There’s a really, really great Chinese restaurant in Newtown called New Wok. Some of the best Chinese food I’ve had, anywhere, and I’ve eaten in some of the best Chinese restaurants in London and Chicago. One shopping center down there’s a fantastic Italian bakery. I still have half a cheesecake from them that I bought to celebrate my girlfriend finishing her last day of work at her old job. And my favorite breakfast spot, King’s, which we still call Leo’s even though it hasn’t been called that in over a decade, is right there too.
My comic shop is just up the road from Sandy Hook Elementary School. It’s in an old train station, and Jerry Ordway buys his comics there. If he has something out that week he’ll walk over to the rack and sign all the copies of it, and just leave them there. No fuss is made about it. The store never announces a signing or does anything like that. There’s just signed Jerry Ordway comics sitting there. The comic shop is right near an old railway bridge that had low clearance, and trucks would keep ripping their tops off on the bridge.
Every year we do a big tree lighting ceremony. They line the streets with luminaria, almost right up to my house, and people park all around the house to walk down to Ram’s Pasture and watch the tree get lit. For years the tree was the dumbest looking thing - we called it the Christmas Thumb because of how it looked when it was lit. One year the star fell over and just looked like a flying saucer over the tree. Last year the tree came down in one of the storms and they just started using a smaller tree nearby, so now most of the people at the tree lighting can’t even see the tree.
Our main landmark is the flagpole. We tell people that if you look at it and wonder “is that the flagpole,” it’s not the flagpole. Because it’s a giant flagpole smack in the middle of one of the busiest intersections in town. It’s the most gloriously idiotic thing ever, and there are lots of photos of it at half mast on the Internet right now and none of them explain what it is or why it’s so important to the town.
And I thought you should know all of these things about my town today, because most days they’re the most important things there are to know about Newtown, and if everyone in the world is going to know the name of my town I’d really like them to know those things too and not just that some crazy person murdered a bunch of children here.