Bridgeport, an ‘Overlooked Dream City’

Seaside Park
Aerial of Seaside Park.

Bridgeport is the Park City. It’s also been called the Circus City thanks to P.T. Barnum. What, you thought it was called Circus City because of its politics? Well, add “Overlooked Dream City” to the list. The financial consumer website GoodCall recently ranked Bridgeport number 62 out of 461 U.S. cities with populations under 300,000, factoring cost of living, crime rate, walkability, dining, entertainment and recreation amenities.

Beardsley Zoo rain forest
Rain Forest Building at zoo.

Bridgeport features a bunch of cool parks, Seaside, Beardsley (and state’s only zoo too), Ellsworth, Saints, The Wheel, among them.

See full list of “Overlooked Dream Cities” here. Stamford placed 40 on the list. Norwalk, Hartford, Danbury trailed Bridgeport. Top 10 cities nationally here.



GoodCall analysts reviewed data from 461 cities in the U.S. Cities were ranked based on five metrics:

– Cost of Living: Data from Sperling’s cost of living index accounted for 30% of the total score. The number represents an area’s cost of living as a percentage of the national average.

– Crime rate: The number of violent and property crimes per 1,000 residents, from the FBI 2015 city data. Those without city-level data were excluded. Crime rate made up 30% of the final score.

– Walk Score: Data from in 2017 for cities. The score indicates how easy it is to complete typical errands without a car. This accounted for 30% of the score.

– Dining Amenities: The number of food and drinking places per 1,000 residents from the 2012 Geographic Area Series for economic places from the U.S. Census Bureau. This accounted for 5%.

– Entertainment and Recreation Amenities: The number of arts, entertainment and recreation venues per 1,000 residents from the 2012 Geographic Area Series for economic places from the U.S. Census Bureau. That rate made up 5% of the total score.



  1. Overlooked Dream City, really what bullshit. This is a city where your police officers average $100K a year in salary and OT and at supper time you receive a call from a group representing police officers asking for money. What greed. Don’t care where the money’s going, it’s still bullshit.
    It’s a dream city when we have 18-year-olds in the 8th grade and lower with electronic monitors strapped to their ankles courtesy of the court system.
    It’s a city where a good portion of its residents have nothing and have given up hope of getting anywhere.
    It’s a city that pays Ganim’s friends who were around when he was arrested and sentenced. They are Supt Perez, the ex police chief and ex FBI agent. It’s a city where the mayor’s pals all make $100k and they don’t know squat.
    It’s the city that gives a test for Fire Chief and the questions are e-mailed to candidates.

      1. You know Lennie, these are things our politicians should be talking about. Not be holding seminars on the legalization of pot. What bullshit.
        Here is a major problem brought to the front of any discussion and that’s the multiple rape of a 14-year-old girl in her school by two illegal aliens who were students there. One teacher there said there are 19 different languages at the school.
        How many undocumented students do we have enrolled? How many students do we have who do not speak English? Why isn’t there a cutoff date for when they can enroll in school? You can quit school at 16 so why take someone who is 17 and put him in grade school?
        Let’s have a separate school where nothing but English is taught. When the kid is literate in English he goes back to his original school but now he knows what the teacher is saying. Everyone is for a sanctuary city until a loved one is raped or beaten. Our BOE won’t do squat, they’re too busy saying who is in charge.

  2. When did the city have applications out for detention officer? I see there is a test on Wed but never saw the application!!! Does anybody know about this?

    1. donj, donj, c’mon man, you want an application for detention officer test? You were the biggest Trump supporter on OIB and I’m sure you convinced a lot of voters to vote for Trump. Seeing as you are a young black man and a Republican you are just the type of person the Trump team is looking for. donj, the federal government has a lot of openings in security and I’m sure the Trump team can assist you in getting a position. Let us know how you make out after you get hired.

        1. donj, why should I be mad at you for supporting Donald Trump? You as a young black man who voted and strongly supported Trump I would like to see get a position with the Trump administration in their security division. donj, I’ve been suggesting this to you for a long time.

    1. Yeah, we blew it all right. Allowing ourselves to be scammed by that huckster Ken Hayes to the tune of $500,000-plus. The Vibes was a parasite on our fair city with little benefit to us.

      1. Remember Andy, about the furor when City Council members were provided passes (with guest, perhaps) to attend all the events? And the answer from Tom McCarthy on down was this allowed them to perform oversight, to see what the event was doing for the City, and be on-site “watchdogs,” if you will?

        Well the net total when all was said and done was the City Council members and the Finch administration may have enjoyed the annual event, but they did a sub-par job in the finance area inasmuch as the story stands that the promoter departed his multi-year project owing money to the City. And that means Bridgeport taxpayers, many of whom never attended the Vibes as ticket holders, nevertheless became financial backers!!! While our elected representatives got at least one “free pass” if not more. What is the “watchdog” rating for City Council persons? How can that change? Tonight is another Budget and Appropriations Committee meeting at 6:00pm in Wheeler Room(s). Time will tell.

  3. The Vibes put Bridgeport on the map. One of the premiere music festivals in the country would still be here if so many of our leaders weren’t small-minded.

    1. Bob, I do respect you, but you need to explain to me how “being on the map” benefited Bridgeport. It was a self-contained venue with little financial overflow to the surrounding community.

  4. Personally, I love our city, it was a wonderful city. Over the past 30 years or so, industry moved out, taxes skyrocketed, we elected mayors, council people, who put themselves first instead of the city. Put that all together, and those are the reasons we are where we are today. Can our once-great city make a comeback? Not sure at this point, but to have any shot, we need fresh new faces in city hall, starting this Nov with a completely new council, then go from there.

  5. Flubadub, when Tom Bucci got into office he canceled the Mayor’s Ball Paoletta started. Paoletta commented: “there are some things you do for the soul of a city. A family doesn’t cancel a birthday party for hard financial times.”
    This festival improved the City’s image, brought the region back to Bridgeport where they spent money, brought tremendous culture to the city and region, promoted fellowship and good will, gave to local charities, installed water parks, got a lot of young people interested in music, promoted cultural diversity, and made our young people proud of their city. It was also a chance for many of us to appreciate Seaside Park as most Bridgeporters don’t have the time to. It promoted friendship, peace in the world and good Vibes.

    The police made it a costly boondoggle and inflated the nitrous oxide singular incident as an excuse with the help of the Post.

    1. The Vibes was net-net a positive, now there is nothing, and the city still isn’t “getting paid.” Bob emphasized the “soul” factor, and with all your advocacy, over how many years Andrew, only the wrong people have been paid. To say the artistic community downtown didn’t benefit from the Vibes would be ignorant. All the Vendors and social activists at the Vibes have also lost a voice, but I guess that can’t fit on a ledger.

  6. The Vibes grossed well over a million dollars in ticket sales alone and they gave Bridgeport a measly $20,000 a year.
    Another thing that Bridgeport is famous for is PT Barnum who said “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Its time Bridgeport gives some of its time to other cities.

  7. Someone should really do a real cost-benefit analysis instead of listening to the Connecticut Post front-page spin or the drive-by sound bites on this blog–that’s for the tangibles. The intangibles were astronomical but small-minded people don’t see those.
    Speaking of other cities, how does New Haven get close to a million from the State (someone correct me if I’m wrong) every year for its Arts and Ideas Festival?
    This was Bridgeport’s version of that Festival. New Haven is a cool place. Its politicians and administration should give us a clinic.
    I wish there could be a professional cost-benefit analysis on the Vibes to measure its economic impact instead of what the Post spins on the front page or what the soundbites say on this blog. Maybe even a local economic department of a university student thesis.
    I know the intangibles were astronomical.

    1. Bob, you want a tangible? Go ask Pop’s on South Main St., Famous Apizza, the small grocer across from Famous on Park Ave or any number of small businesses in the Vibes vicinity and ask them how much business The Vibes generated for them. I doubt anything significant.

      1. Sure, that’s what I would like to see, an objective analysis. Also talk to the local hotels, gas stations, all the locals who were employed by the Vibes, and restaurants in the extended area.

        The quality of life of arts and culture to make Bridgeport a magnet for young creative people who put money into the local economy by paying rent and spending money. This all makes sense to me.

    2. Bob,
      I attempt to have a large scope on the subjects I cover though I may be too select for readers in some cases. However I understand tangibles and intangibles well as a life insurance salesperson for over 50 years. When a person looks at their earnings, and how those earnings are spent, month in and month out, they begin to understand their role as a money-making-machine for others and when they feel the responsibility or love they wish to assure the continuity of dollars, for a time when they will not be earning those dollars. That thought process is intangible and what gets mature people who care to act and pay premiums to secure future opportunities for others with insurance dollars.

      When I deliver a benefit check, years later, that check with the funds payable it represents is a tangible result, but the insured had to buy into the intangible connection years before and decide that it was an adult and stand-up action.

      So we can look at the people of Bridgeport from the past, whose stories are known as well as those we will learn, and feel pride in this intangible aura, but intangibles like a DTC machine, a “second chance” Mayor who will not verify his trust, nor signify his priorities, and cannot handle public inquiry even with paid staff, well these kinds of things bring your astronomy back to earth quickly. Don’t we require more geological digging into where we are than emotional space shots? Time will tell.

  8. This is the second article I’ve seen by a national publication that rates Bridgeport highly and cites the Vibes as a showpiece. A showpiece no more!
    Such publicity benefits Bridgeport greatly and counters a share of bad publicity we usually get.
    The Vibes made me and just about every Bridgeport friend and relative I have proud to live here. A shame it’s gone.


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