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Column: Cobblestones, Coffee and Claw Foot Tubs …


by Faust Fiore

Firstly, I should tell you that I’m a Fall River boy, born and bred. But as I am, in the near future, moving to Mattapoisett, which I gather is part of the Greater New Bedford Area, I have been exploring that city recently. And I must say, the people of New Bedford are a strange lot.

And frankly, I’m worried about the New Bedford economy.

One thing that jumps at me – you people spend an awful lot of time drinking coffee in… buildings. Do your cars not have cup holders? Do you have so little to do that you can afford the time to sit, sometimes in groups of three or four, and sip coffee and coffee-like liquids while remaining stationary and conversing among yourselves? Is this a byproduct of high unemployment?

In Fall River, we get our coffee at drive-thru windows. From big, well-known coffee vendors. Because we just don’t have time to sit around.

I guess.

But beyond coffee, I’ve noticed some other stuff that makes me think New Bedford is a very poor and backward city. For instance, it seems like everywhere you go, you see used stuff for sale. Entire mill buildings are chock full of old stuff. Like that place where you can get a claw foot tub or a kitchen sink.

In Fall River, we rip claw foot tubs out and replace them with nice, new fiberglass units. Usually while sipping nationally-known coffee products. Usually while completely gutting old houses of their overly-ornate and difficult to dust woodwork. For all I know, these old tubs wind up in New Bedford, where you then buy them and put them in your squalid homes.

And what’s with all the used clothing for sale? Can you not afford new clothes? That place with the old bath tubs. Right inside that building, there’s a guy who sells old clothes. Some kind of Goodwill type place, I guess. Mostly out of fashion, impractical, outdated clothing. And he seems to be thriving.

Worrisome. To say the least.

But let’s get back to Downtown. I understand the struggle, but where are the stores? Every other building houses a museum or some sort of “historic” site – buildings that would otherwise be vacant, I can only guess. I mean, does any city really need a “bethel?” Does anyone even know what a bethel actually is?

I’ll tell you what you might want to do – pave some streets. Not to brag, but in Fall River, we’ve ripped out or paved over all the cobblestones. Cobblestones are not really very good to drive on. This is obvious to anyone in Fall River and has been for years. But New Bedford, ever the backwards community, seems not to have gotten that memo. It’s pretty simple – cobblestones slow down traffic. And driving over them can even cause the lid to rattle right off your coffee cup. Trust me. Cobblestones went out with… I dunno – whaling. It’s no wonder you have so many people who are forced to walk in your downtown, New Bedford. You just don’t get it.

Look – I’m not trying to beat anyone up, here. I’m only trying to help. To pass on the lessons we’ve learned in Fall River. It’s a tale of two cities.

I’m just concerned. If you can’t manage to fill your city with stores that sell new goods, you’ll never get with the 21st Century. You used to have that great Star Store. Now? It’s filled with listless, underachieving young people who have no intentions of getting real jobs. They want to be “artists”. Good for them. But what do they do for your city? They paint, they sculpt, they do whatever “artists” do, but do they work? No. They sit around and drink coffee – that’s what they do.

Ever wonder why so many people go to Downtown New Bedford at night? It’s because, except for sipping lattes, there’s nothing to do there during the day. How often is the Ziterion Theatre open in the daytime? Answer: not very. What are you supposed to do – visit a bethel? Seriously?

I guess what I’m saying is that New Bedford could take a lesson from Fall River. Our downtown is pretty much one street. You know where to find the dollar store, the nail salon and yes – if you must buy used stuff – the pawn shop. And except for the potholes, which can often be avoided, you won’t ruin your car’s suspension getting there. There’s always a place to park in Fall River. So we don’t have to walk.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ll give New Bedford another try. But I’m bringing my own coffee.

You can follow Faust Fiore on his blog: http://faustfiore.blogspot.com/

About Faust

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  1. Your Advice sucks bro don’t come to New Bedford then.

  2. Don’t insult the surrounding communities and relate them to New Bedford

  3. Is this supposed to be satirical? If so, it is mildly humorous, I guess.

  4. I really hope this piece is supposed to be satire… and if it is, it’s some of the worst I’ve ever read. Fall River is a pit, partially because they have chosen to NOT preserve the wonderful history of that city, and partially because of a distinct lack of neat places to just hang out and have a cup of coffee, read a book or just relax. New Bedford is getting better day by day and frankly if you really think that we need to change all the wonderful things that make the city unique (independent coffee shops, antique stores, cobblestone streets), then you need to stay in Fall River.

  5. This is pretty funny! And I can’t say that I disagree with you either. Fall River has its share of problems and whatnot, but I do agree that it is a lot more interesting and has better things to do, eat, see, etc. New Bedford is forever going to be stuck in this damn historical bullshit. They will never see that, even if this god forsaken train ever gets down to downtown, it still will just be a haven for unruly college kids with their mommy and daddy’s credit card running around drinking IPA’s because they “enjoy the hoppyness” and that sounds cool. I agree with you that more needs to be done to New Bedford. It is a great city with a lot of history, one of the world’s largest fishing industry, an awesome Portuguese culture mixed with Italians, Irish, Norwegians and all kind of other cultures and overall really is pretty cool. With my local pride in my heart and a perpetual love for hypocrisy & contradiction, I still will say that I would rather drink, eat, or enjoy a thousand other locations besides downtown. Will the train help things? Or will it just bring more shitbums that we already have enough of in this city? Would a real aquarium and other attractions help things in NB or downtown NB? I don’t know. I will tell you one thing, the whole parking issue is a real problem downtown. This isn’t NYC where people think of automobiles as a petty addition to a normal lifestyle. Automobiles are the only way of life around here. Anyway, nice article. I can’t wait to read more from you…

    • People with a brain ( those unruly college kids) recognize this article for the satire that it is. Laughable to even compare the successess of New Bedford with the stagnation of Fall River.Thank God for all of the college kids sipping lattes downtown. If not for them who would pay to hear James Gagne’s shitty music

    • Well said Mr. GAGNE!

  6. There is something to be said for a city that doesn’t denounce or destroy it’s past for the promise of a brighter future. Your plan sounds a lot like China circa 1957. Coffee houses and an art scene mean that the youth is invested in the community. This should serve as a sign of hope rather than a harbinger of doom. Get off your high horse and have a cup of coffee and actually talk to the people you’re looking down your nose at. You might learn something.

  7. I think the author of this article is a complete idiot. New Bedford has tons of historical value and a great reason to preserve it. Be fore you write trash like this, due proper research. If you had , you will learn a lot about this great city. In my opinion, Fall River is worse, they have PLENTY of potholes and what not. The author needs to stay in the River if he is too moronic to understand our city !!!!

  8. Fun article complimenting how dNB has preserved buildings and cobblestones, developed an artist community, has lively coffee shops, foot traffic for the shops and museums and a active nightlife. Yes, this is satire. Enjoy it.

  9. I just got panhandled on storied Johnnycake Hill. Guy wasn’t asking for money for Starbucks. Good luck in Mattapoisett. You’ll miss the grit and the lack of pretense.

  10. I go to the Star Store and make art, and I’ll tell you something: I work 2 jobs so that I can go there and do what I love. New Bedford has it’s share of issues like any community, but you know what? It’s Beautiful. I like the cobblestone streets, the coffee (that keeps me going through the day as I work my ass off, thank you very much), and the claw foot bathtubs. DO NOT say that no one in that building works. We all put a ton of effort not only into our art that is our passion, but also into our JOBS so that we can continue to make art. You took one glance at the city and only saw it as inferior because you enjoy modern thinking. You don’t know very much at all about what’s going on on the inside though. If you do not like it, STAY OUT. We don’t need you getting in our way as we work hard and pave a new way forward. Think a little harder next time before you post such asinine and ignorant comments.

  11. Congrats to Mattapoisett. He will absolutely love your conservative town. Do you think has has figured out there isn’t even one major food store there? He will be happy with the major coffee brands though;)

  12. I was just wondering if they have a problem with sexual dysfunction in Fall River since they have removed all the claw foot tubs?

  13. hey faust you’re a real idiot have fun in mattapoisett

  14. Folks, this is satire. He’s lambasting Fall River and praising New Bedford. Those who think he’s trashing New Bedford don’t get it.

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