Could the Hills Reclaim the Eyesore?
Some numbers catch your attention. Last Sunday I read in The New York Times that the vertical gambling den in Connecticut known as Foxwoods is currently $2.3-billion in debt. Who knew?
I took this news personally. Every time my wife and I visit her family’s cemetery near Ledyard, we cannot help but notice the Foxwoods towers looming over the countryside like a gigantic mold spoor.
My wife’s cousin, Faith, who died way too young, is buried in the family plot, and so is her grandmother, who was something of a psychic, and her grandfather, a little old Yankee railroad worker, who was such easy company.
My wife’s ancestors found their way into the hills behind Mystic not long after the Pilgrims landed further up the coast.
You could say that the Pequot were there first, and that is certainly true, but nearly four centuries count for something. Now whatever passes for the dispersed Pequot run the gambling complex in the eastern part of the state. Cars and buses zoom just a few miles from hamlets where my wife’s people led such ordered lives.
My wife, who spent her early childhood swimming in Long Island Sound or skating on frozen coastal ponds, can remember visiting family farms in the hills, picking blueberries. We are not of that inland place. Whenever we pay our respects to cousin Faith, we gun the engine toward Boston or New York.
I will admit that when we make this detour, I have been known to say an inchoate prayer for the de-profanation of the Connecticut hills. I’ve seen gambling up close. Seen what it does. Like Woody Allen turning into a Hasid when he visits Annie Hall’s home in rural Wisconsin, when I spot that blight against the Connecticut sky, for at least the next few minutes I turn into a Puritan.
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The poet Laura Vecsey walks her own shoreline:
3/23/2012 06:08:59 am
If only ten thousand people didn't need the jobs and would be made pilgrims by the demise of Gomorrah.
3/23/2012 06:11:32 am
I meant "wouldn't" -- because they will.
3/25/2012 04:27:14 am
George, so many of your posts bring back old memories. My wife and I lived for awhile in Norwich, CT in the early 60's shortly after we were married. I worked for Arwood Investment Casting Company in Groton. I had an eighteen mile commute to work, but I had a choice of two routes each being on opposite side of the Thames River. Although I did not like he traffic over the New London Bridge, I usually chose rote 32 on the eastern side as it was more scenic.
3/25/2012 02:33:26 pm
Alan and Brian, thank you.
3/31/2012 12:09:48 am
Mr. Vecsey, this is just another good discussion that gives pause to more contemplative reasons to reconsider the development of casinos in beautiful places. Although I have been on that beaten path between New Haven and Providence many times, whether heading to Foxboro or Boston or the Cape from Long Island, I have gotten off the beaten path into that dignified countryside only a few times. It brings one back. The looming casino reminds me of a decommissioned nuclear plant we once stumbled upon after a wrong turn in rural Alabama - more than a mere man-made oddity surrounded by apparently unspoiled nature, the sense of some awesome dark force lurking invisibly.
3/31/2012 03:25:13 am
Dear Andy Tansey: thanks for the reasoned note. I have never understood why a mental skill like counting was not allowed.
4/1/2012 06:18:53 am
The following is an article that appeared in today's Berkshire Eagle. It is a good explanation of the impact of lotteries in Mass and that the coming casinos are not going to makes things better.
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From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.