Those both for an against further expansion of the runway at Tweed-New Haven Airport went at it for more than three hours at City Hall last Wednesday night during a public hearing of the Board of Alders Community Development Committee.
The committee was taking testimony on a resolution to support a state proposal to revisit a compromise on the length of the runway at Tweed New Haven airport so it can be expanded by 1,000 feet by paving existing safety areas, welcome more commercial jets — and, in the view of city officials and business leaders, boost the local economy.
As usual with the subject of Tweed in New Haven, that sparked an outcry from homeowners in Morris Cove, who blasted city officials for not dealing honestly with them and complained of the airport’s impact on their neighborhood.
As someone born and raised just a few blocks from there, living on that particular street for 33 years - only to move even closer to the airport for the next 12 - I can speak to the Tweed situation with some authority.
I absolutely loved Tweed when I was a kid. Here are some of the reasons why:
1.) The Restaurant Oh yeah, for a good long time there was a fab little kitchenette up front, where the pancakes were fluffy and the hot chocolate flowed on winter days when school would be canceled and roaming the Cove how the day was spent. It was our Arnold's or Pop's Choklit Shop, with the kids from the Cove would meet up with those from the Annex, or even a portion of East Haven, for a bite to eat and some laughs, either at the counter or if a booth was available.
2.) Presidents and Rock Stars Either they landed at Tweed or we assumed they'd be landing at Tweed. (Or neighborhood kids lied that they landed at Tweed.) With Tweed's proximity to both Yale and the once-booming New Haven Coliseum celebrity touchdowns were common. Rock star sightings were common, although stories from the neighborhood liar about Elvis shooting hoops at the lot across the street or David Cassidy hitching a ride to Betty's landed with a thud.
3.) Watching 'Em Land One of the first things to fall by the wayside once Tweed began going from quaint to colossal was the ability to park (and make out) in the big lot that led directly to Dodge, with planes roaring overhead. Some families would even stroll over just to watch planes take off or land with their wee ones. Then - boom - it was gone, the road now a "long way 'round" situation, and every new animal sighting in the Cove or Annex was attributed to the creatures being evicted via expansion.
4.) Walking Home As a guy who found Bradley massively inconvenient, and the parking fees exorbitant, I loved walking to and from Tweed, especially the latter, in the 90's when my family moved to Nevada and it was just me and a carry-on, the walk home at midnight after hanging at my mom's bungalow 20 minutes from the Vegas strip an opportunity to relish the trip. I did many a puddle-jump to Philly for work reasons too. Dug the convenience.
But does Tweed need to facilitate flights to everywhere on God's green Earth? Not really. And the argument of "everyone who moves next to an airport should expect some noise" doesn't really hold water. Not when the level of noise is ever-changing. Plus there are realtors keen on misleading the buyer on just how much air traffic they're going to see.
I loved Tweed as it was, both for nostalgia reasons and because it can be a nice shot in the local arm. But it's doesn't need to be La Guardia.