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Tale of two Americas: Ribbon of inequality

In Connecticut two towns, Greenwich and Bridgeport, are tied together by the I-95 highway, once dubbed the “ribbon of hope.” But now it is more of a “ribbon of inequality”.

Calvin Foust is the master barber at a hair salon dubbed the home of the 6-dollar cut.Services being cheap, business is steady. In the town of Bridgeport, this is a miracle.

 “Definitely, definitely, industries and jobs have faded, a lot”,he said.

There used to be about 500 factories in Bridgeport in the 30s.Today, it’s largely a wasteland.Abuzz with booming factories in its peak years, Bridgeport is now a town filled with sites like abandoned lots and buildings that were once the work place of a prospering middle class.These days, there is simply no work to find here.

 “The unemployment rate is ridiculous. I’ve been looking for a job for about two years, and i haven’t been able to find anything. It’s hard”, said Joie Anne.

A 23-year-old mother, jobless and burdened by college debt, she keeps afloat by selling scrap metal that others throw out.

 “It’s hard to drive around all day and find stuff on the side of the road. It’s tiring”, Joie Anne described.

Today, taking her son along on the hunt brought her luck, she made 67 dollars and a few cents.

Bridgeport stands off the I-95 highway in Connecticut -a road dubbed “the ribbon of hope” in the 50s, when industry flourished here.A half hour drive from Bridgeport, life is a ball in the picture-perfect town of Greenwich.

People don’t worry as much. It’s just a place that everybody desires to live, really. It really is, I am not kidding you”, said retired local Nicolas Tournillon.

Worries forgotten, the crème de la crème of the financial world flock to this paradise.

 “We are a Wall Street bedroom, primarily. But obviously we have lawyers and doctors and retailers but yeah, a lot of Wall Street around here”, said a local.

Here, restaurants overflow with clients with an extra buck to spend, luxury cars are shiny, and homes – state of the art.

 “It’s the most affluent town in the United States, it just is. It’s not my fault”, laughed a local.  

While Greenwich and Bridgeport are still tied together by the same smooth strip of asphalt, the I-95 of today is a ribbon of inequality rather than of hope – a reflection of the transitioned America of today.Reality is increasingly contrasted in the U.S. While production and manufacturing – the sources of the American dream – have all but vanished.

I don’t know what happened. Every day, it’s going bad and bad”, sighed a Bridgeport local.

Increasingly, hedge fund hubs like Greenwich and industrial ghost towns like Bridgeport will live side by side but worlds apart.