Category Archives: Beach

jUNe Day Busted Out All Over

The weather was cloudy and chilly. A number of potential guests were home celebrating Ramadan.

But Westport’s 50th annual jUNe Day drew nearly 200 United Nations workers and their families to Westport today.

Assistant Secretary-General Carole Wainaina of Kenya and 1st Selectman Jim Marpe traded welcomes at Saugatuck Elementary School. But this was nothing like a General Assembly meeting.

A  little music and a few munchies later, everyone was off: to downtown, Longshore, Compo, Earthplace, Wakeman Town Farm and all points in between.

No translation was needed — beyond the word “fun.”

Flags from around the world replace the Stars and Stripes on jUNe Day. Too bad there was no breeze to flutter them. (Photo/Jim Chillington)

Flags from around the world replace the Stars and Stripes on jUNe Day. Too bad there was no breeze to flutter them. (Photo/Jim Chillington)

No matter where you're from, if you're a little kid it's all about the food. (Photo/Adam Stolpen)

No matter where you’re from, if you’re a little kid it’s all about the food. (Photo/Adam Stolpen)

Visitors from Peru, Spain, Portugal, the Philippines and enljoyed a tour of Wakeman Town Farm, including an expanded chicken coop, productive beehive, and edible marigolds that protect the borders of the gardens from insects.

Visitors from Peru, Spain, Portugal, the Philippines and more enjoyed a tour of Wakeman Town Farm — including an expanded chicken coop, productive beehive, and edible marigolds that protect the gardens from insects. (Photo/Elizabeth Beller)

A pair of Olympians got into the spirit. William Steinkraus Cohen -- brother of jUNe Day founder Ruth Steinkraus Cohen --

A pair of Olympians got into the spirit. Bill Steinkraus — brother of jUNe Day founder Ruth Steinkraus Cohen — was an equestrian in 6 Olympics. He won 1 individual gold medal, and 2 silvers and a bronze as a team member. Ann Marie Flynn of Westport was a high jumper in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.  (Photo/Adam Stolpen)

For 50 years, Westport soccer teams have taken on their UN counterparts. This trophy is a recent addition to the rivalry. (Photo/Adam Stolpen)

For 50 years, Westport soccer teams have taken on their UN counterparts. This trophy is a recent addition to the rivalry. (Photo/Adam Stolpen)

Quintessential Compo

It’s been a hugely eventful week. The Supreme Court handed down 2 momentous decisions; President Obama delivered a spectacular eulogy.

I’m not sure why, but Betsy P. Kahn’s photo of Compo seems a fitting way to end this emotional Friday:

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

National Geographic Focuses On Westport

Tuesday’s post-storm clouds sent a lot of Westporters scurrying for their cameras.

Most photos ended up on Facebook or Twitter.

Stephen Wilkes’ found its way to National Geographic — and then to the magazine’s very popular Instagram feed.

National Geographic photo of Compo Beach by Stephen Wilkes

(Photo/Stephen Wilkes)

Alert “06880” reader Danielle Dobin spotted it, and sent it to “06880.”

“Natgeo” included Wilkes’ comment: “I was fortunate to see this remarkable sunset from Compo beach, after days of summer storms.” It included the hashtags iPhoneonly, CompoBeach, Connecticut, surreal, clouds, color — and skyporn.

In just 2 hours it’s garnered 167,000 likes, and over 1,150 comments. Most are along the lines of “awesome.” One person called it “weird.” Another said, “where we got married!!”

A woman wrote, “I want to go there.”

The comments came from around the globe. One person said “Lijkt beetje op jouw lucht,” which Google Translate changed from Dutch to “Seems little air on you.”

That’s not as weird as this comment — 刚刚在他家买了一只沛纳海 很牛逼 大家要买表找他,最靠谱的卖家 朋友圈都有标价 — which Google Translate believes says “He just bought a house very fast hardware you buy a Panerai watch to find him, the most likely price the seller has a circle of friends.”

On the other hand, “06880” readers don’t need a translator to look at Stephen Wilkes’ image and say, “that’s our Compo!”

No Moon This jUNe

This Saturday (June 27), Westport marks its 50th jUNe Day.

For half a century on the last Saturday of June, we’ve welcomed guests from the UN. Lawyers, staff members, security guards — they and their families come here for a full day of sports, beach-going, shopping and fun.

You’d think the organizers would go all out to celebrate 50 years. They’d plan great new activities. Shoot off fireworks. Bring Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to town for a ceremonial something.

Not gonna happen.

Longshore is a favorite destination for jUNe Day guests. (Photo/Carroll Hubbard)

Longshore is a favorite destination for jUNe Day guests. (Photo/Carroll Hubbard)

In keeping with the theme of jUNe Day — a low-key chance for UN workers to get out of the city, and Westport to show off its beauty and hospitality — the event will consist of the usual: a brief hello at Saugatuck Elementary School (10:30 a.m.), then the rest of the day filled with soccer, tennis and golf; tours of Earthplace, the Westport Historical Society, downtown and the Westport Arts Center — and of course, Compo Beach.

Okay, the welcome ceremony will include Senator Richard Blumenthal and recent UN special coordinator for the Ebola risis Tony Banbury. But Banbury lives in Westport. And Blumenthal shows up anywhere there’s a camera.

Children of UN staffers enjoy Wakeman Town Farm. Many UN families seldom leave New York, jUNe Day organizers note. (Photo/Carroll Hubbard)

Children of UN staffers enjoy Wakeman Town Farm. Many UN families seldom leave New York, jUNe Day organizers note. (Photo/Carroll Hubbard)

For all the joy, fun and relaxation it brings more than 300 UN folks and their families, jUNe Day is organized by a tiny group. Just a few core volunteers plan everything. (UN, and every other governmental organization: Take note!)

Michaela MacColl got involved 15 years ago, at the invitation of jUNe Day founder Ruth Steinkraus Cohen. MacColl — whose day job is children’s author — liked what she saw. When Steinkraus Cohen died, MacColl took over.

“I love Westport, but sometimes I’m frustrated by the homogeneity,” MacColl — a 20-year resident — says. “For one day, things are different.” Last year, 35 countries were represented at jUNe Day. (Their flags are the ones you’ll see flying on the appropriately named Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge this Saturday.)

On jUNe Day, the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge brims with flags from around the world. (Photo/Jeff Simon)

On jUNe Day, the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge brims with flags from around the world. (Photo/Jeff Simon)

“It’s always nice to see people gob-smacked by Westport’s beauty,” MacColl says. “But they also meet very kind people here. Westporters really like showing off the town, and they help out in any way they can.”

Local businesses do too. Most of the food is donated by area businesses. (The kitchen is run by a teenager, William Amon.)

Little things stand out. A Syrian family is always the first to arrive, MacColl says. They’ve come every year since their son was born. He’s 20 now.

The weather is usually fantastic. One year though, it rained hard. A Filipino man came, with 2 small children. He told MacColl he’d considered staying in New York. But when he thought about how much work Westport put into the event, he realized he had to be here.

Fifty years is indeed a great achievement. But you won’t see or hear jUNe Day organizers boasting about it on Saturday.

They’ll be too busy helping 300 guests, from all over the globe.

(Volunteers are always needed. To help, contact Andrea Dostal: 203-526-3275; andreasusa@yahoo.com. For more information, contact Michaela MacColl at 203-227-9461, or Bill Hass at 203-454-7685.)

United Nations

Save The Date: July 16 — “06880” Beach Party!

Mark your calendar: Thursday, July 16 (6 p.m.). That’s the date of the 3rd annual “06880” party.

Last year’s event was a great success. It was a true community gathering — a chance to meet and mingle with the diverse “06880” community (both online and real).

This year’s party will be even better. The 3rd time’s the charm, and all that.

We’ll gather at Compo Beach — the alcohol-is-okay end. Bring your own food, beverages, beach chairs and blankets. Like the website, “06880” simply provides space to get together, have a good time, chat, laugh, and of course bitch.

We expect a big turnout at our "06880" party on July 18.

We expect a big turnout at our “06880” party on July 16Sa.

There’s no charge. It’s a “fun-raiser,” not a fundraiser.

The “06880” tagline is “Where Westport meets the world.” We call this party “where ‘06880’ meets each other.”

PS: We picked a Thursday because the beach is not as crowded as on weekends. As alert readers know, “06880” does not believe in reserving tables.

RIP Old Mill Cottages

This morning’s photos of the new vista near Old Mill Beach — after the demolition of 2 cottages, but before the town turns the land into a small park — brought back memories for Betsy P. Kahn.

She scurried to her files, to find a couple of photos she’d taken before the homes were taken down. With their tiny size, unique charm and fantastic location, they were favorites of photographers, artists and strollers for many years.

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Fred Cantor was down at Old Mill today too. His eye was caught by the flowers and plants shared so generously with beach-goers, by a very thoughtful homeowner.

Old Mill - Fred Cantor

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

Fred also saw this guy, “working from home.”

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

Town Adds Toilets At Old Mill

For years, Old Mill beachgoers have not had access to public toilets.

Now they do:

Old Mill demolition 1

Just kidding!

That’s the scene today, at the site of what used to be 38 and 40 Old Mill. Those 2 houses — badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy — have been torn down.

They won’t be rebuilt. The town will make the land into a park. It’s located adjacent to the walking bridge, just before the privately owned Compo Cove.

Here are 2 more views of what 38 and 40 Old Mill look like now:

Old Mill demolition 2

Old Mill demolition 3

 

Minute Man 2.0

What can be better than Westport’s Minute Man, down by the beach?

How about a 2nd Minute Man — this one downtown?

Church Lane - 2 - Jimmy Izzo

Jimmy Izzo — the Mayor of Main Street — caught an artist in action yesterday. He was decorating the construction fence in front of the old YMCA, part of the new Bedford Square project.

His name is Jahmane. He’s based in Norwalk, and has exhibited at the Westport Arts Center (among many other places).

Let’s hope this one is not decorated the way our Minute Man friend down at Compo sometimes is.

PS: Who says Westport is no longer an artists’ colony?

Church Lane - Jimmy Izzo

(Photos/Jimmy Izzo)

Meanwhile, in related fence-painting news, the Westport Arts Center, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and Westport Downtown Merchants Association are sponsoring a “Westport Paints The Town” event a week from tomorrow (Saturday, June 20, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.).

Individuals and families can have their “selfies” outlined on the wall by artists, or can paint their own artistic vision. A $10 per person fee helps cover artists and supply costs. (Professional artists will also participate.)

Tables and chairs will be set up on Church Lane, which will be closed to cars during the event. Restaurants including SoNo Baking Company, Spotted Horse and Pink Sumo will take orders curbside. And a DJ will add music to the art.

Where’s Harry Potter When You Need Him?

Photo — and headline — of today’s brief but intense thunderstorm, courtesy of alert “06880” reader Jim Hardy:

May 31 2015 storm - by Jim Hardy

Meanwhile, a couple of miles away, Patricia McMahon captured this scene at Compo Beach:

STorm - May 31, 2015 - Patricia McMahon

Batten Down The Hatches!

Storm clouds gathered over Old Mill Beach late this afternoon — and Patricia McMahon snapped this dramatic photo.

Storm over Old Mill

An hour — and an inch of rain later — the sun was back out.