moose Lodge, on the opposite end of Central Avenue from New London's Solid Waste Transfer Station and Public Works Department.

The Polish Club is known for its conviviality. Everyone is welcome to share stories about old New London, new New London, patriotism and Nascar. The Club hosts regular events open to the general public. It is a club made up of Polish-American veterans, but it is a New London institution, a part of the community that lends cachet and solidarity to the citizens of the Whaling City.

This morning the club's trustees posted a sign in the social quarters. It reads:
Friday, March 16th
A Full Coarse Corned Beef Dinner
From 5 To 8 PM
The Price Is Only $8.00
Come On Down, Bring Your Friends
There is something tempting about an affordable, coarse, Irish meal served by Poles. What the courses will be are left to your imagination. Sources report there will be corned beef, of course, and cabbage, all of it cut thick enough to strain your jaw to get your teeth around it. The conversation will be as salty as the food. It will be a coarse meal served on fine china with dainty, polished silverware.
This meal is open to the general public not just to elite Polish Club members and their guests. The locally famous Ray Church has already ordered the vittles and spices. His competent corps of sous chefs, prep cooks, service valets and mince choppers have been briefed on the menu and the expectations. The Polish Club's kitchen is justly famous for laying out a good spread. If you are planning on spending eight bucks on March 16th, you know where to point your car at 5:00.
Five coarse courses of Irish food served with Polish polish and panache. Who can resist the opportunity of a good meal eaten in good company? Mark your calendar.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Montauk Marketplace

New London has as many delicatessens as it has pizza parlors. There are a few less Chinese take-out joints, but the numbers are very close. This is a city that prefers to let professionals prepare meals fit for consumption.

Montauk Marketplace is located just after School Street on Montauk Avenue. I think the address is 453, but it is diagonally across the street from Harbor School, next to the package store. It is a small, family-staffed business, a mom and pop shop, run by a mother and daughter and, recently, an alternating pair of identical twins. The meat wholesaler has breakfast there. The mayor's husband stops in for his morning coffee and a bagel. The bakers stop to trade news with the proprietor when they deliver fresh rolls. Accountants, Mitchell College professors, elementary school students, bus drivers, fire police, neighborhood artists and roofing subcontractors stop by for their morning meals. Amos, the crossing guard places his order when he starts his shift and he picks it up when the last pupil goes through the Harbor School's front door. The most personable and trustworthy car salesman in New London makes a daily stop at Montauk Marketplace.

They make thier own pizza and they make daily soups from scratch. Lunch is good and nutritious at Montauk Marketplace. They use quality ingredients prepared with top shelf culinary skills in a spotless, stainless steel kitchen. Special orders don't upset them. Regulars eat their lunches reading the newspaper while sitting on the stools in the front window while traffic regularly pulls up to park for no more than fifteen minutes. This is good food served efficiently. Always willing to try new things, Montauk Marketplace offers specials and items hard to find elsewhere.

Montauk Marketplace is one of New London's more popular delis and justly so. Its spotless reputation is well earned. Its customers are loyal for a reason. Tourists who stumble on Montauk Marketplace through serendipity are always happy to find a slice of real New London. This delicatessen offers items of New Londonalia, from the products and chapbooks of Whalehead King to sculptures crafted from boards culled from the Ocean Beach Boardwalk. This is a business that supports the community of which it is an intimate part.

There have been delicatessens in this storefront for many years. Montauk Marketplace has been there for four or five years, but it seems like forever. It is a perfect bit of New London society, a cross section sliced thin and tasty, assembled with love and respect.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Shaw Street Stangler

Shaw Street runs between Garibaldi Fountain and the first traffic rotary before Pfizer's Global Research and Development Headquarters. This is old Italian-American turf. This is a working class neighborhood. The Nutmeg Bottling Company used to produce locally brewed sodas for distribution around southeastern Connecticut and the region's Pepsi bottling plant was located here in an old cow pasuture before it relocated to Norwich in 1977. This was a carbonated neighborhood full of fizz and vapors and sweet, fruit flavors.

It is an office park now. This was once a stronghold of Demorcratic politics, where the local party bosses were guaranteed votes and city policy was made. Now it is an office park, as sterile as anything found off a highway exit ramp in Waterford or Groton, in East Lyme or Uncasville or Stonington outside of Mystic's tourist brochures.

What was once a part of New London's guts, is now a complex of six tinted glass and brickface, three-story boxes without any stories in them. Who strangled Shaw Street? Look no farther than City Hall.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Literary Prize.

The link to this title is different from usual for a reason. New London is a city that collects characters of all colors and inclinations. We are all New Londoners under the skin no matter how different we appear from the outisde or by the strategies we employ. New London is a city of underemployed overacheivers. It is no wonder the city is always in a ferment even as it slumbers.

You would never know it by reading the sign at the border, but besides Whalehead King, and The Hygienic Art Show and the New London School of Poetry, the Whaling City is home to one of the internet's premier science fictioneers. No one in New London that graduated after 1986 knows her name, but a native woman has woven tapestries of speculative fiction that combine childlike wonder with adult material. Not an easy feat, but when done well, the result is worth reading.

This woman goes by many noms-de-plumes. She is the Moon's mistress. There is a tarnish on the Red-Headed Goddess's lustre, but she is still divine. You may have seen her walking Montauk Avenue enroute home after working for equitable probate settlements. You may have wondered who she is. It isn't Whalehead King's place to say out loud.

New London is lucky that it attracts and retains talent. We are all ciitzens in a city that is happy enough not to have us. We don't begruge that New London is enamored with dirty drugery more than the white knuckled nights in front of the keyboard. A writer's life is naturally solitary and masturbatory. Thank Heaven New London gives us the private room in which to work.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Coral Farms

New London is a Whaling City. Some day it may be a Coral City. There are reefs around Ledge Light and along New London Shoal, but these are glacial shale encrusted with mussels tucked just under low tide. No one scuba dives in New London harbor to watch fish and eels slide through the calcium deposits of Long Island Sound's microoganisms. New London is known more for dumped tires and lost lobster traps than tendrils of living rock.

A new breed of farmer has taken up in a little city with plenty of shoreline and little arable land. A clever couple has taken up residence on Fitch Avenue on the border of downtown proper but still in the heart of the city. They are mesmerized by coral. New London Harbor breeds a weedy coral that doesn't thrive in confinement. Like pandas, New London's native coral doesn't doesn't transplant well to artificial conditions.

There is an opportunistic breed of weedy coral that does well wherever it is planted, whether in a tank, a brackish creek, or a sea monkey habitat. This coral is native to the shores of Tonga, that island nation beloved of philatalists. Our newest New London biological entrepreneurs import coral clippiings from Tonga, air frieghted to Groton-New London Airport by small plane. They take this seed coral and grow it in tanks in thier basement. They have recently gotten a grant for a 'wet lab' in the new Science and Technology Magnet High School. They coordinate with the world's foremost bioluminesence geneticist at Connecticut College. They are crossing Tonga Coral with New London Coral to make a new species that will light New London's sea lane from below and provide exotic fauna/flora for high priced fish tanks in European techno discotheques.

How does one become a coral specialist? It helps to be a musican. It helps to be an unmatriculated English scholar. It helps to live in New London. When you are the only coral biologists in town with a vision, it is easy to get official support and grant funding. In New London, showing up and being willing to work is the best way to get ahead.

A salute to everyone in New London, Conn. who is pursuing thier dream. Everyone who is working to be the best they can be, is welcome in New London. New London will help them along. New London hasn't really been a Whaling City for more than a century and a half. It has become a city as multi-faceted as a cut gem with personalities reflecting different aspects of its promise. A salute to the coral farmers who are realizing thier possibilities.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Weather for Folderol

Today at about 1:45 on a crisp afternoon, a young couple dressed like matching sofa cushions in down coats, were sliding along the ice in the empty lot in front of Shaw's Cove One. The taller of the pair (we assume it was the male) was carrying three blue, helium-filled balloons. The shorter of the two (again, we assume it was the female) clung so tightly to her companion that they couldn't take a straight step.

This area was originally water when New London was first settled. Shaw's Cove was filled in over the years until it became the office park that it is today. You will notice: However dry it is inside the Shaw's Cove office buildings, the lawn is as soggy as a bog. Because the land is so wet, on days like today it becomes a sheet of ice puncutated by the last upright spears of grass.

This cold weather promotes run-on sentences and pointless journalism. It has been one month after the Kream Kollision, the challenge between The Berlin Pilgrim, Mr. David Spinelli, and Mr Matthew "Whalehead" King. Spinelli and King have chillblains and they need to write them out. The follow-up duel has been declared.

It all started on Hygienic Night. Mr. King, blunt as always, told Mr. Spinelli he should dress more like a dandy and less like a track star. Mr. Spinelli, never one to lose his cool, took a long sip of Old Yankee Ale and said to Mr. King, "The day I dress like you is the day I write like you. Don't forget who gave you a komeuppance a few weeks ago. Maybe I should be giving you advice."

Well, to summarize, Mr. King's fedora ended up in Mr. Spinelli's face with an offer to eat it. The two agreed to a rematch. The format will be the same: three poems, three topics, half page each. Yesterday, Mr. King relayed two themes to his rival. Mr. Spinelli gave his suggestion. The event will take place at Joyce Ellen Fine Arts, Masonic Street, New London at 3:00PM on Sunday, February 18th. This time the loser has to shave his head.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

An Old Saying.

If you walk on one of New London's rutted sidewalks, you are sure to trip. Step on a crack and you break New London's back. Watch your step.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Celebrity News!!

Estaban, the talented guitarist so famous he needs only one name, is playing tomorrow night at the Mohegan Sun Casino & Resort for a special Valentine's Day engagement. It is rumored that after the show he will be stopping by the Oasis Cafe to take the stage and unleash his controlled passion on the guitar strings for whoever is in attendance. Another rumor: Estaban has heard about New London's budget woes and will donate three hundred twelve pounds of guitar instruction CDs to the New London Public School System to replace the current music ciriculum. New London's musicians are already top-notch. Imagine the melodies that will be unchained by guitarists trained the Esatban way!

Groundbreaking, post-punk, popular eighties band, The Police, reunited to play the Grammy Awards this week. They decided to fly back to their respective homes from Logan Airport in Boston. Their limosines stopped in New London enroute to Logan and performed an impromptu jam at The Band Street Cafe. 'Roxanne' never sounded so plaintive.

Donald Trump was in the city to scout an episode of The Apprentice. The challenge for the two teams will be to develop the land around Fort Trumbull. This is a task that has already flummoxed 'the Donald' so he is looking for fresh ideas.

Vice President Dick Cheney got wind of the ducks who have settled in the ponds in Bates Woods. The Secret Service consulted with the NLPD to make arrangements for a vice-presidential hunting trip. The VIP is scheduled to stay at the Lighthouse Inn in March and the end of Ashcraft Avenue will be closed off for illicit motor scooter and pedestrian traffic looking for a shortcut to New London High School to hear an Esteban-inspired guitar concert.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Amy Hannum, Presidential Candidate

Amy for President 2008! That is the slogan so far. Something better will spontaneously come up later on the campaign. It is a good place to start though. To the point, and what a point it is.

The opposite of Hillary Clinton, Amy Hannum isn't well connected beyond New London's social circles and MySpace, where she has plenty of friends and supporters. Far from being a Barak Obama, Ms. Hannum's announcement that she is a presidential contender was not trumpeted in the media. We do believe, Whalehead King has the scoop on this story.

Amy Hannum is smart. She has a vision. She listens and she learns. If America is a place where anyone can reach the top, there is no reason why Ms. Hannum won't do a better job than the people named above. We haven't even mentioned the Republicans.

If Washington needs fresh blood and clean hands, Amy Hannum has both. She is untainted by cynicism. She has no taint of corruption. Her ideals are still in place and still worth believing in. Not a fringe candidate by any means, but a woman with a purpose she promised herself years ago. Visit her to see her platform. She needs your input and your vote. Amy Hannum: Out To Make America Better!

Friday, February 09, 2007

We Have No Bananas

The New London Banana Company Building is a thing of memory. Everyone knows that Bridgeport, Conn is the banana port of the northeast. All of New England's and New York's bananas come through the port of Bridgeport, Connecticut's largest city.

The north side of middle Bank Street escaped redevelopment's wrecking ball for thirty years longer than the south side. The New London Banana Company hasn't traded fruit for decades, but its sign hung on the front of the building long after the business was defunct. It was a reminder that honest trades were once practiced downtown, that New London's economy was fueled by more than whaling, law, medicine and the anemic tourist trade.

All the bricks between the Carlos' Building and Candy's Cozy Kitchen have been dismantled by bulldozers. There are empty lots on the north side of middle Bank Street. Condominiums are slated to be built in this empty space. "New York Style" condominiums. You can still buy bananas in New London. They are trucked directly from Bridgeport to the Pezzello Brothers' warehouse on Jefferson Avenue. The Pezzello Brothers supply much of the produce to New London's vegetable aisles, restaurant kitchens and delis. In Darwinian New London, survival of the fittest is the rule. The Pezzello Bros. diversified, while the banana people focused on a niche.

New London is a niche on the globe, but it rewards those who can meet its needs cheapest and best. Does anybody want to buy a condo? We need citizens more than we need bananas.

It is natural for New London to aspire to be like Manhattan. The two places are similar in everything but scale.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What Makes New London Attractive

Once a certain kind of person learns of New London, Conn. they want to know more. Washington State may be evergreen, but its age is only a fraction of the Nutmeg State's. New London was founded in 1646. People from Iowa find that amazing. Chambers of Commerce in Oklahoma marvel at New London's pedigree and vitality. New London doesn't even have a chamber of commerce. The Whaling City's business doesn't need encouragement, comeraderie, or promotion.

If you build it, they will come. This is New London's philosophy. This is a city that has been remaking itself for more than 360 years. There is a genius about New London's citizenry. We are proud of our past and of our progress in the present. New London is a work in progress, forever perfecting its homegrown society.

If you tell someone that the submarine sandwich was invented in New London, they will believe it. If you tell them toothpaste in the tube was invented in New London, they will believe. If you tell them the home coffee mill was invented in New London, they will believe it. If you tell them New London perfected the art of harvesting sperm, they will believe it.*

They will believe whatever you tell them about New London, because all of it is true. *[Ed. note: all these things are true.]

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Who is Snow Boy??

When Snow Boy came to New London last year, it was during a blizzard and the bad weather didn't let up for two weeks until after his arrival. Nobody likes Snow Boy. He made winter worse. He is bad luck.

Snow Boy is a fat boy, and that makes him an easy butt for jokes. He is round like an apple and he comes from Yakima, Washington. Children yell when Snow Boy goes past, "Hey Snow Boy, you're an Apple Boy!" This past autumn, they pelted him with crab apples, It's not easy being Snow Boy in New London, Conn.

New London is usually kind to stangers, but Snow Boy is the exception that proves the rule. He is mealy mouthed. He talks like his tongue is covered with slush. He is pale in a sickly, weak way, limp wristed with blue spider veins running up his pale arms. He is the opposite of robust. He is pathetic. New London loves an almost-winner, but Snow Boy is sure to come up last in the pack. Why bother encouraging this predictable disappointment?

Snow Boy insists that Yakima, Wash. is better than New London, Conn. He is so dim and dunderheaded, he cannot see the obvious. Even a New Londoner, who can tolerate all sorts of scorn, cannot stomach the idea that Yakima, Wash. is better than Connecticut's Whaling City. When Snow Boy passes them on the street, some children say, "Hey Snow Boy! I'm yakking up on Yakima!"

Snow Boy went to the Dutch Tavern last night, not the busiest night, but not as slow as a Tuesday. The Dutch was full of slender characters just as pale as Snow Boy. He was wearing a tattered sweater with holes at the elbows. He fit right in with the scruffy New Londoners who meet at the Dutch on Monday evenings. No one mocked Snow Boy for his Washington accent. No one threw anything at him. He met a nice girl, Julie, who listened to Snow Boy's stories about the apple fields that stretch out from exurban Yakima. She took him down to City Pier and they kissed as the ferry went by.

Maybe Snow Boy has found a home after all. New London is full of smart women.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Who Is Rhonda Ward??

Rhonda Ward is a poet who has lived in New London for almost five years. Her first six months in the Whaling City were spent in a private, little house tucked a bit from the riverfront on Pequot Avenue. She didn't know much about New London beyond the way to the highway and the same route in reverse. That changed one summer night when she read that there would be an open poetry reading downtown. She decided to participate.

The poet Rhonda Ward cares about her craft. She lives for the written word spoken aloud. She promotes poetry as an essential, accessable art form and not only her own poems, but all poems. She believes in poetry's power to provoke and cause postitive change. For reasons mysterious even to her, she is drawn to poetry's pull of profound ideas put well. She believes in the power of speech and feeling.

The poet Rhonda Ward believes in bringing poetry to the people; not only her own poems, but all poems. She is a writer and a performer who publishes and travels widely. She is a carrier of the poetry germ. She knows many fellow writers with voices that run from the erudite to the street savvy. The poet Rhonda Ward is not only out to promote her own work, but the work of everyone who feels poetry's tug. To this end, she organizes gatherings of poets to read to the general public. She attracts some of the best and most of the brightest to her events. She has become a poetry impressario.

Four and a half years ago, the poet Rhonda Ward read in the newspaper that there would be an open poetry reading downtown. She went to the appointed place at the advertised time and no one knew what she was talking about but a gentleman who was also there for the same reason. Rather than get angry, the poet Rhonda Ward and her new companion read to each other on the Bulkley House deck while enjoying a Campari and soda and a plate of escargot.

The poet Rhonda Ward learned that, while nothing works out as planned in New London, everything works out fine. The two are still friends, helping and supporting the other's passion. They are two writers encouraging each other to do what they do best even better.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Sunday!!

Every day is super in New London, a city that is waiting for a hero. People wear capes, but mostly for warmth and for fashion. People wear masks, but only on Hallowe'en and during masquerade balls. There are plenty of muscles poised to do some heavy lifting and figures ready to leap into action. Everyone has a secret identity.

Today, like most days, New Londoners get together to share each other's company and comraderie. They get raucous, they cheer, they razz, and they indulge in friendly wagers. They eat like gluttons at a banquet and they drink like they have hollow legs. New Londoners don't need an excuse to host a party, their whole lives are fun-loving and based on good-willed competition. New Londoners know how to enjoy themselves. New Londoners know how to celebrate.

Every day is an event in a city where little happens. New Londoners will offer a toast to a new haircut. They will rally around an underdog. Any news is better than no news. New Londoners will bet on a cockroach race. They will watch the clouds pass over their skyline for fun. New Londoners will look for any reason to tell a joke in front of an audience. New Londoners love a party and know how to keep it going.

Every day is super in a superlative city. Every breakfast, lunch and supper is super in New London, Conn. New London has powers far beyond the pale of other cities. New London soars along the bank of a mighty river, carving out its destiny with bare hands. This may be a mild-mannered city, but its daily life is full of high adventure.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Shaw Street Carrot

According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the longest carrot ever harvested was in 1934 by Mr. Cosmo Centoscudi from his backyard garden at 221 Shaw Street. The fact that Mr. Centoscudi pulled this carrot out of the ground without breaking is a testament to his love for plants. After the first foot, he called his wife to see and after another six inches, she fetched some neighbors to witness this miracle vegetable.

The carrot was of normal diameter despite its spectacular length. No one suspected a record breaker was about to see the light of day. After two more feet of gentle tugging. Mr. Centoscudi asked for a chair to rest. He held the top so that the carrot wouldn't fall over. He rested a moment and began again, gently working the carrot free, pulling up, turning it, pulling some more, inch by inch.

When the ordeal was finally over, Mr. Centoscudi had to stand on the chair. The final length, as measured by a yardstick and confirmed with a tape measure, was six feet four and one third inches. With the carrot finally in full view, the neighborhood burst into applause. Now that it was out of the ground, what to do with this miraculous carrot?

Some of the neighborhood boys, Tommy Archidi, Vinnie Morelli, Pepe Vesuvio and Johnny Cassata, carried it down to Cavella's Market. Each boy supported a bit of the carrot's length, again being very careful not to break it or drop it. Mr. Centoscudi watched them very closely during the four-block walk and people came out of their houses to see what all the hubbub was about. At Cavella's, the carrot was sliced into very long strips, 6'4 1/3 " strips to be precise. These strips of carrot were placed in a very long salami and provlone sandwich.

The boys then carried the sandwich back to 221 Shaw Street, again with Mr. Centoscudi supervising. Mrs. Centoscudi had laid out a table and old Mr. Vesuvio had brought over a few jugs of wine. The neighborhood had a feast and talked about that carrot for years.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Raiders' Roost

The old Raiders' Roost was a rather intimidating place. Small, dark, dirty windows and a door that was always closed even when the place was open for business. The inside was much like the outside, a place that had seen better days. The name doesn't come from any pirate lore or the disreputable characters who may have headquartered themselves there. Rather is was named for the New London Raiders amateur baseball team.

The Raiders' Roost opened in the 1950s and it has survived redevelopement and the encroachment of the New London Development Corporation. The building now has a parking lot in back and one parking space just before the rotary. It has been taken over by Brian Brother, one of New London's more famous chefs. True to form, the new owner has painted the interior his trademark red and black. He is not an anarchist, he associates these colors with his cajun cuisine. Remember, this is the man who had the Bayou in various locations around New London.

He brings his expertise to the Raiders' Roost. The food is as good as you would expect. The room is split between bar and tables. There was a healthy crowd of New London's congniscenti and illuminati there last night. The usual suspects and tastemakers are enjoying the new incarnation of the Raiders's Roost. While the food and the atmosphere are superb, the best part of all is the name. When you have something good, you don't give it up easily.


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