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A Splash of Color by the Cove

More and more while tooling around New Bedford these days, you see small things that add up to something far larger. More home improvement projects; expanding small businesses; a sense that the devastating effects of the 2008 financial crisis are indeed finally over and investment in what we have is taking place…

Last week, what caught my attention was COLOR! As in, a sweet splash of it just off the Cove Walk by the end of the Hurricane Barrier near Dairy Maid. Walking about on a great spring day, I arrived at the ice cream shop and was greeted by a refreshed version of the Dairy Maid we all know and love to lick.

New, brilliant blue tables and benches have been placed outside, the same color added as accent to the building and fresh green trees in front by the curb animate the location. It feels happier!

Just beyond, the gate structure at the end of Hurricane Barrier has a new skin. More brilliant blue and lime green have been applied to the gray concrete. The effect is amazing; it, too just feels happier.

A brush with blue & green

Taken together, this entire area was simply refreshing to look at. It was inviting, rather than forlorn.

Let’s face it, the barrier gates can have a bit of an apocalyptic feel to them – like something off the set of a ‘Hunger Games’ movie. I don’t know whether it was the city or the firm who handled the Cove Walk build who was responsible for taking out the paint brushes – but either or both are to be commended for some creative thinking.

Likewise, while I and many others consider Dairy Maid a summer institution, their parking lot of years late was looking more rocky road than soft serve. The well-thought spruce up fits in well with its painted neighbor. Each complements the other and creates a nice palette.

A refreshed Dairy Maid

Colorful Curbs

On the face of it, a splash of color at one corner of the city may not seem like a big deal. But, the idea behind it is a very big deal. It speaks to placemaking, civic pride and a vibrant streetscape. Each are important functions in an urban environment and in turn yield bigger dividends.

Curbside appeal invites economic activity which in turns puts more feet on the street. Anyone with a passing acquaintance with Jane Jacobs understands that’s the lifeblood of cities – the very definition of thriving communities.

Al Fresco on Clarks Cove

Down by Cove Walk at Dairy Maid, you certainly have a lot happening. Across the street you’ll find Cove Surf and Turf restaurant – which also takes generous advantage of their view of beautiful Clarks Cove with plentiful and well-appointed outdoor patio seating. (And a tasty menu; the day I snapped these pics I scooped up a half dozen mouth watering clam-cakes.)

Patio dining at The Cove

Around the ‘corner’ past the bright new barrier, the authentic Italian restaurant Cafe Italia makes its home. It sits next to the market Salchicharia, which boasts all sorts of packaged and prepared Portuguese foods.

The ingredients for a lively little corner are all there – only now it’s in technicolor. It’s as if a new welcome mat has been put out.

It’s not a big scheme, it’s a simple thing. Oftentimes, that’s what hits the spot. If you find yourself in this neighborhood, grab an ice cream cone at Dairy Maid or some chow at Cove Surf and Turf and enjoy the bright view on a sunny day and put yourself into this picture.

Steven Froias