If You’ve Always Wanted An Ovni Semi-Nuevo, Here’s Your Chance!

Spotted a couple of days ago, on Facebook Marketplace:



I have no idea what an Ovni Semi-Nuevo is.

Google — which knows everything — was no help. In either English or Spanish.

So I certainly have no clue whether it’s worth $125 million or not.

But I’ll keep an eye out for it. If I see it around town, I’ll let you know.

PS: Interesting, huh, that this is posted on the 50th anniversary of the day men walked on the moon. Cue Rod Serling…

Newest Menu Item: Valet Parking

Bartaco, OKO and the newly opened Meatball Shop are 3 very different restaurants.

But they share 2 things: popularity and parking.

The Mexican, Japanese and Italian-American spots are packed, for lunch and dinner. The National Hall and nearby parking lots are often full — especially during the day, when spots are reserved for employees of nearby offices.

There’s a parking deck across the street. But for various reasons — some people don’t like driving up the narrow ramp; crossing Wilton Road can be dicey; others may not even know it’s there — that option is underutilized.

The other day, representatives of the 3 restaurants sat together. Instantly, they agreed on a solution: valet parking.

The old Vigilant Firehouse on Wilton Road is now OKO restaurant. The Meatball Shop is behind is on the right; Bartaco is behind on the left. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Working together — and with the blessing of the new owner of the entire complex — they hired We Park, a Wilton-based firm.

Just as quickly, the service began. Valet parking is available 7 days a week, for lunch and dinner.

You don’t have to tell the valet what restaurant you’re going to. In fact, you don’t have to eat at all. The service is there if you just want to stroll along the boardwalk, admiring the river and lights.

A beautiful boardwalk connects OKO, The Meatball Shop and Bartaco. (Photo by Anne Hardy)

“We’re all in this together,” says Brian Lewis, owner of OKO. “We want everyone who comes here to feel our hospitality. We all have the same goals: to take care of our guests. Whatever brings people here is good for all of us.”

He says that — like the other owners — he appreciates (and dines at) the nearby restaurants.

The owners appreciate too the receptiveness of the new National Hall owners. They’ve already repainted the lines in the parking lot, and added directional signs.

Coming soon: More signs for the valet service.

Though probably not in Spanish, Japanese or Italian.

Pic Of The Day #823

Compo Beach neighborhood, heading home (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

Friday Flashback #151

Two of the biggest Compo Beach controversies in recent years involved the South Beach bathrooms and the playground. Opponents of both projects worried they’d block scenic views of the Sound.

That didn’t happen, of course. But for many years — through the 1960s, in fact — our vista was quite different.

Enormous wooden bathhouses stretched from what is now Joey’s to the pavilion near Soundview Drive. (The concession stand was located then at the current volleyball courts.)

I have very dim memories of the bathhouses. They were dark and musty. The floors were sandy and wet. My friends and I played inside, but it felt like danger lurked around every corner. There were many corners.

The bathhouses went through several incarnations, before they were finally torn down. Here are a few.

Note the familiar 2nd story roof atop the bathhouses at the right. When the structure underneath was damaged in a hurricane, the roof was lowered. Today it houses the pavilion near the volleyball courts.

Another view.

Wooden ramps served as an early Mobi-Mat. Beach attire was much different. Note the float off shore too.

The brick bathhouses (currently, Joey’s by the Shore) contained bathhouses too. Check out the rocky condition of the beach itself.

An earlier view, from 1906. 

Christmas In July

This weekend will be the hottest of the year. Of course: There’s always a heat wave during the Fine Arts Festival and Westport Library Book Sale.

But next week, stroll over the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. You’ll find some cool reminders that Christmas is only 159 days away.

The Bonnie Marcus Collection design studio (5 Riverside Avenue, next to Arezzo) creates custom greeting cards for major nationwide retailers.

This is crunch time. With the AC cranked high, Bonnie and her crew are deep in design mode.

The cards feature Bonnie’s iconic “fashion girls” holding Bloomingdale’s bags, Barney’s hat boxes and gifts from Bendel’s.

You don’t have to schlep into the city to buy them. You don’t even have to go online, and wait for delivery.

Bonnie is giving away her stylish  holiday cards for free. If you’re a local fashion lover, you’ll love this offer.

Just look for the red and green (of course) balloons on Monday and Tuesday (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah too!

Fire Department Says: Keep Cool!

With the hottest temperatures of the year predicted for this weekend — and heat indexes well over 100 degrees — the Westport Fire Department sends this alert:

The Town of Westport reminds residents of health and safety measures to protect against heat-related illnesses, and to take special care of young children, seniors and other at-risk populations:

  • Find air conditioning, if possible
  • Check on family members and neighbors
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Avoid strenuous activities
  • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke
  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car
  • Watch for heat illness
  • Wear light clothing.

The following cooling centers are open to the public this weekend:

  • The Senior Center, 21 Imperial Avenue (Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
  • Westport Library, 20 Jesup Road (Friday 9 a.m. to 6 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Westport Weston Family Y, 14 Allen Raymond Lane, lobby open to public (Friday 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

The Fire Department will update their Facebook page with new openings and/or changes.

Click here for a link to the 2-1-1 “Extreme Heat Protocols” website.

One other way to keep cool: Elvira Mae’s ice cream window. (Photo/Robin Tauck)

Repair Work Underway In Downtown Church

Last October, a chunk of plaster fell from the Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church ceiling, to the sanctuary.

Thank God no one was in the pews. But it it worried clergy and administrators.

Engineers gave the bad news: The plaster had dried out.

Not all of it. The prominent building on the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Church Lane — finished in 1863 — was heavily damaged by a 1951 fire. The part of the ceiling repaired then was in bad shape. The original ceiling itself was fine.

There was more bad news: The lead holding the handsome stained glass windows together had bowed and deteriorated. Several windows needed to be replaced too.

One of the stained glass windows.

Finally, the organ — installed in 1933 — was also found to need repairs.

The project costs $2.5 million. Half has been raised by parishioners so far, under the direction of Kemp Lewis.

If funds remain at the end, they’ll help fix the bell. It used to ring every 15 minutes. It broke over a year ago, and has been silent — unless rung manually, during services — ever since.

Architect, parishioner and property chair Deirdre O’Farrelly with the bell.

Plaster work began in early June. It will be completed by October 5 — God willing — in time for a long-scheduled wedding.

While the sanctuary is filled with heavy equipment, scaffolding and tarps, services are held in Branson Hall. Completed in 2012, that was the church’s previous big project.

Work continues in the sanctuary.

This is not an easy job. Workers from John Tiedemann Inc. of New Jersey — one of the nation’s top church restoration firms — work 50 feet high, in the hot attic.

The Christ & Holy Trinity space is beautiful. Congregants and clergy have admired and appreciated it for more than a century and a half.

Each star on the ceiling represents a family that donated for repairs after the 1951 fire.

The church shares many resources with the town. They’re doing all they can to keep it beautiful, and safe, for the next 150 years.

Downstairs in Branson Hall, an exhibit by Randy Herbertson includes stars with the names of contributors to the 2019 campaign.

A BIT OF HISTORY: Christ Church was consecrated in 1835, at the northeast corner of Ludlow Road and Post Road West. The original church is depicted on Westport’s town seal.

The building later became the Compo Inn, then the home of the restaurant Tony’s of 52nd Street.

In 1855 New York financier Richard Henry Winslow retired to Westport, and joined Christ Church. He owned the vast Compo Road properties that are now Winslow Park and Baron’s South.

He became a member of the vestry, and in 1859 offered an expensive organ to the church. He wanted to take the organ back,  however, “should certain contingencies arise.”

Some parishioners objected to the newcomer from New York making such demands. They also believed Episcopalians should not enjoy music during worship.

Winslow left the church. So did 50 other members — and the rector. The breakaway parish was organized in 1860. Winslow selected the current downtown site — back then, the Wakeman Inn — for Holy Trinity Church. In colonial times it had been the Disbrow Tavern. George Washington dined there with the Marquis de Lafayette and Count de Rochambeau.

The cornerstone was laid in 1860. Winslow died 5 months later, age 60. A new church replaced the original in 1885.

During World War II — when fuel and gas rationing caused difficulties — Holy Trinity Church asked Christ Church to worship with them. The merger was completed in 1944.

Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church today.

(To donate to the restoration fund, click here. A coloring book about the stained glass windows is available at the church office.)

Pic Of The Day #822

On Tuesday night, 8-year-old Finn Cummings had the whole world — or at least the big orange moon — in his hands (Photo/Mandy Cummings)

Washed Out!

Timing is everything.

The rain started at the worst possible time — around 5:45, 15 minutes before the “06880” blog party was to begin. Prill Boyle came by to say hi, but had to leave.

By 6:20, it was coming down steadily.

A few hardy souls — Michael Calise, Esther Koravillas, Jan Carpenter, Robert Mitchell and I — ventured out. We didn’t notice Bonnie Marcus in her car nearby. I hope I didn’t miss anyone else.

Radar showed the rain settling in.

Of course, as soon as we left, it ended.

If you came late: thanks! If you wanted to be there but couldn’t come: sorry!

See you next year. The long-range forecast is good.

The weather was a bit nicer in 2014. (Photo/Betsy Phillips Kahn)

Another Storm. Another Huge Tree Down.

This morning’s storm was nowhere near as intense as yesterday’s.

Or the one 2 weeks ago Monday. Or the one the day before that.

Nevertheless, it did some significant damage. A tree fell at Mystic Market. Two employees’ cars were heavily damaged.

(Photo/David Griswold)

No one was injured. But be careful.

It’s a jungle out there.

(Photo/Darcy Sledge)

(Photo/Darcy Sledge)