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Happy Birthday to You: Connecticut Road Trip Report

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Friday was the Tugboat Captain’s birthday, and she decided that she wanted to check out a bunch of cool-sounding stuff in Connecticut, so off we went.

We left on Friday afternoon and returned on Saturday evening. In between, we charted a wobbly clockwise loop through the west-central part of the Nutmeg State, like so (click to enlarge):

We made lots of really, really good stops along the way. I should acknowledge here that all but one of these stops had been researched and found by the Captain, not by me. Great travel planning on her part — I was very happy to be along for the ride.

Most of the photos that follow were taken by me, although a few were taken by the Captain. All can be clicked to enlarge.

Our first stop was Roseland Apizza, which has been slinging brick-oven pies since 1935 and has some super-beautiful neon signage:

We got a small clams casino pie (fresh-shucked clams, bacon, peppers, onions, cheese, no sauce) and a medium pepperoni. Both were spectacular. In a state where discussion of pizza often begins and ends with New Haven, Roseland was a revelation. We will definitely be back.

After we finished our pizza, it was time for a drink — but not just any drink, and not just in any bar. We had something special in mind: Central Subalpi Club, a private Italian-American social club located in a house at the end of a residential block. It’s members-only (the door is locked and you have to have a key), but we talked them into letting us in by telling them that it was the Captain’s birthday. A few people on hand were a bit suspicious of us at first, but soon enough everyone was treating us like old friends and buying us drinks. So much fun! We wanted to be respectful guests, so I didn’t take any photos inside, but here are a couple of shots of the exterior:

We also took a drink chip as a souvenir, instead of cashing it in — a nice token, literally, of our visit:

We crashed at a nearby motel and started out the next day at Heav’nly Donuts, where we got a dozen donuts and an apple fritter about the size of a softball. I really liked their anthropomorphized “HD” logo:

Next stop: Lawowiak, a local Polish deli and grocery. This was a pretty serious joint — so serious that they had nine different kinds of kielbasa: hunter kielbasa, smoke links kielbasa, Brooklyn kielbasa, ham kielbasa, wedding kielbasa, village kielbasa, regular kielbasa, homemade kielbasa, and krajana kielbasa (which we bought a stick of):

Also of note: Polish Valentine’s cards.

Next came my favorite stop of the trip: Silver Sands State Park, a small beach park on the shoreline of Long Island Sound. Just offshore is Charles Island, a 14-acre spit of land where the pirate Captain Kidd may have buried some treasure. At low tide — which happens to be when we were visiting — a sandbar is revealed, creating an isthmus that provides a walking route to the island:

At one point we reached the isthmus’s narrowest stretch, reinforcing how lucky we were to have arrived at just the right time of day:

Much of the isthmus was comprised of slipper snail shells — many thousands of them, maybe even millions. They formed an endless canopy:

Eventually we reached the island and began walking around its perimeter. It was all wind-swept and stark and evocative — exactly the kind of place my parents would have dragged me when I was nine, and I would have hated it because it was boring. But now I see the beauty in these types of places. We found a few remnants of old buildings, which was fun, and at one point we sat down on a rock and shared a beer. It was all pretty damn Perfect.

Walking to, around, and back from an island can build up a powerful appetite, so our next stop was to get lunch at Danny’s Drive-In, an old-school hot dog joint:

The dogs were very good. I suspected they were deep-fried, as is often the case at Connecticut doggeries, but the kitchen was out of view, so I asked the counter girl how the dogs were cooked. She looked a bit concerned and said, “They’re quickly blanched in oil.” I laughed and said, “It’s okay — you can say, ‘fried.’ I won’t get alarmed.” She looked relieved and said, “Yeah, some people get upset when they hear that word.” We sort of nodded at each other, sharing the bond of people who know that fried dogs are the best dogs.

Next came my one big contribution to the trip: On our way to Danny’s Drive-In, I had spotted a restaurant called Lasse’s with a great neon sign. All my road-tripping instincts told me they’d have a really good bar that would be a perfect spot to unwind with a post-hot dog beer, so we headed there after Danny’s:

It did not disappoint. Although Lasse’s is a restaurant, most of the afternoon activity was at the bar, where we settled in and enjoyed yakking with the locals and with the excellent bartender, Otto (who only works on Saturdays — another case of us being in the right place at the right time):

Everybody was ordering Lasse’s “famous” roast beef sandwiches. We’d already eaten hot dogs (and donuts, and lots of pizza the night before), but who can turn down a famous roast beef sandwich? Plus the staff was wearing T-shirts featuring a very amusing anthropomorphized sandwich character, so we decided to split a sandwich. It was very, very good:

We wanted to go duckpin bowling before we headed home, so we drove over to Woodlawn Duckpin, where there was a very amusing mascot painted on the side of the building and — actual uni-related content alert! — team-branded duckpin balls available for sale:

Unfortunately, the entire place had been taken over by a huge birthday party — and so had two other nearby duckpin houses. Grrrrr. So we settled for bowling regular tenpins at the endearingly named Nutmeg Bowl, where the purple backdrop really messed with my game:


And from there we headed home. Total elapsed time: about 30 hours. I’d say we packed a lot of fun into that time frame — not bad. And the Captain really enjoyed her birthday.

My thanks, as always, for your indulgence with these travelogues. We’ll get back to regular uni-related content tomorrow.

• • • • •

NBA Uni Tracking
By Collin Wright

For the second week in a row, traditional matchups with the home team wearing white and the road team wearing a dark uniform were the least common format across the league. This week the spread was a little closer than last, as we can see in our latest graph (click to enlarge):

A few firsts this past week:

• We had the first game with both teams wearing grey (Saturday, Warriors vs. Spurs).

• The Celtics and Rockets both debuted their fourth uni designs on Sunday — and both were at home. (Twenty-six of 29 teams have debuted their fourth uniforms at home.)

• The only team to not have worn its fourth set is now the Clippers.

• Not a true first, but on Saturday the Lakers wore their purple set for the first time since Dec. 23.

• • • • •

New advertiser shout-out: When I was eight or nine, my big brother got me a subscription to Sport magazine. He said it was better than Sports Illustrated and also less expensive, because it was a monthly instead of a weekly. A few years later, when I was 13, I sent Sport a letter to the editor, and they printed it in the December 1977 issue (shown at right) — my first piece of published writing.

Sport was later sold several times and eventually ceased publication, but I still remember it fondly. It was known for great photography, and its huge photo archive is now held by the Sport Gallery, which sells prints of the old photos. The gallery also have retail outlets in New York, Toronto, and Vancouver, where they sell sports-oriented gift items in addition to the prints.

I’m proud to have the Sport Gallery as a new advertiser on the site. I hope you’ll check them out here. My thanks, as always, for the consideration that you give to our advertisers.

• • • • •

One last plug: The New York Times has a weekly rundown called “What We’re Reading,” in which various NYT editors give their picks for the best articles on the web. I was really happy to see that their latest weekly rundown included a recommendation for my recent ESPN/Undefeated piece about Buddy Young’s amazing 1966 memo regarding “Negro players” in the NFL. I promise that this will be the last time I plug that story, but I’m still trying to get as many eyeballs for it as possible. If you haven’t already seen it, I hope you’ll check it out here.

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Jamie Rathjen

Baseball News: New uniforms for Kentucky, including a pinstriped option not shown. … New “B” cap logo for UCLA. It previously looked like the Red Sox logo (from Jared Buccola). … The great Fleer Sticker Project took a close look at a sheet of logo patches from 1974. … Municipal Stadium in Waterbury, Conn., has two baseball/softball diamonds at either end of a football/soccer field (from Brice Wallace). The stadium is used now for high schools and youth sports, but formerly hosted AA-level baseball.

Football News: Reader Cody Zimmerman noticed during a rebroadcast of Super Bowl XLV that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had his initials written on the underside of the bill of his hat. … Former 49ers Roger Craig and Tom Rathman, who both went to Nebraska, wore “Huskers” nose bumper decals for a bit before the NFL cracked down on it (from Ed Muller). … Cross-posted from the baseball section: Municipal Stadium in Waterbury, Conn., has two baseball/softball diamonds at either end of a football/soccer field, all for high school and youth sports (from Brice Wallace).

Hockey News: The United Arab Emirates women’s hockey team visited the Capitals this week as part of a trip that will also take them to Chicago and Ottawa in the next week. Here’s a look at their red and white jerseys (the latter on U.S. ambassador Barbara Leaf), which feature the country’s emblem as a chest logo. … Michael Malnifof found a Hartford Whalers 45rpm record — “Brass Bonanza” on one side a play-by-play from a playoff game win — in the 99-cent bin at his local record store.

NBA News: Reader Justin Adler tells us that new Suns signing Elfrid Payton became the third different player to wear No. 2 for the team this season, after Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Canaan. … The Celtics retired Paul Pierce’s No. 34 yesterday. They had a patch giveaway, and Pierce wore a green plaid sportsjacket for the occasion (from Mario Vasquez). … Meanwhile, the Celtics wore their grey alternate uniforms for yesterday’s game against the Cavs, but the grey fabric didn’t seem to have the sublimated parquet floor pattern. Here’s another look. … Hawks F John Collins wore a wristband in honor of a young fan who recently beat cancer (from Mike Chamernik). … The uniforms for the NBA’s Celebrity All-Star Game are brought to us by Conrad Burry.

College and High School Hoops News: Ohio State wore “Equality” warm-up shirts prior to playing Iowa on Saturday (from Kary Klismet). … Women’s teams wearing pink or pink accents for breast cancer awareness included Georgia Tech (from Richard Musterer), Miami (Fla.), Wake Forest (from Zane Tuck), and Arizona State (from Erik Gamborg). … Mississippi State’s women’s team wore grey at home (from Kyle Richards). … Division II Wayne State still has its old nickname, the Tartars, on its scorers’ table, even though its teams have been the Warriors since 1999 (from Michael Tucker). … Rob Gugliotta was watching this documentary about the 1951 CCNY point-shaving scandal and noticed that several players had numbers in the 70s and 80s — unheard of for college basketball. Here’s another shot.

Soccer News: MLS kit roundup: New second choice for the San Jose Earthquakes (from Chris Avila) and first choice for Minnesota United (from multiple readers). … To honor Irish midfielder Liam Miller, who passed away from cancer this week, some of his former teams wore black armbands, including Celtic (and opponents Partick Thistle), Manchester United, Sunderland, and Leeds United. (Thistle appeared to actually wear black tape on the front of the sleeve.) … Bournemouth winger Jordon Ibe wears FNOB this season. He didn’t in the past. … @Coach_KT tells us that Liverpool have straight NOBs this season. It’s worth noting that arched NOBs predominate in the Premier League, but Liverpool aren’t the only ones that have straight NOBs: Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion, and Chelsea currently do as well.

Olympics News: U.S. women’s hockey goalie Maddie Rooney, who plays in college at Minnesota-Duluth, has the city’s Aerial Lift Bridge on the back of her mask (from Nick Hannula). … More than 35 years after the fact, the country of Norway remains obsessed with the case of a cross-country skier who broke his pole during a race.

Grab Bag: The NLL’s Vancouver Stealth retired the No. 6 of former captain Curtis Hodgson (from Wade Heidt). Hodgson is the Stealth’s all-time appearances leader and played for the team in three different cities, though it was called the Stealth in all three: San Jose; Everett, Wash.; and the current Langley, B.C. … The grey wrestling singlet for LaRue County (Ky.) High in the center of this picture is a late-’80s/early-’90s throwback, says Josh Claywell. … Tennis’s New York Open, which begins at Nassau Coliseum today, has black hard courts (from Greg Kissler). … The drag racing body NHRA’s top-tier series subtly changed its logo; compare the cap logos from 2017 and 2018 (from David Firestone).

Comments (78)

    “We wanted to respectful guests”
    “We crashed a nearby motel” at a?
    “But now I see the beauty in these types of place.”

    Happy Birthday, Captain!

    Great stuff. I’m from the CT shoreline, too, albeit from a little further up (Clinton, which is about 20 miles east of New Haven—exit 63 on I-95). If you guys ever want to sample some classic friend seafood, head on up to Clinton and the surrounding towns of Madison, Guilford, Westbrook, and Old Saybrook (Katharine Hepburn’s longtime home).

    I played two high school football games on Municipal Field in Waterbury in the early 90s & while that picture show what’s most likely artificial turf now, visually, it was the same, but rock hard dirt & very little grass 30 years ago.

    The fields are field turf now, even the dirt is artificial.

    However, that’s next door to Municipal Stadium. The actual stadium was just remodeled and is a baseball only field with natural grass. It’s home to Post University baseball and hosts local high school games as well as baseball tournaments.

    Right, that aerial of Waterbury’s stadium doesn’t depict any of the ballpark that was used by the double-A team or even the 1990s independent Spirit ballclub.

    Thanks very much for the excellent trip report, makes me happy to read about places I haven’t yet checked out in my home state, thanks!

    Pretty sure the black Florida helmet is just a Green Gridiron custom helmet. They do them all the time.

    Great play by play of your CT trip. I’m often at Silver Sands or Walnut Beach (connected by the boardwalk) and occasionally take a stroll to Charles Island. Nice way to spend an afternoon.

    I haven’t tried any of those restaurants, but will have to check them out this summer.

    Two Roads Brewery is nearby that area as well and a good spot to try some beers.

    The BFBS Florida helmet is from a YouTube channel called Green Gridiron that mocks up helmets, with a good chunk of them being fantasy/concept pieces.


    Those kielbasa options. Wow. Hard to read the little pink tags with the explanations of each kind in the photo. What distinguishes a Brooklyn kielbasa from a wedding kielbasa from a village kielbasa from a…

    Awesome travel story! We lived in Milford in the late 1980s, and used to walk to Silver Sands. Thank for bringing back some wonderful memories. Sounds like you made some nice memories of your own!

    A bit more on Curtis Hodgson and the NLL’s Stealth number retirement. Curtis had played with the Stealth since 2005 and this is the only number the Stealth have retired so far.


    Many NLL players moonlight in the two Senior A leagues in Canada during the summer. Though Curtis retired from NLL after the 2017 season, he did captain the New Westminster Salmonbellies to the WLA title and a Mann Cup appearance in 2017. No certain confirmation yet if he is retiring from the Salmonbellies and summer WLA play.


    Interesting to note, he wears #3 with the Bellies. Number 6 is retired by the Salmonbellies in honour of former captain Eric Cowieson, who played for New Westminster in the WLA from 1978 to 1995.


    Not really ticker worthy, but pretty nonetheless for hockey fans and kelly green lovers.

    Kelly green may be underused in the Big 4 pro sports, but it is always very present in a good-looking Vancouver at Dallas NHL game, which was played yesterday.


    Both teams do have different shades of green, but they’re actually pretty subtle.

    Using Colorwerx as a reference, the Canucks’ current shade of green is actually the same as the original shade of green used by the Philadelphia Eagles from 1936 through 1968. However, the Canucks’ original shade of green, from 1970-78, was actually the same as the green used by the Eagles from 1969-73 and 1985-95, as well as the New York Jets from 1980-97 and the Hartford Whalers from 1992-97. (The Jets and Whalers used different lighter shades previously, while the Eagles’ 1974-84 striped unis had a darker shade.)

    The Stars have always had their own unique shades. Their current shade, “Victory green”, is a little bit darker than the North Stars’ original green (1967-91) or the green of their transitional period (1991-94) which was slightly darker. But it’s still brighter than their dark green from 1994-2013, which really only looked good on the “big star” jerseys.

    Beautiful. Brings me back to the 70’s with my California Golden Seals and the Minnesota North Stars rockin’ some bright green threads…


    we reached the isthmus’s narrowest stretch, reinforcing how lucky we were to have arrived at just the right time of day

    That brings to mind a Little Rascals clip:

    Thanks for another great travel segment. It was the Captain’s birthday but we all got a present!

    It’s so, so wrong that the Celtics wore those hideous grey things instead of their traditional white unis on the day they retired Pierce’s number. What were they thinking?

    There is a chain of Heav’nly Donuts up where I live in MA that uses the same logo and spelling and heart apostrophe but doesn’t seem to be associated with this Heav’nly Donuts.

    I grew up in Seymour, CT, right next door to Derby, where Roseland is. Growing up there I never thought that it was anything special, but there is a lot of history in the area. Old skool blue collar types lived there because so many brass mills were in the area. They all used the Naugatuck river which flows through there. so there are still some great old townie type places. Roseland is always considered one of CTs best for pizza, even though its about 20 minutes outside of New Haven. Glad you enjoyed “the Valley”. I havent been to Silver Sands in years, i’ll have to get back soon.

    Anyone else notice that in the picture of the lady’s Lasse shirt, you can see Paul taking the picture reflected in the mirror in front of her?

    I truly enjoy the travel stories. They’re a nice change up from the uni related material. Paul and the TC always find interesting places to go. I think I share something with Paul. It’s the ability to find even mundane places like a bar or bowling alley fascinating. I’d take 100 trips like Paul’s before I would spend a week in some beach resort.

    Thanks so much, Jerry — glad you enjoy. And I’m 100% with ya regarding beach resorts. Not my scene. Give me a road trip and I’m happy!

    Hi Paul, any chance you could approximate what time you crossed the isthmus at Silver Sands? I’m in Brooklyn too and my girlfriend and I would love to make the trip.

    Love the travelogue entries!

    I believe we got there right around noon (and the tide was still doing down, so the sandbar was actually a bit wider during our walk back to the mainland). But the tide schedule changes each day, so you should look consult the local tide tables.

    The travelogues are simply outstanding. Travel Channel / Food Network hybrid. A great 30 minute show packed into a 5-minute read that is better than TV. Thanks for the great work!

    Paul (and Cap), thank you for sharing your adventures! Your stories and pics let those of us not on the east coast visit vicariously (drooling over that pizza and apple fritter!). Happy birthday to the Captain!

    Paul, with these wonderful travel reports and photos of such luscious-looking food, you’re torturing those of us who live far away! Wow, I could go for one of those hot dogs, or that pepperoni pizza, or the roast beef sandwich, right now!

    And (changing the subject): how about some werid finds on eBay? This link has a number above the Phillies wordmark, on the player’s right shoulder. How rare is that?

    And here is a link which has some of the tightest arch-kerning I’ve ever seen. The bottoms of the S and E are right up next to the tail of the T.

    I too love the travelogues! The Captain & yourself hit up the type of places I’d go to myself, I am always a little jealous of the things you have east coast that aren’t available out here. And your lucky to not only have a travel partner, but one at least as engaged as you!

    I’m planning a little getaway to Salinas (just east of Monterrey) this weekend, and went to Bakersfield a couple months ago, both trips did and will involve the type of west coast stops as yours I hope!

    Keep it up!


    I would really like to see a story here about the people who love pointing out the typos, but never comment on the actual content.

    What excites them about noticing the few mistakes? Why are they compelled to post about them? What is the psychology behind it? Why do they only comment about the typos and nothing else?

    As I have explained many times, I want the content to be as clean as possible, so I appreciate the efforts of those who point out typos. They’re helping to make the site better, and that seems like sufficient motivation.

    If you spot a typo, Kristopher, I hope you’ll point it out as well.

    I will never make it as a proofreader. I read MotorCityJeff’s line three times correcting the second “my” as “me” in my head each time and wondering what was wrong?

    Paul, it was an honor to have you in my fine home state of CT, and you went right through the area of the state where I grew up (which I won’t mention, keep the intrigue).

    -I’m a New Haven guy…go to Pepe’s :)
    -Otto is awesome and Lasse’s has been there for decades
    -I used to go to Woodlawn Bowling SO MANY times when I was a kid
    -Silver Sands is near where my Mom grew up
    -I totally forgot about that Polish deli, need to make a run there!

    Hope to see you back again soon!

    I’m curious if there has ever been an NBA team besides the Suns to have 3 different players wear the same number in one season — let alone before the all-star break? Any ideas?

    Sport was such a great magazine. I preferred it to SI for many reasons, among them the price.

    I remember my elementary school library carrying Sport as well as Inside Sports back in the early 1980s. I didn’t have a subscription to a sporting mag until I reached adulthood, though, and at that point I went with The Sporting News for a number of years.

    The other great mag was The Sporting News, now with a web only presence. Had some outstanding baseball coverage.

    While we’re on the subject, anyone remember “The National” in the early ’90s? I really loved those detailed baseball box scores they used to print.

    Boy, this entry brought back some memories. My dad used to schlep the family to Lasse’s when I was a kid. Haven’t been there since, though.

    Danny’s is still in my semi regular rotation. The burgers with a slice of green bell pepper are unique, and the Crazy Fries are an absolute must. The chili is the best in the area, in my humble opinion.

    I was concerned at first when I saw “grey vs. grey”, since I hadn’t seen anything from that game, but then I remembered the Warriors’ grey uni is not-quite-black (slate), and the Spurs’ is not-quite-white (silver).

    Now, the Spurs in that uniform against Cleveland’s “THE LAND” greys wouldn’t work, because the shades are too similar. But then, that Cavs uni is far inferior to the Spurs’ or Warriors’ greys.

    Great entry today. Really enjoy your off-the-beaten-path finds on the road. Or, maybe, rather, they are miraculous survivors of the “beaten path.”

    I love your road trip stories. They are places I’ll probably never go. The photos are awesome too. I like seeing the food people have in other places too.

    Fun trip writeup as always! But it leaves me with a burning question: How do the folks at Lasse’s pronounce the name of the joint?

    Great travelogue, Paul. How do you and Captain research these trips? I mean what kind of websites are there for these off-the-beaten path type of places to see and eat at? (although unfortunately I have food allergies to salt/sodium/MSG/etc. and couldn’t eat most of what you eat on these journeys)


    Some of it is just googling. But we also keep our eyes and ears open all the time. If someone mentions a place that sounds promising, or if we see an offhand reference to something in an article, we follow up on it and add it to our list. Also, as I’ve mentioned here many times, it helps to be willing (or, better yet, eager) to go to places where you “don’t belong.” That’s usually where we have the best experiences.

    A lot of this just comes down to instinct. When we drove past Lasse’s, I knew right away that it was our kind of place. And it was!

    I hope so. I anything they should get rid of the black in their color scheme. A teal jersey with gold accents really pops. Another downside to getting rid of the gold would be that there is a higher chance that they’ll make a really boring black alternate.

    I hope both gold stays, but black is definitely staying based on the Jaguars’ tweet at the above link. I expect a black alternate jersey to be unveiled and I think gold will be needed on that to make it pop a bit. I remember the last gold-less black alternate jersey they wore and the results weren’t exactly inspiring.

    What a great tour! Thirty memorable and fantastic hours for you and the Captain. Happy birthday to her.

    Roseland is great. Next time try the red Zuppa di clam or the baked lobster penne…the latter is indulgent but worth it. Thanks for the update!

    I see that you both replace your Chucks. I do the same, as they are clearly incorrect out of the box.

    So glad you went to Lasowiak! It’s one of my favorites. I stop to get their pierogies on the way home from New Haven.

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