Category Archives: Westport life

Here’s How To Vote!

Matt Murray’s tongue is planted firmly in cheek when he writes:

I have never been more proud of our local politicians and their minions than for re-setting the yard signs at the intersection of Cross Highway and Roseville Road after an accident knocked them — and the guard rail — down.

Campaign signs

Without those signs, I would never be able to decide who to vote for.

Halloween Haunts

I thought for a long time about whether to post this on “06880.” It involves parents who drive their little ghosts, pirates and princesses to neighborhoods where the houses are close together. It’s a classic Westport move: Maximize your trick-or-treating investment by minimizing time spent trekking from door to door.

(I will not even mention that, from the age of about 7 on, my friends and I did all our candy-collecting — and pumpkin-smashing — sans parental supervision. I understand we live in a different century today. Hold your fire.)

Over the past couple of decades, several areas have become designated go-to spots on Halloween. Their fame has spread beyond our borders. Out-of-towners come too, attracted by the Westport cachet as much as the easy pickings.

Long ago, children dressed up in costumes on Halloween, and went door to door asking for candy -- in their own neighborhoods. Those were the days!

Long ago, children dressed up in costumes on Halloween, and went door to door asking for candy — in their own neighborhoods. Those were the days!

So when an alert “06880” reader contacted me, I was conflicted. Her message is a good one, but I don’t want to let the cat out of the (candy) bag for anyone who doesn’t already know about these prime local spots.

My solution is to print the reader’s suggestion, but delete any mention of where she goes. I’ll leave the ethics of trick-or-treating outside your neighborhood to you. Yet if you decide that descending on someone else’s road is the right message to send your kid, here’s what one reader wants you to do:

I have been going to [redacted] to trick or treat for many many years. The decorations are amazing, and the people who live there are so wonderfully friendly and giving. They spend a lot of money making Halloween a fantastic night and event for so many of us who head there.

I feel that we should thank this neighborhood for their many years of taking in hundreds of families on that night. Each family planning to go there should buy 2 or 3 bags of candy and hand it to different homeowners. The families would be so thankful, and feel appreciated.

Sounds like a reasonable suggestion. But it also sounds just one step removed from simply buying candy and handing it over to your kid without all the intermediate steps of costume-buying, driving and tromping down the road.

Yes, This Is A Parking Lot. No, That Is Not A Parking Space

Note to the driver of the Cadillac who stopped her car right here yesterday morning:

CVS parking

You can tell which are the parking spots. They have lines.

And when someone stops and tells you you’ve parked rudely and ridiculously — as also happened this morning — you should not walk right past her, as if she does not exist.

Although, to be fair, there is no sign there explicitly stating  “No Parking.”

Close Encounters Of The Mercedes Kind

For 40 years, Paul Greenberg has been a serious cyclist. He rides about 5,000 miles a year, and is an avid racer.

For 12 years he’s commuted to work by bicycle, from his home near the beach. First he rode to Greenwich. Now it’s a bit shorter: Stamford.

Fly6He takes a shortcut through the train station, to East Norwalk. Paul rides with a very bright headlight, designed for night mountain biking, plus a bright rear light. He wears reflective clothing.

Recently, he added a Fly6 rear-mount bicycle camera. Over the past few years, drivers have become much more aggressive. He figures if there’s a hit-and-run from the rear, at least there will be video of the incident (and licence plate information).

On Wednesday around 6:30 a.m., he was biking to work through the station’s eastbound parking lot. He slowed down approaching the intersection, where many commuters make a wide left turn without looking from beyond the railroad bridge.

A woman in a Mercedes barreled eastbound on Saugatuck Avenue, cutting across the road to get to the lot entrance (below).

Paul Greenberg screenshot

Paul  jerked his bike left as he saw her. Commuters walking from their cars shook their heads in disbelief as she blasted by.

Paul assumed she would stop and apologize. But she just plowed ahead, as if  nothing had happened.

Only when he pedaled to her car and talked with her did she become apologetic.

Sort of.

Here’s Paul’s video of his near-miss. It’s titled: “Was She Sorry She Almost Hit Me, Or Sorry I Caught Her?”

Sorry. That’s a rhetorical question.

 

Westport’s Lawn Jockey: Really?!

Tuesday’s post — about a soccer get-together with suburban Westport and inner-city New York teams — drew plenty of positive comments.

Today’s — about a black-faced lawn jockey at a home near Clinton Avenue — probably won’t.

An African American Westporter noticed it the other day. She takes frequent walks around town; this was a new route.

“I just saw it sitting there on the lawn,” she says, still outraged.

Lawn jockey

The lawn jockey near Clinton Avenue.

Her first reaction was: “Really? Really?!”

She’d never seen anything like it here. In fact, she says, the last time she’d seen a black lawn jockey was around 1979, in her home state of Ohio.

Black-faced lawn jockeys are not mere decorations, like garden gnomes. As the Washington Post noted in 2006:

He’s a ghost from the days of plantations and magnolias, fox hunts and manorial estates.

To some, particularly African Americans, the lawn jockey is a pint-size monument to repugnant stereotypes, a holdover from the days of slavery and Jim Crow, an artifact of racial prejudice alongside Aunt Jemima.

“When I see it, it hearkens back to a time when black people were enslaved,” the Westporter says. “It seems like the people who put it there are saying, ‘This is what we wish for.'”

Many lawn jockeys reinforce racial stereotypes.

Many lawn jockeys reinforce racial stereotypes.

What about the argument that the homeowners may not realize how offensive the Civil War-era artifact may be?

“It’s time for people to be educated,” she counters.

“I know we can’t PC the entire world. But we have to teach people this is not acceptable. It’s not cool.

“You can say whatever you want, privately. But to publicly say that you’re superior to others — that others can be your little joke — that’s not okay.”

The final line of Tuesday’s post was: “Westport, Connecticut may not be representative of America. But neither is Ferguson, Missouri.”

Today, it’s: Westport, Connecticut may not be representative of America. But sometimes even our town can seem like Mississippi.

It’s A Dog Life: The Sequel

Coincidentally, around the same time I was writing this morning’s post — celebrating the man-and-dog Friday get-togethers at Winslow Park — alert “06880” reader John Karrel sent this photo. It shows the other side of (hopefully a very few) dog owners at Westport’s favorite gathering spot:

Winslow Park poop

John notes that the plastic poop was plopped just a few steps away from 2 garbage bins, near the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot.

He saw many more blue bags in the wooded areas nearby.

John promises to head over today, with gloves and a big bag.

Which he will most certainly not leave lying lazily, grossly — and entitledly — on the ground.

It’s A Dog’s Life

Every day at 4:30 p.m. — winter and summer — the same group of dogs and their owners meets at Winslow Park.

On summer Fridays they share doggie treats (and adult refreshments).

Winslow Park dogs

It’s unclear who has more fun — man, or his best friend. For all of them, it looks like a good way to roll.

(Hat tip to Alan Schur)

Left Hanging — Update

UPDATE:  Early this morning, Diane Lowman wrote:

Had windows open last night because it was so cool. Serenaded by chainsaws from about 1-3 a.m.! Not much sleep, but that’s ok. I haven’t been out to check yet but assume road is clear! 

We haven’t had a major storm in a while.

But, alert “06880” reader Diane Lowman reports, this downed tree has been hanging on power lines across Partrick Road since yesterday (Wednesday) morning.

Partrick Road tree

Several reports have been made, she says. Westport Police “babysat” it all day today (Thursday), so no one would hit it and bring the power lines down.

“I appreciate it,” Diane said at 8 p.m. “They’re still out there blocking the road. But I’m sure their time could have been better spent.”

CL&P came at 5 p.m., Diane says. They looked at the situation.

Then they left.

 

 

Remember: Annual “06880” Party Is Next Thursday!

The 2nd annual “06880″ party is less than a week away.

And if you’re reading this, you’re invited.

Thursday, July 17 (6 p.m.) is the day and time. The far end of Compo’s South Beach — away from the cannons, near the boat and kayak launch, the best place to watch the sunset — is the place. (Still confused? See the aerial view below.)

Every member of the “06880″ (as in, this website) community is invited. We welcome frequent commenters and lurkers. Folks who have lived here all their lives, and those who moved here yesterday. Even those who want beach parking to remain as is, and those who hope it doesn’t. (But let’s make this party a beach-comment-free zone.)

The tagline for “06880″ is “Where Westport meets the world.” Next Thursday, that world comes to Compo.

Bring your own food, beverages, beach chairs and blankets. Then mix, mingle and enjoy the evening with the “06880″ crowd.

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

See you next Thursday!

The blue arrow marks the "06880" party spot.

The blue arrow marks the “06880” party spot.

Happy July 7th!

It may be the latest Independence Day celebration in American history.

But who cares?

After a slow start last night — at 7:30 cars were still cruising into Compo Beach, without a wait — by showtime all was right.

The crowd was 2/3 its usual size — the result of a 4-day postponement. But Soundview Drive was its usual Party Central. Picnickers enjoyed their usual feasts and beverages. Little kids twirled their usual sparklers. High school kids strutted their usual stuff.

And — thanks to the wonderful work of Parks and Rec, the cops, EMTs and all the others, plus the generous contribution of Melissa & Doug — it was a July 7th to remember.

It's not a fireworks celebration without American flag wear.

It’s not a fireworks celebration without American flag wear.

At 6:30 p.m., South Beach was still almost empty. This was one fireworks celebration when you didn't have to claim a table at 9 a.m.

At 6:30 p.m., South Beach was still almost empty. This was one fireworks celebration when you didn’t have to claim a table at 9 a.m.

Dudes flying an American flag.

Dudes flying an American flag.

There was almost no backup at the beach entrance.

There was almost no backup at the beach entrance.

Scoring a prime spot in front of the barge -- and relaxing with an iPad.

Scoring a prime spot in front of the barge — and relaxing with an iPad.

Parks and Recreation director Stuart McCarthy and town operations director Dewey Loselle kept everything running smoothly.

Parks and Recreation director Stuart McCarthy and town operations director Dewey Loselle kept everything running smoothly.

Cute little girls create a great light show.

Cute little girls create a great light show.

The scene from Hillspoint Road.

The scene from Hillspoint Road.