At Home and at Work- New London, Connecticut

Discussion in 'MY NEIGHBORHOOD' started by NLCTVWguy, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator Pro Member

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    OK, I'm finally getting around to putting up my "home" page!

    I live in southeastern Connecticut, halfway between Boston and New York. We're on the coast, a stone's throw (and we've got plenty of stones!) from Long Island Sound, at the eastern end where there is free passage to the Atlantic Ocean.

    The area is old New England, one of the earliest towns in Connecticut and therefore a very old piece of this relatively young country. The city was started in 1646 as a corn-farming colony called Pequot Colony. The name New London came along years later, after the colonists applied to the King of England, declaring themselves worthy of this hefty name. Some of the streets in town, including the one I live on, were laid out as early as the 1600's.

    Through the 1700's and mid 1800's the city grew into an important whaling port and shipping center, carrying the trade of the day, be it rum, wood, coal, whale oil, or passenger service.

    There has always been an important junction here of land and sea travel. The Thames River (not pronounced Tems as its British counterpart is) was the last piece of the puzzle for continuous rail service when its first bridge was built in 1886. That bridge was briefly the longest train bridge in the country, hard to imagine now but today we have far better construction technology.

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    Today the city lies on the major train line from NY to Boston, carries freight north on two separate lines to different parts of Canada and northern New England, has a major deepwater port, pier, and warehouse facility, and joins together passenger service from rail, taxi, bus, and ferry service to 4 ports in 3 states!

    In town is the Coast Guard Academy, where young men and women train to be skilled officers. America's Tall Ship, the Eagle (actually a WWII war prize we confiscated from the Germans!) is home-ported here and is a daily sight in our harbor. There is a working Coast Guard station with working vessels, and soon to be built the National Coast Guard Museum!

    Across the river in Groton is the US Navy Submarine Base New London (NLON) and directly across from our city piers is one of only two plants in the country where our nuclear submarines are built, Electric Boat (EB, part of General Dynamics). These days, its comforting to know that EB is actually hiring skilled workers!

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    Submarines are seen at least weekly departing the river for secret missions, and heading up the river on returns from successful sea trials and long deployments. There are often families waiting to wave off or welcome home the sailors from various waterfront points. It's a sight you can see in few other places in the country, and I'll bet darn few of them can you watch from a waterfront deck enjoying a coffee and danish in the bright morning sun.

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    The streets in New London are mostly old and narrow. A lot have cobblestones or something worse underneath. The city does enforce building codes requiring granite curbs on all streets throughout downtown, which maintains a certain vintage look to the place. They've also put in a lot of old cast-iron style lamps along with underground utilities throughout downtown.

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    Here's my place and my street:

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    My house is from the 1890s. The house to the left of me is from 1850, and the one to the right, from about 1800. My hosue was a "fill in" on a postage stamp of a lot, but I have everything I need without any grass to mow. The end of my street has the oldest house in the city, from 1650, and the second oldest, built by the 2nd generation of the same family. The entire area was once farmed, and old streams once ran down the hills here to a big cove in the middle of the city. This cove has been mostly filled in, and turned into a major section of downtown.

    I work in a paper mill, in a nearby town. This mill is the oldest continually operating paper mill in the country. The old paper machine, in use from 1870 to 1995, made box cardboard, like for cereal boxes. Grey stuff with white facing that can be printed on. They made the boxes, printed and punched them, and shipped out to manufacturers. They also used to pollute the local river with waste. The new paper mill, a huge structure up behind the original, makes brown paper for cardboard boxes. We no longer produce the boxes but other locations of our company make boxes, and we supply dozens of other box plants around the east and into Canada. All of our product is recycled from old boxes, and we even use reclaimed water from the town. I do maintenance here and work on electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic systems, as well as keep forklifts running when I have to. I ride my Worksman INB around in the plant as an efficient way to travel to different parts of the plant quickly.

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    Getting back to New London...

    One of the best times of year to be here is in July, when we host Sailfest. It's a big party downtown where all the streets are blocked off and there are vendors and food and rides. It's a 3- day festival leading up to a huge fireworks display on Saturday night. There are bands playing on 3 stages and the entire waterfront park area is filled with 200000 people visiting to see the fireworks display over the river. If you've never seen fireworks done over a big harbor like this, the sight will be one you'll never forget. This year, I managed to get into a secret spot between the train tracks and the Coast Guard piers. There was a small rocky beach with nobody in front of me, and I got better pictures than the local paper. :)

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    That spot is actually quite close to a state park with this memorial, which is the Merchant Marine WWII memorial.

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    Thats all in a section of town known as Fort Trumbull, which unfortunately is also where New London won, but the people lost, in a civil lawsuit that went all the way to the federal Supreme Court. That was all about the state power of eminent domain. Let me tell you, it's stressful being a test case. The fort and state park itself are beautiful. The rest of the neighborhood is a wasteland. Part of it is where the CG will build their museum, and the one standing office building to the left in the above picture, is the only sign of success in the region.

    Nice:
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    Not nice:
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    There's much more to tell, about art galleries, successful building restorations, cool bars, a sweet beach at the south end of the city, great restaurants, and a performing arts theatre which is second to none. But like this post, it's a lot squeezed into a small space. We're only 6 square miles, and with 27000 residents it's pretty packed.

    I will update this with more pics as I locate them. Hope you all enjoy it. Rat Rodders and other friends are always welcome to visit whenever they're in the area!

    --Rob (NLCTVWguy)
  2. Graylock

    Graylock

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    Nice hood, I can tell that you love where you live. We are not as packed in as New London but our bike trails lead from town to town on an ever expanding bike way. In my younger much younger days I wore the colors of New London County Motorcycles when I raced Moto Cross (Suzuki TM-250)in New England. It was good times with great people. I'm glad to see not much has changed.

    I feel a Cape Cod hood thread coming soon!

    GL
  3. thatismytruck

    thatismytruck

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    Very nice Rob.
  4. ifitsfreeitsforme

    ifitsfreeitsforme

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    to anyone who has not gone on a "Rob ride" in New London, I urge you to go. Rob is an ambassador to New London, and obviously loves his town. He tells you neat historical things throughout the day as he did in this post. And there is so much to tell about New London. I am a fan of New London. My first job when I was 13 was delivering The New London Day newspaper when I lived in Waterford, a neighboring town. Hey Rob, do you remember The Card and Party Shop in the New London shopping center?... my parents owned that in the late 70's, early 80s. It was next to the old Radio Shack.

    My favorite place in New London is the Dutch Tavern, one of CT's oldest pubs, and currently owned by one of the singers of the Reducers punk band and his lovely wife (Peter and Martha I believe)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjqNC33MwVk
  5. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator Pro Member

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    Yep, sure do remember Card and Party. Boy haven't heard that name in a while.

    I've been going to the pool hall next door since I was (almost) old enough to drive. That's ummm 20 years or so.

    The Dutch is always a great spot, because it never changes. Well, it did get a beautiful new white oak floor a couple years ago. But Peter and Martha (yes, you're correct) keep it the way it was, rather than always trying the new thing. You can sit, read the paper or watch the news or a game, and have a $2.95 hamburger and a $1 beer.

    Like I said, there is plenty more to cover, I just scratched the surface. I was born here, grew up in a nearby town that now has a big casino, and moved here for good in 89. The city has gotten better over those years, without a doubt. Summers here are pretty hopping. Getting to be a lot of fun, lots of stuff going on on State and Bank Sts.

    --Rob



  6. KOTA

    KOTA

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    Hey Rob, can't wait to see it in person!
  7. Black Top Roller

    Black Top Roller Pro Member

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    No lite on my bike

    Great pics Rob!!!I'v been down to your city numerous times over the years for the Sail Fest and to take the Ferry to Block Island and always said to myself that'd be great to get the dollar bicycle tour from someone who knows the streets,looks like that will finally happen.Wanted to know how many times your hair caught fire being so close to those fireworks-NICE pics!!
    Raise em high & cheers
    PS- Sweet little bungalo You and the Missus have there in NL
  8. ej599

    ej599

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    Cool pics Rob. I thought I read or heard somewhere that they never even did anything with the confiscated property.
  9. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator Pro Member

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    A little piece of the New London scene is back! I just got my VW Bus back on the road, so now I'll have my bike hauler ready for the shows this summer.

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    The reconstruction work was extensive and expensive! All the rust around the windshield and behind the bumper was cut out and replaced with new metal. It took a lot, a lot, a lot of welding and grinding! My friend who did it took on a huge task and cranked it right out! I owe him big time.

    In the background of the picture you can see the US Coast Guard's training ship, America's Tall Ship, the Eagle. The Bus is parked in the city's Waterfront Park, where we start or end a lot of our bike rides. It's a nice casual place to ride around, big enough that you can usually ride on all the piers without endangering pedestrians.

    --Rob
  10. ej599

    ej599

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    Nice van! How many stingrays can fit in that baby? :lol:
  11. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator Pro Member

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    4 Stingrays and 4 people, or 6 Stingrays and 2 people. But stacked up, I've had over 20 bikes in it.
    When i go up to Bloomfield, I carry... A LOT! lol

    Not too many of these left but my good friend has a pickup version of one. The guy who did the
    windshield and front end work for mine, I gave him another one in payment.

    Fun to drive but could use another 20 (or 50!) horsepower...

    --Rob
  12. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator Pro Member

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    Haven't updated in a long time. Been a busy summer. Here are a couple pictures I took today riding.

    Took a ride around Fort Trumbull Park early this morning, and enjoyed a near perfect day:


    Downtown and Thames River from Ft Trumbull
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    USCG Eagle and 65 Collegiate from Ft Trumbull fishing pier
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    The other evening we rode to Ocean Beach at the south end of the city for the car show. On the way,
    the sun popped out from under the clouds!
    Sunset Mystic Whaler and Ledge Light
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    Take care folks, if you're in the area, we are always happy to welcome visitors and go for a ride!

    --Rob
  13. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator Pro Member

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    First really great riding day of the year. High of 60°F, light wind, cool cloudy foggy morning, warm wonderful afternoon.

    I do like taking pictures of the USCG Eagle...

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    Out on the Thames River today for the first time:

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    Testing the new "power" prop, Chev 350, 4250rpm = 42 knots!

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    Sailing on by the USS Nautilus Submarine Force Museum:

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    Hope everyone enjoys! Come visit us in 2011!

    --Rob
  14. ifitsfreeitsforme

    ifitsfreeitsforme

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    out on the boat already? lucky you.
  15. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator Pro Member

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    The boat's not mine but I live by the boat launch... and I have the same shift schedule as the owner, so he brings the boat and I bring the beer...works out really nice.

    Another awesome day today, out riding, saw a Los Angeles class submarine coming into port, very impressive seeing them 200 ft away in the river!

    Enjoying the new "Parade" park that was just completed this winter. Bronze plaques throughout downtown now with the history of New London from whaling through nuclear submarines.

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    (1989 Trek 820 Antelope, with Suntour oval chainrings... one of my favorite bikes to ride ever, a police auction find years ago)

    See you all soon,
    --Rob
  16. SCHWINNRAY69

    SCHWINNRAY69

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    I wish it was nice up North here :shock: Great pics, hope to go on one of your rides this year :wink:
  17. coaster toaster

    coaster toaster

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    Some nice ct history, haven't been doing enough cruizin lately since I moved into the woods in guilford, but I'm gonna try to get out on some rides with you ct guys. See you on the streets soon
  18. ifitsfreeitsforme

    ifitsfreeitsforme

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    sounds like you live in north Guilford, near Durham? I ride my road bikes through Guilford often.
  19. NLCTVWguy

    NLCTVWguy Rollin' on 20's Moderator Pro Member

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    Haven't updated here in a while. Our city just hosted OpSail2012. OpSail or Operation Sail is a tour of many tall ships and significant naval vessels that visited ports up and down the East Coast of the USA. New London, CT was the final port of call and ships restocked here for their voyage back to home ports.

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    I put this info up on Facebook to share with some friends. Yesterday truly was a remarkable day for watching ships of all sizes in our harbor. The submarine in the pictures is the USS Mississippi, the newest Virginia-Class nuclear sub in our fleet, just commissioned in June 2012.

    Today, the ships of OpSail get ready to depart. Business as usual returns to the Thames River. We spent the day at Fort Trumbull watching the ships. We saw the USCG Eagle, Cisne Branco of Brazil, USS Carter Hall, Brilliant, Appledore, New Horizon, Cross Sound Ferries, Block Island ferry, Thames River tugs, USCG fast interceptor boats, the Harbormaster, fishing vessels, USCG rescue helicopter, pleasure craft both motor and sail, a pile-driving barge, and a Virginia Class US Navy Submarine! Watch the whole gallery from today as a slideshow here:

    http://s200.photobucket.com/albums/aa126/NLCTVWguy/The Sailing City/?albumview=slideshow


    Enjoy the pics folks!

    --Rob Bareiss
    New London, CT
  20. custombikebuilder

    custombikebuilder

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    that springer on that schwinn is saweeeeet

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