Nothing like a kid on Pleasure Beach. My father, a Sicilian immigrant, squired me there to fish for snapper blues in the late 1960s. All I had was a bamboo pole, line, bobber, hook and frozen pack of bait fish we picked up on Seaview Avenue. Those snappers bit down harder than an Andersen window. Still the bumpy drive across the wooden bridge was just as memorable. (Some knucklehead torched it 25 years ago.)
It’s also a lasting memory of Anthony Stewart, raised not far from Pleasure Beach, who owns Ashlar Construction now adding a brighter development face to the East End of his youth.
As a young man Stewart worked with his father, a mason. He developed a passion for stones and the construction industry. He’s OIB’s latest interview saluting Bridgeport’s Bicentennial.
Q. What is your first memory of Bridgeport?
A. Spending Sundays after church at Pleasure Beach. We would drive over there and buy hot dogs and we’d sit around, have lunch and watch the boat races. They had boat races back then. I remember going over there as a little kid. I remember the rickety old bridge and the noise it made driving your car over it.
Q. What are your ties to Bpt., and what do you do, either work or volunteer work, that benefits the city and its residents?
A. I own a construction/development company in Bridgeport and we are in the process of building developments on the East End. I also renovated the East Side library at Shelton and East Main streets. Now we’re doing the East End project, the library and a market along with other projects.
Q. What do you like best about Bridgeport?
A. The coastline and its people. I like being in Bridgeport. And I like the fact that people are alive here. I like the energy that people have. We used to go to Seaside Park, and they had the Midway, and it was so crowded, with the rides and all the events. I had some of the best times of my life there.
Q. Where is your favorite spot in the city to visit and why?
A. Pleasure Beach, because of its history and fun memories of the boat racing.
Q. What’s your favorite Bridgeport eatery and what do you like there?
A. Trattoria ‘A Vucchella, and its pasta alla Carbonara. We also like a lot of other places. We used to go to a place called Drumstik (cq) BBQ on Main Street. Then on the corner of East Main Street across from Beardsley Park there was a place called Briarwoods. We also loved Brock Hall, for ice cream, over on Lindley Street.
Q. Where do you see the city going?
A. I see the city developing into the premier city in CT with countless waterfront activities, fantastic restaurants, great vibes and nice housing.
Q. If you had a magic wand and could make a miracle happen for the city, what would it be?
A. A safe place for all.