If You’re Thinking Of Living In Westport …

… then this Sunday’s New York Times has a story for you.

We’re the subject of this coming weekend’s Real Estate section feature. Sometimes a neighborhood is featured; other times, a village or — like us — entire town.

The piece begins with a story about a British couple with 3 young daughters. They rented in Old Greenwich, but found it very “finance-driven. They wanted to be part of “a real community.”

The New York Times map of Westport.

Westport — with its “scenic waterfront, proximity to New York City and variety of restaurants, as well as its international contingent and cosmopolitan atmosphere” — offered “ nice balance of diversity, understated successful people and enough of a European vibe.”

1st Selectman Jim Marpe then touts Westport’s “global mind set,” along with the arts, education, abundant recreational facilities and — according to the Times — “2 downtowns.”

One of our downtowns serves as the main image for the New York Times profile of Westport. (Photo/Jane Beiles for New York Times)

“The lifestyle here caters to a range of interests,” Marpe says. “And to high expectations.”

Marpe notes, “We live in a place that dates back to the very start of this country. There is a sense of history here, but we are firmly focused on the future.”

The rest of the piece includes information on Westport’s geography and neighborhoods (I learned that there’s an area known as “In-Town,” which is “within walking distance of the main downtown”); the housing mix (there are 8,818 single-family houses, 104 multifamily homes, 546 condos in 21 complexes, 292 rental apartments in residential and mixed-use buildings, 4 affordable-housing complexes with 217 units, and 1 building with 36 age-restricted cooperative apartments); the price range ($350,000 to $22.5 million, with homes under $1 million selling fastest and waterfront properties listed at a premium).

An aerial view of the Saugatuck River.(Photo/Jane Beiles for New York Times)

There’s also this, headlined “The Vibe”:

From “The Twilight Zone” and “Bewitched” to the current sitcom “American Housewife,” Westport has long been cast as an affluent suburban backdrop for television. Stereotypes aside, the town blends a laid-back ambience with year-round cultural offerings, high-end shopping and dining, and a slew of outdoor activities.

“With roots as an artists’ colony, Westport remains a creative hub,” The Times continues. The Westport Country Playhouse, Community Theatre, Levitt Pavilion, Westport Writers’ Workshop, Library, and MoCA Westport (formerly the Westport Arts Center) are all mentioned.

Schools get mentioned too, including the district’s #1 ranking in the state (and 28th in the country) by Niche, and Staples’ 7th place state rating by U.S. News and World Report.

Girls soccer: one of the many great activities at Staples High School. (Photo by Jane Beiles for New York Times)

Finally, there’s a section on the “64- to 90-minute” commute (though Marpe notes that more people now come to Westport for work than leave), and a bit of history of the Minute Man monument.

It’s a very fair and balanced picture of our town.

It’s just a week after Labor Day. But clearly, every realtor in Westport has just been handed an early Christmas or Hanukkah gift.

(Click here for the full New York Times story.)

16 responses to “If You’re Thinking Of Living In Westport …

  1. Writer’s paradise!

  2. Writer’s paradise.

  3. 21 Condo Complexes? What town are they in?

  4. David Stalling

    When people live in 8,000-square-foot, six-bedroom, $2.5 million-dollar homes but are proud of “globally-minded” efforts to protect the environment by banning plastic . . . Well, I appreciate the sentiment, but there’s a bit of a disconnect from reality going on.

  5. The author has apparently missed the outstanding Westport/Weston Family YMCA. We are blessed with perhaps the finest YMCA of any town our size in the country. Yesterday’s groundbreaking for a project that will bring back the gymnastics center and enhance facilities at Camp Mahackeno will increase the benefits provided to members of our communities.

    Pete Wolgast

  6. This is very exciting as I read the “Living In…” column religiously every week. Am super proud!! Thanks for the heads up 🙂

  7. William Strittmatter

    I wonder when they took that picture of “downtown”. I’m only occasionally in downtown Westport and I hear it is somewhat in decline, but I don’t recall ever seeing that section of the Post Road that empty. Reminds me of the early advertising for the Merritt 7 complex in Norwalk that had a picture of an empty Merritt Parkway showing the “pleasant drive” to the new office space.

    Separately, I note the fact checkers at the failing NY Times failed to notice that the physical location of the “entity formerly known as the Westport Arts Center” is actually in Norwalk rather than where shown on the map (unless Westport has recently purchased that area from Norwalk).

    Otherwise, a nice article for Westport.

  8. Westport is a great place to live. Great beach,scenery,landscape,trees, some open space,dog park,playhouse,incredible library,Levitt Pavillion, and very interesting diversified population. Great schools. Lots of synagogues and churches to choose from. I am a happy camper. Plus Westport has been democratic for a long time. Wow eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Im happy here. Its home

  9. Michelle Benner

    Good thing the article didn’t mention the mold issue in some of our schools and that our 2 middle schools have been combined into one building which is currently housing hundreds of students & staff over capacity!

    • Michelle, the NYT article does mention – albeit in just one breezy sentence – our middle school mashup but in such a cryptic way that it borders on outright misrepresentation. It says:

      “Because of a $32 million rehabilitation project at Coleytown, all middle schoolers will attend Bedford for the 2019-20 school year.”

      And that is it The emphasis being squarely on the new $32 million rehab project. Basically a high-tech version of “Nothing to see here folks. Move along.”

  10. Interesting to compare the 1984 piece with the current one — not just to see how the town has changed, but also the NY Times. The 1984 piece, despite fitting a real estate section template, was much more informative, and much less fluffy the 2019 version — even daring to mention the town’s lack of diversity,

  11. Elizabeth Thibault

    We are all very lucky to be living here, there is so much here to be grateful for. Look around at how well the town is managed and maintained, we can trust our water supply to not be poisoning us, our children have full bellies (high quality food,) and have other luxuries not as prevalent among their peers elsewhere, like access to myriad activities – educational and physical, enriching trips and vacations, access to a well funded and extremely active library, and our physical location is absolutely lovely. No place is perfect, there is always something that could be done better, but we have to also recognize that compared to many others in the world, in our country, in our own state, we have charmed lives.