Friday Flashback #99

At first glance, this photo looks unremarkable.

Fred Cantor took it in 1977, he thinks — during the Great Race. That was the fun, funny and often alcohol-infused event in which people dressed in costumes, created their own vessels, ran from Taylor Place to the river, jumped in their watercraft, raced out to Cockenoe Island, filled a bag with garbage (the cheaters already carried pre-packed trash), then rowed or sailed or whatever-ed back to shore.

Meanwhile, Main Street merchants held sales. This was the scene outside Remarkable Book Shop. The stalls were always outside, but on this day they attracted huge crowds.

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

The Great Race is (regrettably) long gone. But this weekend the Fine Arts Festival returns to Main Street. It’s a great show.

Unfortunately, few Remarkable-type stores anymore offer something else to all those art-lovers (though Savvy + Grace is worth a trip from anywhere).

Also this weekend, the Westport Library hosts its 26th annual Book Sale. Those squintillions of volumes make this Remarkable scene look, well, unremarkable. But whenever and wherever people buy books, it’s a good thing.

Finally, this Friday Flashback raises the question: Now that Remarkable Book Shop is gone — and Talbots too is a long-ago memory too — will anything ever take their place?

15 responses to “Friday Flashback #99

  1. Arline Gertzoff

    Unless Talbot’s has recently closed I think you
    mean Ann Taylor (Isabel Elands)which closed a few months ago Talbots started out in the complex where Crateand Barrel is before moving to Main Street.

  2. Dan — Thank you for this well timed piece. Let me add that Sunrise Rotary put on the Great Race as a fundraiser, let it lapse and, ten years ago, replaced it with the Great Duck Race.

  3. Arthur Klausner

    More important than the stores, I want to know when those awesome tube socks are coming back in style!!!

  4. The Fine Arts Festival will be bigger and better than ever – now featuring over 180 booths of curated artists, family arts activities, great new music and food features, including Bill Taibe’s KiWaNi!

  5. So, here I am working away at my desk when I get the email from Dan with “Flashback Friday Photo #99”. Always a nice diversion, I click on the link, the picture of Remarkable Book Store opens …. and what is most remarkable to me is that the 2 kids with the fashionable tube socks are none other than me and my brother, George. I was rarely seen without my signature RWB sweatband and we loved the tube socks and the Remarkable Book store – the best store EVER!!!!! I am going to say this was closer to 1975-76 but thanks to Fred and Dan for posting a great childhood memory of me and my brother that we never even knew existed! LOVE THIS PICTURE! Made my day!! THANK YOU! Roz and George Koether

    • Fred Cantor

      Roz, that’s very cool! I was wondering if someone would recognize the kids or the elderly woman right behind them—and I’m delighted one of the kids in the pic turned out to be an “06880” reader.

    • Britt Anderson

      Roz. Hello. This is Britt Anderson. I flipped when I saw your post, went back to the picture and thought “yes, that is them.” Hope you all are well.

  6. Katherine Snead

    Roz, that i SO great! What a fun remarkable pink wonky rambling treasure that place was! I would however like to point out to the author that neither Talbots nor Ann Taylor are anything special esp given they are chain stores. Of the era, lets talk Selective Eye or Soups On or .. help me out here. What were some of the other singular, locally owned and run shops?
    Regardless, what a great memory and slice o fun (and now fame) for my classmate Roz,

  7. K .F. Spearen

    This photo brings back Wonderful Memories , on how our town once was . That was back in the day when it was Fun to go into main street , with Lots of Mom & Mop stores up and down the street .. Some of the store owners even knew us by our first name then .. Unfortunately those days are Gone . Thank you for the great pic with the fond memories Fred .C This is a wonderful post Dan .W

  8. Some of the shops I remember on Main Street, Bill’s Smoke Shop, Dorain’s
    Drug Store, The Linen Chest, Welshed
    Hardware, Klein’s, Westport Food
    Market, Max’s, Ships, Town Squire,
    Country Gal, Party Barn, Lowe’s
    Hardware, Cheese Shop(?)
    Sweezy’s Jewelry Store plus the ones
    mentioned, it was great!

  9. Seth Goltzer

    Remember what as in those stalls before that section of the Remarkable Bookstore took them over?
    The Record Hunter!
    Definitely feeling old.

    • Fred Cantor

      Seth, so the Remarkable’s outdoor book bins were originally installed by the Record Hunter to display and sell vinyl albums? I did my record buying at Klein’s (which is why I guess I have no recollection of that). Interesting.

  10. Jack Whittle

    Did someone mention The Great Race?

    Man, I really love the Town I grew up in, and the way it was – including the Great Race and the Remarkable Book Store – but we have done a pretty good job keeping that vibe alive! Including the annual Art Festival and the book sale.

  11. Audrey Doniger

    What fun that was…both now and then…really miss the “old Westport”…thanks for the memory

  12. Jennie G Pickering

    the house/shop should be painted the Remarkable pink forevermore as landmark