Happy 236th, America!

Melissa and Doug Bernstein, with half of their kids.Their toy company sponsored last night’s fireworks — so all the proceeds go directly to PAL.

Apparently Aussies celebrate the 4th of July too.

Gail Coen and Chris Shays. The Republican US Senate candidate stopped by the Coens’ party on Soundview Avenue — traditionally one of the best in Westport.

Even Westport’s lifeguards got in the patriotic spirit yesterday.

Jackie O’Connell gets her holiday groove on.

A small part of the big scene. Amazingly — thanks to the crack Parks & Rec crew — Compo Beach is spotless this morning.

For the Heart — the great singing group — entertained the crowd yesterday by the cannons. From left: Tyler Jent, Clay Singer, Johnny Shea and August Laska.

Westport’s Finest was out in force yesterday. On motorcycles, bikes and foot, they kept the crowd of well over 10,000 safe and happy.

A classic — and timeless — Independence Day scene. (All photos by Dan Woog)

Click below to watch For the Heart sing (appropriately) “Firework”:

63 responses to “Happy 236th, America!

  1. Wow, Dan. Great photos! I especially like the lifeguard chair and your opening shot, “sense of place” Great photo essay!

  2. The BEST fireworks show ever! Kudos to Melissa and Doug.

  3. Steven Halstead

    The fireworks were awesome.
    Thanks to Westporters Melissa and and Doug Bernstein for sponsoring this wonderful community happening. Thanks to the PAL and all of Westportโ€™s team who make this evening very special.

  4. The lifeguard has his flag reversed. The stars on blue should be upper left.
    Common mistake. Maybe Dan can do a flag etiquette blog a few days before next years 4th. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Just Asking

    It was very nice of Melissa & Doug sponsoring the fireworks, but was it sponsoring or advertising. Was it necessary for every ticket, sign, and the barge to be emblazoned with their logo. I know it was hugely generous of them, to solely put up the funds, but it comes across as very self serving. Westport at heart is a small fish in a big pond, we are not televising the fireworks, so why the need to market in our slice of apple pie. Doug Berstein (and Melissa) were exceptionally generous, but he is one of the biggest EGOS since Arnie Kaye. Take your pick: his beyond oversized house, his gas guzzling cars, his rude behavior towards his neighbors, and I have so much money it makes me classy way is not Americana it’s EGO.. Pure and simple!! Thank you for your generosity sort of…

    • A comment typical of Westport. More to come I would bet.

    • Westport Convert

      You’re just now realizing this?

      WC

      • First Impression

        He should change his pseudo name to: “Just an ass”

        • Just Asking

          Putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t make it pretty… Spending money altruistically is great… But arrogance and behavior in a troubled time is boorish. So you are right first impression… The first impression was not a good one

    • Just Asking, i am sure i speak for everyone when i say you are a real ass hole!

      • ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Just Asking

        Karen besides asshole being a compound word it’s Mr Asshole to you…. Sorry if I rained on your parade, but I don’t care how big a check you write, ones behavior and attitude doesn’t make up for it by sponsoring I mean advertising a town event.

        • Karen…you don’t speak for me…presumptiveness to the extreme!

          JA…I’m with you

          • Next year, why don’t you and JA fund the fireworks; put up or shut up.

            • Just Asking

              Thank you Emma you proved my point. Putting up a fat check makes all other indiscretions ok… And it doesn’t. If I had the coin I would do it and not market my goodwill.

            • Nancy (named such by the civilized FI)

              I can and maybe will…but I think M&D have it tied up for a number of years. Of course you know we all pay anyway with their write off! It’s not the write off it’s the gross, crass commercialization. No class. Dave Friezo was understated but effective. I’m thinkin you disagree though.

  6. Anybody know the cost of fireworks sponsorship?
    JA: Ya gotta splash your logo on everything to write it off as advertising, ’cause it ain’t charity. Oversized houses and gas guzzling autos are the norm here, but I grant you their pad and fence are a bit over the top. With half a dozen kids, they need big wheels just to fit everybody inside. Much as we might not like it, EGO and insecurity are huge powerful drivers for monetary success and it’s a compliment to be compared to Arnie Kaye, who started the Post Road beautification. Don’t live near them so I can’t comment on how they treat their neighbors, but there are lots of locals who are not respectful of their neighbors or the neighborhood. All in all, I wish I had big bucks enough to be a fireworks sponsor.
    Lighten up a bit…M&D did a great job for the PAL and Westport. They deserve to be thanked, not trashed. God bless ’em. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Old and Grey

    I for one want Dave Friezo and Lydian back…that’s a class act…minor advertising…same generosity…The over the top advertising was nonsense…It’s clear to me why M&D wanted to sponsor event

  8. Thanks to Melissa and Doug. Please dont let a few kooks out here get you down. I thought it was one off the best displays in years. Lydian was terrific too. It is not a competition. We are lucky to have generous people and businesses that are willing to support this great American tradition. Thank You. Thank you to Captain Arciola, PAL President and all that the PAL did to make it a special night. Thanks to Parks and Recreation and the Police too. Great job all around.

    • First Impression

      It was a great night, a great display and EVERYONE had wonderful time!

      Thank you Melissa & Doug and all those that contributed!

      • Nancy (named such by the civilized FI)

        I wonder if EVERYONE included the 10 year old who was strangled by an angered adult on Apple Tree Trail or the owner of the building trashed by a DUI reveler on the Post Road. I love these all inclusive statements by ignoramuses.

        • I hadn’t heard about those incidents. Details, please…

        • Westport Convert

          Just to clarify, the DUI car crash occurred last night. The strangulation and assault on the 10-year old occurred on Tuesday following the fireworks. More info at WestportNow.

          Our town is crumbling down around us. Cupcake wars, car crashes, assaults on children, and controversial tear-downs. What’s next? I’m heading for my bunker.

          WC

        • First Impression (FI)

          Nancy,
          Since you are such a dumbass, and I’m being civil you asshole, when I said everyone had a wonderful time I did not know of the incident with the water ballon and the boy being chocked by one of your friends, so now I will withdraw said comment.
          Does that make it all better for you now? If not, ask your mommy to up your meds when she tucks you and gives you warm milk at bedtime.

  9. Fred Cantor

    I just don’t see this as the time or place to air whatever complaints people feel they have with Melissa and Doug. Everyone should simply be grateful they spent apparently significant sponsorship dollars to help out a community cause. And, Dan, this is just one more example of why I wish people were not allowed to post anonymously on this blog. There is a tone and lack of civility–not to mention some unbelievably over-the-top posts over the years–that one never saw in a traditional local print forum such as “Letters to the Editor,” where people have always been required to identify themselves.

    • First Impression

      Disagree w/Fred on name posting and call bullshit on his newspaper theory, old media only publishes editorials of accepted opinions.

      Otherwise you get a bunch of old ladies saying how beautiful the flowers are, ala WestportNow.

      Get with the times Fred, those days are gone for the better!
      (And besides Dan likes a good contentious debates).

    • Enough ‘letters to editors’ of significance are authored by professional ghost writers so the signature isn’t what is most important.

      • First Impression (FI)

        That is true! I remember just a couple of years ago the whole letters to the editor scandal. Remember that Fred?!

  10. Used to love the fireworks down at Compo…haven’t been there to see them in over 30 years, though, how would you say they are these days, say compared to the ones here on Dan’s blog? And btw….Doug Bernstein was class speaker at my Staples graduation in ’81…he got the gig precisely because of the mix of traits that have made him very successful: he knew everyone, everyone knew him, he made people laugh, knew how to have a good time, and seemed to be everywhere something was happening…we (kids) didn’t have the cynicism to think of it as self promotion or ego, he was, as most class speakers are, the consensus pick to be both competent and entertaining when taking his turn on the stage.
    And from what i recall of that June day on the football field…he nailed it.

  11. Up with Civility...Down with Snark

    Hey Dan…didn’t know you were championing incivility in the guise of contentious debates

    • And some could easily say your post is snarky Mr. Civility, as you pretend to take the high road.

  12. Up with Civility...Down with Snark

    I rest my case

  13. Fred Cantor

    One question for 06880 readers on the topic of anonymous posts: why are people reluctant to put their name behind the opinions they express?

    • Throw away the sniffing salts and man-up for the internet Fred. Or, better yet, put on a costume and post under a pseudonym. It’s liberating and fun for all!

    • An excellent question. Anonymous posters: Chime in!

      • Private Anon

        One good reason for anonymity is that it preserves your internet right to privacy. The data/text mining for personal information from the web is becoming too sophisticated. Sometimes this intelligence gathering is good for an individual (i.e. appropriate consumer targeting) but it can also be used in less desirable ways.

        I do appreciate the forum that Dan has provided to comment anonymously on the Westport scene. I try to be as civil as I would in speaking face-to-face. I do believe that we should not post comments that out mothers’ would not approve of.

      • Just Asking

        If you look at thread names I would say more than 90% use a single name or a “title”…very very few actually use their given name… Off the top of my head I can think of three who do Fred Cantor, Mary Gai, Richard Lawrence Stein… They are frequent threaders… But sometimes like “deepthroat” what is said could put them or others into the fire and that is dangerous for their place positions or livelyhood…

      • First Impression (FI)

        Perhaps many have, but due to the “open-mindedness” of our liberal friends decided it wasn’t worth it.

    • names like labels are a distraction. it’s mildly interesting to know who thinks what but unless running for office the real value hopefully is in the thought.

  14. Jamie Walsh

    Because Fred…most of them lack…well… fill in the blank!
    Thank you Doug and Melissa for your sponsorship.

  15. Westport fireworks were always the best! What memories of sitting on the hood of the family station wagon with our friends and watching the show. For those who remember way back when, remember the ending? The fireworks always ended with the American flag punched out in the sky. I’d say what a gift to the community to continue on a fine Westport tradition of fireworks at Compo!

  16. Westport Convert

    Stripping this blog of anonymity would be pointless censorship and a detriment to site visits (viewership).

    I thank Dan for allowing privacy and free speech to reign over the bratty cries & complaints of a Mr. “Fred Cantor.” Let the debates continue.

    WC

    • First Impression (FI)

      And Dan knows that otherwise he wouldn’t allow it, but he sees the blandness of Westportnow and knows better.

    • Fred Cantor

      Westport Convert, I’m not sure how you can legitimately characterize what I posted as “bratty cries and complaints.” Also, how do you characterize the issue of whether or not to allow anonymous posts as having to do with “censorship” and “free speech?” 06880 is not a government entity. Dan Woog is operating a private blog and any decision by him to require names or remove posts he finds offensive are well within his rights, and would not in any way trample on any “rights” of his readers.

  17. Lest there be any doubt anonymity is fine with me…nastiness is not.

    The nasty comment posters are probably unaware that their comments are what they are.

  18. You get to express multiple personalities, be a trifle sarcastic, be rude to rude commenters, and not have folks judge you. How’s that for starters?