The New Yorker Visits The ‘Burbs

The Westport Historical Society’s current exhibit showcases the 761 New Yorker covers drawn by 16 local artists.

The magazine has noticed.

A story in the “Culture Desk” section answers the intriguing question: Why, from its inception through the 1990s, did New Yorker covers feature New England scenes as often as city ones?

Unfortunately, the answer could not come from a Westport artist. Our pipeline to the magazine seems to have ended in 1990.

Whitney Darrow Jr.'s 1959 cover was probably inspired by the small colonial cemetery at Longshore.

Whitney Darrow Jr.’s 1959 cover was probably inspired by the small colonial cemetery at Longshore.

Fortunately, the insights come from Roz Chast. The staff cartoonist grew up in Brooklyn and moved to Ridgefield (in, coincidentally, 1990). But she’s a frequent visitor here, seen often at Westport Arts Center events.

She called Ridgefield “not super-country, and it’s not super-urban. We’re not on the train line—that’s why it’s affordable. Westport, which is about a half hour away, is fancier—a lot of New Yorker artists moved there at one time. We lived in the city until the second kid. We needed more space, and the public schools are good up here, and that was pretty much why we moved.”

Chast adds:

If somebody asks where I’m from, the first answer that pops into my head is New York, because I don’t feel like I’m from Connecticut. We bought a whole house for what a crummy two-bedroom apartment in the city would have cost and, yes, it’s different.

First, I had to learn how to drive—there is no public transportation up here. And also, the taxi thing—you can’t stand out in the middle of Elm Street and wait for a yellow cab to pick you up. It’s just not going to happen—standing there with your arm in the air, you’ll just look like a crazy person.

Sounds like a New Yorker cartoon waiting to happen.

Back in the day, it would have been drawn by a Westporter.

3 responses to “The New Yorker Visits The ‘Burbs

  1. Barbara Sherburne '67

    I love the cover from 1959!!!

  2. There is at least one current Westport connection at the magazine. My Staples classmate, Russell Platt, is the Classical Music and Auctions Editor, Goings On About Town

  3. In order to land in that cemetery on the thirteenth hole, you have to hit it dead right.