Miggs Burroughs Tunnels His Way Through Westport

For years, the pedestrian tunnel linking Main Street with Parker Harding Plaza was one of the grungiest places in Westport. Dark and grim, it seemed like one of the few places in town where you could actually get mugged.

Last year, artist/photographer/creative genius Miggs Burroughs changed all that. His “Tunnel Vision” project — 16 lenticular images showing Westporters connecting with each other, each one changing depending on your viewing angle — turned the Clockwork Orange-ish passageway into a tourist attraction.

Now Miggs is doing the same for Westport’s other skeevy tunnel: the train station, beneath the railroad tracks.

In cooperation with the Westport Police Department Railroad Parking Division, Westport Arts Center and Helen Klisser During, Miggs once again plans 16 lenticular photos.

One view -- or rather, two -- of downtown...

One view — or rather, two — of downtown…

The LED-lit lightboxes will turn the dreary tunnel into a stunning “Welcome to Westport” gallery. It may even stop folks rushing to or from trains — well, dead in their tracks.

Each lenticular will combine an image from a 100-year-old postcard of Westport’s past, with a current shot of the same scene. Downtown, Compo Beach, Longshore, the station itself — all will be displayed in fascinating then-and-now fashion.

The police — who are in charge of railroad station parking — want to bring art to the area. After all, Westport enjoys a reputation as an artists colony — and the Westport Arts Center is just down Riverside Avenue.

For decades too, commuters and civic boosters have wanted to do something to spiff up the horrific first impression of Westport that greets train travelers.

The iconic images come from collections of Police Chief Dale Call, former 1st selectman Gordon Joseloff and amateur historian Bill Scheffler.

...and two more.

…and two more.

You can see one of the lightboxes already. Not yet in the tunnel, it’s mounted outside the westbound waiting room on Railroad Place.

But each lightbox costs $3,000. Joseloff, Scheffler and his wife Ann Sheffer, and Robin Tauck have already funded 1 each. Burroughs and his co-producers need 13 more sponsors. Individuals, families, businesses and corporations are all invited. Contact Marni Katz at the Westport Arts Center (203-226-1806) for more information.


But the east tunnel is not the only one getting an arts infusion.

A project for the newer, less grungy west walkway is also in the works. Set for installation after a similar show at the Westport Historical Society this fall, and sponsored by Andrew Bentley, it will feature New Yorker covers of Westport scenes, paired with photos by Michael Goss of the same scenes today. They will not be lenticulars — but they will be eye-opening.

Here’s one set. The more things change…

Train station New Yorker covers




9 responses to “Miggs Burroughs Tunnels His Way Through Westport

  1. Gosh, I love Miggs! I love you, too, Dan, for the two of you are artistic heartbeats who bring a little more life (panache) to Westport (and a bit of sunshine on a rainy Monday morning)! Thank you, to both of you and to all the other artistic souls who color our town.

  2. Sherri Wolfgang-Peyser

    I have been a Miggs fan for years!
    Thank you for all the art you continually bring to this town. I still love looking at the mosaic mural at Longshore pool.

    Miggs is one of Westport’s gems.

  3. Fabulous! Thanks go to the artists and to Chief Dale Call and Deputy Chief Foti Koskinas for a great, uniquely Westport idea.

  4. This is fantastic! Congrats – and thanks – to Miggs and all who contribute to making this happen. This is a wonderful project.

  5. The train station is a Hub of activity all day and night long with the vibrant Saugatuck center just next door….it’s a great way to say “you’ve arrived to Westport”. The station will have an identity and personality! Love this!

  6. Nancy Powers Conklin

    So amazing and beautiful!

  7. Deb Rosenfield

    Dan– what a funny headline! And Miggs is such a beacon of light for our town!

    I have two black and white 8×10 glossy photos, from the 1950’s, of the train station if Miggs needs some additional photos to borrow. They appear to have been taken by a professional photographer. One shows Baer’s (Desi’s Corner) and the Black Horse Liquor store sign along with a long shot of the east end of the station, including cars and stations wagons (one looks like a “Woody”) parked along both sides of Railroad Place. The other photo, taken from the corner of Franklin Street and Railroad Place,shows the west end of the station and the building behind it (which has a sign that reads “Westport and Saugatuck”), again with lots of 1950’s cars. These used to hang in my Railroad Place gift shop, Madison’s, back in the early 1990’s.

  8. Can’t help but notice how the total lack of signs in the originals lend so much to the streetscapes…and of course with the hundreds that now exist, take so much away.