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.

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