This past week has been Fire Prevention Week, which means there's been plenty of fire-themed activities around town. This weekend, several local firehouses held open houses.
We hit the open house at the Springdale Fire Company today. Now, I'm no connoiseur of fire station open houses. In fact, I used to have to be excused from Fire Prevention Week assemblies in elementary school because I was terrified of the films and of the soot-covered toys that had been rescued from tragic home fires. But the Springdale Fire Company really turned out a smokin' hot event for kids. Sam took a ride on an historic fire truck, "drove" a school bus and learned how to evacuate a school bus, operated a fire hose to put out a "fire" in a play house, and bounced in a bouncy castle while his parents munched on hot dogs. There was also a smoke trailer to teach kids how to safely evacuate in a fire emergency (this would have given me endless nightmares as a child; I'm sure my mom is cringing just reading this!), but Sam's too little for that. But he did take a couple of turns at the fire hose. He was too exhausted to stay for the stove fire demo, but I'll bet that was pretty cool.
More than 70 years ago, Whitman Bailey sketched a view of Church Street
in Glenbrook, in which both the artist and a marvelously-hatted woman
are gazing toward hope. Or, rather, toward Hope Street. What might they
have been thinking? Bailey's accompanying essay reads, "Old Church
Street, which dates back to those days when this highway was a rural
winding road, is now one of the busy centers of Glenbrook, for on this
present thoroughfare is the large and attractive building of the Union
Memorial Church and also numerous up-to-date stores lie within a
stone's throw of this immediate neighborhood." He concludes, "Although
Glenbrook has grown extensively in the past 10 years, it is still a
friendly little village and a place where one always loves to visit."
I stood in approximately the same spot and captured the same view. I
wasn't wearing anything nearly as fabulous as the woman in the hat,
though now I think I have my fall fashion wish list set.
I was gazing toward Hope Street, and thinking about the neighborhood
where I now live. So for my inaugural Stamford Scribes blog post, I
thought I'd build a bit upon Mr. Bailey's Glenbrook musings.
Glenbrook has grown extensively in the past 73 years, "it is still a
friendly little village and a place where one always loves to visit." I live here now, although I was barely aware
of Glenbrook during the years when I was growing up across town.
what I love to do is wander the streets of Glenbrook and just ...
consider it. Much as Whitman Bailey has done in his sketch, and much as
his subjects in the image seem to be doing as well. My favorite time to
do this is in the evenings, just as it's starting to get dark, and the
streets are quieter but not abandoned. In fact, Glenbrook evenings are characterized by a sort of quiet energy; I'm often out walking or running
along with several other walkers (with or without dogs), runners, strollers,
seekers of late-night doughnuts, take-out-dinner picker-uppers, and
revelers at Monster B's. It's satisfying to wander the sidewalks of
this friendly little village with its variety of happenings and its
pockets of beautiful old architecture.
Sometimes I think that
Glenbrook is Stamford's best-kept secret. Perhaps even Stamford's
neighborhood of the future. It's a walkable village, after all, with
sidewalk access to public transportation and just about everything else
you need to live, play, and eat. (Even if you're a parrot!) Studies
show that neighborhoods with high walkability are increasingly more
valuable; they command higher real estate prices in many (most?) areas
(except Stamford, apparently) and experts say that the future trends in
real estate are toward the mixed-use, walkable village.
That's good news to me. And
it's good news for Glenbrook, which I hope will be rising to the
occasion. A long-range vision exists
for Glenbrook and Springdale to enhance these livable, walkable
villages. Is it a plan or simply a vision? That I don't know, but I'll
be keeping my eye on it. The plan would bring the neighborhood back
full circle to the view Bailey had of it, and the view I still see when
I take my time to wander its streets.
I mostly hope the plans include bringing the obelisk back to Church Street.