Those readers that have no idea of MA geography might not know that Springfield is the state's third largest city, not that this means much as the only real city in MA is Boston. Springfield is desperately poor, with a high unemployment rate, depressed Main Street with many empty storefronts, a large Hispanic population and a high crime rate. The area is so depressed that manufacturing is long gone, houses are dilapidated, and there is virtually little chance to improve ones life there.
Both of my brothers live in the Springfield suburb of Longmeadow. One of my brothers works in downtown Springfield (what little there is of it) and does business in the courthouse that is right downtown. Since I happen to be really ticked at him, I didn't even bother to see if he's OK. I figure that eventually I would hear something. Maybe not. I don't really care right now.
I don't have much love for Springfield. Other than the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Quadrangle of Museums, there is absolutely nothing that could possibly interest me. The downtown mall called Baystate West is filled with empty stores. There really aren't any restaurants worth visiting, nor bars with music. It is as different than Boston as Fargo or Juneau would be. MA doesn't think much of the Western part of the commonwealth. Between Worcester and the Berkshires is a kind of no man's land of small towns, rural and without much to offer other than cheap housing and a lot of bugs.
Even though I'm not fond of the area, I feel badly about the devastation and know that the possibility of Springfield bouncing back is doubtful. The state is broke, the western part of the state always gets the shaft, it the whole think stinks.
Photos taken from boston.com Stumble It! JBlog Me