Train in Vain

The river did us a real favor. As problematic as the so called “100 year flood” is going to be for north-south rail travel in the valley, the alignment of tracks from Springfield to Greenfield through Holyoke and Northampton makes for a short trip which connects the rider to 4 unique places. Taking the idea

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Street Theater

I’ve written and talked about the two very distinct faces of my little part of the world: Heaven and Hell I’ve called it. Nothing quite tells the tale of this Jekyll and Hyde situation like photographs. From prostitutes seeking out Johns in the snow to sex workers shoveling my sidewalk: A Seuss parade: Followed closely

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Just Thinking About the Weather

It is a strange time of year to live in New England. It’s a place that people leave, ostensibly, because of the weather, but in September it’s hard to imagine anyplace having a better mix of enjoyable climactic conditions. It’s cool at night, warm during the day, it rains now and again, and some of

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Essex Junction

Essex Junction is something of a puzzler: the Amtrak station is horrid both architecturally and functionally: It’s hard to imagine how passengers could be treated any worse without it turning into a Monty Python sketch about freemasonry! Across the street is some lovely fine grained small town urbanism: Around the corner what seems to be

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Vermont Uber Taxis

As a treat for LunaLucia we hopped on board the Vermonter on Saturday and took a trip to Essex Junction, Vermont. Her favorite vocal group (“They’re not a band!”) Pentatonix was performing at The Champlain Valley Fair and we thought it might make for a memorable end of summer experience. It did. The remnants of

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Transformation

It was 40 years ago that I began to see the full color pages of The Morning Union newspaper proclaiming the renaissance of downtown Springfield. The closing of the Forbes and Wallace department store had frightened people. It made them take a serious look at just how bad things had become. It must have been

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Small Rocks!

There were two primary reasons I chose to back the MGM development in downtown Springfield: first was what I suppose could be called a “YIMBY” instinct which I have always had for downtown for everything from prisons to porn; second would be its design. From a contemporary standpoint it would be easy to make the

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A Beautiful Priority

For years I’ve taken students on trips abroad and there has been one recurring problem, long before the advent of the smartphone, which frustrated me: they would be so worried about recording their trip that often they weren’t truly experiencing where they were. With the smartphone we see it even at everyday events and in

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LuLu-lations

(My step daughter LuLu has long wanted a presence on my blog. She has requested some space here to write about her view of growing up in Springfield. Here are her ideas, only lightly edited by me, the evil overlord of Rational Urbanism) Urban Blues ​So I live in the city of Springfield, MA. Yes,

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The Stormcrow

“You have ever been a herald of woe. Troubles follow you like crows, and ever the oftener the worse. I will not deceive you: when I heard that Shadowfax had come back riderless, I rejoiced at the return of the horse, but still more at the lack of the rider; and when Eomer brought the

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