Arnie’s Place

A few weeks ago, “06880” highlighted 157 Easton Road. The 7-bedroom, 10-bath, 6-car garage, 2.75-acre property on the Aspetuck River — with a boathouse, indoor pool, 2 bars, wine-tasting room, guest quarters, tennis court, waterfalls, walking paths and stone bridges — was on the market.

The story focused on the home’s history. It was the longtime residence of Leopold Godowsky Jr. (a concert violinist with a passion for photography who set up a lab there, and helped develop Kodacolor and Ektachrome) and his wife, Frankie Gershwin (who in addition to being a noted painter and singer was also George and Ira’s younger sister). The Godowskys hosted guests like Richard Rodgers, John Hersey, Maureen O’Sullivan and Mia Farrow there.

157 Easton Road

157 Easton Road

That was intriguing enough. But a number of commenters noted that the house later belonged to another famous Westporter. Arnie Kaye was the larger-than-life (literally and metaphorically) owner of Arnie’s Place, a pioneering and legendary 1970s/’80s video arcade. Arnie also owned an ice cream parlor and delicatessen, regularly battled town officials, paid his taxes in pennies, and killed an intruder on his land.

157 Easton Road has finally been sold. The figure is eye-popping — and not in a good way.

It was listed at $3,599,000. The price — at auction — was $1,800,000.

Someone got Arnie’s place for a song.

And I don’t mean a Gershwin tune.

(Click here for the full real estate listing of this property.)

27 responses to “Arnie’s Place

  1. That house had a lot of history. I hope the new owners enjoy it as much as all the previous ones. My parents spent lots of nice evenings over there with the Godowsky’s.

  2. David Schaffer

    I have sometimes wondered what happened to Arnie Kaye. I remember one of his antagonistic moves against the town government was to offer houses he owned in town to the Hell’s Angels. I was going to college and moving out of my parents’ home in various stages during the time he was prominent and didn’t really pay attention to what was happening with him after 1985 or so. Can anyone fill me in on how that story ended?

  3. David Loffredo

    Originally listed for $6.495M in 2011. Welcome to the Fairfield County real estate re-set. You can thank Governor Malloy for all the new taxes and local job losses, and Metro North for the continued decline in our commuter rail system (for reference the quickest train from WPT-GCT was 57 mins in 2000, it’s now 67 mins in 2016).

    Buckle up, this election won’t make things any better, regardless of the outcome.


  5. The “intruder” was a famous night crawler burglar. He met his demise alongside Arnie’s indoor pool.

  6. The Godowsky’s also lived on Berkeley Road. They were there from before 1980 (when we moved to Berkeley Road) through his death in the eighties, and finally her move to NYC at the end of the eighties

  7. It’s hard to believe this is a reset for Westport. It seems to be an animal. Was this a closer than “arms length” purchase?

    • Jerry MacDaid

      It was an open auction so presumably a fair market price. I did not go to any of the open houses but for $1.8MM, I would have thought that the place was a wreck inside and needed to be gutted and redone. If not, it is pretty sad statement on Westport real estate prices, at least north of the Merritt.

      There are a lot of large homes north of the Merritt in other towns that are weighing down the market. For example, Jeff Immelt’s place in New Canaan and multiple places in Wilton and Ridgefield (among others) from GE and other executives leaving the state. Further east or north, forget it.

  8. previous – not animal, read anomaly.

  9. Bobbie Herman

    When I was on the Zoning Board of Appeals (1993-2001) Arnie asked for some sort of variance — I don’t remember what. We were supposed to inspect the applicants’ houses, and I did. One room on the lower level had wall-to-wall mattresses. Arnie must have had some very interesting parties!

  10. Arnie’s ice cream parlor also included a game arcade which in its day was a popular hangout of Westport kids.

  11. Bobbie Herman

    Just a little nit-pick. When you pluralize a name, you do not insert an apostrophe. It is not “Godowsky’s,” but “Godowskys.”

  12. Shannon Nordlinger

    I was lucky enough to tour this property when it was first listed. It was really something to see, but needed a TON of work both structurally and aesthetically for the current market. I hope whomever purchased it invests in the current structures and maintains all of the charm of the place.

    • Mary ruggiero

      The online listing link from this article was very deceptive then…it looked fantastic and in very good condition.

  13. Sharon Paulsen

    In response to David Loffredo’s comment:

    Yup, we can surely thank the Bush admin for tanking the real estate market. B/C … these things DO take time to manifest.

    Yup, we can thank the obstructionist “anti-black-president congress” for blocking needed infrastructure bills over their personal agendas. (It takes a village to list them all here, to be sure. A political junkie/fact checker extraordinaire could certainly confirm my viewpoint).

    The real estate situation is not an enlightening barometer for “what went wrong” so much as being the the precarious playing field of “what wrong can be wrought”.

    The Big Short.

    Okay, so about that house? Sooo interesting about the musical and creative minds that once spent time there. I love this kind of backstory. Thanks Dan!

  14. I don’t remember Arnie but he seems like a “Bidin’ My Time” kind of guy.
    Maybe the music still lives in the walls of this house?

    • Sharon Paulsen

      I do sort of remember Arnie.

      He would occasionally mull around the arcade for a short while, almost like a cameo appearance. This was when I was I high school, mid-ish 1980’s, and would go to the arcade a few times to play air hockey or a few video games, with friends.

      I found the place a little strange, and even as a high school student, I didn’t feel that the place had longevity as a business. Odd hours, pricey games, and … I don’t know – just “off”.

      I’d also heard the various rumors about Arnie’s “confrontations”, here and there. It all seemed so silly to me, from what I recall.

      Wasn’t there a Frudrucker’s restaurant in that area too, around the same time? Trendy and noisy burger type joint?

      Well, anyway, there it is.

      • The Fudruckers (from what I remember) was on the corner of Post Rd. and North Maple. I think it’s a bank and phone store now. At one point I think there was a Chinese place there that had a history because of a murder. Some of the Westport PD guys who read this may have more on it.

        • That particular location was also a Post Corner Pizza (local CT chain) for much of the 1990s. Casual, affordable and family-friendly.

      • Fuddrucker’s was a new-at-the-time high quality burger restaurant concept where you saw the big, high-quality patties stacked up (like they do in a old-time steakhouse) as you approached the ordering location – the chain is still around in fact. I THINK they were located in the area of where Westport National Bank is now.

        As for Leong’s Palace, while they were in the same vicinity I don’t think they were located in the same spot if for no other reason than I think they both existed during the same time in Westport – Leongs from 1975 until perhaps the mid-1980s (I think Leong’s closed down not too long after the owner David Leong was murdered in March 1982 right in front of his restaurant in what seemed at the time like some kind of mob hit (I think it turned out a former worker at the restaurant with a grudge was the one who murdered Leong).

        • Yes, Leong’s first, then Fuddruckers in the same location. I really enjoyed that place. I remember being part of a film shoot in Southport and we grabbed lunch there (circa 1985). I’m not sure if they lasted ten years at that location. They still operate in other parts of the country. Currently it is Westport National Bank (a revival of an old name/brand).

  15. Mary Ruggiero

    Ms Paulson…Perhaps some of those NINJA loans used to satisfy the “everyone should own their own home” thinking of the early 2000’s had something to do with the collapse. The fed’l gov’t always knows what’s best for us peons.