The Good Old Days Again

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Essays from West of 98

The Grand Theatre reopened in Stamford on November 23, 2018. After being dark for the better part of the last decade, the neon lights of the theatre marquee again light the downtown skyline. Downtown parking spaces have more demand on weekend evenings than they used to.

Since the theatre’s re-opening, excitement has been palpable. In reading comments on Facebook and hearing discussion in town, I’ve noticed that the excitement transcends generations in an interesting manner. From teenagers to the elderly, each age group is excited based on *their* memories of the theatre.

The youngest groups remember the theatre in the last period before it closed. They grew up with it open and its closure took one of the most notable forms of social entertainment from their community. My generation remembers its re-opening when we were children, when the abandoned downtown theatre suddenly came alive. We frequented it growing up and we used it as adults until it closed. Generations before us remember the theater as a staple of their childhood and teenage years. They remember it closing the first time, in the 1980s, and their joy of its 1990s reopening. The oldest generations remember the theatre in its early days. They remember a booming post-war community of over 5,000, with the Grand and multiple other theatres helping make downtown Stamford a teeming hub of business and social activity.

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