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Stamford is a city located in Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 117,083. The city is the birthplace of U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman. Chief U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer grew up in Stamford.
For the first half of 2004, Stamford was the safest city in the United States with population over 100,000, according to the FBI. Given Stamford's urbanness, diversity and proximity to The Bronx, this is an extraordinary accomplishment.
The downtown area of Stamford has a cluster of modern commercial buildings, some of which are corporate headquarters. International Paper and Purdue Pharma are some of the companies headquartered downtown. Pitney Bowes has its headquarters in South End, World Wrestling Entertainment and Clairol on the East Side and Xerox on Long Ridge Road, several miles north of downtown. Interstate 95 (also known as the Connecticut Turnpike) runs along the southern areas of the city. The Merritt Parkway runs through the northern part of Stamford. Connecticut Transit buses run throughout Stamford and connect the city to Darien, Norwalk, Greenwich and Port Chester, New York.
In addition, Stamford houses branches of the University of Connecticut, University of Bridgeport and Sacred Heart University. University of Connecticut is located in a large glass-covered building in downtown. The other two are in office parks in Springdale. All are commuter campuses.
Stamford's public library, The Ferguson Library, is one of the largest in Connecticut. In addition to the main library downtown, it has branches in South End, Springdale and the Turn of River sections of the city. The Turn of River branch, officially called the Harry Bennett Branch, is the largest library branch in the state.
Downtown also has a shopping mall, the Stamford Town Center, opened 1982. Ridgeway Center, located about a mile north of downtown, is one of the oldest shopping centers of its type, having been built in the 1940s. It was renovated in 1998.
The Stamford railroad station is served by Metro North Railroad and Amtrak and the Glenbrook and Springdale stations are served only by Metro North.
Housing in Stamford is varied. The downtown area and the neighborhoods immediately north of it, especially along Strawberry Hill Avenue, have numerous high-rise apartment and condo buildings. Condos dominate in Glenbrook and The Cove, while Westover, Shippan and North Stamford are almost exclusively covered by expensive single-family housing. Urban decay in Stamford is nowhere close to what has been achieved in other Connecticut cities; however, parts of the South End, the West Side and Waterside are known for poverty and overcrowded housing.
Some residents commute to jobs in New York City, mostly by way of rail. There are plans to also run a ferry between the two cities in the future.
According to a 2004 FBI report, Stamford is the 4th safest city in the United States with population over 100,000. It must be noted, however, that Thousand Oaks, California; Simi Valley, California; and Amherst, New York are not nearly as urbanized or diverse as Stamford is. The low crime rate has been contributed to effective policing.
Stamford was settled in the year 1641 and incorporated as a city in 1893. Despite its age, Stamford has very few historic buildings. This can be contributed to a massive urban redevelopment campaign during the 1970s that changed the face of the downtown. The few historic buildings include Old Town Hall (1905, currently unoccupied) and Hoyt Barnum House (1699).
Italians form the largest ethnic group in Stamford. Irish, Polish, Jewish, African-American, and Caribbean people also make up a significant portion of the population.
While Stamford's proximity to New York City and low crime rate make it an attractive community in which to reside, it is worth noting that the city suffers from a certain amount of economic skewing. High property values, expensive rents, and numerous low-income housing projects mean that the majority of residents of Stamford are either very rich or very poor. This condition is very similar to what one finds in Manhattan. This phenomenon of economic skewing is widespread throughout Fairfield County, and indeed throughout Connecticut, a state with the dubious distinction of possessing both the richest and poorest citizens in the nation.
Surrounded by the old-money towns of Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, and Westport, Stamford is generally considered a haven of the newly rich, as the modern, spacious homes built in North Stamford can attest.
Public education in Stamford is of fairly good quality and includes education in the arts. Economic disparities among neighborhoods within the city do, however, affect the quality of education among various schools. The two rival high schools of Westhill High School in the north and Stamford High School are complemented by a number of alternative and enrichment programs located at Rippowam High School, midway between the two.
Stamford also possesses some enjoyable publich beaches: Cummings Park was once a popular spot for shellfishing, and Cove Island Park offers visitors a choice of beaches as well as picnic grounds and bluffs.
Shippan Point is home to some truly stunning pieces of real estate, and is well worth a drive-through.
Stamford is broken into sections, each of which has distinct character owing to the type of business and industry that thrived there at one time, such as the South End with its heavy manufacturing. Other areas include North Stamford, Turn of River, Roxbury, Newfield, Belltown, Springdale, Glenbrook, Hubbard Heights, Westover and Long Ridge.
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