What The Hell Does Matt Bai Know About Bridgeport?

Matt Bai, why don’t you stick your head up your ass!

The know-it-all scribe for The New York Times, who thinks he’s smart and everyone else is stupid, former student of Bridgeport Regional Business Council President Paul Timpanelli, wrote this in an exhaustive Sunday Times Mag piece about Connecticut politics:

Paul Timpanelli, who runs Bridgeport’s business council — and who, as a young Democratic politician back in the 1980s, gave me my first summer internship — is just old enough to remember the tail end of that era, and over lunch at one of Bridgeport’s few really good downtown restaurants, he marveled at how party politics had changed. Specifically, Timpanelli was talking about how state Democrats failed to rally behind Dodd earlier this year — how they seemingly did not know how to offer an endangered incumbent, a man who served for 30 years in the Senate and became a giant of state politics, any incentive to seek re-election.

Matt, what the hell do you know about downtown restaurants? Have you tried them all? Joseph’s? Ralph ‘n’ Rich’s? Café Roma? Épernay? Tiago’s? Two Boots? All downtown. Care to write a review on each one? Or perhaps Matt meant to write new instead of few?

Matt, here’s a list of city restaurants in case you want to offer a second opinion:


Poll Update

Sorry for the delay in releasing mayoral poll results. The sampling was split into two phases to test a variety of issues and subjects. The second phase is currently in the field. I cannot release any information until I’ve had a chance to review data with folks we’ve commissioned to do the poll. I hope to have a weekend session to review the data, with an update next week.



    1. Jenn we need to add to Jon K’s link of 12 that he now has on his list. McLevy green has the classic car show tomorrow. Hundreds of cars and bikes. If you have the list I will get the addresses and phone numbers so Jon has s complete list. I hope to be there most of the day registering Downtown folks to vote.

  1. People who don’t live in Bpt wouldn’t know what’s good. We are known for our dirty politics and our crime. The armpit of CT as the late great Mr. Newman said. Matt Bai should have done more research on our eating establishments before writing about them, but it’s very telling what his impressions are of our corrupt and blown-out city.

    There is no marketing other than 1 lousy badly timed commercial, or love being thrown our way by our powers that be, at least Fabrizi pushed this place and truly loved it. Finch could not care less for BPT, it’s a paycheck to him. To Ganim it was a sponge waiting to be sucked on his way to Hartford. Caruso, who knows as he has never even owned property and sleeps here on his way to Hartford. Gomes at least owns a business and properties here, and has a lot of Fabrizi in him as he loves the city and would promote it I assume.

    Embarrassing that Mr. Bai has this impression especially since his father was a well respected attorney in our city for many years.

    1. Why do I feel like I’m sometimes talking to myself?

      “over lunch at one of Bridgeport’s few really good downtown restaurants,”

      Is Quizno’s included in this list? Nothing wrong with the above statement as it is a fact. The only question is did it need to be in the article. If anything it could serve as an indictment against his former boss.

      Mr. Bai has written about Bridgeport before. In the mid-’90s he did a portrayal of Joe Ganim as one of the top 50 up-and-coming mayors in the country. He also wrote a positive story about the Bluefish in 1998. Both of these articles were in Newsweek Magazine.

      He also did a book signing at Rainy Faye’s for his critically acclaimed book, “The Argument.”

      1. Yeah Up, Bai loves Bridgeport when he wants to sell books! What was the point of puking on city restaurants in the context of the political subject matter? It had no purpose other than to create a false impression. And tens of thousands of folks will read downtown has few good restaurants when the reality is there are many good choices. Bai Bai!

        1. “many good choices” versus “few REALLY good restaurants”

          Maybe Warren-All-U-Can-Eat-Buffet would like to dine in on this subject?

          BTW–When is your new book coming out?

          1. I heard Warren was in a demo-derby over at the Remington property. He is stealing the steel market over at the site and cashing in on the commodity.

            He’s going to Buy Won On!

        2. I guess you missed this part. “The only question is did it need to be in the article. If anything it could serve as an indictment against his former boss.”

          “many good choices” versus “few REALLY good restaurants”

          Maybe Warren-All-U-Can-Eat-Buffet would like to dine in on this subject?

          BTW–When is your new book coming out?

  2. *** Back in the 80’s there where very little good restaurants downtown & now theres restaurants but still not enough people in the area @ nite enjoying them. With a better economy & better nite-life & entertainment, along with more police presense hopefully things may change. ***

  3. Lennie, I appreciate your ever-mindful defense of Bridgeport’s fine eating establishments, but can we take a minute to look at what Timpanelli said about Dodd? He is wondering why the Dems didn’t back a 30-year incumbant–a “giant” of state politics. Paul, the collapse of the banking/Real Estate industry can be laid at Dodd’s feet. The guy was a blowhard and a liar who, for 30 years, looked out for himself (and Ted K) 1st, and the state 2nd. Thank God the Dems finally got one right.

  4. Dodd, the GIANT of state politics moved his residence to a midwestern state during the last Presidential primary run-up, didn’t he? Maybe BAI was talking about a GIANT of that other state?

    He certainly lost his way as Senate Banking leader in the last decade as to what made sense for the financial services industry that would move our economy forward and have the average person feel financially more whole.
    Instead: Goodbye Glass-Steagall!!! Hello, Fanny and Freddy, you can do no wrong!!! Let everybody use Federal guarantees who is too big to fail!!! Let’s not disclose (even if I understand how it’s done, and that is in question) how we are accomplishing bailouts and getting the country back on course!!! And funding the promises of Social Security, Medicare, and now Obamacare, I shall happily leave to others while I enjoy my Federal pension, health benefits, etc. The incumbent’s swan song: Let them eat cake!!! Wait for his biography: Ted And ME!!!

  5. A senator from Connecticut, and the congressman from the state’s Fourth Congressional District, is almost an elected representative from Wall Street.

    How you balance that out with your other duties is the trick.

    Chris Dodd was a very good campaigner and not a bad a senator. He was certainly sucked into the money of Wall Street and the power that gave him in Washington.

    Like a lot of other guys in Washington he had an obsessive pull toward the presidency. He forgot where he came from. The state did not to give him the status of a chosen one to lead the nation. They wanted a senator representing the state.

    If he had learned from Lowell Weicker’s experience when voters tossed him out for Joe Lieberman and stayed closer to home, Dodd might have survived the financial meltdown. He didn’t stay close to his voters. He deserved to go.

    It’s pretty arrogant when people assume they have a right to be elected. The only right they have is to serve as the elected official for their term, no matter how “good” a job they do.

    1. Jim Callahan // Sep 24, 2010 at 10:58 am

      A critical point … it’s the height of arrogance, and additionally it shows the proliferation of unhealthy egos that abound at all campaign levels. But none more so than both the current Connecticut Republican US Senate candidate and the current Republican candidate for Governor of Connecticut.

      And much of this is because the measure of money has become an unhealthy factor in the pursuit of elective office. A determination by these two candidates (or should I say self-determination) to go through millions of dollars at their easy disposal is a shameful excess in and of itself, but it remains a telling measure of their insensitivity to think it’s okay with them in this economic environment.

      I believe you’ll still agree with me that not everyone is going to be a “machine-made” candidate or a “money-made” candidate.

      It’s still worth my effort to find this kind of candidate in the State of Connecticut and in the City of Bridgeport, and work for their election.

      That hope fuels my energy each day, Jim.

  6. Hank, what did Timpanelli say about Dodd? Some wonder who Dodd works for, for the people of CT or the banks. After the Federal Reserve failed in its oversight and we had the financial collapse, Dodd ended up providing the Federal Reserve with greater powers. How does that happen? You fail at what you do and are rewarded and now banks are too big to fail so always have guarantee backed by taxpayers. Good thing we don’t have politicians failing at what they do in Bridgeport, right? BTW, we will be doing a feature story soon on economic development in the city.

    I do agree there are a lot of good places to eat downtown, but how safe is your car when you park? Why not get surveillance cameras in parking lot like they have at Ash Creek Saloon which is a city parking lot? Why not place safety cams at the parking lot behind Ralph & Rich’s. Out-of-town folks will feel safer.

  7. Bridgeport Now. You wrote concerning the safety factor for parking your car downtown. Dr. Jennifer Lynne spearheaded a huge security coordination meeting with Mayor Finch earlier in the year. Representatives of all the private security companies that work for Trefz Properties, Spinnacker, GDC/urban green, Forstone, metro north, People’s bank, GBTA, Bridgeport police dept and state police met, came up with common frequencies to communicate, exchanged cell phone numbers and have had several meetings since. Between the private and public security forces there isn’t a safer place in the region than Downtown Bridgeport. So come on down! Often! Bring friends! Reintroduce them to the new hot spots.

  8. On the topic still of Dodd, he also helped oppose an audit of the Federal Reserve, which is especially necessary given the FED has set up many weird accounts on behalf of Wall Street dealers, such as Maiden Lane #1 and #2 which hold bad trades from mostly Goldman and also other dealers. Goldman can still likely send bad trades there and there is no audit, and we taxpayers foot the bill. Nice, right? Where are the Republicans in all of this, why are they not asking for more transparency? Why are they not doing so locally also, I mean I hear a call for Vibes ethics but not the major stuff. Maybe they don’t have the courage.

    However, the Bridgeport budget deserves a citizens audit, an open one. In California they just found a city was wasting $50 million.

    I just can’t figure out, with all the pushing for unions to give back and firing 15 workers, and pressing the BOE … why do officials not have the courage to do an open audit of all positions and expenditures and make this available on the internet? Much money could be saved maybe even without more layoffs. There could be waste we don’t know about.

    On that topic, the following site was set up on the state level “so that the citizens of Connecticut can look at every line item of state government spending and discover how OUR tax dollars are being spent by the people in Hartford.”

    www .ctsunlight.org

    1. Bridgeport Now // Sep 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm
      Responding to your post

      The answer to your question as to why no audit is contained in just eleven letters only …

      If you don’t know about Tom, you should ask all of the OIB posters what they know, and then just sit down and read about the harm he has caused in this City … to the City budget and to City personnel.

  9. “… few really good downtown restaurants …”

    That sounds true to many. If Lennie thinks Two Boots is better than Famous Pizza, so what? Where in downtown can I get Bistec con Cebolla y Platanos with a side order of Mofongo? That’s “really good!”


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