The rivalry once had something to do with high school sports, but those Business Club extracurriculars sure paid off better than windsprints. New Bedford can no longer cast a long dark imaginary shadow of relative success over its neighbor to the west.
A Fall River-based corporate chain of motels (that provides Little Debbie™ products as their Continental Breakfast) has won the emptiest victory of Ever by destroying the only chunk of New Bedford historical significance that hasn't yet been sold for a dollar or sunk into the harbor. Or lost at sea. Or bought by out-of-town interests. Or anxiously hidden away by jealous caretakers. Or burned to the ground. Or smashed to make room for a discount supermarket.
"It took some finagling," says some guy I'm sure probably exists. "But we got TIFs and a $250,000 loan, and we got in on the waterfront by circumventing or ignoring all that preservation crap and we wrecked a big whaley-boily burny-firey thing that some smartypants called a tryworks."The tryworks -- part of the Baker-Robinson whale oil refinery that's going to wake up someday this July as a beige-and-powderblue
dining hallconference center -- is pretty much wrecked, as shown in this picture by David Oliveira of the Standard-Times, which was featured in an enigmatically terse Jack Spillane blog entry.
Perhaps the most satisfying achievement for B.M.C. Durfee High School alums, however, is knowing that the soon-to-be-mildewy no-tell crashpad is named "Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott," a name that -- not counting the 'Inn' or ampersand -- has nothing at all to do with "whaling" or "The Whaling City." (Plus, that's what New London CT calls itself, anyway.)
-with special thanks to Carol Steinfeld,
whose investigation is actually a serious one.