Nearby Stamford, CT, is one of those places that Greenwich has a love-hate relationship with. Why? First of all, it’s a city and people from Greenwich don’t like cities very much, except for maybe New York. So strong is their aversion that even though the number of inhabitants could officially constitute considering Greenwich itself to be a city, the locals refuse to accept that denomination.
But I must admit there is a solid argument in favor of the city theory. There are 61,000 residents in Greenwich. Some people set the town/city barrier at 50,000, so there is something to be said for that. I can also attest to the fact that, in Spain, for example, places like Segovia have fewer inhabitants and yet have a distinct urban feel to them. One city, Teruel, has only about 35,000 people living in it and yet a walk through its center makes no doubt that you are in provincial capital.
But Spain is different. People tend to clump together there and their cities tend to abruptly end. Towns aren’t spread out the way they are here. Greenwich has very large territorial dimensions, allowing for thousands of its residents to literally fade away in the forested back country. Even the center doesn’t feel city-ish.
Regardless, the official name of this community is “The Town of Greenwich”, and its residents would not have it any other way.
All the same, Greenwich still relies on Stamford because it provides it with just the right dose of urban advantages to suit it needs. One of the most notable bonuses is the Stamford Town Center, more commonly known as the mall. Built back in the early 1980s, the mall was one of the first attempts to turn Stamford from a sleepy Fairfield County bedroom community into a city which could attract international corporations. The mall was an addition to the Landmarks Square project featuring a towering 21-story building in the heart of the downtown, which had suffered economic woes in the 1960s and 1970s. The plan represented an effort to renew life there. The change has been slow in coming but it has come. The mall is still there, and judging from my visit, still has a bright future. Grant it, it was December 23, but I have to admit that life was bustling.
The Stamford mall served as the backdrop for the Woody Allen and Bette Midler film Scenes from a Mall. It also served as the prime location for Brian, Tucker, Stephan and David to set off a firecracker back in the 1980s. We were on the top floor and had chosen that place strategically because it would allow us quick and easy access to our cars and a rapid exit from the parking lot.
We lit it, let it drop down the gap in the center towards the center pavilion at the bottom and bolted out the door while we listened for the ensuing explosion. It came. Firecrackers make a helluvah lot of noise inside shopping malls.
On Friday I just limited myself to buying a few gift cards, some last-minute Santa purchases and then flee before the place got too crowded. Mission complete.