Jun 5, 2011

Tornado update

I realize this post is a few days late in coming, but the tornado and other severe weather that hit Springfield and much of Western Massachusetts on June 1 was disconcerting. I had gotten out of work at 1:30, went for an hour-long run in the 90-degree heat, and when I got back, heard of the tornado warnings. As we get them somewhat frequently this time of year in this region, I brushed it off. I luckily was safe in my apartment when the weather hit.

Where I live now was untouched by the storm. My lovely downtown Springfield, however, was not. The following pictures were taken on Friday, two days after the storm.

Court Square:

A demolished building on Main Street:

Downtown, near the Dakin Animal Rescue:

A building on Main Street that had to be demolished:

As far as I can tell, most of Liberty Heights was missed by the storm's fury. There were some tree limbs blown down by strong winds, and debris spread about down by Chestnut, but the old neighborhood missed the worst of it. Other parts of the city weren't nearly as fortunate.

So, if anyone still reads this, please -- consider giving to the Red Cross or finding another way to help Springfield and our surrounding communities. As Justin Marsh wrote on the Huffington Post website,

"Springfiel­d, Massachuse­tts is a GREAT CITY. My condolence­s to those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.

In the past two days, I've learned a lot about Springfiel­d... The city has been on an upswing for the better part of a decade -- and it's diverse, with a sizable, increasing­ly mobile Latino and community, and a growing LGBT community.

The American gasoline-p­owered car was invented there, as was the motorcycle and modern fire engine; the first-ever commercial radio station and the first UHF television station were invented and broadcast from Springfiel­d -- and, of course, basketball was invented there!!!

Shay's Rebellion took place there, which led directly to the US Constituti­on. The Springfiel­d Armory, founded by George Washington in 1777 - and its brilliant engineers - helped the U.S. win war after war until it was stupidly shut-down for "costs" during the Vietnam War.

What I'm getting at is: SPRINGFIEL­D is an IMPORTANT CITY, renowned for beautiful architectu­re, ("The City of Homes."). Right now, a lot of those "homes" are in ruins.

Let's rebuild this one right. It deserves it, in my opinion."

Mar 4, 2011

Seriously. I'm going to finish this project.

In the meantime, an update on organized walking in Springfield:
"The 6th year of Second Saturday Walking Tours will begin again in April. We're finalizing a few of the details, but the list as it stands is below.

"In the meantime, you might want to take a virtual walking tour with architect (and regular tour-giver) Stephen Jablonski, who was recently featured on WGBY talking about some of the architectural details you might never have noticed on Springfield buildings: Video here (about 4 minutes long).

"Here is our 2011 line-up so far:
• April -- Luann Hood: African American Heritage Trail and PAHMUSA
• May -- Keith Korbut: Automotive History of Springfield
• June -- Burt Freedman: Trees of the City
• July -- Ben Murphy: 'City Beautiful' Movement
• August -- TBD
• September -- Fran Gagnon: Eliot Street, Past & Present, History of St. Michael's Parish
• October -- Bill Devlin: Topic TBA
• November -- TBD"

Apr 19, 2010


So hey. I no longer live in Springfield due to some housing issues (mostly, a new landlord wanting to jack our rent). I now live in Wilbraham. I still aim to finish my Liberty Heights mission though. I'm going to drive over soon (with the small dog) and trot along those last 13 streets. I need to, dammit!

I'll bring the camera. I will finish my mission!

Sep 14, 2009

The East Springfield I knew before moving to Massachusetts.

Jun 28, 2009

Back on the horse...or our feet, as the case may be

Western Massachusetts has been a lot like London in the winter this month -- rainy and gray and depressing. Yesterday's relative sunshine got me very interested in walking today, so that's what the small dog and I did.

We cut through Van Horn Park and started working our way down. We traveled down Mooreland to Carew, then turned right onto Parkside. We took that to its end, turned around and then started down Lexington. Lexington is another one of those weird streets that splits for no reason whatsoever, so we turned onto Mayfair, then Chapin, then Lancashire, which put us back on Lexington. That led us all the way down to Chestnut.

We turned off Chestnut onto Montmorenci, where we came across the popular Mima & Andpas convenience store. I didn't take a picture of it because there were a billion people hanging out outside. I don't like taking pictures of people. They might get mad at me.

We went back down to Chestnut and turned up Chapin, coming across Childrens' House Day Care and Preschool, which specializes in infants through kindergarteners, and the Springfield Ronald McDonald House.

We turned off Chapin to go down Medical Center Drive. That took us right through the Baystate Medical Center.

The future husband and I have been to Baystate twice -- once for me and once for him. Both times the wait in the emergency room has been horrific (three or more hours) and they forgot about me after they gave me some morphine to knock me out, but other than that, decent care.

We turned off of Medical Center Drive onto Springfield Street, turning off that onto Caseland. We turned off that onto Shefford, checking that out to finish it up, and then taking Caseland up to Armory. Then it was back through the park on the way home.

211 down, 13 to go

Jun 8, 2009

Freedom from Liberty

We have finally finished Liberty Street! Huzzah!

I had the morning off today, so I decided a small dog I know and I should take a walk to finally finish a certain long street. We headed down Carew to where it meets Liberty and turned right. We quickly came upon Sullivan Keating Moran Insurance.

Next to that was the Peking House. An anonymous reviewer on Insider Pages gave the place three stars, writing, "This place has the hugest live lobsters for sale. Food was alright. Prices were reasonable. The place itself needs a little cleaning. The crab ragoons are delicious."

Near the Liberty Street entrance to Van Horn Park is La Iglesia Hermanos Unidos en Cristo (the Church of Brothers United in Christ) and the National Federation of the Blind of Greater Springfield.

We wandered on down past quite a few houses before crossing over Newbury, coming upon Downey Side.

Downey Side's philosophy is rooted in the conviction that every child deserves the right to a permanent and loving family. It is our purpose to work in partnership with the government as a licensed adoption agency to place America's waiting children, who otherwise would remain homeless. We are dedicated to family life for all children and strongly believe that a healthy permanent relationship is the best prevention against homelessness, according to the Web site. Downey Side began in Springfield, Mass., in 1967 when Fr. Paul Engel placed a 17-year-old boy in the home of Margaret Downey. The Springfield Office is proud to be the first Downey Side office and where it all began.

I'm intrigued by the idea of adopting older children, and I've always wanted to adopt. I'm not sure of the hubby's feelings on older child adoption, but we have plenty of time to talk about that. I doubt they'd let a pair of 24-year-olds adopt anyone.

We loped on down Liberty for a while before we came across Academy Hill School. (In the photo, it shows that the school is on Carolyn Price Way, but I'm not counting that as a street, as the Web site states the school's address is on Liberty.) Academy Hill serves bright, gifted and curious students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Next up was ABC40's news studios.

Further up, across from the Liberty Street entrance to the Springfield Plaza, sits an AutoZone, Pizza Wings & Things Ristorante and a Rent-a-Center.

There's also a Westfield Bank next to the Rent-a-Center.

We cut through the plaza to get to St. James to head back home.

204 down, 20 to go

Jun 7, 2009

Atwater Park

Today, the small dog and I journeyed into the land of big, beautiful houses and lush, green lawns -- we went into the Atwater Park sub-neighborhood of Liberty Heights.

We had taken Newbury down to Farnsworth and then started making our way down Springfield Street. We turned onto Atwater Road, checking out Weaver on our way down. We did a quick up and back on Bedford before doing Green Lane and Atwater Place. It was a little noisy down on that end -- Atwater Place is right next to I-91. We turned onto Atwater Terrace, scoping out Candice Circle, as we made our way back to Springfield Street. We took that down to where it meets Chestnut, then turned around to start making our way back up the hill.

On Springfield Street, across from Baystate Medical Center, is Naomi's Inn.

Both Yahoo reviewers gave the place five stars. It's touted as a place to get away and relax, even if you live in the same city. With a ranking like that, it could be a fun place to go next Valentine's Day.

We meandered around Derby Dingle (love it!) and then around half of Shefford before checking out Crestwood. We took Armory back up to Springfield Street, at the corners of which sits the Grace Church of Christ.

This is the stop sign next to the church:

I think it spreads a good message. Especially considering it's kitty-corner from St. Matthew's Cemetery.

On our way back, we swung through Van Horn and the small dog had his first encounter with a turtle. I thought it was hilarious.

203 down, 21 to go

May 31, 2009

Precious metals, precious streets?

The small dog and I went on our first big walk in a while today, conquering a lot of terrain. We headed down Carew to Armory, and then turned right off of Armory on to Governor. We then turned left on to Penacook and then left again on to Wait, took that down to Armory and then turned right on to Miller. My co-worker Liz's mom grew up on Miller Street and wrote a lovely piece about her experiences there for the Write On, Springfield! collection. I'm going to (hopefully) meet with Jane soon to talk with her about her youth, growing up next to Van Horn Park.

We strolled through the park before continuing on our journey, heading up Armory toward Beauchamp. We took that up to Hamburg, then turned onto Bevier. We took that down to Armory and then turned right onto Sterling. We checked out Nevada before heading down Gold, back onto Armory, and then up Silver.

We turned left onto Hamburg and found a couple small businesses in that weird little rotary area.

On Hamburg:

A learning center, a salon (surprise!) and a place to get some lovely eyewear.

On the rotary is Russ's Breakfast and Lunch, Foggy Dew Ink Tattoo and the City Line Cafe.

It was hard to find any information on any of these places, but a reviewer for Insider Pages said this of the City Line Cafe: "The City Line is a tradition Irish pub that has been around for 30+ years. The place is dark inside and like the show Cheers "every knows your name" -- or don't bother coming in. They don't serve food but the Guinness is cold!" Yahoo review Liz said, "Fun: Great Irish Pub to hang out in. Favorite spot for local Hungry Hill residents. Great prices!! Check it out."

We took Rimmon up to Newbury and then followed Carew back home (in the rain...it was lovely).

193 down, 30 to go

May 28, 2009

The Outer Limits: Hockey time!

Falcons set to host ball hockey game this Saturday

SPRINGFIELD -- The Springfield Falcons, proud members of the American Hockey League, announced today they will host their first ever Ball Hockey Challenge this Saturday, May 30, from 11 a.m. to noon, when they take on the Media All-Star Team at the outdoor rink at Amelia Park in Westfield. The Falcons team will consist of members of the front office staff, as well as assistant coach Gerry Fleming. The Media All-Star squad will be comprised of members of the local media including personalities from ABC 40 (Neille Giffune), WWLP TV 22 (Ryan Walsh), CBS 3 (Amy Lynn Stanley), Mix 93.1 (Bob Martin & Kevin Johnson), KIX 97.9 (Shaggy), Reminder Publications (Katelyn Gendron and Courtney Llewellyn), Turley Publications (David Forbes), and The Springfield Republican (Fran Sypek).

"We are really excited about this event because it's something unique that we have put together to have some fun this off-season," said Falcons president and general manager Bruce Landon. "We have built up so many strong relationships with our local media throughout the Pioneer Valley and this gives us a chance to say thank you to individuals who support us on a regular basis."

The Ball Hockey Challenge will be open free to the public with the team passing the hat during the game to help raise money for Falcons Charities. The Falcons will also be hosting their merchandise/equipment sale at the MassMutual Center on Friday, May 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and also on Saturday, May 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please call the Falcons Office at 413-739-3344.

Come on out and cheer me on!

May 16, 2009

Update on streets, May 16

The small dog and I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel:

Armory Street
Atwater Place
Atwater Road
Atwater Terrace
Bartlett Street
Beauchamp Street
Bedford Road
Bevier Street
Candice Circle
Carew Street
Caseland Street
Chestnut Street
Copley Terrace
Crestwood Street
Croyden Street
Cunningham Street
Derby Dingle Street
Gold Street
Governor Street
Green Lane
Hamburg Street
Harlan Street
Lexington Street
Liberty Street
Massasoit Place
Massasoit Street
Medical Center Drive
Miller Street
Montmorenci Street
Mooreland Street
Narragansett Street
Nevada Street
Parkside Street
Prospect Street
Prospect Terrace
Rimmon Avenue
Shefford Street
Silver Street
Springfield Street
Sterling Street
Thames Street
Wait Street
Weaver Road

42 to go!