Learning from New Haven
The New Haven Veterans Memorial Coliseum was demolished this morning. According to Jennifer Medina, writing in yesterday’s Times, “The decision to destroy the Coliseum reflects a shift in philosophy on urban planning, with Mayor John DeStefano Jr. choosing to focus on arts, education and small retail buildings rather than on large-scale public spaces. “I think we are taking an approach that is smarter about what works in building a city,” Mr. DeStefano said. Some people still like the idea of big projects, he said, “but successful urban life gets woven from lots of small things, not one grand gesture.” Talking about the Coliseum, he added, “This was a particularly grand gesture for its time.”
And in a review of the track record for other arenas, Medina notes: “Bridgeport built its 10,000-seat stadium in 2001. While performers like James Taylor and Andrea Bocelli have drawn large crowds, there is little evidence that the stadium has boosted other downtown business.”
Perhaps it just wasn’t grand enough.