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Tell me about Pittsfield, MA


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#1 of 32 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted July 20 2010 - 10:40 PM

Any HTF member around the Berkshires area?   I am familiar with the the park, the Appalachian Trail (AT), greylock, etc.etc. but not familiar with the details about Pittsfield and the surroundings. I have an opportunity to move to the area as I have a job offer at a company east of where Rt 9, 7, and 20 all converge in I guess what would be called 'downtown' if I can use that vernacular.


Will be looking for real estate, as in townhouse/condo or house (undecided) that would be within biking distance to said company.


North of I-90 is preferred so less intersections to deal with. I'm sure any road that crosses an interstate would have to be on a bridge or underpass but I think for simplicity sakes, stick to north of I-90

Have available backroads that bypasses Rt 7 which I have biked on and parts are not bike friendly (I do not ride on sidewalks).

Not lookig at a $2 million dollar estate in Lenox :-)   Has to be priced in the range for a  Single Bachelor Pad (SBP).


Has to have a great ice cream store nearby.. Uhh, well, not really but I thought I'd throw that in there..


Jay


You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life

#2 of 32 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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Posted July 21 2010 - 01:41 AM

Hey, Jay!


Congratulations on the job offer!


I'm not going to be too much help about Pittsfield.  Rensselaer & Albany are just about 40 miles away, though and I can tell you that the area is nice as long as you aren't looking for anything urban (but, of course, it's not like NYC & Boston are all that far away if you ever get the urge...).


You should be able to find both older and newer housing stock to choose from.  After all, Pittsfield probably dates back to the mid-1700s.  /img/vbsmilies/htf/wink.gif


Let's see...just south of Pittsfield is Lenox and Stockbridge.  Great summer theater there (as well as due north in Williamstown).  You'll be living smack dab in the heart of Norman Rockwell country--which you will find out as Rockwell's home/studio was in Stockbridge.  There's a terrific museum near there now.  There are some outlet malls in the area.

I think Time-Warner has the local cable license.

MA used to be known as Taxachusetts.  But that nickname has kind of faded into oblivion as the state government has taken some measures in recent years to control the growth of tax increases in Boston and for property taxpayers.  NY state government (in nearby Albany) has a long way to go before catching up to their neighbor.

And the Red Sox are from Massachusetts (in case you didn't get that memo)!  /img/vbsmilies/htf/thumbsup.gif  /img/vbsmilies/htf/biggrin.gif


If I think of anything else, I'll let you know.

There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


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#3 of 32 OFFLINE   Jay H

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Posted July 21 2010 - 02:02 AM

Thanks Mike, I have been to all the towns around the area, including the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Shaker Village, camped at beartown S.F. before by Great Barrington... I've hiked Greylock, Williams, Fitch along the AT before...   So, I am familiar with the place, have bike tourered around there and done some hiking.


I do know about GE and the Housatonic (and the Hudson River) problems...    Pittsfield is an old Mill town sans the Mills but trying to attract culture and stuff in the towns like Stockbridge, Lenox (Tanglewood), No Adams (Mass Moca)...

I'm more like trying to figure out a good place to start looking for real estate as a bike commuter to Pittsfield. so somebody who knows the roads there could give me pointers of where to start.


I hope to go to a satellite provider if I can. I am stuck with Cablevision here in NJ..

I'll make sure I bring all my Yankee stuff with me (which is none, anyway!)



Jay


You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life

#4 of 32 OFFLINE   Hugh Jackes

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Posted July 21 2010 - 02:18 AM

I lived in town, in a married not-quite-single pad (MNQSP), on 3rd street, back in the 1984 before moving across the state line to Vermont and buying a house. Things may be better know, but my experiences in town were overwhelmingly awful.

 

  • Bad apartment (but that was my choice to go cheap; I was still paying a mortgage in Maryland. One room, efficiency kitchen [2-burner stove, half-size oven, dorm fridge, a futon to sleep on])
  • Bad landlord (barging into my MNQSP to yell at me after requested screens in the windows, while my wife moaned on the futon, having had wisdom teeth out that day)
  • Bad crime (Some poor oil truck driver, making an early morning delivery got attacked by a crazy guy with a knife. He got away, got in his oil truck, and drove off, pumping hundreds of gallons of heating oil out onto the street. Naturally, I unknowingly drove down the same street to work about 10 minutes after the attack. Never got the oil spatter off my car.
  • Bad weather (it rained some part of every day during my first 4 weeks in town, in June. Locals had a positive spin for how cold summers can be, "Good sleeping weather")
  • Bad government (one city councilman -- I still remember his name, Peter G. Arlos -- punching out another in a council meeting.
  • Stupid government (fought very hard in the 80s to keep alive their dying downtown [North Street and Park Square]. A worthy fight, to be sure, but they were so dumb that they though that simply denying permits in Pittsfield would be sufficient. The result -- The Lanesborough Mall, in the next town to the north, which has all of the tax base. They spent millions in the 80s luring KayBee Toys headquarters to town (attempting to preserve the dying downtown again), which went belly up not that long ago.)
  • Bad schools (Well, one teacher, anyway. First case I have ever heard of where a teacher got into an affair with young student. I still remember her name too, Mrs. Frisbee)
  • Bad roads (Yeah, but that’s just New England or any other heavy snow country)
  • Bad luck (a furniture store a block and a half from my apartment burned down. Never got the smell out of my clothes)
  • Badly polluted (Culler Lake, right in town, is dead from GE’s PCBs)
  • Bad water (some local water-and-power tech brought a different reservoir online without checking the water quality.  Beavers had made dams in the reservoir since the last time it was used.  The result -- thousands of cases of giardiasis

    [screaming, bloody diarrhea] from beaver poop in the city water supply.   Took 6 months to be reimbursed by Water and Power for the $100 antibiotic shoot.  They have since installed a new whiz-bang water filtration plant. )

  • I‘m sorry. You pushed some of my buttons. Can you tell that I have issues with that town? Anyway, As I mention in my intro, I had to look as far as Vermont before I could afford to buy a house.


    I hope I haven’t p*ssed off any forum members who live in the city. Sorry to you, if I did.


    I have learned that some pain cannot be healed, but must be endured. I believe our Higher Power will help us to endure and find peace. I loved the boy with the utmost love of which my soul is capable and he is taken from me-yet in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure, I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it."
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    #5 of 32 OFFLINE   Jay H

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    Posted July 21 2010 - 03:07 AM

    Hugh, tell us how you really feel? :-)


    A lot of your experiences is mostly particular to your situation, me thinks,  I'm not looking at living in downtown Pittsfield, I could name you things like corruption (we have our share of corruption in government in NJ, let me tell you!),


    In any case, it would be so much closer to the White Mtns in NH, it aint funny. an hour closer to the ADKs and about the same to the cats and of course, Greylock is a fun little peak..   It aint perfect but then neither is NJ (despite what Thomas Kean once said...;) )


    I've looked around at house prices but only as far as picking up a real estate book while I was there, can't be worse than northern NJ..

    Jay





    You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life

    #6 of 32 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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    Posted July 21 2010 - 04:06 AM

    Pittsfield isn't great, but it's a heck of a lot better than northern NJ. I pick up shipments periodically from a warehouse in Paterson, which has to be the most depressing city in the Northeast. Rust-belt decline with dicey neighborhoods as far as the eye can see.



    #7 of 32 OFFLINE   Jay H

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    Posted July 21 2010 - 05:16 AM

    Adam, not all of northern NJ is Paterson (where I was born!).. like where I live, I live in a lake community next to a county park, I have too many tall oak trees to get satellite so I'm stuck with Cable.... and I bike to work on backroads, and even woods roads...  Way unlike Paterson!


    The biggest reason for the move though is to be 1 hour closer to the Adirondacks, and at least 3 hour closers to the Whites.. :-)


    Jay


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    #8 of 32 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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    Posted July 21 2010 - 06:20 AM

    The Berkshire Spur is a much more enjoyable drive to the Northway than the Thruway part of 87, too.



    #9 of 32 OFFLINE   Jay H

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    Posted July 21 2010 - 06:27 AM

    When I drove home, I took local roads to the B-way to the Taconic and took that all the way to I-84 where I picked up the Thruway (I-87). I like the taconic except for those damm storm drains. Every time I accidentally go over one, I want to shoot the engineer who put storm drains on a major highway.    I'm also scared of all the cops on the taconic cause I don't know all the hiding spots as I do I-87...


    Jay


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    #10 of 32 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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    Posted July 21 2010 - 07:06 AM



    Originally Posted by Jay H 

    I like the taconic except for those damm storm drains. Every time I accidentally go over one, I want to shoot the engineer who put storm drains on a major highway.  


    /img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif   /img/vbsmilies/htf/thumbsup.gif




    There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


    HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

    Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


    #11 of 32 OFFLINE   Tom Fynan

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    Posted July 21 2010 - 07:20 AM

    Jay,


    I've had a summer place in Stockbridge for three years now, so I know a little about the area. You might want to check out the Berkshire Eagle, the local paper, online. I don't know much about housing in Pittsfield, but the area south of "downtown" towards Lenox, and east towards Dalton looks nice.


    SoCo Creamery has great ice cream.


    Tom Fynan



    #12 of 32 OFFLINE   Sumnernor

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    Posted July 21 2010 - 08:45 AM

    I have some friends who live in Pittsfield and perhaps they can help. I know that the area (Berkshires) is very nice. I was at a boys came on Lake  Buel  (near Great Barrington). My parents used to own a cottage on Lake Buel and sold it for alot of money $10,000 /img/vbsmilies/htf/eek.gif) in the 70's, I know in Stockbridge is the playhouse in the summer and in Lenox is Tanglewood. If my friend would like to help with info, I'll send a PM.



    #13 of 32 OFFLINE   Jay H

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    Posted July 22 2010 - 06:56 AM

    Hey, thanks for the SoCo creamery suggestion, looks like a great place.


    I have some leads now on places in Dalton and W. Stockbridge, rentals, small places while I settle in and stuff... The Dalton place was $850 for a 1BR first floor apartment but with use of the cellar to store my bikes and use of the yard/garden. The thing was it's pretty close to my job, would only be a 5 mile bike ride... Might have to do laps.. hahaha.


    I've heard of Lake Buel before, at least I saw some real estate in the area..  I checked out the Berkshire Eagle classifieds, they are pretty lacking though, craigslist is a lot better...


    Looking forward to be smack dab in new england where I think my mind and spirit is in..


    Jay



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    #14 of 32 OFFLINE   Mike Frezon

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    Posted July 22 2010 - 07:01 AM



    Originally Posted by Jay H 
    Looking forward to be smack dab in new england where I think my mind and spirit is in..


    I came thisclose to taking a job at WUPE/WUHN in Pittsfield in the mid-1980s, Jay.  I always wonder what might have been.


    Fire up JT's Sweet Baby James LP and before you know it you'll be "on the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston."


    There's Jessie the yodeling cowgirl. Bullseye, he's Woody's horse. Pete the old prospector. And, Woody, the man himself.Of course, it's time for Woody's RoundUp. He's the very best! He's the rootinest, tootinest cowboy in the wild, wild west!


    HTF Rules | HTF Mission Statement | Father of the Bride

    Dieting with my Dog & Heart to Heart/Hand in Paw by Peggy Frezon


    #15 of 32 OFFLINE   Tom Fynan

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    Posted July 22 2010 - 09:47 AM

    Jay,


    If you end up in West Stockbridge, the Shaker Mill Tavern is a great place for a beer and/or dinner, and Truk's has very good Vietnamese. If you have some spare time in Dalton, check out the Crane paper museum. It's where they make the paper that money is printed on. There is a fascinating exhibit. No free samples, though.


    Tom Fynan



    #16 of 32 OFFLINE   Jay H

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    Posted July 23 2010 - 03:37 AM

    Is is me or does Massachusetts seem to be divided in some odd fashion, it's Boston and "western Massachusetts". Anything perhaps 20 miles outside Boston is "Western Massachusetts"!!!  :-)


    Jay


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    #17 of 32 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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    Posted July 23 2010 - 07:14 AM


    Originally Posted by Jay H 

    Is is me or does Massachusetts seem to be divided in some odd fashion, it's Boston and "western Massachusetts". Anything perhaps 20 miles outside Boston is "Western Massachusetts"!!!  :-)


    Jay


    No odder than New York, where anything 10 feet north of the Bronx line is "upstate" and practically anything out of sight of the east bank of the Hudson is "Western New York."  /img/vbsmilies/htf/smiley_wink.gif


    Regards,


    Joe



    #18 of 32 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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    Posted July 23 2010 - 06:41 PM

    The gravitational center of New York State is Manhattan, and the gravitational center of Massachusetts in Boston. Everything else is defined from them.



    #19 of 32 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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    Posted July 25 2010 - 01:21 AM

    Did you know that Pittsfield was recently the subject of a FARK.com headline?  /img/vbsmilies/htf/laugh.gif


    Decaying post-industrial tough guy Pittsfield, Massachusetts is trying to save itself by discovering its sensitive, artistic side. Not that there's anything wrong with that


    The article is quite informative.

    Regards,


    Joe



    #20 of 32 OFFLINE   Jay H

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    Posted July 25 2010 - 12:51 PM

    Yup, articles of the PCBs leaked into the Housatonic by GE, before it was illegal,  still remains in the area and the superfund site. but there is a lot of culture in the area of PIttsfield, Mass MoCA, Tanglewood, etc..  somewhat of an attempt to be cultural and all that...


    Jay


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