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Southern New England Board

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I don't know how others feel, but Fairfield County just doesn't feel right since it was incorporated into the Southern New England Board.
Chowhound, in my view, made a big mistake breaking up NYC, Westchester and Fairfield into (3) separate board locations.
If it were up for vote and I had a vote, I would vote that it would revert back to the way it was in the "good old days".

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  1. You are not alone. Not only doesn't Fairfield County "feel right", it pretty much doesn't exist any more. Sad, there used to be some good chatter. Now, not so much.

    1. Agreed. I'm up in Central MA and don't even know where Fairfield County is (I assume somepace in CT).

      1 Reply
      1. re: invinotheresverde

        Ditto here. I live on the Cape and chow talk about somewhere 4 hours away is totally irrelevant.

      2. I must be one of the few who likes the combined board. I live in Eastern Fairfield County, spend three days a week in Worcester and Essex Counties, MA and have a vacation home on Cape Cod.

        3 Replies
        1. re: bagelman01

          Mixed feelings here. To me, it would make far more sense to either do a CT only board or combine New Haven and Fairfield counties. We live in New Haven but frequently dine in Fairfield County, so to separate the two areas would, frankly, be a pain in the a**!!!

          1. re: lsnhc

            It;s the same as YANKEES/Red Sox.. I -91 is the big dividing line. New Haven up through Waterbury and across I-84 to NY is really in tune with Metro NY, not New England.

            Born and raised in New Haven, read the New York Timnes, Watched channels 2 and 4, didn't read the Boston Globe (owned by NY Times) or watch channels 3 or 30.

            Ate Hebrew National or Sabretts, never a Kayem or Fenway Frank. And lobeter rolls are hot lobster meat grilled in butter on a grilled buttered roll, not cold lobter salad on a split top hot dog roll.

            And I eat Manhattan Clam Chowder, first, natural (Jimmie's style) 2nd and with cream NEVER.

          2. re: bagelman01

            Bagel, never realized you're(often) in my hood (Worcester). Nice to see some "local" flavor.

          3. This thread will doubtless be shifted to Site Talk. See existing thread there. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/718289

            The dwindling Fairfield Cty participation in this board is sad... it used to percolate.

            Ah for a people's revolution here....

            31 Replies
            1. re: louuuuu

              Statistically, the Chow folk think of Fairfield County as a rounding error best swept into the New England odd bins. Pity. Back in the day, Leff knew the cultural/economic affinity that Westchester and Fairfield counties share. Maybe the old Chowhound himself should add his voice to the chorus.

              1. re: steve h.

                Bring back the tri-state board. But you can't say this anymore. This will get deleted for sure just like all the others...

                1. re: Scotty100

                  I believe a more appropriate name would be the "Metro New York Board" comprised of NYC, Hudson, Bergen, lower Westchester & lower Fairfied Counties.

                  1. re: makko

                    Manhattan would overwhelm, as would Outer Boroughs, so keep those boards intact. And you left out Long Island.

                  2. re: Scotty100

                    >> Bring back the tri-state board. But you can't say this anymore. This will get deleted for sure just like all the others...

                    The overwhelming majority of folks in NJ are very happy with New Jersey having its own board, and it makes sense, so leave it as is.

                    However, what has been done with the rest of the area surrounding New York City is a disaster. Most big cities in the U.S. - Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, etc - have a board that includes the city and its suburbs. New York City doesn't. I can understand why the city is broken out from the suburbs and is itself broken into two boards; within its city limits, NYC has more than twice as many people (and restaurants, I'm sure) than any other city in the country. But I can't understand why the suburbs of New York City don't have their own board, and are lumped in with the rest of their respective states. It's not such a big deal for NJ, because NJ is relatively small. But to have Long Island and Westchester lumped in with Buffalo and Rochester just doesn't make any sense at all. At the same time that the Chowhound Team was creating a board for Atlanta and its suburbs that's separate from its region, and another for the Twin Cities and their suburbs that's separate from its region, nobody thought of doing the same for New York City? That's ludicrous. The Chowhound Team screwed up the last realignment, and they need to make amends by doing another one, but doing it right. Create a board called Metro North for Westchester and Fairfield Counties (and maybe include the ones just across the Tappan Zee - Orange and Rockland). Create a separate board for Long Island. Create a board for the Triangle Area in NC, like the Chowhounds there have been screaming for. Create boards for other cities that could use it, like Detroit, Cleveland, St Louis, and Kansas City. Rename boards that need it, like Central South. If members of the Chowhound Team aren't from those areas, use the forums to solicit feedback, so that it can be done right, so it doesn't need to be redone.

                    1. re: nsxtasy

                      +1. Good post - makes sense to me.

                      1. re: Scotty100

                        Ditto
                        More discussion, less frustration = more traffic.

                      2. re: nsxtasy

                        Unfortunately, with declining site traffic, further fragmentation of the boards would mean long stretches of time between posts of new threads. On the Southern New England board, for instance, the far majority of posts are for Ct. regions which have no bearing on those of us in SE Mass. The Cape gets almost zero play in the off-season with the exception of 3-4 posters. Many long time posters have left because they got sick and tired of their topics being deleted by overzealous Mods for one reason or another.

                        1. re: nsxtasy

                          The idea of a MetroNorth board is a keeper. Perhaps we should just start a thread on the Southern New England Board called MetroNorth and see what happens? We can take a page from Linda Whit's moderation of the What's for Dinner thread on the Home Cooking board - she breaks out a new thread after 250 entries or so.

                          Of course the mods will have to react but perhaps a little civil disobedience is justified when explaining the obvious to the Chow folk.

                          Is this idea worth pursuing?

                          1. re: steve h.

                            Sorry, but we do request the posters respect the established geographical boundaries of our local boards. We'd appreciate it if you don't make more work for our mostly volunteer moderation team by creating threads you know will elicit replies which are off-topic for the board on which they are posted.

                            1. re: The Chowhound Team

                              The geographical boundaries were established by Jim Leff. They worked quite well. Changes were made and they don't work anywhere near as well.

                              Perhaps we should talk?

                              1. re: steve h.

                                Seeing that MetroNorth is within the confines of what is currently the Southern New England board, I don't see how the Moderators should have a problem with it. And where would they move it to? Seems entirely appropriate to me. :-)

                                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                  >> Seeing that MetroNorth is within the confines of what is currently the Southern New England board, I don't see how the Moderators should have a problem with it.

                                  It's not as simple as splitting one board into two. The Metro North board, as advocated by those in the area, would, at a minimum, including Fairfield County (which is currently part of the Southern New England board) and Westchester County (which is currently part of the New York State board). It remains to be seen what happens with other NYC suburbs, but to me it makes sense to also include Rockland County and possibly Orange and Putnam Counties on the Metro North board, and to create a new Long Island board for Nassau and Suffolk Counties (which have enough traffic to support their own board as well as being somewhat geographically separated by the city from the rest of the suburbs).

                                  Also, in the past the Chowhound Team has only changed the geographical boundaries of boards as part of a broader restructuring, instead of making changes one at a time. The case for the Metro North board is not the only one that Chowhounds have been advocating. Those in the Triangle Area of North Carolina have been wanting their own board for some time, and have sufficient traffic to justify it. Other metro areas that could easily justify their own boards include Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, and Kansas City. And the folks in the board called Central South (AR, LA ex NO, MS, AL) are not particularly happy with their name or their boundaries.

                                  1. re: nsxtasy

                                    I do not agree that people who live here have been advocating a Metro-North Board to include the counties you mention. In fact people who live here know that Metro North does not even go into Rockland County. The train stays on the east side of the Hudson and Rockland Cty is on the west side.

                                    People in Fairfield and Westchester counties have been advocating re-attaching the divided corpus. There may be great places to eat on the othe side of the Hudson, north of 287, but I could not name one since I have never eaten in Rockland County. I live, literally 1.5 miles from Westchester County, I feed my family every night from a grocer from Westchester County, I buy my cheese from a store in Westchester County, I buy my produce from a produce store in Westchester County, I buy my wine from a merchant in Westchester County, my favorite Penne with Vodka sauce and sausage is from a restaurant in Westchester County. I can literally run to each of those stores and yet all are on another board. It is very frustrating.

                                    I do not think people from inside the area are advocating a Metro-North. From what I have read, people who live here and write constantly about the food here are more interested in a Fairfield-Westchester County combo. Orange, Duchess and Rockland to join the party? Not so much from the posters I read every day.

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      >> people who live here know that Metro North does not even go into Rockland County. The train stays on the east side of the Hudson and Rockland Cty is on the west side.

                                      Not true! Apparently, people who live there don't know where Metro North (the commuter railroad) goes :) because it most certainly goes to Rockland and Orange Counties west of the Hudson, as well as Putnam and Dutchess Counties east of the Hudson. Check out the map on the MTA website and see for yourself: http://mta.info/mnr/html/mnrmap.htm

                                      As for what to do with Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Dutchess Counties on Chowhound, I'd ask the people who live there what they want to do. I don't think there's enough traffic to create their own "Hudson Valley" board, but maybe they disagree. Personally, I think it's silly to lump them in with Buffalo and Albany where they (and Westchester) are now. But let's let THEM decide where they ought to be!

                                      1. re: nsxtasy

                                        Thank you for the link but I do not need a URL to tell me that some marketing structure is the way people in the region view a train line or food boundaries. I live it 24/7/365 and I have been riding the trains out here for 50 years.

                                        The trains that go to the west side of the Hudson are known as the Erie Lackawana, they commence in Penn Station (since the connection between NYC and Hoboken was completed in 1996) at 34th and 7th directly beneath MSG; They travel west under the Hudson to Hoboken and then split to head north up to Pascack or west to Far Hills. You show up at Penn Station (or Hoboken) and ask for metro north they look at you goo-goo eyed and tell you that metro north leaves from grand central.

                                        Metro North commences at Grand Central Station at 42nd and Park. The trains go north under Park Ave and then split at 125th St to go north up to Dutchess County or Northeast to New Haven. You ask at the information booth at GCT for the Metro North train to PJ or Morristown they tell you to go to Penn Station and take the Erie Lackawana.

                                        And that is my point. I am not sure whether anyone asked the locals about the split last year and it appears it was done from chairs and desks hundreds and thousands of miles away. The cultural differences and the POVs of those that rely on these boards for day to day exchange of ideas know how the region works. People from Queens think Brooklyn is a foreign country. Fairfield County residents rarely go east for food but go west 99% of the time. Dutchess County is a totally different animal than Westchester. Farm to Table is big in both but you could blindfold most of us and we could tell whether the menu was a Westchester menu or a Dutchess county menu. Both are great in their own way.

                                        I am totally and completely clueless about the differences in Fort Worth versus Dallas, Oakland versus San Francisco, the west side of LA versus the east side and many other areas of this country. When I lived in Hyde Park, Skokie and Lincolnwood were just this side of Milwaukee. Why would I give an opinion from 800-3000 miles away as to how those boards should be structured.

                                        All we are looking for out here is input from those of us who could be regarded as Subject Matter Experts. There are maybe <20 of us who regularly contribute to Western FFD CTY and I do not, any longer have line of site into the Westchester Board any longer. It is not a large number, barely statistically significant. We are just offering our insight from the trenches, not google.

                                          1. re: nsxtasy

                                            My pleasure. Always glad to help someone from one of my favorite cities in America.

                                            BTW - In your post below, you do not need to go through The City (which people usually refer to Manhattan) to go from White Plains to the Island. 95S over the Throgs Neck. It is Manhattan that is generally referred to as "The City" with the Bronx et. al. being referred to separately.

                                            1. re: jfood

                                              I wind up taking the Whitestone almost as often as the Throgs Neck, depending on the traffic reports on the radio...

                                              1. re: nsxtasy

                                                you got that right buddy. then someone gets stalled, there is construction. lucky me, i get to do it four times in the next two weeks. reminds me of the dan ryan in the 70's.

                              2. re: The Chowhound Team

                                Dear Chowhound team - why won't you at least engage in a debate about returning to a tristate/metroNorth style board instead of incurring even more discontent among your customers by remaining silent on the core issue?

                                1. re: Scotty100

                                  Appreciate the time and effort of the unpaid Mods. Really. And also realize the borders were established at a level above them. Unfortunately, our only way of waging our Border War is Site Talk, and that alas seems a dead end. Very frustrating. Perhaps someone from above would explain the reasons against a suburban NYC board. Not to encourage a debate, but just an explanation. Otherwise I think the traffic will continue to dwindle ... as we all lose interest in a board that is becoming more and more irrelevant to the real geographical world of our food lives -- one not apportioned by State boundaries.

                                  1. re: louuuuu

                                    It's been about a year since we last divided the boards and I'm starting to look at how to adjust them again, and this is certainly something I'm considering. Redividing the boards isn't a fast process, however, so it's likely to take some time.

                                    1. re: Jacquilynne

                                      Thanks, Jacquilynne. Good to know redistricting is at least under consideration!

                                      1. re: louuuuu

                                        Good news indeed. Hopefully it happens soon as The Southern NE board is dying a slow death. No more than 20 posts in the last few days is pitiful.

                                        1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                          CCG>
                                          The only good thing about February is that it only has 28 days.
                                          Traffic and posting is down, business is down and the weather was horrendous in souther New England. With the arrival of better weather in March there should be an increase in both dining out and posts.
                                          Can't wait to get the convertible all fired up for some chow and wine road trips.

                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                            Ahhh Bagelman, one can only hope it's weather related or just the winter doldrums and bad economy. Unfortunately, I believe other issues are at work as I personally know of at least a half dozen regular and longtime posters who have left the site for good out of frustration. Sad really, and unnecessary in my opinion.

                                      2. re: Jacquilynne

                                        This is fantastic news and I will already volunteer to assist in moving the apporpriate threads to the Newly Establish Fair-Chester or West-Field Board. It has been a painful year with reduced traffic and trying to post on a regular basis to keep even a modicum of interest.

                                        My cursor is already on the "Contributor Panel" button.

                                        Insert hands Clapping

                                        :-)))))))

                                        1. re: Jacquilynne

                                          I have no pony in this race particular race.

                                          However, why can't Chow/chowhound get some selected users involved prior to committing to changes? It would avoid all of this type of thing on every installation and change.

                                          Just to put it in the back of someone's mind, it really would be nice to split Central American and the Carribean from South America. Two separate continents and all.

                                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                                            Howdy Jacquilynne,

                                            You didn't do a good job "redividing" the board the last time. Leff, the original Chowhound, did a decent job in marrying geographic boundaries. Redistricting will always be a touchy subject but you could do a lot worse by reverting to the (Leff) norm while you figure things out.

                                            It's always good practice to stop the hemorrhaging before proposing solutions.

                                            just my $0.02.

                            2. One of the things I dont understand is why Chowhound does not add some sort fo geographic field to fill in with City name/Borough/state/country name; whatever, for each Board.
                              It would make it infinitely easier for folks to identify the posts that are relevant to them in the broad scale boards I think Metro North as a forum for NY's northern suburbs make a lot of sense (at least as much sense as NJ or Outer boroughs. ) as long as it is possible for people to see posts relevant to them clearly . There are people on every Board that only talk about one neighborhood or subset of the content.

                              In addition,there are plenty of commuters throughout the Metro area that have meaningful contacts with one or more areas through commuting, family whatever.Those people crossing the Tappan Zee from Rockland are not all going down to Manhattan, for example. Its hard to create a special little universe for to suit everybody's micro-worldview.. I believe that if Chowhound succeeds in setting up appropriate Boards, communities that dont currently exist can develop and strenghen. Build a nice playpen and people will come to play..

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: jen kalb

                                >> One of the things I dont understand is why Chowhound does not add some sort fo geographic field to fill in with City name/Borough/state/country name; whatever, for each Board.
                                It would make it infinitely easier for folks to identify the posts that are relevant to them in the broad scale boards

                                I'm not sure what you're suggesting, jen. If you're suggesting a better definition for each forum, most of the forums show what they're about, in a subtitle below the forum name when listing topics in them, and/or in a stickied post called "New to the XXX Board? Read this first". If you're suggesting that every topic be identified by filling in a city state etc, that may be a problem because some are easily categorizable (it's about one or more restaurants in X city in X state) while others are not because they cover an area that can cross city or even state lines within a given forum. I'm not sure what you're suggesting, but if it's something else, maybe you can clarify what you mean.

                                >> In addition,there are plenty of commuters throughout the Metro area that have meaningful contacts with one or more areas through commuting, family whatever.Those people crossing the Tappan Zee from Rockland are not all going down to Manhattan, for example.

                                Yes, exactly. When I spend time in White Plains, I often drive across the bridge to Nyack (and vice versa), because it's very close by. I'm sure others do the same. But I'm not as likely to drive to the Island when I'm in White Plains because it's further away and it means driving through the city. The same way, that's why I think it makes sense for me to look at a separate forum for when I go to the Island, because I'm not going to be interested in driving through Queens and the Bronx all the way to Westchester or Fairfield. But if the people on the Island think it's better for them to be part of the Metro North forum, then that's fine too, whatever they think is best. I just think it's silly to have them lumped in with Upstate.

                                >> Its hard to create a special little universe for to suit everybody's micro-worldview.. I believe that if Chowhound succeeds in setting up appropriate Boards, communities that dont currently exist can develop and strenghen. Build a nice playpen and people will come to play..

                                Nicely stated!

                                1. re: nsxtasy

                                  Yeah. I think in every forum a subdivision is useful
                                  in some (for example NJ it might be the city or county name) in others like outer boroughs it might be the borough name, in Europe (ridiculous forum scope!) it might be country or country AND city name. Some participants try to do this by putting an airport code or something in their title line but others dont give any geographically useful info whatsoever in their titles (i.e Great Chinese restaurant! or "need special date restaurant" so a reader has to open the post to see if it is at all relevant. I just think there should be some Board provided help with this in areas that arent limited to a particular City - it would be easy enough to have some sort of a pulldown or blank to fill in connection with the creation of a new thread..

                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                    >> Some participants try to do this by putting an airport code or something in their title line but others dont give any geographically useful info whatsoever in their titles (i.e Great Chinese restaurant! or "need special date restaurant" so a reader has to open the post to see if it is at all relevant.

                                    In forums that cover a wide geographic area, it's expected that some indication of the location is included in the title. And if anyone forgets to do so, usually someone mentions it to the Chowhound Team and they add it afterwards. For an example, see the Great Lakes forum at http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/72 (which covers six states) and you'll see that almost every topic notes a city in the title.

                                2. re: jen kalb

                                  Just give me back most of the old tri state board Hudson Valley and Long Island far more logical and local than Cape Cod and Newport.

                                  Lots of CH'ers in Western Westchester who will be active participants in the new board do the Hudson Valley and Rockland more than they get to Fairfield Cty . Peter Kelly's in Piermont is closer to us in Fairfield County than his x20 in Yonkers.

                                  Will be interesting to see what Jaquillyne comes up with... but she's dealing with one tough outspoken crowd! Which is exactly what will revive the new board. And Site.