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Stamford, Connecticut

Stamford, Connecticut

Stamford is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 124,261, making it the fourth largest city in the state. Stamford is part of the New York metropolitan area. Due to its proximity to New York City and the number of its residents that work there, certain demographic experts have suggested that statistics collected related to the city should be conflated with that of New York, instead of taken in an isolated fashion.

Stamford was the ninth-safest city in the United States in 2006 and for the past six years has ranked in the top 11 safest cities with populations of 100,000 or more, according to the FBI. It is considerably more affluent than national average and strongly politically Democratic. In 2006, CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Stamford 46th on its list of the 100 Best Places to Live in the United States.

The city recently received nationwide publicity in several ways: It was the opening setting for the Civil War comics series and is becoming an increasingly frequent filming location after the state passed a tax-incentive program for the movie industry.

Stamford is a sister city of Sparti, Greece; Jiangdu, China; Settefrati, Italy; and Afula, Israel.

History

Stamford was known as Rippowam by the Native American inhabitants to the region, and the very first European settlers to the area also referred to it as such. The name was later changed to Stamford after a town in Lincolnshire, England. The deed to Stamford was signed on 1 July 1640 between Captain Turner of the New Haven Colony and Chief Ponus. By the Eighteenth century, one of the primary industries of the town was merchandising by water, which was possible due to Stamford's proximity to New York.

In 1692, Stamford was home to a less famous witch trial than the well-known Salem witch trial, which also occurred in 1692. The accusations were less fanatical and smaller-scale but also grew to prominence by gossip and hysterics.

Starting in the late 19th century, New York residents built summer homes on the shoreline, and even back then there were some who moved to Stamford permanently and started commuting to Manhattan by train, although the practice became more popular later. Stamford incorporated as a city in 1893.

A massive urban redevelopment campaign (starting in the 1960s and gaining steam in the 1970s) resulted in a downtown with many tall office buildings. The F.D. Rich Co. was the city-designated urban renewal developer of the downtown in an ongoing redevelopment project that was contentious, beginning in the 1960s and continuing through the 1970s. The company put up the city's tallest structure, Landmark Building, and the GTE building (now One Stamford Forum) along with the Marriott Hotel, the Stamford Town Center and many of the other downtown office buildings. The Landmark Building will soon be dwarfed by two new downtown projects by the Rich Company in partnership with Cappelli Enterprises by the imminent start of construction of the 34 story Trump Parc condominium project and the 400-foot 39 story Ritz Carlton Hotel and Residences development. Over the years, other developers have joined in building up the downtown, a process that continued, with breaks during downturns in the economy, through the 1980s, 1990s and into the new century.

Geography and Climate

Stamford is situated near the southwestern point of Connecticut. It is bordered on the north by Pound Ridge, NY, to the south by Long Island Sound, by Greenwich to the west, and both Darien and New Canaan to the east.

The average high temperature annually is . The average low temperature annually is . The highest recorded temperature was in 2001. The lowest recorded temperature was in 1982. The average warmest month is July. January is the average coolest month. The maximum average precipitation occurs in May. The average precipitation from November to March is . During the winter months, it is not uncommon for snowfall to occur in the northern part of the city where the elevation is higher, yet not occur in the downtown and coastal areas of the city, where the elevation is closer to or at sea level.

Neighborhoods

Unlike larger cities, Stamford has non-distinct neighborhoods. The city as a whole is racially diverse. The only neighborhood lacking in this diversity is North Stamford where incomes and home values are higher. The common neighborhoods throughout Stamford (with Zip codes that roughly cover the same areas) are as follow:

06901 - Downtown.
06902 - Cove, East Side, Hubbard Heights, Roxbury, Shippan, Shippan Point, South End, Waterside, West Side, and Westover.
06903 - Long Ridge and North Stamford.
06905 - Belltown, Newfield, Ridgeway, and Turn of River.
06906 - Glenbrook.
06907 - Springdale.

Demographics

The 2006 Census Population estimate for Stamford is 119,261. A 2005 Census survey estimated 49,911 housing units to be in existence. The average median age of 39.3 is slightly higher than the US average median age of 36.4. Stamford's population characteristics are as followed (Source: 2005 Census American Community Survey):

White - 62,372 (53.3%)
Black or African American - 18,019 (15.4%)
Asian - 5,856 (5.0%)
Some Other Race - 7,608 (6.5%)
Two or More Races - 3,593 (3.1%)
Hispanic - 19,635 (16.8%)

One out of three residents are foreign born. A language, other than English, is spoken at home by 40% of the population. The main ancestries of the population (Source: 2000 US Census Bureau) are: Italian (16.9%), Irish (10.5%), German (6.6%), Polish (5.6%), and Russian (3.1%). The top ten countries of origin for the foreign-born population (Source: 2000 US Census Bureau) are:

Haiti - 3,524
Guatemala - 3,067
India - 2,577
Jamaica - 2,289
Greece - 2,100
Colombia - 1,937
China - 1,495
Mexico - 1,414
Peru - 1,268

Stamford has one of the highest educated populations in the US. Nine out of ten are high school graduates. Those possessing a bachelor's degree or higher is estimated at 45.9% of the population.

The population density was 3,101.9 people per square mile (1,197.5/km²). There were 47,317 housing units at an average density of 1,253.6/sq mi (484.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 69.79% White., 15.39% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 5.00% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 6.50% from other races, and 3.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.77% of the population.

There were 45,399 households out of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.2% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.13.

The proportion of the population under the age of 18 was 22.1%, from 18 to 24 was 7.4%, from 25 to 44 was 35.0%, from 45 to 64 was 21.7%, and 65 years of age or older were 13.8%. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.

According to a 2006 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $71,030, and the median income for a family was $88,492. Males had a median income of $48,386 versus $36,958 for females. The per capita income for the city was $34,987. About 5.4% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.7% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.

Italians form the largest ethnic group in Stamford. Irish, Polish, Jewish, Puerto Rican, African-American, and Caribbean people also make up a significant portion of the population.

Stamford is tied with Iowa City, Iowa for the US metropolitan area with the highest percentage of the adult population holding a bachelor's degree or higher; 44 percent of adults hold a degree.

Politics

Located in a fairly liberal state, Stamford is mostly Democratic, home to about 21,500 active registered Democrats and 14,000 Republicans in October 2005. The partisan ration was 1.5 Democrats per Republican. 100 individuals were registered with minor parties, while roughly 20,000 did not have any party affiliation.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percentage Republican 13,916 5,342 19,258 25.61% Democratic 21,493 7,115 28,608 38.05% Unaffiliated 20,118 7,062 27,180 36.15% Minor Parties 100 40 140 0.19%
Total 55,627 19,559 75,186 100%

Transportation

Mass transit

Stamford is located on the main branch of the New Haven Line on the Metro-North Railroad, the commuter rail system for northern metropolitan New York City. Stamford is the third busiest station on the Metro North system and serves as a major transfer point for local trains. Stamford Station is also the terminus of a Metro-North branch that ends in New Canaan, about 15 miles (24 km) away, and a part time terminal of Shore Line East trains. Two smaller train stations in Stamford are Glenbrook and Springdale, both a part of the New Canaan branch. With a recent spike in development in the East Side neighborhood, the city is considering putting in a proposal to construct a new stop to service the East Main Street area close to the New Canaan branch overpass.

Commuter trains come into Stamford from all points between New London to the east and New York (Grand Central Terminal) to the south. Several express (non-stop) trains leave Stamford each morning and evening for Grand Central. The average non-stop commute is forty-five minutes. Stamford has seen a significant increase in ridership. Much of this increase is a result of reverse commuting, individuals commuting from New York City to Stamford for work. Trains operate from the Stamford station between 4:43 AM (first departure to Grand Central) until 12:25 AM (last departure to Grand Central). On the weekends the first departure for Grand Central occurs at 5:03 AM. Fares during rush hour (on peak) are higher than during non-rush hour (off peak). On peak fares are charged between 4:43 AM - 9:10 AM for trains originating to Grand Central. Trains in transit to Stamford are charged on peak fares from 5:35 AM - 8:37 AM and from 4:02 PM - 7:40 PM. On peak fares do not apply on weekends and/or holidays. Tickets can be bought on board, yet the surcharge can make the price steep.

Stamford also serves as a station along the Amtrak route. Acela, the high speed train service between Boston and Washington, makes several daily stops in Stamford. Amtrak's Regional (Springfield, MA to Washington, DC) and Vermonter (Saint Albans, VT to Washington, DC) also make daily stops in Stamford. Amtrak tickets can be purchased on the upper level of the Stamford station.

Late in 2007 the city contracted a private San Francisco company to conduct a 6 month feasibility study to look at the possibility of creating an inner-city light rail line. With the proposed Harbor Point development set to break ground in the South End neighborhood sometime in 2008, the idea is to create a line that would connect the new developments to points north, such as the transportation center, Landmark Square in downtown and other various points up to the Bulls Head area.

Airports

Stamford is within forty-five minutes of four major airports. The closest is Westchester County (White Plains) Airport (HPN) which borders the town of Greenwich (a 20 minute trip by car). The airport offers non-stop flights to eighteen cities, including the major hubs of Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Orlando, and Pittsburgh. While a mid-size airport, tickets at Westchester County Airport can be competitive and/or even less than the surrounding major airports due to low fare carriers Air Tran and Jet Blue. If you lack vehicle transportation, New York LaGuardia Airport is accessible via Metro North (disembark at 125th-Harlem station and take the M60 bus to Queens, a direct trip to the airport). John F. Kennedy International Airport is the closest airport for international flights. The fourth airport is Tweed-New Haven Airport, yet it only offers one flight to Philadelphia, a trip which can be taken more conveniently and cheaper via Amtrak from the Metro North station. Other airports in proximity are Newark Liberty International Airport (1 hr. 10 min.), Long Island MacArthur Airport (1.5 hrs.), Dutchess County (Poughkeepsie) Airport (1.5 hrs.), Stewart (Newburgh) International Airport (1.5 hrs.), and Bradley (Hartford) International Airport (1 hr. 45 min.).

Buses

City bus transportation is provided by CT Transit, which is run and financed by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The main terminal is adjacent to the train station on State Street, under the I-95 highway. Bus service runs along major arterial roads through the towns of Darien, Norwalk, Greenwich and Port Chester, New York. A non-stop direct route is also offered to White Plains, New York. Commuters can connect in Norwalk to points as far east as Milford and as far north as Danbury. Additional connections can be made in Port Chester and White Plains to all points covered by the Bee-Line bus system in Westchester County.

Greyhound provides same bus service from the lower level of the Stamford train station. Locals rarely utilize Greyhound due to the more convenient options available via Metro North and Amtrak. Same bus service is provided to New Haven (Union Station), Boston (South Station), and New York (Port Authority).

Highways

Interstate 95 serves as the main route through Stamford with four exits (6-9).

The Merritt Parkway runs through the northern part of Stamford. This road is designated for passenger vehicles only. The road extends from Meriden to the state line in Greenwich. After entering New York the Merritt Parkway changes to the Hutchinson Parkway and continues south to Queens, New York. Any congestion on the Merritt Parkway is mostly likely to occur on the southbound lane in the morning and the northbound in the evening (route to and from New York). At night, due to the absence of lighting visibility on the Merritt Parkway is relatively poor. Stamford exits on the Merritt Parkway are 33-35.

Route 1, also known as Main Street in Stamford, is also used as a major artery during the morning and evening commute. Most traffic via Route 1 is short distance or fairly local, yet vehicles have utilized Route 1 during times of heavy congestion on I-95 as a re-route.

Economy

Stamford's cluster of corporate headquarters includes a number of Fortune 500, Fortune 1000 and Courant 100 companies.

Among the larger companies with headquarters in Stamford are Thomson Corporation, World Wrestling Entertainment, Time Warner Cable and Pitney Bowes. UBS also has its North American headquarters here and its trading floor holds the Guinness World Record as the largest column-less trading floor in the world. Royal Bank of Scotland has announced plans for a new global Headquarters in the city by 2008.

In recent years, many large corporations have moved offices outside of the city due to the high rental cost, including Xerox, MeadWestvaco, International Paper, GE Capital, NBC and Clairol.

Crime

Stamford was the ninth-safest city in the United States in 2006 (among cities with populations of 100,000 or more), up from the 11th safest in 2005, according to the FBI. The 2006 ranking represented the sixth consecutive year the city ranked in the top 11. FBI crime statistics for the city showed crime went down 1.7 percent in 2006 because of a plunge in property crimes. But the rate of violent crime went up by a total of 29 percent in the two years 2005 and 2006 combined. The increase was due in part due to violent gang battles, often on the West Side.

The violent crime rate climbed five years in a row up through 2006, and the 2005 increase was also in the double digits. The city's 300-officer police force responded to 393 reports of violent crimes in 2006, up from 353 in 2005 and 305 in 2004. The total number of serious assaults dropped from 183 in 2005 to 172 in 2006, according to city records. Robberies rose from 150 to 197 in 2006. Serious assaults dropped 6 percent.

There were three homicides and 23 rapes in 2006, up from two homicides and 18 rapes in 2005. the city reported 2,697 total crimes. With populations close to that of Stamford, Bridgeport (ranked 25th) reported 8,496, Hartford (ranked 26th) reported 10,955 and Waterbury reported 6,447 (New Haven hasn't reported statistics to the F.B.I. in years.)

Stamford's Mayor, Dannel Malloy, is a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, an organization formed in 2006 and co-chaired by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino.

Education

Stamford has branches of the University of Connecticut, University of Bridgeport and Sacred Heart University. The University of Connecticut's campus is located in a large modern building in downtown that opened in 1998 after extensive renovations to an abandoned former Bloomingdales store that closed in 1990. The branches of the University of Bridgeport and Sacred Heart University are located in the River Bend Executive Center, Fairfield County's premier communication and information high tech park. All are commuter campuses.

As no study has been conducted to assess the cost of education in Stamford, it is difficult to tell whether or not Stamford has a well-funded public education system. Although providing a public education is a state responsibility, Connecticut ranks near the bottom in state share of public education expenditures. Thus, the majority of education funding must come from local governments like that of Stamford. According to the State Department of Education, in the 2004-05 academic year, 42.7% of Stamford's public school students were economically disadvantaged, 34.8% did not have English as a home language and 11.6% were students with disabilities. Research has shown that these populations need additional resources to meet state academic standards. Owing to the state school finance system, the burden of these extra necessary costs of education falls primarily on Stamford's local government. The public school system is an integrated district with racial balance requirements exceeding those of the state of Connecticut. State standards require that a school's racial makeup be within 25% of the community's racial makeup. Stamford's standard is a more strict 10%. Over the years, schools have become unbalanced.

Stamford has several public high schools, Westhill High School, Stamford High School, J. M. Wright Technical High School and the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering. The city also has several private schools, including King and Low-Heywood Thomas School and Trinity Catholic High School, and Bi-Cultural Jewish Day School as well as two state charter schools: Trailblazers Academy Charter Middle School and Stamford Academy Charter High School, both operated by human services nonprofit Domus (http://www.domuskids.org).

Libraries

Stamford's public library, the Ferguson Library, is one of the largest in Connecticut. The main library downtown is the second in the country to rent space to a Starbucks (since September 1999). The store has its own doors to the street and to the library, and is open earlier and later than the library. The library also shows movies and has a used-book store run by Friends of Ferguson Library.

The library has branches in South End, Springdale, and the Turn of River sections of the city, it also has a bookmobile that runs daily to different neighborhoods. The Turn of River branch, officially called the Harry Bennett Branch, is the largest library branch in the state. That branch also has a used book store run by Friends of Ferguson Library.

Attractions

Parks and recreation sites

  • Cummings Park, a public beach, was once a popular spot for shellfishing. The park, developed in 1906, previously was known as Halloween Park because Mayor Homer Cummings cast the deciding vote to create it on Halloween Night.
  • The 83 acre Cove Island Park, once a farm and then an enormous factory site, offers visitors a choice of beaches as well as picnic grounds and bluffs. It has a small wildlife sanctuary in the southwest corner that might be interesting for bird watchers. SoundWaters Community Center for Environmental Education is located at the northeast part of the park.
  • Terry Connors Ice Rink shares a parking lot with Cove Island Park. It offers public ice skating for all ages and ability levels, group lessons and ice hockey. It is the home of the Stamford Youth Hockey Association
  • Scalzi Park on Bridge Street has a playground, baseball and softball fields, tennis courts, bocce courts, basketball courts, roller hockey courts, and a baseball stadium named "Cubeta Stadium." Stamford baseball leagues play baseball there. J.M. Wright Technical High School is next to the park. A skate park was opened at Scalzi in July 2007. The city sought input from users in planning the $309,850, concrete skate park and hired Grindline Skateparks Inc. of Seattle, Washington to provide a unique design and build it.
  • Stamford boasts two municipal golf courses. Sterling Farms Golf Course opened in May 1972 and is the more more popular of the two courses . The facility also has a driving range, restaurant, and six tennis courts. E. Gaynor Brennan Golf Course, referred to locally as Hubbard Heights, opened for play in 1922 and is currently in need of repair.

Arts, science and cultural attractions

Science and nature

Theater and film

  • Stamford Center for the Arts: The Palace Theatre, originally opened as a vaudeville house in 1927, reopened as a nonprofit theater in 1983. It was joined in 1992 by the Rich Forum, another downtown venue. Both have been run by the Stamford Center for the Arts.
  • Stamford Theatre Works professional theater located in the red barn at the corner of Strawberry Hill Avenue and Fifth Street on the campus of the former Sacred Heart Academy, is in its 19th season in 2006-2007.
  • Curtain Call Inc. presents plays and other entertainment at the Sterling Farms Theatre Complex, 1349 Newfield Ave.
  • Bow Tie Cinemashas two first-run movie houses in Stamford with a total of 15 movie screens: Landmark 9 and Majestic 6. On February 13, 2004, the Avon Theatre Film Center, a nonprofit movie house focusing on classic, alternative and art films, opened in the former Avon Theatre on Bedford Street. In Springdale, the two-screen State Cinema, run by Garden Homes Cinemas of Stamford, has second-run films. The Ferguson Library also shows films.

Music

  • Stamford Symphony Orchestra In a typical season, the SSO gives five pairs of classical concerts and three pops concerts at the 1,586-seat Palace Theatre, as well as a concert for elementary school students and a family concert series.
  • Connecticut Grand Opera, a not-for-profit, professional opera company performs at the Palace Theatre. On its web site, the CGO claims to offer "the most ambitious opera season of any company between New York and Boston."

Media

The NHL on Versus airs its studio show from Stamford. The Yes Network headquarters is in Stamford. World Wrestling Entertainment has its international headquarters in Stamford.

Stamford, Connecticut served as a location for one of four branches of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company from the US television series, The Office.

In the MARVEL comics Civil War arch, the destruction of an elementary school by a super villain being chased by teenage superheroes in Stamford leads to the controversial Super Human Registration Act and the subsequent schism between superheroes in America.

Print media

Radio stations in the city

  • WSTC-AM 1400; 1,000 watts; shares programming with WNLK-AM 1350
  • WEDW-FM 88.5; 2,000 watts, a National Public Radio station

Notable people, past and present

Stamford has been home to many famous people, among them band leader Benny Goodman, actor Christopher Lloyd, who was born in the city, and actor Bob Crane, star of Hogan's Heroes. Actor and comedian Gene Wilder and singer Cyndi Lauper are current residents.

Baseball star Jackie Robinson made Stamford his home, and football Hall of Famer Andy Robustelli was born in the city, as was baseball manager Bobby Valentine. Valentine also owns a popular restaurant in downtown Stamford that bears his name. Boxing champion Gene Tunney is buried in town. Cooking author Ina Garten and physicist Robert Jaffe grew up in Stamford. Singer Willy DeVille was born in Stamford in 1950.

Former NBA Commissioner J. Walter Kennedy was born at Stamford Hospital lived most of his life in the City. He taught at St Basil's Preparatory School before being elected to two terms as Mayor of Stamford.

Georges Clemenceau, the French premier during World War I taught at a girl's school in Stamford in the 1860s. U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman was born here in 1942. U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays is a former resident. John J. McCloy, a prominent advisor to presidents, died in Stamford. William F. Buckley Jr., founder of National Review magazine, also died in Stamford.

Gutzon Borglum, sculptor of Mount Rushmore, lived in the city for 10 years. The artist John A. Ten Eyck died in the city. Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Major-Archdiocese of Lviv, and one of the cardinals considered a possible successor to Pope John Paul II in 2005, was educated at St. Basil's College in Stamford.

Robert Jarvik, inventor of the first artificial heart, grew up in the city. Will Shortz, puzzle editor of The New York Times, is current resident and organized national crossword puzzle championships held in Stamford until 2006, when it was announced the contest was to be moved to New York City.

Many professional wrestlers and executives associated with World Wrestling Entertainment reside in Stamford or in neighboring towns, as the city is home to WWE's corporate headquarters. Rihanna, pop/R&B singer, currently resides in Stamford.

Rapper 50 Cent currently lives in the city.

Some films shot in Stamford

These are some of the films shot in the city, in reverse chronological order:

  • 25/8(2009)- Filmed in the Tully Center
  • Farlanders (2009) - Filmed on Vine Road and inside Remo's on Bedford Street
  • Everybody's Fine (2009)
  • Old Dogs (2008) - Filmed inside UConn Stamford Campus.
  • Dancing With Shiva (2008) - Salon Shahim and in a home on Westview Lane
  • Righteous Kill (2008) - Filmed in front of UConn Stamford Campus, at Trump Park.
  • College Road Trip (2008)- inside Lakeside Diner and on Merritt Parkway
  • Pistol Whipped(2008) - AKA Marker
  • Revolutionary Road (2008)-Front of Dolan Middle School
  • Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
  • What Just Happened (2008) - Locations include Canal Street, Tresser Boulevard, and the front of Stamford Town Center.
  • In Bloom (2008), Starting in August 2006, the movie became the first major, full-length film since "The Ice Storm" to be shot entirely in Connecticut. Locations include Waterside, Springdale, Glenbrook and the West Side, "St. Basil College, Victory Deli, Pellicci's Restaurant, Stamford Hospital and private homes on Scott Place and Apple Tree Drive, and the Palace Theater.
  • Reservation Road (2007) started shooting in October 2006. Locations include Cove Island Park, Stamford Academy, Long Ridge Church and Black Bear Saloon.
  • Person of Interest (2007)
  • Saving Grace (2007)
  • Ta Ra Rum Pum (2007)
  • Too Bad (2006)
  • Wordplay (2006) - Filmed at the Marriott hotel
  • Beyond the Mat (1999)
  • Scenes from a Mall (1991) - Scenes from the Stamford Town Center.
  • The Horror of Party Beach (1964) - West Beach and Cummings Beach, Shippan area and filmed almost entirely in various Stamford locations.
  • The Cardinal (1963) - Scene taken in St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church on Atlantic Street.
  • Boomerang (1947) - Filmed almost entirely in Stamford.

Source (unless otherwise noted): Internet Movie DataBase page on Stamford

References

Further reading

  • Springdale Remembered 1640-1949, by Rosemary Burns
  • The Story of the Early Settlers of Stamford, Connecticut by Jeanne Majdalany

External links

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