Author Archives: Dan Woog

Wintry Walk

Late this afternoon, a couple had Compo all to themselves. (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Late this afternoon, a couple had Compo all to themselves. Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Eye In The Sky

Alert — and only slightly suspicious — JP Vellotti recently noticed an interesting sight at the Sherwood Island Connector’s Post Road traffic light.

His passenger snapped a photo.

Sherwood Island Connector 1

JP writes:

The lights are new. It looks like a camera has been added too.

Who sees the feed? The police? Or maybe the state police, because this is a state road? Or News 12 for traffic? Or….

And how do cameras get approved, anyhow?

I’m not adversely against these. I’m just curious, having never seen a public notice about their installation. After all, if you’re recording the public, they should at least have the right to know.

What do you think? All “06880” readers — no matter where you fall on the civil liberties/police state spectrum — are invited to weigh in. Just click “Comments” below (and please use your full, real name!).

Curio Cottage: The Little Fundraising Shop That Could

From the outside, it doesn’t look like much.

It doesn’t advertise. Even the name — Curio Cottage — seems musty and old-fashioned. Better suited to rural New Hampshire than dynamic Westport, perhaps.

But the Curio Cottage — the little thrift shop next to the Westport Woman’s Club, perched on the Imperial Avenue hill not far from Jesup Road — is filled with wonderful curios merchandise like glassware, tableware, frames, jewelry, furniture, clothing and books.

The Curio Cottage looks small. But wait till you see what's inside.

The Curio Cottage looks small. But wait till you see what’s inside.

And it’s all for a good cause. Over the past 15 years, the shop has raised nearly $400,000. The funds go directly to local charities and need-based scholarships.

That’s fantastic work for any organization. It’s particularly impressive for an all-volunteer, low-key (but very energetic) group like the Woman’s Club.

And it’s even more noteworthy because the prices are so reasonable.

Those prices go even lower from February 8-13. Everything is half off.

The Curio Cottage women — an amazing bunch, led by Karen Eickhoff — call this “a sweetheart of a sale.” They suggest buying something for Valentine’s Day. And then — always thinking of the town — they hope you’ll purchase something from a local merchant, to fill it with. For example, a Curio Cottage bowl, which you’ll then fill with chocolates. A vase (and roses). A pair of wine glasses (duh).

Curio Cottage director Karen Eickhoff, among a few of her many treasures.

Curio Cottage director Karen Eickhoff, among a few of her many treasures.

The merchandise always changes. The volunteers always know what’s new and interesting.

And the charities and students who benefit from the Curio Cottage sales are always very, very grateful for its patrons.

(Curio Cottage special sale hours are Monday, February 8 through Saturday, February 13, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, non-sale hours, and details on how you can donate your own items, click here.)

Westport Woman's Club member (and frequent "06880" commenter) Bobbie Herman shops in the Curio Cottage.

Westport Woman’s Club member (and frequent “06880” commenter) Bobbie Herman shops in the Curio Cottage.

Snow Day: Afternoon Views

By noon, the snow had moved on. The quick storm dropped 8 inches of heavy, beautiful stuff. It was a photographer’s delight.

The sun peeks through on Meadow View. (Photo/Krystof Bondar)

The sun peeks through on Meadow View. (Photo/Krystof Bondar)

iFloat was open for relaxation. This was the view from the 2nd floor of Main Street, shot by owner David Conneely.

These trees in front of Vineyard Vines on Main Street come courtesy of iFloat owner David Conneely.

Dayle Brownstein enjoyed this painting-like view, from the comfort of inside.

Dayle Brownstein enjoyed this painting-like scene, from the comfort of indoors.

Sadie romps outside. (Photo/Karen Abramson)

A little snow does not stop Sadie from fetching. (Photo/Karen Abramson)

Emily, Michael and Luke Bernier have a great time. Who says yellow snow is bad?! (Photo/Anne Bernier)

Emily, Michael and Luke Bernier have a great time. Who says yellow snow is bad?! (Photo/Anne Bernier)

Bella Sabino, Georgia Graham, Sienna Peck and Evan Sabino enjoying the snow at Winslow Park today. (Photo/Lisa Sabino)

Bella Sabino, Georgia Graham, Sienna Peck and Evan Sabino enjoying the snow at Winslow Park today. (Photo/Lisa Sabino)

Snow-covered Compo Hill, as seen from across the Sherwood Mill Pond by David Squires.

Snow-covered Compo Hill, as seen from across the Sherwood Mill Pond by David Squires.

Attendance at the Y's fitness center was low -- but members who made it to work out also enjoyed this scenery. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Attendance at the Y’s fitness center was low — but members who worked out also enjoyed this Camp Mahackeno scenery. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Westport was wonderfully wintry. This shot is from Partrick Lane. (Photo/Martin Gitlin)

Westport was wonderfully wintry. This shot is from Partrick Lane. (Photo/Martin Gitlin)

Westport’s Place In World History Up For Sale

The commercial real estate listing is pretty straightforward: An 11,000-square foot brick and stone office building on Saugatuck Avenue, close to I-95 and the train station.

There’s a photo —

Eno Foundation

— and a name: The Eno Foundation Building.

But the listing doesn’t give a hint what the Eno Foundation was.

It’s named for William Phelps Eno. He was a Westport businessman known as the “Father of Traffic Safety.” His innovations included the stop sign, pedestrian crosswalk, traffic circle, 1-way street, taxi stand and pedestrian safety island. He designed traffic plans for New York, Paris and London.

For many years, his worldwide traffic institute was headquartered on Saugatuck Avenue, near the Norwalk line.

Believe it or not, Westport — with all our traffic woes — was once the place where transportation ideas that transformed the world were hatched.

William Phelps Eno — who (you can’t make this up) never learned to drive — is no longer around to solve our current traffic issues. He died in 1945. If he were, he could start right around the corner from his headquarters, then work his way through town, ending up at the Merritt Parkway Exit 42/Weston Road/Main Street/Easton Road goat rodeo.

But you can now buy his building. It’s a beauty.

And there’s plenty of on-site parking.

 William Phelps Eno was honored with a plaque at the old Westport YMCA.

William Phelps Eno was honored with a plaque at the old Westport YMCA.

(For more information on the real estate listing — or to buy it! — click here. Hat tip: Kate Schwartz.)

 

Snow Day: Noon Scenes

As the snow continued throughout the morning, alert “06880” readers sent in photos from around town. Here are a few:

Without entitled parking -- at least, none we can see -- the Starbucks near the diner looks positively serene. (Photo/Diane Lowman)

Without entitled parking — at least, none we can see — the Starbucks near the diner looks positively serene. (Photo/Diane Lowman)

Whenever the Minute Man is decorated with a Santa cap or Easter bunny ears, a few folks complain. Today, Mother Nature decorated Westport's favorite figure. Enjoy! (Photo/Anne Hardy)

Whenever the Minute Man is decorated with a Santa cap or Easter bunny ears, a few folks complain. Today, Mother Nature decorated Westport’s favorite figure. Enjoy! (Photo/Anne Hardy)

Staples junior Eliza Goldberg snapped this shot of her dog Gracie.

Staples junior Eliza Goldberg snapped this shot of her dog Gracie.

Rindy Higgins lives on Saugatuck Shores. This morning she saw this sight. Because he's reddish-gray, black behind the ears with a white chest and long tail that stuck out straight when he scooted off, she's pretty sure he's a fox -- not a coyote.

Rindy Higgins lives on Saugatuck Shores. This morning she saw this sight. Because he’s reddish-gray, black behind the ears with a white chest and long tail that stuck out straight when he scooted off, she’s pretty sure he’s a fox — not a coyote.

A meadow view, on Meadow View. (Photo/Krystof Bondar)

The view on Meadow View. (Photo/Krystof Bondar)

Apartment Application Denied

In the 1st stop along what may be a long legal journey, the Planning and Zoning Commission last night unanimously denied an application to build a 6-story, 48-unit apartment complex on one of the busiest, most environmentally sensitive corners of Westport.

Concerns about safety and damage to wetlands adjacent to the 1.16-acre parcel at the corner of Wilton Road and Kings Highway North dominated last night’s proceedings in Town Hall.

P&Z commissioners questioned the developer — Garden Homes Management — about many aspects of the plan. They also appeared miffed that a consultant and lawyer for Garden Homes did not attend (due to illness and a conflict), and that Garden Homes submitted a raft of supporting materials at the meeting, but refused to request an extension so the P&Z could study that information.

P&Z members also refuted Garden Homes’ contentions that the commissioners’ minds were already made up — and that they were opposed to the plan because a portion of the apartments would be deemed “affordable” under state 8-30g regulations.

“We never said we’d fight 8-30g,” P&Z chair  Chip Stephens said. “We said we would fight inappropriate locations for 8-30g. Period.”

Garden Homes president Richard Freedman promised to appeal the decision.

122 Wilton Road -- site of the proposed 6-story, 48-unit apartment building -- sits at the corner of Kings Highway North. The property abuts the Taylortown Salt Marsh.

122 Wilton Road — site of the proposed 6-story, 48-unit apartment building — sits at the corner of Kings Highway North. The property abuts the Taylortown Salt Marsh.

Snow Day!

Westport students received an unexpected day off from school today.

It wasn’t a blizzard — just a very pretty snowfall.

If you didn’t have to go out, it was a nice start to the weekend.

Even if you had to get on a train, it was not so bad:

(Photo/Siobhan Crise)

(Photo/Siobhan Crise)

For others, it’s a day for beauty. But not for sitting in the garden…

(Photo/Peter Tulupman)

(Photo/Peter Tulupman)

…or a hot tub.

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

(Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

Kids Eat Free! (Well, Okay, 10% Off)

On the one hand, Westport teenagers always complain “there’s nothing to do here!”

On the other hand, they love to eat.

In an effort to convince hungry kids that there are things to do in Westport — like, go to a variety of local restaurants — the Youth Commission has created a Student Discount Partnership.

Working with the Downtown Merchants Association and Chamber of Commerce, commission members have signed nearly 30 restaurants (and 2 businesses: Suited.co and Lux Bond & Green). They offer 10% off for Staples, Weston High and Greens Farms Academy students presenting a school ID. Only 2 places said no.

Participating locations sport a sticker. The eye-catching Minuteman design was created by Staples senior Julia Schorr. Baker Graphics printed 70, for free.

Student discount sticker

The program began just a couple of weeks ago, with low-key publicity. But participation — and feedback — has been great. Oscar’s, for example, has seen a definite bump in business, from groups of teens.

Oscar's owner Lee Papageorge gives thumb's-up to the Youth Commission's Student Discount Program.

Oscar’s owner Lee Papageorge gives thumb’s-up to the Youth Commission’s Student Discount Partnership.

A girl reported that she and her friends had a great time at Spotted Horse. They gave everyone a discount, even though a couple of kids forgot their student IDs.

Outside the Spotted Horse, with student IDs from Staples, Weston and Greens Farms Academy.

Outside Spotted Horse, with student IDs from Staples, Weston and Greens Farms Academy.

“We wanted to concentrate on home-owned places, where kids could have an impact,” says Youth Commission member Reece Schachne, discussing why members selected restaurants instead of chain stores.

Publicity has come mainly through Instagram (“wycstudentdiscounts” is the handle). Youth Commission co-chair Kyle Ratner is helping coordinate an official launch this week, with announcements on the “Good Morning Staples” TV show, a story in the school newspaper Inklings, and the website westportyouthcommission.org (launching February 9).

You’re probably wondering: Why do Westport students need a discount for anything?

Lower prices are not the main aim, Reece and Kyle say. It’s more about making sure teenagers know they have plenty of things to do, and many places to do it, all around Westport.

Especially if it involves food.

(For more information, click here. Participants in the program include 323, Acqua, Angelina’s, Arezzo, Bartaco, Black Duck, Blue Lemon, Border Grill, Da Pietro’s, Finalmente, Freshii, Garelick & Herbs, Jeera Little Thai Kitchen, Joe’s Pizza, Lux Bond & Green, Mumbai Times, Oscar’s, Planet Pizza, Rizzuto’s, Señor Salsa, SoNo Baking Company, Spotted Horse, Suited.Co, Sweet Frog, The Boathouse, Tutti’s, Villa del Sol, Viva Zapata and Westport Pizzeria. Any restaurant or business interested in joining the program should email kyle.ratner1@gmail.com or matthew@westportwestonchamber.com)

Jetty In Winter

Jetty - Patricia McMahon

Photographer Patricia McMahon says: “No matter how the light hits our jetty, it always entices me. This view never gets old.”