The challenge of saving an architectural jewel and a piece of the city’s history is what in the world do you do with it.
The O’Rourke house on Pembroke Street–that Victorian you see sitting in the middle of that barren configuration we hope and pray becomes a thriving metropolis in what we’ve come to know as that frustrating contradiction in terms Steelpointe–is headed for a burial.
Named for James O’Rourke, a mighty fine baseball player and community leader a century ago, so good in fact that he’s in the Hall of Fame, the house has been the subject of preservationists and community activists hoping to save it from demolition.
The list of city architectural beauties that have been demolished (Wheeler Mansion) or remain stagnant (Poli and Majestic theaters) is mighty long.
Maybe Charles Brilvitch, an expert on the city’s architectural history, is out there and can weigh in.
If you save it where do you put it? If you put it there how do you fund it? Okay, turn it into a museum? They cost a fortune to operate, and most of them do not make money.
Incorporate it into the Canyon-Johnson project across the street from the ballpark at Harbor Yard? Yeah, right, if that project ever happens.
It’s been more than 10 years since the ballpark opened and I hope the new Bluefish management, owners of the popular Long Island Ducks, can attract the kind of fannies of the Fish’s first couple of seasons.
What about the new leadership of People’s United Bank stepping up to the plate and purchasing the naming rights to the ballpark and arena? People’s United Arena. People’s United Park. A nice ring to them and a nice statement. Fat chance. This new guy they brought in from the left coast doesn’t give a crap about the city proper. A couple of years ago the bank went out and raised a cool billion in a massive stock offer. Do you know what it set aside for Bridgeport community investment? Chicken shit. They have this monolithic mentality over there: make money, make money, make money and don’t reinvest in the city that got you there. (Come out, come out, wherever you are.) A Merry Christmas.
So, anyone want to buy that house on Steelpointe? You can also check out these additional resources if you’re in the market for houseboats.
Dancing In The Sun
Hey, this sounds like a City Council meeting. Congrats to the local filmmakers.
Connecticut Filmmaker Selected for 2009 Sundance Film Festival
DEAR BEAUTIFUL animated short film selected from 9,000 submissions
BRIDGEPORT, CONN. / PARK CITY, UTAH – December 21, 2008 – SoMuch Pictures announces its groundbreaking animated short film, “Dear Beautiful,” directed by Roland Becerra, has been named an Official Selection by the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. This year the Sundance Film Festival selected 200 films for exhibition from more than 9,000 submissions.
Winner of the Moving Pictures Magazine Animated Short Film competition and screened at Cannes, “Dear Beautiful” has captured audiences and critics alike with its combination of haunting, jarring visuals and foreboding audial immersion. Using flash animation and stop motion animation techniques, Bridgeport-based director Roland Becerra and wife/production/writing partner Kelly Bigelow Becerra have created a unique and gripping animated horror movie experience that extends beyond the run-of-the-mill grotesqueness of the genre and delves into the emotional impediments faced by all subjects in the film.
In addition to Cannes, “Dear Beautiful” also screened at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, where it was awarded Bronze place in the audience choice competition. “Dear Beautiful” has garnered online acclaim and cult-status among both horror/science fiction genre fans and critics drawn in by Becerra’s artistic, technical and storytelling styles. Ain’t It Cool News calls “Dear Beautiful,” “An unforgettable and artful zombie experience,” while sci-fi Web site io9.com hails the infected characters in the short as “The World’s Most Beautiful Zombies.”
“Dear Beautiful” represents five and a half years of tireless work between this husband and wife collaboration. Roland and Kelly Becerra moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut as “artist pioneers” in the city’s first artist housing development, Read’s ArtSpace. There, they met and partnered with another Bridgeport husband and wife team, Keith Saunders and Meredith DiMenna, who supplied the project with the short’s distinctive music and assisted with the script.
The sudden appearance of exotic flowers in New Haven spawns an unprecedented epidemic that threatens to destroy the city. Infected people cover themselves maniacally with lotions, creams, and rags, the result of a botched experiment by cosmetics giant, V-Zone.
Paul and Lauren, a married couple, are caught between the catastrophe and their own troubled relationship. Paul has grown defeated and depressed from job frustrations and their banal existence has taken its toll on Lauren as she becomes more and more isolated and he descends into alcoholism.
On her way out of the house to leave Paul, Lauren encounters one of the flowers and becomes infected. As her symptoms worsen, Paul’s denial of Lauren’s illness puts the couple in grave danger as the city is overrun with infected people, media frenzy, National Guard, protestors, and a panicked populace.
At some you have to start making your own history and stop clinging to the past. In fifty years, I don’t really know what will be preserved from this period. I guess the ballpark and arena? Keeping the O’Rourke house just doesn’t make any sense. It’s out there all on its own, who even goes out there? I understand having a tribute to him, but preserving his dilapidated home?
The Poli and Majestic are a different story, because if they were restored, it’d be one of a kind (except for the duplicate in Waterbury which isn’t as nice). However, the cost of fixing that place would be astronomical. It’s a mess now. Lorraine Warren went recently to look for ghosts, ’cause that’s basically the only thing that would occupy that place right now. If an investor were allowed to restore parts, but not all, it may be possible to do it. I wonder if Loews would have any interest in renovating one of its greatest theaters.
Why not move this house over to the site of the former Turbana Banana docks temporarily. It is my understanding that the ferry boat would like to move there and build something similar to a mini Port Jefferson. This house could be part of that and thus a tourist attraction I don’t know where the money would come from but maybe those tight-asses at Peoples Bank could help.
“Bridgeport Now” LIVE Tuesdays at 8pm on Ch 77
Don’t have cable? With host Rob Foley and John Bolton.
– Followup on Scinto sewage after his appearance on show last week.
– The Mechanics & Farmers building auction. This may be the most important real estate deal for the city’s future. Tune in to see what price it’s going for.
Phone number to appear for call in.
We hope Charles Brilvitch can appear on “Bridgeport Now” tonite.
WHEREVER there’s a platitude ready to be slammed into a phrase used by all, you’ll find an OIB blogger–today’s entry comes from Chris Russo who says:
“At some point you have to start making your own history and stop clinging to the past.”
(paraphrasing) Your wasted space may be another person’s treasure.
I wish for everyone the true spirit of the Holidays.
Peace on Earth, Good will towards all.
(you can rip each other to shreds again in January)
Merry Christmas Cougar …
You seem to think that you are the savior of Bridgeport. No one has an opinion worthy. Who gave you that opinion; Finch, Paul or Mario?
*** As for the O’Rourke House, there’re enough blighted properties in Bpt., time to move into the 21st century. If anything good is learned from this nationwide economic recession, it’s not only doing more with less in general, but also being much more prudent & careful concerning the #5 W’s of smart business! Hopefully Bpt. city government too will learn from its mistakes in the past, so it can recover quickly & move forward into a positive future. Government in general must realize that the road to real recovery starts @ the local level, districts, cities, counties, etc. not the other way around! Quick “$” remedy shortcuts like the Monroe, Trumbull, Bpt. sewage overload deal is exactly what will keep Bpt. in a revolving door to nowhere! The change Obama spoke of during his campaign is needed in more ways than one to keep this country moving towards the light of the future & out of the darkness of the past! ***
Regarding the O’Rourke House. It is blight. It needs to be torn down. I don’t care if Sam Tedesco grew up there. Revering the property is an embarrassment and typical of “Only in Bridgeport”. Develop the property into something useful that will generate tax revenue. By the Way … who is the putz that insists that the property be preserved?
Quote scripture all you want. You are still an immature idiot sucking on the teat of the city; worthy of nothing. Remember this very clearly … I don’t care what you think.