Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jon Bon Jovi to Have a Club in Stamford!

I have received a very juicy tip: Jon Bon Jovi is opening a club in Stamford at the site of the old Thirsty Turtle. Jon Bon Jovi and his partners own several high end clubs in NY, LA and Chicago, and their next will be in Stamford. I’m not sure how much free time I can procure in the next few months with this baby o’ mine, but you can bet I’m going to be stalking this club. Like, peering in the windows, asking workers when Jon is coming by… that’s the kind of stuff I do.
Anyway, I hear they are trying to open up in time for Alive at Five. That’s great news in my book. Not like we need any bigger crowds at Alive at Five, but in general, we need more people downtown. I wonder why Jon chose Stamford. Anyone?

I cannot find any info online about Jon's other clubs, so you can assume we are part of a very secret network of upscale clubs. I wonder if they'll have live music. That would be great to have a big name like Jon who could bring in quality groups.

Has anyone seen activity/renovation at the old Thirsty Turtle?

If you are new to Stamford or to this blog, last summer’s Alive at Fives were very, very fun. Very crowded, but very, very fun.
To read about past Alive at Fives, here are a few links:
--June 20, 2008-- First Alive at Five a Smashing Success
--June 18, 2008-- Stamford Alive@Five Concerts: Drunken Frat Party?

Fellow blogger Blog Stamford's posts about Alive at Five:

--June 20, 2008-- Live @ Five Open Thread
--July 22, 2008-- Alive @ Five -Ten
Click here to read more.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oh, What A Dump! Stamford Dump (aka Waste Disposal Facilities) Exposed

Stamford Talk note: I have yet to go through the labyrinthine process it takes to be able to use Stamford's dump facilities, so thank you to local blogger Patty at wingdangdoo for clearing away some of the mystery for me! Thanks for the guest post, Patty!

"Mommy!" my youngest asked me frantically as I picked him up from his spring break day camp, "Did you go to the dump?"

Although the last part of this sentence wasn't spoken, it was implied: "...WITHOUT ME?"

I had tried to keep my dump aspirations quiet, wanting to make quick work of some junk that was weighing me down like a 50 lb anchor tied to my ankle. I also wanted to dispose of mass quantities of broken toys and a small army of unloved, unused stuffed animals on the sly. Not one to miss any detail, he was on to me before he pulled out of the driveway that morning.

I imagine the conversation went something like this:
"Daddy, why are we taking Mommy's car today?"
"Because she wants to keep all of the fun to herself, your mother is using my truck so she can haul stuff to the dump WITHOUT YOU. Also, the Easter Bunny isn't real."

OK, maybe that's not quite how it went. I'm sure he reassured him that Mommy loved him very much, and that I was borrowing the truck so I could take both dogs and both cats straight to the pound.

I have vague recollections of going with my father to some nebulous Stamford location called The Dump when I was a child, but I have no recollection of where it was located or what we brought there. I vividly remember that people dumped their castoff, random items in an abandoned lot we called The Swamp, just a block and a half down the hill from my childhood home. We found all kinds of things there when I was a child. Spare bikes. Animal skeletons. Old glass bottles. Restless, pissed off Native American spirits searching for their ancestral home. That sort of thing. Not long before Poltergeist came out, a few dozen unattractive contemporary homes sprouted in The Swamp.

Hmmm. Thirty plus years later, I still hesitate to drive through that creepy little subdivision when it's dark.


I live in the section of town that doesn't have garbage pickup. Horrors, right? We call this unexplored, services-free territory North Stamford. Load up a picnic lunch, saddle up the horse and pay us a visit some time. What's kept me from making the acquaintance of the dump prior to now was the outstanding weekly pickup service I get from the garbage gods and goddesses at Independent Refuse. Holla! I've also rented dumpsters from them during small home renovations (you should see the team of oxen pulling those suckers back into Stamford proper!) and large-scale purges. But this week, what I had in mind was a small-scale purge. A mini-catharsis. A spring cleaning! A recycle-o-rama! The kind that can only occur with my packrat husband and similarly inclined eldest child out doing other things, unable to witness the departure of that February 23, 1997 TIME Magazine and that gently-unstuffed-by-the-puppy one-eared pink rabbit.

How I Spent My Spring Vacation? I spent it at the dump.

Keeping the wisdom of the incomparable Manager Mom in mind, I set out to get myself a permit at The Scale House (Is there a better name? For anything in Stamford? I'm at a loss. It sounds like something out of Return to Thunderdome. Or maybe a lizard exhibit). For some reason, I knew exactly where to find The Scale House: Jefferson Street. Of course! Completely obvious. Right there next to those.... smoke stack... things. And behind that... giant... brick wall. I've got a flair for the foreboding. Armed with the truck's registration, my driver's licence, and a utility bill just in case (and by the way? Can someone please explain how I can get on a plane anywhere in the United States showing my driver's license as proof of identity, but to do business with the City of Stamford, I have to bring a utility bill?), I went into The Scale House. A lovely woman with a lilting Island accent gave me my free green sticker emblazoned with the universal symbol for recycling and patiently gave me the effortless directions to the dump.

And oh, what a dump it is!

With bins dedicated to cans and bottles, cardboard, mixed paper, batteries (ask if you can't find it), metal scraps and yard refuse, the Katrina Mygatt facility is a recycling haven. There's even a Goodwill donation bin across the parking lot. One of the men working at Mygatt was kind enough to help me get the old section of duct work and heavier wood scraps out of the truck. He also told me it was perfectly fine to leave nicer toys on the sidewalk in front of the bins in case anyone wanted to take them home. That was all I needed to hear. I was plotting my return to Mygatt before I even left.

I loaded the truck up again this morning, celebrating Earth Day by filling the truck with recyclables and other detritus. "Mommy?" he asked me before hesitating and adding "...never mind." As I often do, I reminded my youngest that he can tell me anything. "It's just that it might be a little... weird." As I often do, I reminded him that I'm a little weird. "When you go to the dump today, can you maybe... take some pictures?" What a happy coincidence. Turns out my friend Talk asked me to guest blog on this scintillating topic after seeing my brazen Facebook brag about visiting the dump. I told him I'd be more than happy to snap a few shots.

If you're making your way to Mygatt any time soon (and really, you should!), bring the camera along. It's quite the conversation starter.

And if you really want to make it a Stamford-centric day, join me on the tour of All Things Chimp. Right around the corner from Mygatt, you can take a peek at the chinp-safe bars on the windows at Desire Me Motors.

But that's a story for another time.
Click here to read more.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Otters Are $%#&@* Adorable!

If you are going to Lakeside Diner this weekend, you better get there before like, 9am at the latest. The Advocate has an article about how they've spotted otters in the pond beside the diner, which is off exit 34 on Long Ridge. The food is good, and the donuts are even better at Lakeside... and everyone loves otters, so the place is going to be crammed!

To view otters any time, go to Stamford Museum and Nature Center! They have 2 cuties there. Admission is free on Wednesdays. See my previous post about SMNC to learn more.

YES!!! I got a blog post done!!!
Click here to read more.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Free Beach Yoga Saturday at 11!

One of my tweeps (Twitter friends) is teaching yoga at different outdoor locations throughout the spring and summer. This week is at West Beach and it's free. In the future, she'll accept donations. Check her out on Twitter at CortiCoop.

Wear your sunscreen, people, especially if you have fair skin like me. Oh, and if you get basal or squamous cell carcinoma, like I did a few years ago, Dr. Lefelle at Yale is a good surgeon if you want to do Moh's surgery for removal. But you know, it's better just to wear your sunscreen so you don't have to go have Dr. Lefelle feel your lymph nodes.
Click here to read more.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Best Luxury Apartments in Stamford?

A reader needs your advice:
She and her boyfriend, both in their early 30’s, are moving to Stamford. They’d like to rent in a luxury apartment building (you know, nice place with gym, parking, laundry, etc.) that’s close to the train or offers shuttle service.
They’d also like their building to be somewhat social so they can meet people. Should she go for one of the Avalons- if so, which one- or does she have other options? If any of you have any advice for her, please dish! Click here to read more.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Buffalo Wild Wings Pics

My mom, dad and little sis were in town this weekend, so Saturday morning I piled them and the baby in the car to run some errands. First, of course, we did a drive by of Buffalo Wild Wings because I really wanted to see the line. It was pretty impressive. I parked illegally in front of the movie theatre, and my team got out of the car to get photos and observe the line while I waited in the car with the baby.

My dad estimated the line at around 100 people at 1030 am. My friend said the line was already pretty long at 630am, and Blog Stamford has a photo of the first few people in line (looks like two teenagers and a 20 something guy). In analyzing the photos, the line looks to be mostly men, but there are a few women.
A coworker loves Buffalo Wild Wings, and I trust her judgment, so I am pretty excited to try this place. Click more to see the rest of my photos:

Somehow, the buffalo outfit seems politically incorrect to me.

Click here to read more.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Buffalo Wild Wings Opening

Blogging on iPhone, short and sweet!
Just drove by BWW- line definitely already looks 100 deep. If you're not already in lobe (uh, I meant "in line" but was typing this in a total hurry while parked illegally outside BWW), you're out of luck for free wings for a year!
I got some pics that I'll post when I get home.
Let me know how the food is if you try it! Click here to read more.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stamford's Nickname: Who Cares?

Fellow Stamford blogger Kevin McKeever has a great column up in the Advocate about Stamford's quest for a new nickname. As usual, he's got some very funny lines: I could dream up far sillier yet more apt mottos -- "A City Terrified of Big Box Retailers," "Caught Between the Posh and the Poor," etc. -- but I'll refrain. That's because slogans don't reinvigorate a city. You know what does? Kevin then goes on to suggest improvements that our city should be spending time refining: education, housing, and responsible development. Go, Kevin. You struck the perfect balance between humor and opinion about a serious issue.

I am not sure if our dear Stamford needs a nickname. It seems kind of wannabe to have a nickname. Greenwich doesn't have a nickname. ("Hedge Fund Central?") Darien does, but it's the unofficial "Aryan Darien" jab. I know that Danbury is called "Hat City" (I could be wrong, which proves how pointless nicknames are) and I only know that because there's a music venue with that name. Having a nickname seems like a desperate grab for an identity. And really, the identity of a place is always evolving... so let's just chill out about the nickname. Let's officially have NO nickname.

Other cities' nicknames:
Big Apple? That's kind of cool. Like you are a big apple, and I like apples!
Windy City? That's just boring.
Hotlanta. That's a cool nickname, I guess, but it's simple and obvious, which is why it's OK. And being hot is better than being windy. If it's hot, you can go swimming, and drink margaritas poolside in your bikini. If it's windy, it messes your hair up. I do concede, I've never been to Chicago, so maybe I'm not up to speed on the benefits of wind.
Click here to read more.

Tag Sale to Benefit Domestic Violence Crisis Center

If you like a deal, and are free Saturday May 2, head down toward Shippan to check out this tag sale for a good cause.

CT-Moms Tag Sale to Benefit the Domestic Violence Crisis Center
Toys, clothes, electronics, baby gear, house wares, and more!
Date: Saturday, May 2nd, 2009
Time: 11am-4pm
Location: Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 1200 Shippan Avenue, Stamford

CT-Moms, the largest and most active on-line networking organization for Moms in Fairfield County, will be hosting a multi-family tag sale on Saturday, May 2, 2009 from 11am-4pm with over twenty CT-Mom families represented. Sale items include everything from household items to electronics, books, CDs, DVDs, clothes, shoes, toys and more.

The venue was generously donated by the Church, and the sale is a fundraiser for the Domestic Violence Crisis Center. Sponsors include those from The Sitting Service of CT and The Little Gym of Stamford/Fairfield. FREE for buyers to enter and plenty of parking.

"We know this event is going to be a huge success and we're proud to support the victims, survivors and families in our community who are affected by the horror of violence in their own home, as well as the staff and volunteers who care for them," says Medha Thomas, founder of CT-Moms.
Click here to read more.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Willie Nelson and Billy Bob Thornton in Town Tonight! Eyes Peeled Today!

What the heck? Why haven't *I* ever seen a celeb at Napa?
Last night at 8:21 a reader posted an anonymous tip that Willie Nelson and Billy Bob Thornton were dining at Napa. Seriously, you can't make that up!
Willie is performing tonight at the Palace Theatre. I am stymied by the Billy Bob presence, but- actually, wait- doesn't Billy Bob have an album out? Perhaps he's a guest performer? Yes! I just checked the Palace website. Billy Bob is indeed performing. Awesome. There was some hubbub a few days ago with Billy Bob canceling his performances in Canada and acting crazy on a talk show, so this could be an interesting concert!
Even if you don't go to the show, keep your eyes peeled today in downtown Stamford. You might see Willie or Billy Bob!

I'll be home watching Biggest Loser if the kid cooperates. Baby Stamford Talk goes to sleep anywhere from 8pm to midnight, so we'll see if he feels like letting me watch my fave show.
Click here to read more.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Get Your Camping Gear: Buffalo Wild Wings is Coming

Stamford Talk note: Thanks to guest blogger Stephen (AKA Mr. Z.) for another wonderfully informative post! This time he brings news of soon-to-be-open restos on Summer Street.

The vacant restaurants on Summer Street are starting to come back to life. Buffalo Wild Wings will be the first to open, with their grand opening coming on Saturday, April 18. Here's the good part though: The first 100 customers who eat at Buffalo Wild Wings on that day (they open at 11am) will win free wings FOR A YEAR! I've heard rumblings downtown that some folks will be getting in line mighty early, so if you want those free wings, I suggest pulling out your camping gear and spending the night out in Stamford. Should be a nice brisk mid-April night, and the memories will last a lifetime. The wings, of course, will only last for a year.

Buffalo Wild Wings is replacing the (searching for nice word) disappointing La Hacienda. The only thing that place had going for it was that there was never a wait. Next door to Buffalo Wild Wings, in the old Tats on Summer Chinese Buffet, will be Mary Ann's Mexican. Mary Ann's has 3 locations in Manhattan and 1 location in Port Chester. Her website claims that the Stamford location is opening on April 16, but I walked by today and that place was an active construction zone. Sadly, they're nowhere near ready to open in a week. The reviews on Mary Ann's are mixed, but let's at least hope it's an improvement over La Hacienda.

On the other side of Buffalo Wild Wings, replacing the Zinc Bistro, will be the Stamford installment of the very popular Barcelona Wine Bars, which are currently hot spots in Greenwich, SONO, Fairfield, New Haven, and West Hartford. The folks at Barcelona apparently have a personal goal to open a restaurant in every town in Connecticut. I wish them luck. Barcelona claims that the Stamford location will open in "Spring 2009", so I guess all we know is that they'll be open by June 21. There were plenty of construction workers inside Barcelona today too, so hopefully they remain on schedule.

It's always good to see new restaurants opening in Stamford, even if they aren't all 100% unique.

Happy Eating!

(P.S. JR over at Streets of Stamford blogged about Chavin, which replaced Zody's on Atlantic St. According to an article in the Connecticut Post, it opened on April 7 and is the sister restaurant of a restaurant in Port Chester.)

Mr Z's previous guest post:
--February 9, 2009-- Valentine's Day Guide
Click here to read more.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Murderous Drivers of the FC

My friend Christopher, a writer, actor, and radio talk show host in Minneapolis, has a Blog Harbor post up about the 3 annoying styles of Minnesota drivers. He pinpoints them as:

1. I’m Slow and Easy . . . Until You Try and Pass Me
2. Using My Turn Signal Only When Necessary Helps the Environment
3. The Left Lane is My Lane

The examples that Christopher gives portray apparently peaceful but truly clueless, passive-aggressive drivers. I have to say, I think the annoying driving styles in the Stamford area are completely different. There's nothing much passive about the aggressiveness of FC drivers. I'd place them under the umbrella of "Get the He!! Out of My Way- I Am More Important Than You and I Don't Care If I Kill You." You know, people whipping around you and coming way too close to your car, people flying through red lights and narrowly avoiding hitting the car that has the green light... as I drive around town with my new baby, I find myself wishing I had a gun. I know that sounds pretty violent, but it makes me really angry that people drive so carelessly.

Oh, did I say gun? I meant paint gun. Right. That's what I meant.

Related Stamford Talk post:
--December 12, 2008-- Stamford Paint Gun Officer: Vote for Me!

Or, read all Stamford Talk posts with the label Driving/Traffic Hell.

Other Stamford Talk post inspired by Christopher's blog, Blog Harbor:
--November 25, 2008-- Could Rampaging Turkeys Happen in Stamford?

See "Best Of Blog Harbor" to read some of Christopher's funniest posts. My favorites:
The Simple Language of Parenting and Football Coaches
The Seven People in the World Not on Facebook
Demando and Commando
Click here to read more.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pez Convention in Stamford... by Guest Blogger Justin!

A huge thank you to my buddy Justin for composing this wonderful post on a local event I hadn't heard about!
The 11th annual Pez Convention, held yesterday at the Stamford Hilton, probably featured more candy than any place west of Willy Wonka’s factory. The event, which I lovingly dubbed “Stamford Dorkapalooza 2009,” drew hundreds of people, young and old, who couldn’t wait to weed through normal and not-so-normal dispensers.

It wasn’t exactly easy to find. First of all, I’ve lived in Stamford for more than a year, and had absolutely no idea there even was a Hilton in town, as it is past the mall and I’ve never found much of a need to go any further than the mall. Once inside, the convention was tucked away far down the hall on the second floor, with nary a sign to lead the way—and of course, being a guy, I wandered around lost for at least five minutes looking for it before finally asking for help.

This is the first year I’ve made it to the convention—I heard about it last year, but lost track of days and completely forgot to go. But I was excited. Of course, the draw is not the candy itself but the dispensers. My personal collection is both extensive and modest. I have a whole lot—I think I’m in the triple digits at this point—but I don’t have anything rare, or particularly noteworthy. Anyone can get a Miss Piggy dispenser, just about anywhere. It’s worth approximately nothing, which is fine, because you only paid like a buck for it. That’s the fun of pez collecting—it’s easy. They’re not difficult to find, and best of all, cheap. You buy one for a buck this week, and another one for a buck in two weeks.

The convention was set up in a large hall, with about thirty dealers set up throughout the room. I was mostly looking for the weird stuff, not necessarily to buy, but for the sheer amusement of it. I have Homer Simpson, but I certainly don’t have a Daffy Duck from the 70s. Or t-shirts from 1999 conventions in Michigan. Or a German board game with a Charlie Brown dispenser as the game piece.

But, wait, I do now! For $5, I bought a slightly-damaged German board game with a Charlie Brown dispenser…how could I resist? THAT is a conversation starter. Who do you know has something like that? However, most of the weirder stuff was out of my price range. I only gave myself $20 to spend, not counting the $5 admission fee, and most of the great items were far more than that, ranging anywhere from a few bucks to several hundred.

There were old pez—the ones without feet—and new, from the U.S. and around the world (obviously, around the world were far more expensive.) There were loose pez, the opened ones of the easily available dispensers, for sale for 50 cents next to displays of hundreds of rare items.

There were fantasy pez, which are custom-made by private collectors—I liked the four Beatles, but they were $100, so no go. I also really wanted an old Huckleberry Hound, but for $17, not in my future. There were candies in every language known to man in every flavor. All tasty. Except Chocolate. I didn’t see any chocolate pez there, but if you ever see, AVOID, it’s disgusting.

My final haul included my German board game ($5), a dispenser made for Chick-fil-a (couldn’t resist…I love that place…$5), a complete set of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($5), a card from the discontinued pez card game ($1), and a grab bag filled with old holiday pez ($1). I think that’s pretty good. And I will be attending the 12th annual convention…if I remember to.
Click here to read more.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

StationStops Application for iPhone: Now In My Price Range!

Fellow local blogger Chris at StationStops has an iPhone app that lists Metro North schedules. It works VERY nicely, and he has lowered the price to 1.99. That is exactly what I was waiting for! I rarely need this app, so I was not willing to spend more than a few bucks on it, even though I really wanted to buy it to support my fellow blogger. NOW I am totally going to buy it. It's so much faster to go on your iPhone app rather than go online! Look for it under the name StationStops.

Also, you should follow StationStops (and StamfordTalk!) on Twitter! I mostly twitter about breastfeeding these days, but one day, when I leave the house again, I'll twitter about Stamford stuff! You can also facebook friend me under the name Stamford Talk.
Click here to read more.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chain Soups 'n Salads in Stamford Area

Interesting! Patricia Brooks of the NY Times reviews Panera Bread in Darien and Le Pain Quotidien in New Canaan. She recommends both for healthy food. Guess she did not think as highly of Cosi in Stamford, which we go to occasionally when we need a simple fast dinner. Somehow we still manage to spend twenty bucks on the two of us!

There is a jewelry store in New Canaan that I like (Pennyweights- cheap fun jewelry, great for Xmas gifts) so it's nice to know a fast lunch is available if I need it!

Baby Stamford Talk eats constantly, so my Stamford Talk posts will probably tend to be on the short side for the next few weeks. If I don't nap at least once during the day, I am DEAD, because Baby ST has decided his bedtime is anywhere from 11:30 to 1 am. Not so good for me if I'm only getting 2 stretches of 2-3 hours of sleep at night, but hey, I'm not complaining, because at least I'm getting 5 hours total at night, sometimes 6. I love me some Baby ST.
Click here to read more.