Tag Archives: middletown eye

Dueling Zone Change Proposals Control Washington Street Development

Remember that proposed commercial development on Washington Street that everyone got all worked up about last semester? Thought it was doomed when Wesleyan pulled out of the project, opting not to relocate its bookstore?

Think again. According to the Courant, dueling zone change requests have been filed for the neighborhoods surrounding Wesleyan, including that strip on Washington Street where the development would be located. Both seek to change portions of the “mixed-use” and “institutional” development zoning regulations. One of the requests comes from Centerplan developer Robert Landino, who presented the development at an open forum in November and was met with fierce community resistance. The other comes from Pearl Street resident Ed McKeon, an avowed opponent of what he calls a “cookie-cutter strip mall with carbon-copy National Chains.”

As the Courant explains it, Landino’s zone request seeks to permit a building with retail or restaurant space on the first floor, below office or residential spaces:

Attorney Ralph Wilson has filed a request on behalf of Landino, the president of Centerplan Companies who announced preliminary plans in November for a retail development on Washington Street between Pearl and High streets.

Complete Video: Tuesday’s Open Forum on the Washington Street Development

Middletown to CenterPlan: “I think this is just La La Land!”

Speaking of Tuesday’s open forum regarding the proposed Wesleyan bookstore relocation (liveblog here, additional coverage here), turns out our comrades over at the Middletown Eye managed to film the entire discussion, beginning with a presentation from developers CenterPlan and continuing with a whole barrage of comments from pissed off community members. Thanks, Middletown Eye!

You can check out a “highlight reel” courtesy of the Eye here. My personal favorite clip, in which a bearded community member begins laughing and then stands up and volunteers to run for office to oppose the development, appears above. “I’ll do that!” he warns. “You watch.” A close second is this one, in which a rather disgruntled longtime Middletown resident Professor of Music Neely Bruce tells the CEO of CenterPlan that he’s living “in La La Land.”

Watch footage of the entire proceedings (it’s about 90 minutes total) below and past the jump. More on the discussion here.

“Wellesleyan” Tops List of Most Expensive Schools

Earlier this week Business Insider published a list of the 20 Most Expensive Colleges in America. Wesleyan made the cut at #5—$56,006 for tuition, fees, room and board in 2011-2012—topped only by Harvey Mudd, Columbia, NYU, and finally Sarah Lawrence, the tiny Yonkers campus whose total fees have been inching steadily closer to $60k. No surprise when you consider Wesleyan’s rising tuition, uncertain need-blind status (not considered in this ranking, but topically relevant), and other topics of discussion at April’s Affordability Forum. Last spring Wes was #2 on the list.

What should come as a surprising is the photo the magazine placed beneath Wesleyan’s name. Grander than Olin, the building appears nowhere on Wesleyan’s campus (and if it does, it’s been kept even more hidden than the Art Studio tunnels). What gives?

Community Voice: Ed McKeon, “Voting With the Townies”

Earlier today, Molly Salafia, blogger for the Middletown Eye and town candidate for Planning & Zoning, posted a lengthy Wesleying comment questioning the effects of voter registration drives at Wesleyan and imploring student voters to keep town citizens (read: not students) in mind rather than mere party affiliation. “Please be careful when you vote,” Salafia writes. “There are real families attached to every decision you make.”

I’m not sure why Salafia chose that particular comments forum, but the discussion that ensues is well worth skimming—particularly the comment from prominent M-Town voice Ed McKeon, Democratic candidate for the Board of Education (Ed 4 Ed!) and founder of the Middletown Eye. Today McKeon sends in his own plea for informed voting, arguing that “a misused vote may be worse than a non-vote.” What follows is McKeon’s guest comment in full: “Voting with the Townies.” (Let’s continue the discussion in this comments section as well.)

Middletown Eye Covers WesTaiko Drumming

From the Middletown Eye blog comes some highly complimentary coverage and video of this weekend’s “thunderous and exhilarating” WesTaiko Japanese Drumming concert, which took place in the CFA’s World Music Hall. Tickets sold out quickly in advance, but Eye reporters weren’t deterred:

We didn’t go far, just around to the side of the building where we perched on a wall with a bunch of other onlookers, and got a glimpse through the plate glass. This perspective visually turned out to be rather interesting as we got a good side view of the drummers’ arms pumping up and down like machinery. We couldn’t get anyone inside to acknowledge our pleas to raise the horizontal slat blinds up, and the sound was muted compared to inside the theater, but it was still plenty visible and audible, even thunderous as promised.

Oh, but they like us, they really like us:

The weather was very pleasant so it was actually nice to enjoy the show from outside, but next year I will be sure to get my tickets in advance. I am always awed by the vast quantity and quality of talent and entertainment that Wesleyan brings to Middletown and makes available to the public at reasonable prices.

Awww. Much love @ you too, Middletown Eye—thnx fr the cvrage, and all-around thorough reporting. Here’s some side-view video footage

[Middletown Eye]

New Nightclub Coming to Main Street

Attention, Bar Night frequenters: your venue options are about to expand beyond campus faves The Cardinal’s Nest, The Shadow Room, and Mezzo.

Okay, but it might take a year or two. The Middletown Eye is reporting Planning and Zoning Commission approval of a new nightclub on Main Street, to be operated by the owners of Esca Restaurant and Wine Bar on property previously home to the Firehouse Grill. And it has a hip, decidedly un-Middletown-esque name! Check it out:

Gaetano Bramato, of the Bramato family which owns Esca, wrote in his application, “‘Titanium’ is going to be set up as a Fusion Café and Lounge that will offer light fare and casual Entertainment . . . Our lounge area will be set up with comfortable lounge sofas and chairs with café style tables where guests can sit back and relax . . . ”

Bramato said that there would be a dance floor upstairs, with entertainment offered by live bands, comedians, and occasionally DJs.

Sweeeet. I Google-Imaged “Titanium Nightclub” and this hip-looking action shot popped up. Main Street is already one of the nation’s most romantic locations (lol), but a lil shot of Titanium can’t hurt.

[Middletown Eye]

Apparently There’s Snow In Middletown, Too

Have you been off-campus lately?

Hardcore plows are out in full force on Court Street. Our friends at the Middletown Eye blog grabbed this quick video and set it to my favorite Animal Collective song in the world.

Meanwhile, the rest of Middletown’s a bit of a snowy mess. Cars are still buried. “I don’t know what they’re going to do [with all the snow],” says Mayor GuilianoWhich is probably why he is considering buying a snow-melting machine, which makes a hell of a lot of sense if you’ve seen the massive snow piles surrounding streets in and around Main Street, impeding visibility at all sorts of intersections, forcing pedestrians to use driving lanes:

City crews were working all night into Saturday morning to remove snow and ice from the streets. Figuring out where to put it after yet another storm this month is becoming increasingly difficult, the mayor said.

“We’re running out of places to put it,” he said.

Crews have received permission to dump snow at the former Holley Dodge dealership on Newfield Street and have also piled snow up at Veterans Park. Dumping it in the river, which has been suggested in some towns across the state, has been discouraged by the Coast Guard due to the possibility of ice barriers forming.

“I don’t know what they’re going to do (with all the snow),” Giuliano said. “It’s not going to melt anytime soon.”

[Middletown Press, The Middletown Eye]

Huge Drug Sweep in Middletown

Some rather lurid news in our fair city from the Middletown Eye blog:

The Middletown Police Department’s Narcotics Unit along with the Special Investigations Unit initiated a warrant sweep to combat the quality of life issues in Middletown, specifically in the North End of the city where the sale of narcotics has severely diminished the quality of life for the Middletown citizens in that area.

In total the officers were looking to serve a total of 27 narcotic arrest warrants for 19 suspects.  Eight of the warrants were for five people that were already incarcerated.  A Habeas will be issued so that the warrants can be served in court.

More details and info on specific arrests here.

Elie Wiesel to Wes: “Thou Shalt Not Stand Idly By.”

As previously reported on this blog and The Wesleyan Connection, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and acclaimed writer and speaker Elie Wiesel spoke to a packed Memorial Chapel yesterday evening. The lecture, titled “The Death Penalty and Human Dignity,” was simulcast in the CFA Hall, Beckham Hall, and the Goldsmith Family Cinema. Wiesel was introduced by Rabbi David Leipziger Teva and President Roth, who commented: “He goes on telling the story, he goes on teaching, he goes on writing. Because he sees the work is not yet accomplished.”

Wiesel spoke thoughtfully and powerfully—with grace and, not infrequently, surprising and sharp wit—on his opposition to the death penalty, his belief in “building an ethical society,” and the power of education.

He culled stories from the Old Testament, and from his own staggering life story as a Holocaust survivor. He mentioned his past visits to Wesleyan, over thirty years ago, and joked that he never expected to hear Hasidic stories from the president of a school called Wesleyan. He answered a select handful of questions from students—on his view towards the death penalty, on how to respond to Holocaust deniers when there are no living Holocaust survivors left, on how students can go about changing the world (answer: “Information must be transformed into knowledge, knowledge into sensitivity, and sensitivity into commitment”).

And he repeated, as a Holocaust survivor, a human rights activist, and a witness of mass human genocide and cruelty, his personal mantra and commandment, from Leviticus: “Thou shalt not stand idly by.”

Stephen H. Devoto, over at the Middletown Eye blog, offers an excellent write-up on the lecture, complete with further images of the Chapel and direct quotes from Wiesel’s speech. Thanks—again—to B’nai B’rith Lecture Bureau for organizing this extraordinary opportunity.

(Image by Brian Stewart, via the Middletown Eye)

McConaughy Hall: A Physical End

Those of us on campus will notice a significant change to the Wesleyan landcape this year.  That cozy little nook behind Hewitt where MoCon once stood now gives way to a smooth, steep slope.  MoCon is gone.

Over on the Middletown Eye blog, Stephen Devoto has posted a video ode-to-McConaughy illustrating the demolition of MoCon from June 4th to September 6th of this year that’s really worth checking out.   The video, aptly set to “The Great Unknown” by Dar Williams ’89, is available here.  The full post is available here.

Also, here are some photos I took of ground zero earlier this week:

[nggallery id=14]

Today, the grass is finally starting to get green, even if in awkward patches.  It’s interesting to note that no classes remain on campus who have ever dined within MoCon‘s glass walls.  I’m going to be really corny here and say that MoCon lives on in spirit though because of the importance and remembrance alumni have ascribed to it.

Rest in Peace McConaughy Hall, 1962-2010

[Thanks Stephen Devoto for the tip & video]