Bridgeport, Connecticut

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Bridgeport, Connecticut
Clockwise from top: Downtown Bridgeport, the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry, the United Congregational Church, St. Patrick's Church, and the P.T. Barnum Museum
Clockwise from top: Downtown Bridgeport, the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry, the United Congregational Church, St. Patrick's Church, and the P.T. Barnum Museum
Flag of Bridgeport
Official seal of Bridgeport
Nickname(s): The Park City, The Port, B-Port, BPT, "Philly & Boston's Midpoint"
Location in Fairfield County, Connecticut
Location in Fairfield County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°11′11″N 73°11′44″W / 41.18639°N 73.19556°W / 41.18639; -73.19556Coordinates: 41°11′11″N 73°11′44″W / 41.18639°N 73.19556°W / 41.18639; -73.19556
Country United States
State Connecticut
County Fairfield
NECTA Bridgeport-Stamford
Region Greater Bridgeport
Incorporated (town) 1821
Incorporated (city) 1836
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Mayor Bill Finch
 • City 19.4 sq mi (50.2 km2)
 • Land 16.0 sq mi (41.4 km2)
 • Water 3.4 sq mi (8.8 km2)
 • Urban 9,014.3 sq mi (3,843.8 km2)
Elevation 3 ft (1 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • City 144,229
 • Estimate (2013)[2] 147,216
 • Rank US: 172nd
 • Density 8,720.9/sq mi (3,354/km2)
 • Urban 923,311 (US: 48th)
 • Metro 939,904 (US: 57th)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06601, 06602, 06604, 06605, 06606, 06607, 06608, 06610, 06650, 06673, 06699[3]
Area code(s) 203/475
FIPS code 09-08000
GNIS feature ID 0205720
Website City of Bridgeport

Bridgeport is the most populous city in the state of Connecticut. Located in Fairfield County on the Pequonnock River and Long Island Sound, the city had an estimated population of 144,229 at the 2010 United States Census[4] and is the core of the Greater Bridgeport area.

The city is part of the Greater New York City Combined Statistical Area. It is the fifth-largest city in New England (behind Boston, Worcester, Providence and Springfield). Bridgeport is the center of the 48th-largest urban area in the United States, just behind Hartford (47th). Much of Bridgeport was originally a part of the township of Stratford.

English colonists began settling the city in the 1640s, obtaining land from the Paugussett Indian tribe. The settlement became a center of trade, shipbuilding, and whaling. In the 19th century, the city rapidly industrialized, attracting immigrants to the growing number of factory jobs. Manufacturing was the mainstay of the local economy until the 1970s. Industrial restructuring and suburbanization caused the loss of many jobs and affluent residents, leaving Bridgeport struggling with problems of poverty. In the 21st century, conversion of office buildings to residential, and other redevelopment is attracting new residents.

The circus-promoter and former mayor, P.T. Barnum, was a famous resident of the city. Barnum built three houses there, and housed his circus in town during winters. The first Subway restaurant opened in the North End section of the city in 1965.[5] The Frisbie Pie Company was located here, and Bridgeport is credited as the birthplace of the Frisbee.[6]


The first documented English settlement within the city limits took place in 1644, centered at Black Rock Harbor and along North Avenue between Park and Briarwood Avenues. The place was called Pequonnock ('Cleared Land' in the Quripi language), after the name of the Native American people, a band of the Paugussett, who had historically occupied this area. One of their sacred sites was Golden Hill, site of powerful springs and planting fields, now adjoining downtown Bridgeport.[7][8] The Golden Hill Indians were granted a reservation here by the Colony of Connecticut in 1639 that survived until 1802. A village called Newfield began to coalesce around the corner of State and Water Streets in the 1760s.[9]

The area officially became known as Stratfield in 1701 due to its location between the already existing towns of Stratford and Fairfield.[10] During the American Revolution, Bridgeport and its harbor were a center of privateering.[8] In 1800, Newfield village was incorporated as the Borough of Bridgeport (the first such incorporation in the state), and in 1821 the township of Bridgeport became independent of Stratford. Bridgeport was chartered as Connecticut's fifth city in 1836.[11]

Bridgeport's early years were marked by residents' reliance on fishing and farming, not altogether different from the economy of the Native American Paugussett. They had cultivated corn, beans and squash, and fished and gathered shellfish from both the river and sound. The city's location on the sheltered Newfield Harbor fostered a boom in shipbuilding and whaling in the early-19th century, especially prior to the the opening of a railroad from the city up the Housatonic Valley in 1840.[12][13]. A railroad connection to New York City and New Haven was added in 1848. The city rapidly industrialized in the mid-19th century, when it became a major center. It produced such goods as the famous Bridgeport milling machine, brass fittings, carriages, sewing machines, brassieres, saddles, and ammunition.[14] Bridgeport annexed the West End and the village of Black Rock and its busy harbor in 1870.[15]

Eastern View of Bridgeport, Con. by John Warner Barber (1836)

Industrialization was underway by the mid-19th century. Famous factories included Wheeler & Wilson, which produced sewing machines and exported them throughout the world, and the Locomobile Company of America, builder of one of the premier automobiles in the early years of the century.[16] In the summer of 1915, amid increased labor demand as men were drafted for World War I, workers in Bridgeport called a series of strikes demanding the eight-hour day. They were so successful that the strikes and the eight-hour day spread throughout the Northeast.[17] By 1930, Bridgeport was a thriving industrial center with more than 500 factories. Since the late 19th century, its industrial jobs had attracted the most recent immigrants: Irish, Italians and Eastern Europeans. The build-up to World War II further helped its industries.[18] Additionally, Columbia Records' primary pressing plant was located in Bridgeport. It manufactured the Columbia OKeh (after 1926), as well as their dime-store labels (Harmony, Velvet Tone, Diva and Clarion).

Restructuring of heavy industry starting after the mid-20th century caused the loss of thousands of jobs and residents. Like other urban centers in Connecticut, Bridgeport suffered during the deindustrialization of the United States in the 1970s and 1980s.[19] Continued development of new suburban housing attracted middle and upper-class residents, leaving the city with a higher proportion of poor. The city suffered from overall mismanagement, for which several city officials were convicted, contributing to the economic and social decline.[20]

In September 1978, Bridgeport teachers went on a 19-day strike due to deadlocked contract negotiations. A court order, as well as a state law that made strikes by public workers illegal in Connecticut, resulted in 274 teachers being arrested and jailed.[21]

A portion of the harbor in Bridgeport. Facilities shown are part of the United Illuminating coal-fired power plant

Like other northeastern cities suffering from the effects of post-World War II industrial decline, Bridgeport made numerous efforts at revitalization. In one proposal Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn was to build a large casino, but that project failed to be implemented. In 1991, the city filed for bankruptcy protection but was declared solvent by a federal court.[22] However, in the early 21st century, Bridgeport has taken steps toward redevelopment of its downtown and other neighborhoods. In 2004, artists' lofts were developed in the former Read's Department Store on Broad Street. Several other rental conversions have been completed, including the 117-unit Citytrust bank building on Main Street. The recession has halted, at least temporarily, two major mixed-use projects including a $1 billion waterfront development at Steel Point, but other redevelopment projects have proceeded, such as the condominium conversion project in Bijou Square.[23] In 2009, the City Council approved a new master plan for development, designed both to promote redevelopment in selected areas and to protect existing residential neighborhoods.[24] In 2010, the Bridgeport Housing Authority and a local health center announced plans to build a $20 million medical and housing complex at Albion Street, making use of federal stimulus funds and designed to replace some of the housing lost with the demolition of Father Panik Village.[25]

Notable speeches[edit]

On March 10, 1860, Abraham Lincoln spoke in the city's Washington Hall, an auditorium at the old Bridgeport City Hall (now McLevy Hall), at the corner of State and Broad streets. The largest room in the city was packed, and a crowd formed outside as well. Lincoln received a standing ovation before taking the 9:07 p.m. train that night back to Manhattan.[26][27] A plaque marks the site where Lincoln spoke; later that year, he was elected president.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke three times at the Klein Auditorium during the 1960s. Additionally, President George W. Bush spoke before a small group of Connecticut business people and officials at the Playhouse on the Green in 2006.[28] President Barack Obama also spoke at the Harbor Yard arena in 2010 to gain support for the campaign of Democratic Governor Dan Malloy.[29]

Emergency services[edit]

Emergency Medical Services[edit]

EMS is provide by American Medical Response of Connecticut, Inc - Fairfield County Operations Division. Paramedic and EMT level ambulance service transport service are provided in conjunction with the Bridgeport Fire Department.

Fire department[edit]

The Bridgeport Fire Department provides fire protection and first responder emergency medical services to the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States.[30] The Bridgeport Fire Department serves nearly 147,000 people living in approximately 16 square miles of land.

Tracing its roots to 1796, the Bridgeport Fire Department protects Connecticut's largest city. Bridgeport's first step toward independence occurred when the Corporation of Newfield was formed in 1797 for the express purpose of forming a fire company. Through the years, the firefighters have continued to play a significant role in Bridgeport's history. The history of the paid Bridgeport Fire Department began in 1871, when the department began shedding its "paid-on-call" firemen and replacing them with full-time paid members, a process which was completed by 1911.

Law enforcement[edit]

Five law enforcement agencies serve Bridgeport: two at the city level, one at the county level, and two at the state level.

Medical care[edit]

The community has two hospitals, Bridgeport Hospital and St. Vincent's Medical Center. The former Park City Hospital closed in 1993 and was reopened in 2010 as elderly and homeless housing units.[31] Emergency medical services are provided by American Medical Response at the paramedic level.

Animal control[edit]

Located for many years at 525 Asylum Street, in 2008 Bridgeport Animal Control moved to 236 Evergreen Street. This location was the previous housing quarters for the Shoreline Star Greyhounds and once housed over 800 dogs. The animal control facility is the largest in the state of Connecticut, handling more than 1500 to 2000 animals yearly. The new facilities consist of three buildings: one for administration and two for animal holding. One serves for quarantine for the seven-day holding period, and the second is the adoption building. The new shelter can house up to 80 dogs and 25 cats. The largest breed of dog the shelter deals with is the pit bull. The BAC does not pick up cats or wildlife unless they are sick or injured.[32]

Geography and climate[edit]


Bridgeport is located along Long Island Sound at the mouth of the Pequonnock River, named for the Native American tribe who historically lived along it.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.4 square miles (50 km2), of which 16.0 square miles (41 km2) is land and 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2), or 17.53%, is water.

Bridgeport lies within the transition zone between a humid subtropical and a humid continental (Köppen Cfa/Dfa). The coastal location of Bridgeport on Long Island Sound result in Bridgeport being several degrees cooler in summer and milder with less snowfall in winter than locations further away from the coast. Bridgeport is a relatively sunny climate, averaging more than 2400 hours of sunshine annually.

In summer, hot and often sultry tropical weather conditions can be typical, with high temperatures in the 80s and occasionally in the 90s F. Brief, but intense late day thunderstorms are common in the hottest months. Fall and spring months are cool to warm with high temperatures from 50 to 70 F. The winter months have daily high temperatures in the upper 30s F and overnight lows in the mid 20s F. Winters in Bridgeport are modest, with a mix of rain and snow, though in some years Bridgeport can receive heavy snow. The city receives 42.8 inches (1,090 mm) of precipitation and 30 inches (76 cm) of snowfall in an average year.

With a period of record only dating back to 1948, Bridgeport's highest temperature is 103 °F (39 °C) on July 22 in 1957 and 2011, while the lowest temperature is −7 °F (−22 °C) on January 22, 1984. Several hurricanes have impacted Bridgeport, including one in 1938.

Climate data for Bridgeport, Connecticut (Sikorsky Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 68
Average high °F (°C) 37.1
Average low °F (°C) 23.1
Record low °F (°C) −7
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.10
Snowfall inches (cm) 9.2
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 10.9 9.7 11.3 11.0 11.8 11.1 8.9 8.9 8.2 8.8 10.0 11.1 121.7
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 inch) 5.0 3.6 2.4 .3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .5 3.1 15.0
Source: NOAA[33]
1912 postcard showing Main Street in Bridgeport



Historical postcard showing Bridgeport Harbor
1941 postcard showing Fairfield County Courthouse in Bridgeport

Bridgeport comprises eight major subdivisions, most of which are divided into smaller neighborhoods:

  • Downtown Bridgeport is the site of the original seaport village of "Newfield" that began to develop in the 1760s and became an important regional center of commerce in the post-Revolutionary period (‘Newfield' was renamed ‘Bridgeport' in the year 1800). Downtown is bounded on the east by the Pequonnock River and Bridgeport Harbor; on the north and west by the Route 25-8 Expressway (Col. Henry Mucci Highway); and on the south by Interstate 95 (Connecticut Turnpike).
  • The East Side, known in the 19th century as East Bridgeport, is the area between Yellow Mill Pond/Old Mill Brook and the Pequonnock River. In the pre-Revolutionary times the portion south of the railroad tracks was Newpasture Point (like Newfield, one of the common fields of the town of Stratford), and the area north of the tracks up to Boston Avenue (developed by P.T. Barnum and William H. Noble beginning in 1850) was Pembroke City, ‘Pembroke' being a corruption of ‘Pann Brook,' after the Pann family of Indians (also dating back to 17th-century deeds). "Pann" in the Quripi language refers to the waterfall located where Boston Avenue crosses Old Mill Brook. From Boston Avenue north to Beardsley Park and the intersection of Huntington Turnpike and East Main Street was laid out in the first years of the 20th century as Beardsley Park Slope, a calculated reference to the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, at that time the most exclusive residential precinct in America. The territory from the Huntington/East Main intersection north to the Trumbull line was known for generations as Briarwood, after the 325-acre farm of the Thompson family that fronted on Huntington Turnpike. In recent decades the name Treeland (after the nursery that was one of the neighborhood's first businesses) has come into common use. Collectively, these last two neighborhoods comprise the Upper East Side.
  • The East End is that part of the city to the east of Yellow Mill Pond and Old Mill Creek, the territory annexed from Stratford in 1889. It is subdivided into Newfield (south of Stratford Avenue and west of Blackman's Creek [an arm of Johnson's Creek that adjoins Central Avenue]); East End Proper (north of Stratford Avenue and east of Blackman's Creek up to the New Haven railroad tracks); Old Mill Hill (north of the railroad tracks to Granfield Avenue/Stewart Street); and Success (north of Granfield/Stewart and including much of the present Remington Woods), which is a Native American name in use since the 17th century.
  • The South End is that section of the city south of State Street and east of Went Field that abuts Downtown. Since the filling in of a salt marsh and tidal flats to the west of Barnum Dyke after 1919, Fayerweather Island was more-or-less annexed to the South End from Black Rock, with which it was historically associated. The exclusive residential district south of Atlantic Street (now the University of Bridgeport campus) was long known as Marina Park (named for P.T. Barnum's palatial residence) to distinguish itself from the working-class blocks to the north. The blocks around the intersection of Main and Whiting Streets once comprised a village of free people of color called in its early days (1821-47) "Ethiope," and, later (1847-late 1800s) "Liberia." Today this historic community is widely known as Little Liberia.
  • The area now known collectively as The Hollow is an amalgamation of several historic communities. Golden Hill was the well-to-do neighborhood (largely obliterated by highway construction and commercial development) that occupied the hill to the west of Pequonnock and Congress Streets. Sterling Hill was a 19th-century Irish settlement on the north and east slopes (named not for the less-expensive metal but for its progenitor, Daniel H. Sterling). The area north of Harral Avenue to North Avenue, the Hollow Proper of the present day, was known in the 19th century by the bucolic name of Golden Valley. From Madison Avenue west to the Pequonnock River is a section still known as Bull's Head, after a tavern of that name that stood at the corner of Main and Frank Streets that was a favorite stop of cattle drovers from Monroe and Newtown in the 1790s. Island Brook is an area located to the south of North Avenue between the Pequonnock River and Housatonic Avenue. Beginning in 1786 it was the site of a village built around a grist mill that was known prior to the 1850s as Berkshire.
  • Like the East End, the West End was annexed from a neighboring town, in this case Fairfield, in 1870. It occupies that entire portion of the city between Park Avenue and the Rooster River, except for Black Rock and the upper part of the South End. Traditionally, the area to the east of Clinton Avenue was known as the West Side, while to the west of it was the West End Proper. The neighborhood bounded by North, Laurel, Capitol, and Park Avenues (and up to the present Central High School) was laid out as another elite development beginning in 1914 and was called Beach's Woods, site of the Beach family's farm that dated back to the Revolutionary War era. The part to the south of the railroad tracks and turnpike, reclaimed from salt marsh in the 1880s and '90s and demolished in the 1960s, was called Hunktown by virtue of its homogenous Hungarian-American population. Brooklawn was, historically, entirely within the bounds of Fairfield (laid out as an expensive estate district surrounding Brooklawn Country Club in 1892). That portion of Stratfield Road that extended into Bridgeport was renamed Brooklawn Avenue as part of the development scheme.
  • Black Rock is a peninsula that extends southwesterly from the West End between Black Rock Harbor and Ash Creek. Its boundaries made it even more insular prior to the 1940s, when the filled land that now contains the P.T. Barnum housing project was a saltwater inlet known as Burr Creek. Black Rock was a part of the Town of Fairfield until 1870, and before the Civil War was one of the state's most important seaports and shipbuilding centers (the historic village was the city's first historic district). The elite enclave at the tip of the peninsula was generally known as Grover's Hill until 1926, when the Black Rock Land & Improvement Company felt that St. Mary's by-the-Sea had a better ring to it.
  • The North End is bounded by Park and North Avenues, the Trumbull town line, and the Pequonnock River. Starting on the east, the hill that is bisected by Sylvan Avenue was known to previous generations as Rocky Hill. Real estate developers of the 1940s and '50s promoted it as Sylvan Crest. To the west, the next hill over, bisected by Reservoir Avenue and westerly to Island Brook, was known from the old days as Chopsey Hill (after ‘John Pork Chop,' an Indian who occupied a Paugussett Indian reservation where the Trumbull Gardens housing complex is now located). During Prohibition it was still quite rural, and building lots could be procured for as little as $75. After a number of raids on illicit distillery operations the Bridgeport Herald dubbed it "Whiskey Hill." The hill to the west, extending from Island Brook to the vicinity of Wayne Street (with Summit Street appropriately at its summit), has no name in common parlance today. In the 18th and 19th century it was known as Cow Hill, an appropriate mate to Ox Hill located along Main Street above Anton Street. To the south of Cow Hill, from Salem Street down to North Avenue and west to Beachwood Park, is an area commonly known as the Old North End. Two more hills define the North End, Toilsome Hill (approximately bounded by Wayne Street, Park and Capitol Avenues and Rooster River Boulevard; and Chestnut Hill (north of Toilsome Hill to the Trumbull line). And completing the circle is Lake Forest (a late-1930s suburban development of the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company's outmoded Island Brook Reservoir, which dates back to 1866), and Charcoal Pond (where the city's drinking water was once filtered).


  • Fayerweather Island is a 7 1/2-acre wooded island in Long Island Sound connected to Seaside Park by a seawall and is home to the Black Rock Harbor Light.
  • Pleasure Beach (formerly known as Steeplechase Island), is a 71-acre island located in Long Island Sound, to the south of city's East End, and is connected by the Long Beach sandspit to Stratford, Connecticut.
  • Great Marsh Island is a 14-acre island located near the mouth of Ash Creek in the Black Rock neighborhood.

Land use and terrain[edit]

Bridgeport Harbor is bordered by Long Island Sound and is formed by the estuary of the Pequonnock River and Yellow Mill Creek, a tidal inlet. Between the estuary and the pond is a peninsula, East Bridgeport, also known as the East Side, which was once the site of some of the largest manufacturing establishments in Connecticut, most of which no longer exist. On the other side of the Yellow Mill Pond inlet is the East End of Bridgeport, which is the far eastern point of the city, next to Pleasure Beach. Above the East End is the Mill Hill neighborhood and the border with Stratford, Connecticut. West of the Harbor and the Pequonnock River is the main portion of the city, with Downtown Bridgeport lining the river, the South End lining the harbor and Long Island Sound, the West Side between Fairfield, Connecticut and Downtown, and North Bridgeport extending from Downtown and the West Side to the border with Trumbull, Connecticut. Numerous factories, some of which are no longer in operation, line western sections the Metro North/New Haven Railroad line from the Bridgeport Station in Downtown, under Interstate 95 in the South End, and through the West Side and into Fairfield. The city is surrounded by hills up to 300 feet in height in North Bridgeport/North End, the Upper East Side, and Mill Hill.

There are two large parks in Bridgeport, the Park City. Beardsley is in the extreme northeastern part of the city and also contains Connecticut's only zoo, the Beardsley Zoo. It also borders Bunnell's Pond, a 70-acre lake. Seaside is west of the harbor entrance and along the Sound in the South End. It has statues in honor of Elias Howe, who built a large sewing-machine factory in 1863; and of P.T. Barnum, the showman, who lived in Bridgeport after 1846. He contributed much to the city, especially East Bridgeport. Seaside Park also has a soldiers' and sailors' monument. In the vicinity were located many upscale residences, now mostly demolished or converted to institutional use.

Aside from the Pequonnock River and the Yellow Mill Pond, there is Cedar Creek, a canal-like tidal creek that lies between Black Rock and Seaside Park. Black Rock Harbor lies at the mouth of the creek.

The principal municipal buildings in Bridgeport are the city's two hospitals (St. Vincent's Medical Center and Bridgeport Hospital), the Barnum Institute (occupied by the Bridgeport Scientific and Historical Society), the Bridgeport Medical Society, City Hall, the Fairfield County Courthouse, the Barnum Museum, and the United States Customs House, which also contains a post office.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 1,089
1820 1,500 37.7%
1830 2,800 86.7%
1840 3,294 17.6%
1850 6,080 84.6%
1860 12,106 99.1%
1870 18,969 56.7%
1880 27,643 45.7%
1890 48,866 76.8%
1900 70,996 45.3%
1910 102,054 43.7%
1920 143,555 40.7%
1930 146,716 2.2%
1940 147,121 0.3%
1950 158,709 7.9%
1960 156,748 −1.2%
1970 156,542 −0.1%
1980 142,546 −8.9%
1990 141,686 −0.6%
2000 139,529 −1.5%
2010 144,229 3.4%
Est. 2013 147,216 2.1%
Population 1840–1970[34]
U.S. Decennial Census[35]
2013 Estimate[2]

As of the census of 2000, there were 139,529 people, 50,307 households, and 32,749 families residing in the city. The population density was 8,720.9 people per square mile (3,367.0/km²). There were 54,367 housing units at an average density of 3,398.1 per square mile (1,312.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 45.0% White, 30.8% African American, 0.5% Native American, 3.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 14.8% from other races, and 5.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31.8% of the population. Other ancestry groups include: Italian (8.6%), Irish (5.1%), Portuguese (2.9%), Polish (2.8%), and German (2.4%).[36]

As of the 2010 census, there were 144,229 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city residents was 39.6% White; 34.6% Black or African American; 3.4% Asian; and 4.3% from two or more races. A total of 38.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[37] Non-Hispanic Whites were 22.7% of the population in 2010,[37] compared to 74.6% in 1970.[38]

A typical street scene in Bridgeport

There were 50,307 households out of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.0% were married couples living together, 24.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.34.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,658, and the median income for a family was $39,571. Males had a median income of $32,430 versus $26,966 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,306. About 16.2% of families and 18.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.8% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over. Since 1849, FSWINC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization has provided care for individuals living in difficult socioeconomic situations in both Bridgeport and Fairfield.[39][40]

According to 2010 census data, the Bridgeport MSA, containing all of Fairfield County, is the most unequal region in America.[41][42]


Top employers[edit]

According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[43] the top employers in the city are:

Employer # of Employees
St. Vincent's Medical Center 3,000
Bridgeport Hospital 2,622
People's United Bank 1,179
University of Bridgeport 875
Bridgeport Health Care Center 500
Housatonic Community College 482
Prime Line 310
Derecktor Shipyards 300
Lacey Manufacturing 275
Watermark Retirement Communities 165


Higher education[edit]

Bridgeport is home to Housatonic Community College, St. Vincent's College, University of Bridgeport and the Yeshiva Gedola of Bridgeport. The Yeshiva Gedola is currently the home of the Bridgeport Community Kollel, a rabbinic fellowship program.[44]

Public education[edit]

The city's public school system has 30 elementary schools, three comprehensive high schools, two alternative programs and an interdistrict vocational aquaculture school. The system has about 20,800 students, making the Bridgeport Public Schools the second largest school system in Connecticut after Hartford. It is ranked #158 out of the 164 Connecticut school districts.[45] The school system employs a professional staff of more than 1,700.

The city has started a large school renovation and construction program, with plans for new schools and modernization of existing buildings.

Public high schools

Private education[edit]

Bridgeport is also home to private schools, including Bridgeport Hope School (K-8), Bridgeport International Academy (grades 9-12), Catholic Academies of Bridgeport (St. Augustine School (PK-8) and St. Raphael School (PK-8)), Kolbe Cathedral High School (9-12), St. Andrew School (PK-8), St. Ann Academy (PK-8), and Zion Lutheran School (PK-8).

Government and politics[edit]

The city is governed by the mayor council system. There are twenty members of the city council elected from districts. Each district elects two members. The mayor is elected by the entire city.

Bridgeport is notable for having had a Socialist mayor for 24 years; Jasper McLevy served as mayor from 1933 to 1957. A more recent mayor, Joseph Ganim, was involved in a corruption scandal, as has been the case with some other mayors in Connecticut.[46] In June 2006, Mayor John M. Fabrizi admitted that he had used cocaine while in office.[47]

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 25, 2005[48]
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
  Republican 5,069 468 5,537
  Democratic 33,374 2,855 36,229
  Unaffiliated 18,538 1,887 20,425
  Minor parties 27 3 30
Total 57,008 5,213 62,221 100%


In 2005, the mill rate for Bridgeport was 42.28[49] and is reportedly 41.855 for fiscal year 2013-2014.[50]


Performing arts[edit]

Theater and music[edit]

Bridgeport has a number of venues for live theater and music events, ranging from intimate performing spaces to a stadium hosting rock concerts.[51]

Music festivals and concert series[edit]

Bridgeport has been the annual home to Gathering of the Vibes, a weekend long arts, music and camping festival featuring some of the best names in festival talent. In 1999, 2000, and 2007 through 2010, thousands of people have come from all over the world to camp in Seaside Park and enjoy such talent as Buddy Guy, Bob Weir and Ratdog, Deep Banana Blackout, Les Claypool, Assembly of Dust, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Los Lobos and Bridgeport's own The Alternate Routes.

Since 1945, the Greater Bridgeport Symphony has been a cultural and musical gem for the City of Bridgeport and its surrounding towns, performing at the 1,400 seat Klein Memorial Auditorium. The orchestra has a rich and vibrant history. Under the direction of Gustav Meier for the past 41 years, the prestigious orchestra has welcomed international soloists Beverly Sills, Midori, Benny Goodman, Itzhak Perlman with other links to legends like Leonard Bernstein, Jose Iturbi. Through its annual Carlson-Horn Competition for Young Instrumentalist created many new bright professional soloists including Andrew Armstrong, Alexander Markov, Anita Chen, to name just a few.

Bridgeport is also the home of the Black Rock Art Center, a multi-cultural center that presents performing artists from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Americas both at the Art Center and also in a Summer Sounds of the World concert series. The series has featured such artists as blues musician James Cotton, Grammy-award winner Eddie Palmieri, the Cambodian Angkor Dance Company, salsa master Larry Harlow, and folk artists Richie Havens and Odetta. The Art Center features a world music series, a cabaret series, the Black Rock Blues Festival, in addition to cinema, gallery, and educational programs.

Museums, zoos and parks[edit]

Theater and music[edit]

Bridgeport has a number of museums, ranging from the science-oriented to fine arts and historical, as well as the state's largest zoo.[51]


Bridgeport's first public park was the westerly portion of McLevy Green, first set aside as a public square 1806.[52] As the city rapidly grew in population, residents recognized the need for more public parks and by 1864, Barnum and other residents had donated approximately 35 acres (140,000 m2) to create Seaside Park, now increased to 375 acres (1.52 km2).[53] In 1878, over 100 acres (400,000 m2) of land bordering the Pequonnock River was added as Beardsley Park.[54] Frederick Law Olmsted, famous for creating New York City's Central Park, designed both Seaside and Beardsley Parks.[55] Over time, more parks were added including 35-acre (140,000 m2) Beechwood Park and Pleasure Beach, home to a popular amusement park for many years.

The "Park City" now has these parks:

  • Alice Street Lot, located on Alice Street
  • Baldwin Plaza, on Broad Street
  • Beardsley Park, located on Noble Avenue where Harding High School plays Baseball and Softball games; picnic areas are also visible, located adjacent to Beardsley Zoo
  • Beechwood Park, Madison Avenue, incorporating Kennedy Stadium
  • Ellsworth Park, on Ellsworth Street
  • Fairchild Memorial Park, located on Trumbull Road
  • Glenwood Park, where tennis courts are abundant
  • James Brown Park (Waterview Park), located on Waterview Avenue
  • Johnson Oak Park on Logan Street (now part of the Tisdale Elementary School)
  • Lafayette Park, located on Oak Street
  • Longfellow Park, on St. Stephens Road
  • Newfield/Jessup Park located on Newfield Avenue has a playground,
  • Pleasure Beach, accessible by ferry from the foot of Seaview Avenue, summer months only
  • Puglio Park on Madison Avenue consecutive to the North End Library
  • Rogers Elton Park on Frenchtown Road
  • Seaside Park, the largest park in Bridgeport with baseball/softball/soccer fields, fishing areas, picnic areas, playgrounds, groomed beach and swimming, and boat launch stretching from Bridgeport Harbor to Black Rock Harbor
  • Saint Mary's-By-the-Sea located on Grovers Avenue
  • Success Park on Granfield Street
  • Svihra Park on Ezra Street
  • Upchurch Park on Hallett Street
  • Wood Park on Wood Avenue
  • Veteran's Memorial Park, formerly, 90 Acres Park, runs between Park and Madison Avenues in the North End (undeveloped/reclaimed)
  • Washington Park located on East Washington Avenue
  • Waterfront Park located on Water Street primarily for baseball usage
  • Went Field Park on Wordin Avenue (play area, Baseball/softball was Barnum's Circus winter grounds)
  • West Side 2 Park located on Bostwick Avenue

In popular culture[edit]


A list of films shot or partially filmed in the city:[56]


  • Kitchen Nightmares (Season 4, Episode 7, "Tavolini Restaurant", 2011)
  • Family Guy: Road to the North Pole (2010). After mistaking a tall gloomy factory for Santa's workshop, Stewie said, "This can't be it... This can't be Santa's workshop, This looks like Bridgeport, Connecticut!" To which Brian replied, "Oh boy, here come the letters." The screen then portrays an enraged fan from the city with a thick New England Accent, writing a hate letter out loud as follows. "Dear 'Family Guy' Bastards, Who the hell do you think you are? I'll have you know that Bridgeport is among the world leaders in abandoned buildings, shattered glass, boarded up windows, wild dogs and gas stations without pumps..."[57][58] The series' creator Seth MacFarlane is a Connecticut native from Kent.
  • Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular (2010) (TV)
  • Ghost Adventures:"Remington Arms Factory" (Episode 21, November 2009)
  • WWE Raw (Nov. 18, 2002; Mar. 8, 2004; Dec. 26, 2005; August 21, 2006; April 9, 2007; April 27, 2009; June 21, 2010, April 11, 2011 and Sep 17, 2012)
  • WWE Smackdown, ECW, and WWE NXT (May 7, 2002; March 4, 2003; August 2, 2005; Dec. 9, 2008; Nov. 24, 2009; Nov. 2, 2010; and Nov. 15, 2011)
  • Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom's For One More Day (2007)
  • WWE Raw's 15th Anniversary Special (2007)
  • Flip This House: "Burning Down the House" (2005)
  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2003 & 2007)
  • Made in America (2003)
  • U.S. Bounty Hunter (2003)
  • Muggsy (1976)
  • The character Robert E. Hogan in Bernard Fein's television show Hogan's Heroes (1965-71) was from Bridgeport.
  • The Twentieth Century (1957, The Class of '58 episode)
  • Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye (TV Movie, 1977), bar scene of JFK campaigning with local workers filmed in small bar on Barnum Avenue across from the former Singer Building
  • Bringing Up Baby (1938), alluded to.





Other allusions

  • The city and P.T. Barnum formed the portmanteau name of the ursine character, P.T. Bridgeport, from Walt Kelly's comic strip Pogo.
  • Comedian Fred Allen once said, "Everywhere outside New York City is Bridgeport, Connecticut."[63]
  • Bridgeport is an address listed on a piece of evidence in the 2011 detective video game L.A. Noire.
  • Bridgeport is a city in The Sims 3 Late Night expansion pack.


Club League Venue Established Championships
Bridgeport Bluefish ALPB, Baseball The Ballpark at Harbor Yard 1998 1
Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL, Ice hockey Arena at Harbor Yard 2001 0

The recently built Arena at Harbor Yard serves as the city's sports and hospitality center. Seating 10,000, the Arena serves as the home rink of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL hockey team, as well as the home court of the Fairfield University's basketball team.

The Ballpark at Harbor Yard serves as a minor-league baseball stadium, and was built in 1998 to serve as the homefield of the Bridgeport Bluefish. It is located downtown on a former brownfield site. It is visually prominent to commuters on I-95 or on passing trains.

Kennedy Stadium serves as a community sports facility. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was the home of an Atlantic Coast Football League minor league football team, the Bridgeport Jets, a New York Jets farm team also known locally as the Hi-Ho Jets due to their sponsorship by the (Hi-Ho) D'Addario construction company.

Fairfield University is located in the neighboring town of Fairfield, and many of the athletic teams play on campus. Only the men's and women's basketball teams play in Bridgeport.

Nutmeg Curling Club, one of two curling clubs in Connecticut, is located in Bridgeport. It is the home club of the 2013 USA Mixed National Champions,[64] led by club members Derek Surka and Charissa Lin. The club is a member of the Grand National Curling Club Region.



  • WCUM AM 1450; 1,000 watts (formerly WJBX-AM, and before that, WNAB-AM) Spanish Format station better known as Radio Cumbre.
  • WDJZ AM 1530; 5,000 watts (daytime only) Gospel Radio that serves the African American and Caribbean communities in the Bridgeport Metro area.
  • WICC-AM 600; 1,000 watts (daytime), 500 watts (nighttime) – WICC began broadcasting on November 21,1926, when a previous radio station, WCWS, was given a new name, WICC. The last three letters standing for Industrial Capitol of Connecticut. The Bridgeport Broadcasting Company Inc. was the new station's owner. Back then, the station was powered at 500 watts. From 1951 to 1956 one of the station's radio hosts was Bob Crane, who later went on to play Col. Robert Hogan on the Hogan's Heroes television comedy series.[65] WICC's transmitter is located on Pleasure Beach, an island located between downtown Bridgeport and Long Island Sound.
  • WEBE-FM 107.9; 50,000 watts. WEBE108 is "Connecticut's Best Music Variety!" owned and operated by Cumulus Media. Licensed to Westport, CT, with studios and transmitter in Bridgeport.
  • WEZN-FM 99.9; 27,500 watts (formerly WJZZ-FM). Star 99.9 is "Today's Best Mix!" The station owned by Connoisseur Media. Lincensed to Bridgeport, CT, with studios in Milford and transmitter in Trumbull.
  • WPKN-FM 89.5; 10,000 watts; From the station's website: 89.5 FM WPKN is somewhat inscrutable. We break all of the rules, and we observe few, if any, of the conventions. We have no format whatsoever, we permit our programmers to do whatever they will, and we don't accept funding from the sources which might restrict our freedoms. We are totally accountable to our listeners in that we publish our budget to everyone on our mailing list, and we also invite you to our monthly staff meetings and, in particular, the June meeting at which we discuss the budget. (...) WPKN's programming can be heard on two frequencies: 89.5 FM from our transmitter at Trumbull, CT and 88.7 FM (formally known as WPKM) at Montauk on Long Island. If you're driving eastward and you start to lose the 89.5 signal, you can tune over to 88.7 and continue to hear us until about Exit 6 on I-95 in Rhode Island."[66]

Due to Bridgeport's close proximity to Long Island Sound, many radio stations from New York are received clearly day and night in the market. These include WMCA, WFAN, WOR, WABC, WNYC, WCBS, WEPN, and WQEW.[67]


  •, a community Spanish Language Weekly Newspaper covering news and events.
  • Connecticut Post - Formerly the Bridgeport Post and Bridgeport Telegram. The areas main newspaper covering Bridgeport and the surrounding area. <>The newspaper is printed daily by The Post Publishing Company 2 blocks west of the Main Office at 410 State Street Bridgeport.


Bridgeport was NBC's pioneer UHF TV test site from December 29, 1949 to August 23, 1952;[68] the equipment from the "Operation Bridgeport" tests was later deployed commercially at KPTV in Portland, Oregon (1952-1957). While Bridgeport is primarily served by New York City stations, some local UHF broadcasters operate today:

  • WEDW channel 49; one of the Connecticut Public Television stations, broadcasts from Bridgeport and can be seen in Hartford.
  • In 2011, WTNH-TV opened a satellite studio in the offices of the Connecticut Post downtown on State Street.
  • WZME channel 43 now mostly broadcasts older classic TV shows. Licensed to Bridgeport with transmitter in Trumbull.



Nearby Sikorsky Memorial Airport once provided regional flights to major hub cities such as Logan International Airport in Boston and Baltimore-Washington International Airport; however, service to the airport declined in the 1990s, and US Airways Express became the last airline to suspend operations at the airport in November 1999. Tweed New Haven Regional Airport is another nearby facility that provides scheduled air service. The closest international airports are Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy in New York City and Newark in Newark, New Jersey.

The four International Airports mentioned above (Kennedy, LaGuardia, Bradley and Newark) are within a 60-70 minute drive from Downtown Bridgeport. These international air connections are enhanced by Amtrak and Metro-North rail travel and Interstate Bus travel to NYC, Boston and Providence that make Bridgeport conveniently and quickly accessible to New York City, Hartford, CT, Stamford, CT, New Haven, CT, Providence R.I. and some of the wealthiest communities in the United States. Bridgeport is a merely a 5 1/2 hour drive to Washington D.C (to the South) and Montreal Canada (to the North) through some of the most scenic country side in the world.


The main portion of the city is divided into three major north/south roads that somewhat parallel each other.

  • Main Street, the city's principal artery, extending from the Trumbull town line, down through North Bridgeport, under Routes 8/25 and into downtown, with its southern terminus at Seaside Park.
  • Park Avenue is the far western main road that is on the borderline with the town of Fairfield and extends from the Trumbull, Connecticut border in the North End to the South End at Seaside Park.
  • Madison Avenue is situated parallel between Main Street and Park Avenue that extends from the Trumbull town line in the North End and continues through the West Side. East Main Street is the major North/South road through East Bridgeport, extending from the Trumbull/Stratford line though the East Side, ending near Steel Point.

The major East/West roads in the city are Barnum Avenue, Boston Avenue, Fairfield Avenue/Stratford Avenue, North Avenue, Capitol Avenue, State Street, and Railroad Avenue:

  • Barnum Avenue extends from the Stratford line, below Mill Hill, and ends at the Pequonnock River. Boston Avenue breaks off of Barnum Avenue near the Stratford line and goes east-west through the Upper East Side toward the North End.
  • Stratford Avenue starts in the South End of the town of Stratford and travels Southwest into Bridgeport, where it briefly becomes Connecticut Avenue in the city's East End. It then travels East through Steel Point directly into the center of Downtown Bridgeport, where it turns into Fairfield Avenue at Main Street. Fairfield Avenue then travels South and then Southwest through the West Side and down into Black Rock, where it turns into the Boston Post Road, or simply, the Post Road, in Fairfield, Connecticut. North Avenue begins at Boston Avenue in the Upper East Side above the Pequonnock River and extends Southwest diagonally through the city as US 1. It then turns into Kings Highway in Fairfield.
  • Capitol Avenue begins by breaking off of North Avenue at Island Brook Avenue Extension. and travels West across the Madison and Brooklawn neighborhoods near North Bridgeport and ends at the Fairfield line.
  • State Street begins in Downtown and cuts across the West Side, where it terminates in Fairfield.
  • Railroad Avenue extends from just below Downtown Bridgeport and runs parallel with the Metro North/New Haven Railroad lines. The Westbound side above the tracks, and the Eastbound side below the tracks. It terminates at Fairfield Avenue in the West Side.

Major highways[edit]

Bridgeport has several major roadways. Interstate 95 and the Route 8/Route 25 Connector meet in downtown Bridgeport. I-95 runs east-west near the coast heading towards New York City to the southwest and Providence to the northeast. Routes 8 and 25 run north-south across the city, with the two routes splitting just north of the city. Route 8 continues towards Waterbury and Torrington and Route 25 continues towards the Danbury area. Both Routes 8 and 25 connect to the Merritt Parkway in the adjacent town of Trumbull.

Other major surface arteries are U.S. 1 (the Boston Post Road), which runs east-west north of downtown, and Main Street, which runs north-south towards Trumbull center. The city also has several secondary state highways, namely, Route 127 (East Main Street), Route 130 (Connecticut Ave, Stratford Ave, Fairfield Ave and Water Street), and the Huntington Turnpike.

Railroad and ferries[edit]

The Bridgeport Station is part of an intermodal transit hub

The Bridgeport Traction Company provided streetcar service in the region until 1937.

The city is connected to nearby New York City by both Amtrak and Metro-North commuter trains, which serve Bridgeport's Metro-North station. Many residents commute to New York jobs on these trains, and the city to some extent is developing as an outpost of New York–based workers seeking cheaper rents and larger living spaces. Connecting service is also available to Waterbury via Metro-North, and New Haven via Amtrak and Metro-North. Shoreline East service links Old Saybrook and New London with New Haven, which extends to Bridgeport and Stamford during weekday rush hours only.

The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry service runs from Bridgeport across Long Island Sound to Port Jefferson, New York; the three vessels "Grand Republic", "P.T. Barnum" and "Park City" transport both automobiles and passengers.


The Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority (GBTA) provides bus service to Bridgeport and its immediate suburbs. Route 2 the Coastal Link goes west to Norwalk and east to Westfield's Connecticut Post Mall in Milford, from where Connecticut Transit can bring passengers to the New Haven Green. Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines both offer intercity bus service to points throughout the Northeast and points beyond.

Historic sites[edit]

Bridgeport has a number of sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

For places on the register elsewhere in Fairfield County, see List of Registered Historic Places in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Notable people[edit]

Obverse of the Bridgeport Half Dollar

One of Bridgeport's most famous residents from the past is P. T. Barnum, a circus promoter who also served as mayor of the city. His portrait was used on the obverse of the coin commemorating the city's centennial in 1936. Other Bridgeporters who achieved fame far outside the city include:

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]