Archive for the ‘Connecticut’ Category

HolyLand USA (Waterbury, CT)

HolyLand USA was a biblical theme park in Waterbury, CT. Built in the 50s it features numerous… what i can only describe as large scale dioramas, depicting various famous events in the Bible. The park sits on 18 acres on a hill that overlooks Waterbury, and its main focal point is a 58 foot cross, replaced in 2008 with a steel cross 50 ft tall. The park has been closed for 30 years and the passage of time has not been kind to the exhibits. In fact they look better than one would think after 3 decades of weather and no upkeep. The property is owned by the mayor and is still … i wouldn’t say maintained, but they try to keep the brush cut back and theres recent memorial bricks in the newly constructed cross base. For more details read about it at the link above on wikipedia. All my pictures are here

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A garbage Museum? in Conn?

I am so there

The Ghost Parking Lot

Established in 1978, this art exhibit called the Ghost Parking Lot is located in the parking lot of a shopping plaza in Hamden, CT. James Wine sank 20 cars into the ground at varying depths then covered them with concrete. The concrete followed the form of the vehicles, allowing the observer to easily identify the various makes and models, through some were harder then others to ID. The convertible was quite interesting as we could easily see the steering wheel emerging from the rest of the concrete.

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The space it occupies was leased from the shopping plaza, and expired in 2003. The land was considered “valuable real estate”, but it sounds like a bogus argument because the parking spaces it takes up are the farthest from the stores (and the lot was half empty too). The Ghost Parking Lot was demolished in September 2003, so I decided to contact the creator, James Wine.

Mr Wines founded Site in 1970, an organization which works combines art & architecture. According to their website, they offer a “wide variety of design services – including buildings, public spaces, landscapes, interiors, graphics, and industrial products. SITE’s capacity to work in so many fields is based on a philosophy that sees all of the arts as a fusion of related ideas.” The owner of the Hamden Shopping Plaza was an art lover and so in 1978 he commissioned Site to build some sort of public art. All decisions as to design and subject matter were left up to Mr Wines and his staff.

Said Mr Wines, “Public art often derives it’s meaning from its location. You go to a parking lot and expect to see cars in the lot, not under it. It’s inverting expectations. You’re seeing something in a place which makes sense but whose presentation does not. Now remove this from the parking lot and place it in a museum and it loses all meaning, all relevance.” The owner leased the last few parking spaces nearest the street to Site for 20 years, and soon construction began. Wines and his crew began collected typical cars of the day for burial under a thin layer of cement. (note I said thin and cement…) As the project began construction, many locals did not “get it” and some even objected. Local high school students began threatening to damage the project, and generally were a nuisance to the point that a security guard had to be hired.

Once the concrete was poured over the cars, the local kids did a 180. It went from something to be vandalized to something cool. “They even volunteered to help is the construction but we politely declined.” The cars chosen included Cadillac’s and VW bugs, even a convertible. He chose these cars to represent what the average person drove, as well as to be instantly recognizable. The cars were often donated, and often were left with personal items inside, which later would become entombed. One car which troubled him belonged to a young man who died in Vietnam. His mother donated the car and even left his dog tags inside. Mr Wines always felt conflicted about this vehicle, leaving something so personal inside. Ultimately it was the mothers decision and he accepted the donation.

The interiors were filled with concrete, poured thru a hole in the roof. Some were filled completely, while others were filled only to the bottom edge of the window. In many cases you could still see steering wheels, dials and gauges, even radio knobs, which was possible because the concrete was a thin layer. Once completed, Wines realized that this would eventually deteriorate. People passing by would chip off chunks of concrete, and he said some even brought those pieces to his office to be autographed (which he did sign)

After 5-6 years though the cars clearly needed touching up, as pieces of metal were exposed. No one contracted him about what to happen next, and he is not sure who was responsible but someone decided to do some “touch up” and simply poured asphalt all over the cars completely covering many of the details. In his eyes the art was now ruined, the details completely lost. “It’s like taking a Rembrandt and removing some of the paint and just anybody repairing it. It’s not the same painting any more.”

Always controversial, it may have been cool to some when constructed, but the ravages of time and “touch ups” led most locals to consider it an eye sore. In the late 90’s the shopping mall was sold, but since the parking spaces were leased by Site they could do nothing about it. Once the lease was up there were really on two options, do a decent restoration or demolish it. Mr Wines said he had no problem with demolishing it because it was never meant to last forever and he felt it was no longer even his, thanks to the bad touch up job done in the mid 80’s.

There was an effort made to preserve it, but Mr Wines said it would probably cost 150-200K and involve completely removing the asphalt, and then relayering it. The local newspaper ran columns on the subject and not a single positive response was received. Perhaps no one could remember the project was new, perhaps the novelty had worn off. It seems it’s only function now was as a landmark for giving directions thru town. With no funding and no interest, the owners had the artwork scrapped on 9/23/03.

The ghost parking lot when first constructed

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and now for something completely different… a bunny with two noses

Meet the nosiest bunny in the world

It’s soft, it’s cuddly and it’s cute — even though it has two noses. That’s right, a baby bunny with two noses. And it’s no April Fools joke, either. “In my 25 years in the pet shop business, I’ve never had anything like this,” said Tom Fomenko, Sr. owner of Purr-Fect Pets, Inc. 282 Boston Post Road. That means no two-headed snakes, no five-legged hamsters and no three-winged birds. “Nothing at all,” he said.

That’s until March 24. That’s when Allison Noe, a store employee, discovered the oddity while inspecting a batch of newly-delivered, six-week old dwarf rabbits. When she picked up a tri-colored baby boy bunny and looked at its face, she did a double take. The rabbit has two separate noses each with two nostrils. “I brought it up to the front counter to show everyone,” she said. Tiana Nieves, an employee who once worked at for a Florida veterinarian, could not believe what she was hearing.

“So I took a look,” she said. Sure enough, the bunny had two noses. “It makes it doubly cute when it crinkles and wiggles both,” Nieves said. Jeremy Reynolds, the store’s manager, also never saw any such animal anomaly in his 16 years in the business. He said the bunny gets along with the whole litter. “It’s not treated differently,” he said. “It eats like the others. It drinks like the others and it hops around like the others.”
Gregg Dancho, director of the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, said there’s usually two reasons for such deformities. “It’s mostly genetic,” he said. “Most of the dwarf bunnies pet stores sell are bred for sale. There’s a lot of in-breeding going on because the breeders are looking to produce them en mas.”
But the anomaly can also be caused by something in the environment.

“Maybe the parents got into poison or pesticides used to control pests,” he said. But Dancho said people interested in buying a dwarf rabbit or any animal as a pet should really think about what they are doing and not buy on impulse. “When that animal comes home you will have to take care of it,” he said. Additionally, he warned cute baby animals like ducks, chicks and rabbits, which people buy as Easter gifts, do grow up.
“Some owners can’t take care of them and we can’t take in hundreds of these,” he said. So a lot get euthanized or left to fend for themselves.. He suggests people become informed consumers and read up on the animal’s habits and care before buying them.

“A dwarf rabbit could live as long as 10 years, be litter trained and stay in doors,” he said. “But they will have a smell. You shouldn’t buy a pet then keep it outside in a hutch. Many of these animals won’t acclimate to outdoor conditions and health could become a factor.” Store employees are now vying to name the animal.
Reynolds like Cyrano de Bergerec, because of the long nose. Nieves prefers Deuce. Meanwhile, store employees have become attached to the bunny and are hoping it won’t be sold. “It would be a hot commodity for us,” Nieves said. If it does get sold, Fomenko said it will got to a special place and not the highest bidder. “It’s not just another animal. It’s special, ” the owner said.