Compo Beach Is Packed With Invisible People

The pre-fireworks scene, at 12:30 this afternoon:

(Photos/Doris Ghitelman)

50 responses to “Compo Beach Is Packed With Invisible People

  1. Michael A. Vitelli

    We just moved to town.
    Is this concerned OK to do?

    • Jens Buettner

      Michael, only when you have an ETBR badge! Sorry, as you are new, this is an Entitled Taxpayer Beach Reservation badge! 😉

  2. Michael A. Vitelli


    • Only by the people who do it. The rest of us think it’s rude and inconsiderate. Some groups make sure someone is there at all times. That’s the way to do it.

  3. Stefanie Lemcke

    LOL – and I thought only Germans are famous for reserving their beach chairs the night before. 🙂

    • Jens Buettner

      😂😂😂 – only Germans in Mallorca and entitled taxpayers in Westport.

  4. sharon cribari-saccary

    very inconsiderate. When our family went someone was there at all times.

  5. Evan Stein

    They will clear the parking lot before the fireworks. Will they clear the beach, too?

  6. Evan Stein

    Be sure to fold and stack everyone’s chairs neatly. In one big pile.

    I’m having a shitty day and this is making it worse.

  7. Golda Villa

    This is hilarious!

  8. Ken Runkel

    This has been going on for years, and quite frankly should be stopped by Town officials. No one has the right to ‘reserve’ beach spaces, grills, or tables. Get there early is the answer. I’m all for the idea of taking all of these ‘reserved space’ items and building a huge pile next to the Porta-Potties!

  9. Tara Fanuko

    Oh how tempting it is to want to take all those nice empty chairs and throw them in the Sound.

  10. Julie Fatherley

    Hooray for Evan Stein…LOVE, LOVE your comments…Julie Fatherley

  11. India Penney

    Wow! I’ve lived here for 10 years and have never gone to the beach on the day of fireworks, so I had no idea. This is appalling. It isn’t just the “saving of space” it’s the amount of space saved! There’s enough space in the middle of those circles to add a dozen or more people, without anyone being crowded.
    Since I don’t go, it doesn’t affect me directly — but simply the unfairness of it and the inconsideration makes me want to do more than just complain here on this site. I honestly think something should be done.
    Has anything been tried before? Does Parks and Rec or WPD take a stand on the issue?

  12. Kevin McCaul

    It’s so wrong on many levels.

  13. Seth Goltzer

    That’s called “Chutzpah”, hopefully the chairs will be removed!

  14. Tracy Flood

    wow how rude!

  15. Jack Krayson

    “Night of the Living Dead”

  16. J. Pickering


  17. Melissa Levy

    They should just start selling reserved seating!


  18. R. Petrova

    If they are clearing the parking lot at 4, they should clear these as well! It is shocking that the townhall would tolerate such selfishness and lack of consideration for others!

  19. Jeff Seaver

    Beach-shaming! YAY!!!!

  20. Mary Jennings

    can we fix this? such rudeness..esp on a such a hot day.

  21. Arline Gertzoff

    Selling reserved space sounds like an instant money maker for the town’s coffers.People should only reserve space from 4pm on for an additional fee when the beach is cleared .I send the PAL a donation every year and watch the fireworks elsewhere with no traffic.No reservation necessary.

    • Jill Greenberg

      the problem with selling space is you still end up with a sense of separateness that is not in the spirit of independence day, and one wishes not in the spirit of community. By selling space we allow those who want to flaunt their privilege to magnify opportunity gaps. Everyone, every day, needs equal access to the beach to which we all contribute through our tax dollars, at the very least.

  22. September Stevens

    I walked by this scene this morning and felt really sad about our town. Entitlement doesn’t begin to cover it. Fine to reserve a reasonable spot (which these are not unless they’re having a ballroom dancing competition in the middle) if you’re going to be there all day to use it. Otherwise, ew. Just, ew.

    And don’t get me started on the tents by the water that would block anyone’s view of the sound all evening and fireworks if someone is sitting behind them.

  23. This a big problem that is ruining this great event. Something must be done!

  24. Kristopher Wilson

    If it were any other day I’d say this isn’t appropriate, but on this particular day, I see nothing wrong with it. The beach is huge so this isn’t infringing on anyone. It’s the only way to ensure that large groups of families can be together. There is so much chaos when people arrive as it is and this helps to eliminate the mad scramble to find friends/loved ones. And kids need space to run around while still being somewhat contained. People should chill out and refrain from threats of throwing peoples chairs into the ocean. Not very neighborly.

    • Elaine Marino

      Mr. Wilson,

      The difference here is that not one person from this very large group stayed after claiming a prime piece of real estate before a well-attended holiday event. That would be the polite thing to do.

      — Elaine

    • India Penney

      Yes, I agree 100% — everyone should remain neighborly. I’m always flabbergasted by outrage over small issues.
      But I’d like to suggest another way to look at this. When I was a kid and spent my summers at Compo Beach, part of the fun of 4th of July was – in fact – hunting to find friends and loved ones. It was such a party atmosphere and it felt like a real community. Granted, I was down at the end with houses, rather than in the “open to the public” area — so there was already a community of sorts. Still … it was the mad scramble that was part of the fun. Most people looked out for others. Most people shared, willingly, happily. New friends were almost always made.
      I go to Martha’s Vineyard for the August fireworks, and it’s much like that there, too. Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs, right on the water, is quite large, but also the population of the island in the summer is 4x that of Westport. Every inch of lawn space is, eventually, covered in blankets and chairs. But people make room for each other rather than stake out their claim and then walk away until they need it hours later. I’ve shown up literally 45 minutes before the fireworks begin and have been able to find a great spot — because as each group of people arrive they only take the space they need. Children run all over the park – all over other people’s blankets – nobody cares. Most people have to park blocks and blocks away. We all walk together, laughing, chattering, calling out to each other – whether we know each other or not.
      That’s what it’s all about, don’t you agree? Not about staking out large, impenetrable territory – as if every man IS an island. 🙂

  25. Michelle Benner

    It’s one thing to put a few chairs out to save a spot (I guess? I’m used to this happening?) But to make a huge circle around an empty space of sand, cutting it off from daytime beach goers??? So sad to see. What can we do to help promote a better sense of community spirit and graciousness towards each other in our town? I feel like if this kind of entitlement continues to go unchecked and is not called out it will keep getting worse. What’s next, staking out parking spots?

    • Kristopher Wilson

      Any other day, I agree. But again, if we are talking about this one day a year? There are much bigger issues to worry about.

  26. That is obscene.

  27. Jill Greenberg

    Just to add a note about those vast, mcmansions on the beach, once the festivities get under way, much of the space reserved goes unused. There is no way to have friendly conversation when one has a huge circle of chairs, people get up and mill around, their children run all over their blankets and yours, too. So, in fact, it is greedy, not just because people, to some, unfairly take the space long before those of us who work all day can establish territory, but because, all that space goes unused, wasted, pushing others to the periphery and creating a sense of us/them/ clubbiness, that really is not in the spirit of the day at all.
    Take only what you need, leave nothing behind, spread a sense of community, leave exclusivity at home. Have fun.

  28. Stephanie Bass

    This is abandoned property. Should be gathered up in a big pile. And, because I’m trying not to use obscene language so much, take the F@#$%&^ing s#$%*(t and make great big bonfire.

  29. Luke Garvey

    At least Clint Eastwood will have plenty of chairs to talk to.

  30. Not sure any holiday celebration is worth all this – my wife and I will be watching on TV!

  31. OK, so what is the position of P and R commissioner and/or First Selectman on this matter? Someone/anyone should remember to bring this up at the next election debate!

  32. Mark Doran

    I hope the Canadian geese go over there and shit all over their space/stuff.

  33. Bob Stalling

    I just boxed off an area with tape on the floor by the counter at Joey’s….please show some respect, that’s my area.

  34. T. Jendrock

    I see a large empty area inside the exclusive circle of chairs next to the presumed foot tables… Looks like a perfect spot for another family or group to stake their claim! (Since this is a public beach open to all residents, enterprising parties are welcome to settle in for the evening fireworks!)

  35. Kathleen Brady

    That is so rude. I am going to sit in the middle.

  36. Chip Stephens

    Dan, so glad I am up in Maine. I am sure I would have been the first, after seeing this, to play beach chair toss to the tides. But instead am sitting by the lake enjoying the tolerable temps instead of explaining my behavior to the police.

  37. You’ve heard of ‘crop circles’.

  38. BTW, fireworks will be very close to dead low tide so there will be plenty of room for all. Just sayin’.

  39. Mary Cookman Schmerker Staples '58

    Ahhhh.. Haaa……the Emperors Clothes Syndrome!

  40. Terry brannigan

    The entire scene makes me sick. I grew up right there before it turned into a contest of who could try to be more fabulous than who.

    At the risk of some backlash I’d venture to say the average tenure in town of the people who own those chairs is 5 to 7 years tops. It’s not that the practice is new it is that the people are. I can think of no other explanation .

    I feel the exact same way when I go to aschool production and I get there early to grab a seat and there is one person “ saving “ an entire row. I got here on time I’ll take the seat thank you very much. Since I’m on a roll also please put down the giant iPad you are using to film the only person at the event that matters …to you. By the way, we all know Dan occupies the pole position at most of the staples arts events but I am happy to report he shows up on time to claim his throne!

    It’s disgusting

  41. Peter Picknelly

    Should have taken a before and after photo to shame them.