Comcast Building Going To The Dogs

Allan Appel PhotoThe above headline is meant as a compliment.

The long-blackened windows on the Comcast Building on the south side of Chapel between Union and Olive have been transformed into a canine portrait gallery, with the handsome pooches bidding their passing pals to visit the neighborhood’s new dog park on nearby Union Street.

The transformation has come about thanks to the doggy love of the Wooster Square neighborhood and the leadership of the local management team and its chairman, Andy Ross.

At Monday night’s Downtown Wooster Square Community Management Team’s gathering,  New Haven Urban Design League’s Anstress Farwell rose at the end of the meeting to “acknowledge you and Jeffrey for having the Comcast building go to the dogs.”

Ross, whom she was addressing, said, “That’s a year a half in the making.” He was referring both to the black and white dog photos on the Comcast building as well as to the painted murals by Gregory Smart that now grace three panels on the building owned by Firestone.

It’s all part of Ross’s and the management team’s effort to turn an eyesore into a more visually welcoming first block of the Wooster Square neighborhood.

Ross told the Independent that the photographs of the dogs are by Paul Duda and Jeffrey Kerekes, many of them from the Dogs of Wooster Square Calendar. Fundraising based on the creation of that calendar helped launch the new dog run and park on Union just around the corner from Chapel.

Planned next: trash receptacles and new lighting.

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posted by: anonymous on January 15, 2013  4:32pm

This is awesome. 

The Comcast property has been a blight for decades.  The area is also often covered with trash and broken glass.  A permanent solution, like giving large fines to Comcast, should be created until they clean up their act.

posted by: HhE on January 15, 2013  6:17pm

Andy Ross is awesome.

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on January 15, 2013  6:23pm

I agree with anonymous that the Comcast building is an eyesore and there should be further measures / pressure to spiff it up.

However, there is simply no way a building with its design, made out of the materials it’s made out of, is ever going to look anything but grim.  Urban design of the 60s and 70s is beyond despicable.

posted by: Edward_H on January 15, 2013  6:54pm

Are there more pictures? Where are the pit bulls and pit mixes? New Haven has a high population of pitties and pit mixes. Are they represented on this display? Discrimination I say!

posted by: anonymous on January 15, 2013  7:30pm

Gretchen is right.  I would like to see the building replaced by mixed-income workforce housing, topped by market rate condos.  The whole city block is too large, and should be cut up with several new streets (a few years ago, the City studied an extension of Wooster Street that would have done this in part).  Comcast offices can remain on the first floor of a new complex.

More eyes on the street, and places for middle-income downtown workers to live (without needing to commute from Derby or Wallingford).  This most likely can be accomplished using zoning and tax incentives.

posted by: HhE on January 15, 2013  8:28pm

I cannot argue with Gretchen Pritchard.  I would say, “My can of gasoline is quick,” but arson is actually a crime—even when directed against buildings like this and raised ranches. 

anonymous, how about you raise the capital?  Just allow enough for the tax man.

Edward_H, I think they could not raise the million dollar bond for pit bulls.  (Sorry, could not resist.  I actually really like my friends pit bull, who is about as sweet and gentle a dog one could ever know.)

posted by: Robbin on January 16, 2013  11:43am

I LOVE this project - great way to hide what is an eyesore of a building…and further bridge the downtown area with Wooster area…GREAT job by all involved!! Congrats!  Now I just hope the graffiti artists don’t ruin it!

posted by: quinnipiacave on January 16, 2013  2:02pm

This is wonderful! That stretch of Chapel has been dreary and graffiti prone for years. The mural and dog park posters have really livened it up. It’s great to see neighborhood activists creating solutions like this one.