A recent “06880” story about Leopold and Frankie Godowsky’s Easton Road home — he helped develop Kodachrome; she was George and Ira Gershwin’s younger sister — moved commenters to note that in later years, that same house was owned by Arnie Kaye.
A larger-than-life figure — and he was pretty large to begin with — Arnie was known for many things. He killed an intruder on his property. He paid his taxes in pennies. He owned a delicatessen and ice cream parlor.
He was best known, however, for his Arnie’s Place video arcade. Located where
Balducci’s Anthropologie is now, and one of the first of its kind in an American suburb like Westport, it became a home-away-from-home for countless kids in the late 1970s and early ’80s.
Despite plenty of opposition at the start — lots of adults thought a video arcade heralded The End of the World — he ran an operation that parents soon happily dumped their kids at. Arnie looked out for them, providing a safe place to play (and spend mom and dad’s money).
Pretty soon, every child in Westport had his birthday party at Arnie’s.
Most of our Friday Flashbacks flash back many decades. This one will be remembered fondly by folks who wish their own children today — the same age they were then — could have their own video arcade to go to, with other kids.
Instead of playing those damn games all alone, on a stupid cellphone.