Category Archives: Westport life

Bob Braczyk’s Business Is Picking Up

Nearly every weekend, Bob Braczyk and his wife Monica Bernier come to Westport from their Manhattan apartment.

Every morning they’re here — rain or shine — Bob joins Mark Yurkiw and his wife Wendy Van Wie on their daily 3.5-mile dog walk. The route includes Cross Highway, Sturges Highway, Meeker Road and Bayberry Lane.

Bob is here to relax. But when he joins the Yurkiws Bob brings a plastic claw, and the biggest recycled plastic bag he can find. He wants to clean the streets of his weekend hometown.

No matter how big the bag — and some are huge — he always fills it up. By the end, he’s stuffing in more trash than it can hold.

Bob Braczyk, with one day's haul.

Bob Braczyk, with one day’s haul. Keeping pace is Wendy Van Wie.

Mostly, Mark says, the garbage is

  • Coffee cups
  • Beer cans
  • Liquor bottles
  • Cigarette packs
  • Fast food wrappers
  • Really gross things

“It’s virtually always the same items,” Mark says. “And I suspect from the same people — who live here.”

It’s great that Bob — who lives here only a couple of days a week — cleans up after us.

But what a shame he has to.

Reminder: “06880” Beach Party Is Next Thursday!

The 3rd annual “06880″ party is just a week away.

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

Thursday, July 16 (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.

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What So Proudly We Hail…

Happy 4th of July

The Morning After

We’ve seen the rockets’ red glare. The bombs bursting in air.

We’ve left our beach chairs, tents, flip flops and food in the Compo Beach sand.

But Westport’s Parks and Rec crew is up to the task. They see our garbage, and in a fantastic show of coordination, energy and grit they remove it.

Betsy P. Kahn was up at 6 this morning. She lives on the shore, and took her regular dawn walk. Today, she brought her camera. Here’s what she saw:

Cleanup flag - Betsy P Kahn

Cleanup 1 - Betsy P Kahn

Cleanup - more seagulls - Betsy P Kahn

Cleanup seagulls pavilion - Betsy P Kahn

Cleanup sparklers - Betsy P Kahn

Cleanup - Parks and Rec - Betsy P Kahn

Cleanup seagulls - Betsy P Kahn

Meanwhile, here are 2 more looks back at the night before the morning after:

Cleanup - 19 Soundview

(All photos/Betsy P. Kahn)

(All photos/Betsy P. Kahn)

 

The Land Of The Free…

It’s our biggest party of the year: the fireworks.

But there’s so much more to Westport’s Greatest Day of the Year than that. Here’s how we kicked off the 4th of July weekend:

This is one very patriotic dog. (Photo/David Squires)

This is one very patriotic dog. (Photo/David Squires)

It's a fireworks tradition: reserve your spots early!

It’s a fireworks tradition: reserve your spots early!

Andrew Colabella and Shelley Welch make a patriotic pair.

Andrew Colabella and Shelley Welch make a patriotic pair.

These guys -- Sm Seideman, Graham Day, Lorenzo Rinaldi, Chris Chamberlin and Kyle Chamberlin -- set up a stand on Soundview Drive. They sold food, drinks, necklaces and more -- and ran a raffle. Part of the proceeds went to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. That's the American spirit!

These guys — Sam Seideman, Graham Day, Lorenzo Rinaldi, Chris Chamberlin and Kyle Chamberlin — set up a stand on Soundview Drive. They sold food, drinks, necklaces and more — and ran a raffle. Part of the proceeds went to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. That’s the American spirit!

A drum and dance corps from White Plains rehearsed in the parking lot. After donning their uniforms, they wowed the crowd.

A drum and dance corps from White Plains rehearsed in the parking lot. After donning their uniforms, they wowed the crowd.

"06880" readers know Betsy P. Kahn for her great photos. Here she is with her husband Dan -- in front of the house she photographed for "06880" yesterday.

“06880” readers know Betsy P. Kahn for her great photos. Here she is with her husband Dan — in front of the Soundview Drive house she photographed for “06880” yesterday.

Connie Anstett is 93 years old. She remembers when the fireworks were shot off by the cannons -- and kids watched from the tops of their parents' station wagons.

Connie Anstett is 93 years old. She remembers when the fireworks were shot off by the cannons — and kids watched from the tops of their parents’ station wagons.

Police patrolled on foot, motorcycles -- and bikes. Ned Batlin was stopped everywhere by students, who know him from DARE programs and coaching.

Police patrolled on foot, motorcycles — and bikes. Ned Batlin was stopped everywhere by students, who know him from DARE programs and coaching.

Music Theater of Connecticut's Glee group performed, to the delight of a large crowd near the pavilion.

Music Theater of Connecticut’s Glee group performed, to the delight of a large crowd near the pavilion.

Daisy Mae offered glitter tattoos and metallic drawing. For some reason, red, white and blue were popular colors. (Photo/Audrey Hertzel)

Daisy Mae offered glitter tattoos and metallic jewelry. For some reason, red, white and blue were popular colors. (Photo/Audrey Hertzel)

This was one of the biggest crowds ever -- perhaps 15,000.

This was one of the biggest crowds ever — perhaps 15,000. Not a lot of room to move, but no one cared.

Hooray for the red, white and blue!

Hooray for the red, white and blue!

Bipartisanship: Democratic Board of Education member Elaine Whitney and Republican Planning & Zoning Commissioner Al Gratrix. (Photo/Martin Gitlin)

Bipartisanship: Democratic Board of Education member Elaine Whitney and Republican Planning & Zoning Commissioner Al Gratrix. (Photo/Martin Gitlin)

And the obligatory fireworks shot! (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

And the obligatory fireworks shot! (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Showing Our True Colors

It’s a beautiful morning — and the forecast is for great weather most of today.

Westport is awash in red, white and blue — in many shapes and forms.

Bob Weingarten hung this replica flag over the barn door of his house:

July 4 - Bob Weingarten house

Look closely. There are 15 stars and 15 stripes — not 13.

This American flag was used from 1795 to 1818. It was created when 2 new states — Kentucky and Vermont —  joined the union.

It’s called the “Star Spangled Banner Flag” because — after being raised above Fort McHenry to celebrate a crucial victory over the British during the War of 1812 — Francis Scott Key was inspired to write our national anthem.

When 5 more states were added to the union, they got stars too. But we went back to 13 stripes, for the original colonies. Today of course our flag has 50 stars, and 13 stripes.

Bob flies the flag over his barn doors because it was originally built in 1805 as a “chaise house.” That meant it housed a chaise — an 1800 coach with a driver and seats. Back in the day, that was a luxury item.

Nearly a century later — in 1900 — this home was built on Soundview Drive:

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

(Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

It’s one of the last original beach cottages — and is still in the same family.

Decked out in bunting, it looks beautiful and serene. Tonight thousands of folks will stream by, on their way to the fireworks.

It will be a beautiful night, too!

3rd Of July Photos Needed!

Tomorrow is the 3rd of July. Cue the fireworks!

In May, I asked “06880” readers to crowd-source Memorial Day photos. Dozens came in. By early afternoon, I posted a selection. It was a great way to see the parade, through many different eyes.

Let’s do the same tomorrow. As you get ready for the fireworks — picnicking, painting faces red-white-and-blue, playing with sparklers — send your photos (email: dwoog@optonline.net). Deadline: 10 p.m. Please include brief identification if needed, and of course your own name.

I’ll post some (not all!) by early morning.

Be creative! We want special photos, for our special day. Just one request: Go easy on the fireworks photos. No offense, but unless you’re a real pro they all look the same.

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

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

...or a flag top hat.

…or a flag top hat.

They Said It Couldn’t Be Done!

Experts have long believed that Westport had reached its maximum NS/WR threshold.

You know: Nail Salon/Westport Resident ratio.

But in a development that has stunned everyone — from commercial real estate agents and Post Road motorists to Westport women with nails — one more salon has arrived.

This one is in the shopping center opposite Fresh Market, bracketed by Sam Sloat Coins and Wish List.

Luxe nail salon

Particularly riveting is the fact that the cleverly named “Luxe Nail Spa” sits inches away from a long-established nail salon next to Bagel Maven — and a new mega-salon that took over the Westport Pancake House.

I won’t even mention it’s across the street from a frozen yogurt shop.

(Hat tip: Wendy Cusick)

Sign Here

Alert “06880” reader Ed Simek is — like us — tired of all the signs we see around town. But unlike most of us, he’s got a plan. Ed writes: 

Here’s a suggestion on how we can improve Westport aesthetically, and raise town revenues at the same time.

Sign 2Every weekend, tag/estate sales are held all over town. Handmade signs are placed at every major street crossing.

While we all enjoy scouring these sales, no one enjoys looking at weatherbeaten signs all over town, many of which may be weeks old.

My suggestion: Have someone drive through town on Tuesday mornings and accumulate the signs that people haven’t removed themselves. There will be a $25 fine for each sign found still posted on Tuesday morning. Such a rule will certainly serve as a strong impetus for tag sale sign removal.

I’m certain there are senior citizens/college kids who’d love the opportunity to make a few bucks doing this.

A viable idea? Or one destined for the scrap heap? Click “Comments” below!

Signs 1

“Welcome To Westport” Video: The Back Story

As the “Welcome to Westport” video continues to rocket around cyberspace — and rack up comments — a bit of background adds some intriguing context.

The film was a group project on “satire” for an Advanced Placement English Language class. While I credited Nick Ribolla for it alone, he wrote and directed it with Jimmy Ray Stagg and Harrison Knapp. It was filmed all in 1 day.

But wait! There’s more!

Part of the inspiration came from a 1985 video called “Westport’s Got It All.” Produced by MCA as a gift for the town’s 150th anniversary, it was a very upbeat ode to the town.

Nick, Jimmy Ray and Harrison subtly satirized the cheesy music, and the opening scene of a man with a newspaper on the banks of the Saugatuck — though I’m sure the Staples juniors have no idea that guy was famed “ABC Wide World of Sports” anchor and Westport resident Jim McKay.

Nick Ribolla (right) channels Jim McKay.

Nick Ribolla (right) channels Jim McKay.

The final line — “Westport’s got it all!” — is a direct ripoff of the 30-year-old video. That’s the mark of great satire: It works for everyone, but it’s especially sweet for those who are in on a deeper joke.

Back in 1985, here’s what Westporters were saying about their town:

  • “I’m worried the town is losing its mix of a variety of people.”
  • “Westporters have extraordinary aspirations for their children. And they’re willing to pay for it.”
  • “Westport has the sophistication of New York, the exuberance of a California town, the quaintness of New England — and a sense of humor.”
  • “We do have latchkey children, as more and more parents go off to work.”
  • “The Post Road is a disaster. But every town has its Post Road. This one looks better than many.”
  • “Commercialization has really changed this town. It’s been good and bad.”

So check out “Westport’s Got It All”:

Then look (again) at “Welcome to Westport” (click here if your browser does not take you directly to YouTube.)

Now tell me Nick, Jimmy Ray and Harrison don’t deserve an A+ for satire.