Category Archives: Longshore

Lifeguard Olympics: Everyone Into The Water!

They save lives. They comfort lost children. They also compete in rescue board relays, 1-mile runs, a jetty-to-jetty swim, beach volleyball and a relay race.

They’re the Compo Beach lifeguards. On Friday night — after stowing their walkie-talkies and zinc oxide — the very fit, very tan guards hosted their Longshore counterparts in a “Lifeguard Olympics.”

Kyle Mikesh of Compo Beach (left) and Will Brant of Longshore fly into the water, at the start of the rescue board relay race. (Photo/Justin Rende)

Kyle Mikesh of Compo Beach (left) and Will Brant of Longshore fly into the water, at the start of the rescue board relay race. (Photo/Justin Rende)

The friendly (I guess) competition — sponsored by Westport Parks and Recreation — was a continuation of a tradition established years ago, when teams from Norwalk and Fairfield competed. (That’s why every night’s we’re-now-off-duty announcement mentions the “award-winning Compo Beach lifeguards”).

Compo guards practice for the volleyball event.

Compo guards practice for the volleyball event.

Friday’s event drew a large, appreciative crowd. They saw one more side to Westport’s superb lifeguards, who truly do it all.

Connor Weiler is very proud to be a Compo Beach lifeguard.

Connor Weiler is very proud to be a Compo Beach lifeguard.

The Compo guards. Front (from left): Emily Harris, Dylan Schattman, Justin Rende, Kaitlyn Mello, Connor Weiler, Emma Mikesh, Kara Millington, Alex Mirabile. Back: Red Siecienski, Kyle Mikesh, Casey Searl. Not pictured: Callie Collins, Hannah Mello.

The Compo guards…

...and their Longshore foes.

…and their Longshore foes. (Photo/Justin Rende)

 

Tear Down These Walls! (Updated Info)

On Thursday, an alert “06880” reader was golfing at Longshore.

I say alert because — while concentrating at the 2nd green — he noticed a house directly adjacent being torn down.

14 Manitou Road

The reason he was so intrigued — and snapped a photo — is because he believes the house is less than 1000 days old. He says the recently demolished house replaced an older home, which itself was a teardown.

Turns out he’s wrong. The house was built in 1965. Last year the owner removed all the trees from the back of the property toward the golf course — so some people thought it was a new house. In fact, it had been there 50 years.

At any rate, here’s a Google Maps view of the most recent house, before the wrecking ball:

14 Manitou - Google

Meanwhile, not far away — in the Compo Beach neighborhood — a smaller, older home will soon be torn down too.

Beach demolition

But despite the large “Demolition” sign on the outside wall, the owners seem to be enjoying themselves. Between the hammock, easy chair and twin lion statues with Uncle Sam hats, all’s right with the world.

Have You Seen These Guys?

We’ve all passed by Longshore — thousands of times.

But how often do we notice the twin globes flanking the entrance?

Longshore entrance

And if we do, have we ever noticed the tiny little guys hidden behind each globe?

I sure hadn’t.

Look closely at the photo above.

Here’s a closer view, from another angle:

Longshore entrance

There must be a story about this, somewhere. If you know it, click “Comments” below.

Wavin’ Flags

It’s one of the longest-running, most enjoyable, most visible — and yet least remarked upon and little noticed — events in Westport.

For nearly half a century in early summer, our town has welcomed guests from the United Nations. It’s called jUNe Day — clever, no? — and the 2014 version takes place this coming Saturday (June 28).

Over 300 folks — ambassador types, embassy and headquarters workers, and their families — arrive at the train station. (Whether they come from a first or third world nation, they’ve probably never seen anything quite like Metro-North.)

Having overcome that initial hurdle, they’re shuttled to Saugatuck Elementary School for a 10 a.m. welcome.

Every jUNe Day, lags of many of the United Nations' 193 members fly on the  Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Post Road bridge. Cohen established the annual event in 1965.

Every jUNe Day, flags of many of the United Nations’ 193 members fly on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Post Road bridge. Cohen established the event in 1965.

The UN is known for speechifying, but these are short. Then comes the real fun: a tennis tournament and golf at Longshore, tours of Earthplace, a visit to Wakeman Town Farm — you get the idea.

There’s a soccer match between a UN team and the Westport Knights men’s side. It’s not the World Cup, but some years tensions are nearly as high.

Many guests head straight to Compo, or the Longshore pool. They shop. They enjoy Westport.

Sometimes we forget what a day in “the country” can do. Many UN folks and their families don’t get many chances to leave New York.  jUNe Day is an opportunity for them to do just that — and for us to show off our town.

We may not be a “typical” American town. But this is our chance to offer typical American hospitality.

Volunteers are needed to serve breakfast and lunch, help out at Longshore, and clean up. If interested, call 203-526-3275, or email andreasusa@yahoo.com.

Or just give a big hello on Saturday to anyone wearing jUNe Day hats, and an orange bracelet.

UN logo

 

Westport As You’ve Never Seen It Before

If you liked Melissa Beretta’s tribute to Westport this morning, you’ll love this next homage.

Taken from a drone a month ago, the video soars at just the right height. From Saugatuck Shores to Longshore and Compo, past Schlaet’s Point and over to Old Mill, before heading west back over the beach and Owenoke, it’s the best 6 minutes you’ll ever spend.

We all have a “mental map” of Westport in our heads. This gives you a totally new perspective on this amazingly beautiful town.

(Click the “YouTube” logo in the video above for a larger view. Try this link if your browser does not take you directly to YouTube. Hat tip to Jeff Reilly for spotting this video — which at the time of this posting had only 133 views.)

Mark Mathias: “Why We Live In Westport”

Mark Mathias is many things: An information technology specialist. Mini Maker Faire founder and c0-chair. Board of Ed member.

And excellent photographer.

Longshore, between the pool and the pavilion.

Longshore, between the pool and the pavilion.

Mark was so taken by Sunday’s perfect weather that he roamed around town, taking tons of very cool photos.

With the panoramic feature of his mobile phone.

Longshore's E.R. Strait Marina.

Longshore’s E.R. Strait Marina.

These are spectacular shots. Unfortunately, the “06880” format does not do them justice.

Fortunately, if you have an enlarge feature — hovering or double-clicking on your computer; swiping out on your phone; whatever — you can see Mark’s photos in all their glory.

The small Riverside Avenue park, across from Saugatuck Elementary School.

The small Riverside Avenue park, across from Saugatuck Elementary School.

You can also click on his Flickr.

A Compo Beach lifeguard.

A Compo Beach lifeguard.

Mark calls this series “Why We Live in Westport.” He might subtitle it: “A Realtor’s Gold Mine.”

It doesn't get more Westport than this.

It doesn’t get more Westport than this.

 

 

 

That Beach At Longshore? Don’t Laugh.

Yesterday’s post — about some mis-captioned photos at Joey’s, one of which refers to Compo as “Longshore Beach” — sent Scott Smith scurrying to his files.

Four years ago, he chaired Longshore’s 50th anniversary celebration. (That’s 50 years as a town-owned facility. For 30 years before that, it was a private club.)

Scott dug up some interesting memorabilia. It shows that — once upon a time — there reaally was a “Longshore beach.”

Here’s a marketing piece from its country club days:

Longshore Beach and Country Club

Sure, any artist could draw a nice beach. (And add tons of watercraft.)

But photos don’t lie. (At least not in the pre-Photoshop days.) Here’s one from 1934:

Longshore aerial view - 1934

Longshore is at the left. Note how much beach there was — and not only near the pool but all the way west, near what is now Hendricks Point.

In the mid-1960s, after the town bought the club (for the best $1.9 million ever spent — if we hadn’t acted fast, it would have sold as 184 building lots), Longshore looked like this:

Longshore aerial view - 1960s

There was still plenty of beach (and moss-covered rocks). Longshore Sailing School was quite a bit smaller then.

But no trip down Longshore’s memory lane is complete without this:

Longshore tower

Referred to as both a “tower” and “lighthouse,” it sat near the present pavilion entrance to the pool area. It was torn down in the 1960s.

All that remain today are memories — of that very cool structure, and the sandy “Longshore beach.”

 

Westport Gets 2 New Beaches

As the weather gets nicer — though it’s taking its own damn time — Joey’s gears up for another season.

For over 20 years, Westporters have flocked to the very popular Compo Beach restaurant. For almost as long, some cool old photos have hung on the walls.

But until very recently, no one looked too closely at them.

Very alert “06880” reader Christine Cullen did.

She loved the shot of the old wooden bathhouses, extending where the playground is now:

Compo Beach bathhouses

She was also intrigued by a 2nd shot of the beach back in the day, with all its rocks:

Compo Beach - old

But when Christine looked closely, she saw that the top photo says “Campo Beach.” And the bottom one is labeled “Longshore Beach.”

During all these years, nobody noticed the errors.

We’re too busy enjoying Joey’s, and all the other pleasures of Campo (aka Longshore) Beach.

The Over-Under On Underground Wires

Yesterday’s post on the big new electrical poles on Greens Farms Road sparked a discussion about above-ground versus underground wires. Why, commenters wondered, doesn’t Westport bury its utility lines?

An alert “06880” reader with experience in the matter writes:

Undergrounding of existing overhead facilities is the most expensive option.

You need to build the entire system underground in advance, keeping the overhead in service (so the lights don’t go out), then convert 100% of all existing homes, buildings, traffic signals, street lights, etc., from an overhead service to having an underground service.

Then when all are supplied off the new (and expensive) underground systems, you return to remove all poles, overhead wires and transformers. And CL&P only handles the electric conversion. AT&T and cable TV providers also need to convert 100% of their customers to underground supply too, before removal of overhead equipment is accomplished.

At least we don't look like New York City in 1887.

At least we don’t look like New York City in 1887.

Plus, the costs of the new equipment as well as undepreciated life of the removed old overhead equipment, is paid for in advance by the town, neighborhood association or business council/chamber of commerce making the request to underground the area or town. They also provide or pay for all trenching, pavement repair and restoration required.

So, with this in mind, it’s no wonder that very few if any areas are converted to underground supply from existing overhead supply.

Examples of areas converted in the past include the very end of Hillspoint Road, from the corner where Compo Road and Soundview intersect to a point just past the third house facing the Sound from Compo (this was paid in full by 2 neighbors back in the early ’90s); a portion of the Longshore Park system, at the recently rebuilt halfway house and 10th hole tee, and another short piece where the lines run into Longshore marina and the swimming pool/tennis court area, done in 2001 as part of the rebuild of the refreshment stand and locker room building, also paid by the town/Park and Rec.

Another example was part of the South End in Stamford, where BLT is developing a massive urban renewal (and paying all the costs associated with this conversion).

I believe the portion of CL&P’s system that is now underground has grown to over 15%. Each year, a little more is added.

Staples Golfers Remember Andrew Accardi

Andrew Accardi died last October. A finance and marketing major at Villanova University, he was just 20 years old. For 15 years he’d fought neuroblastoma, a brutal childhood cancer.

Andrew Accardi, doing what he loved.

Andrew Accardi, doing what he loved.

Andrew had been a beloved and important member of the Staples golf team. They — and other friends — formed Andrew’s Army, raising (with him) hundreds of thousands of dollars for research into the disease.

Andrew’s friends and teammates are honoring him in a more personal way, too.

Yesterday, they unveiled a bench and plaque. It’s located near the halfway house at Longshore — Staples’ home course — overlooking the 9th green, and down the fairway.

The plaque includes 3 words — “selfless, courageous, virtuous” — that, according to coach Tom Owen, epitomize Andrew.

Andrew Accardi's plaque and bench.

Andrew Accardi’s plaque and bench. (Photos/Sam Bender)

Owen and assistant coach Bill Walsh picked the spot for 2 reasons.

It is where they watched Andrew bravely finish a round in frigid weather. He refused to leave the course until he was done.

Now, it will be the spot where Staples and their opponents meet at the end of each match to total their scores.

Andrew’s father spoke yesterday, at the dedication.

“If I’m feeling selfish, afraid or less virtuous, I will sit here and have some peace,” Dr. Frank Accardi said.

“Knowing our son and brother, your friend and teammate, was loved and remembered by the people is so important. His spirit will help us get through tough times.”