Category Archives: Downtown

Bobby Q To The Rescue

Laura Oestreicher Rikon is a 2008 Staples grad. She lives abroad now, but always appreciates returning to her hometown.

On Saturday night, she and a friend had dinner at Bobby Q’s. They enjoyed their meal — but later, Laura realized one of her earrings was missing.

Laura Oestreicher Rikon, and her beloved earrings.

Laura Oestreicher Rikon, and her beloved earrings.

They have great sentimental value — they were the last birthday present Laura’s grandmother gave her.

Laura and her friend searched all over the car, the parking lot and the street. Finding nothing, they returned to Bobby Q’s.

The staff helped her look around the floor, and in the bathroom. But they said they’d already swept up, so her earring might have been thrown away. They suggested she call in the morning. Laura thanked them and left — very disappointed and upset, yet grateful for their help.

But she dawdled on her way out, still  hopeful she’d find the missing jewelry. Once more, she searched the parking lot. Once more, nothing.

About to give up, she saw 2 men running toward her. They yelled, “We found it! We found it!”

They told her they knew how important the earring was to her. So after she left they crawled on the floor, using their phones for light. There it was!

Laura was thrilled to have her earring back — and floored by the kindness of strangers, who went far out of their way to do a good deed.

“Their generosity was so heartwarming, I couldn’t find words to express my gratitude,” she says. “And all they asked in return was that I pay it forward.”

In her excitement, she forgot to get their names. She hopes that telling her story on “06880″ is one way of thanking them — and letting Westporters know how special Bobby Q’s is.

Bobby Qs Westport CT



Hey, Bud!

A sight some of us thought we would never again see:

(Photo/Bart Shuldman)

(Photo/Bart Shuldman)

Happy Palm Sunday!

A bagpiper and clergy led congregants out of Christ & Holy Trinity Church this morning. They marched up and down Myrtle Avenue, then returned inside.

The festive procession marked Palm Sunday — the beginning of Holy Week — celebrated by thousands of Westporters.

Music and religious rites combined as the Palm Sunday procession began.

Music and religious rites combined as the Palm Sunday procession began.

The procession continued down Myrtle Avenue.

The procession continued down Myrtle Avenue.

Among the celebrants: Jessica Branson, daughter of former minister Rev. John Branson and his wife Judyth.

Among the celebrants: Jessica Branson, daughter of former minister Rev. John Branson and his wife Judyth.

If your browser does not link directly to YouTube, click here.



Remarkable Downtown Scene

Really old Westporters remember the corner of Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza as the site of a sea captain’s house-turned-map store.

Relatively old Westporters know it as the Remarkable Book Shop.

Newbies called it Talbots.

Now it’s — who knows what?

Remarkable Book Shop 2014

The iconic building that long symbolized downtown Westport is being transformed once again.

I had to use a little filter to keep it pink.


Really, Why Do They Do That?

The time: 5:30 p.m., last Thursday.

The place: the Elm Street parking lot, behind the Y.

The photo:

Parking - Y

I’ve been accused of focusing too much on bad parking. Believe me, I’ve held back. You should see the photos sent by alert readers I haven’t run.

I believe it’s important to publicize this epidemic of bad behavior. This is not an example of someone forced by another bad parker to squeeze a bit over a line. This is a man or woman who either

  • deliberately straddled 2 parking spots, or
  • simply could not be bothered to park properly, after getting out of the car and noticing the ridiculous thing he or she had done.

The driver had to notice. And chose to ignore it.

Unless he or she was on a cell phone, which is a whole other set of issues.

PS: Yes, today is a slow news day.


While You And I Slept This Morning…

…Kelly Konstanty, Morgan Mermagen and Mike Grant were on the run.

The trio ran through Westport, in Stage 315 of the One Run for Boston. The charity event — for One Fund Boston, which supports victims of last year’s horrific Boston Marathon bombing — began March 16 in Los Angeles. It ends tomorrow in Massachusetts, a week before the Marathon.

So far, over $410,000 has been raised, by 1,990 runners.

Morgan Mermagen, Mike Grant and Kelly Konstanty, after finishing their Westport to Bridgeport run.

Morgan Mermagen, Mike Grant and Kelly Konstanty, after finishing their Westport to Bridgeport run.

The trio received the baton downtown, around 4:30 a.m., from a group that started in Darien. Kelly, Morgan and Mike ran to Bridgeport, arriving there around 6:05.

Kelly has run the Boston Marathon before, but can’t this year. This is her way of showing support for “Boston Strong.” 

Grant adds, “If you are trying to defeat the human spirit, marathoners are the wrong group to target. We run for those who can’t.”

The runners thanked the Westport Police for their escort, and their supporters who cheered them on.

Congratulations, Kelly, Morgan and Mike. You did more before dawn today than many of us will achieve all weekend!

Java Truly “Open” For Business

Earlier this week, Java — the popular new downtown coffee shop — added a few tables and chairs to its Church Lane patio.

This morning it threw its front windows – who knew they were actually doors? – wide open.

Java doors

Spring arrives in Westport in many ways.

Today it came in a warm Bowl of Soul.


2 Quick Days, 2 Big Meetings

Whatever your passion — the beach, historic preservation or downtown — Westport’s got a meeting for you.

Today at 5:30 p.m., the Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee meets at Town Hall (Room 201). Based on the 79 comments (and counting) to Mike Calise’s plea to retain perimeter parking near the sand — and 0 in favor — it should be interesting.

Tomorrow (7 p.m., Town Hall auditorium), the Planning and Zoning Commission will hear presentations from 2 committees: Village District and Downtown Steering.

It’s a work session, meaning the public can observe but not participate. Here’s what observers will see:

The Village District Committee, chaired by Historic District Commission chair Randy Henkels, will present information from their consulting group, headed by Steven Cecil from Boston.

Finding the right balance between old and new: an eternal downtown question. (Photo/Craig Schwartz)

Finding the right balance between old and new: an eternal downtown question. (Photo/Craig Schwartz)

The presentation will describe exactly what a Village District offers Westport, in terms of preservation of buildings and historic character. It’s part of a state-funded project to promote preservation in Connecticut; reports can be utilized by a town and its land-use agencies.

Tomorrow’s report may describe regulations and restrictions that have been successfully implemented in other Connecticut towns (including being upheld against court challenges.)

The Downtown Steering Committee — chaired by Dewey Loselle — has asked its consulting group, RBA, to to present Phase 1 of its project. It’s a baseline traffic study of the extended downtown area.

The study will include a computer-animated vision of traffic patterns, which can serve as a tool to evaluate the impact of traffic on forthcoming land-use proposals.

Some of the most infamous Post Road intersections have been studied, including Wilton Road and Riverside Avenue, and Compo Roads North and South.

Charming, no?

Charming, no?

Phase 2 — the vision of downtown, regarding traffic flow, parking, greening of the riverfront, the size and mix of commercial buildings, and residences — will be touched upon tomorrow too.

The train has not yet left the station, regarding Compo, historic preservation or downtown.

But it has pulled in. If you’re a Westporter who cares about this town, get on board.





Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree…

…at least, not the towering one at Town Hall.

Alert “06880″ reader JP Vellotti has long admired the apple tree at the foot of the old Bedford Elementary School, just above the Myrtle Avenue stone wall.

Town Hall 1

In fact, he picks apples from it every year, and makes a pie.

This year, he may have to go to Stew’s.

Yesterday, JP spotted a fresh new sign on the trunk of the old tree:

Town Hall 2

The notice — posted by the tree warden — says that “this shade tree, the property of the Town of Westport,” will be removed in 10 days, or thereafter.

“Any person or organizations” objecting to the removal must appeal in writing within 10 days. The address — 110 Myrtle Avenue — is the very same building at the top of that handsome lawn.

How do you like them apples?




And The Answer Is…

Yesterday, “06880″ wondered what’s up with a contraption recently attached to the side of the downtown Post Road bridge.

Speculation poured in. Some readers were serious. Others were (we hope) joking.

Within hours, the mystery was solved. According to 1st Selectman Jim Marpe:

Steve Doig wins the prize for best response.  The U.S. Geological Survey is installing a network of tidal gauge and storm surge monitoring stations for coastal Connecticut, and they just installed this device on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

It was funded entirely at the federal level.  Westport’s outstanding emergency management director (and fire chief), Andy Kingsbury, has been working with the USGS and other state and federal agencies to improve our storm surge monitoring, warning, mitigation  and prevention capabilities. The http address in Steve’s posting is the correct one for accessing real-time data on the Saugatuck River height at Post Road.

Thanks, Jim — for letting us know, and keeping Westport safe.

Thanks too to Steve, for nailing the answer. What’s particularly impressive is that the 1960s Staples athletic star has spent the past 18 years in Phoenix. He’s the Knight Chair in Journalism professor at Arizona State University.

A place where no one worries about high tides or storm surges.

The mystery has been solved.

The mystery has been solved.