Roundup: Celestial Convergence, Barnes & Noble, Downtown Employees, More


It was a bit too cloudy and foggy yesterday to really see the convergence of Saturn and Jupiter. It’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed so close to each other, and nearly 800 years since their alignment — seeming to form one “Christmas star” — occurred at night.

But that didn’t stop a number of Westporters from heading to Compo Beach to look.

Jo Shields reports, “I heard someone say there was a lot of applause and cheering on South Beach. But then someone said it might have just been a plane.”

Here’s what she saw, on the jetty:

(Photo/Jo Shields)


It’s official!

Barnes & Noble signed its new lease yesterday, for the former Restoration Hardware site. “06880” reported that the deal was imminent last week. The opening is slated for February. David Adam Realty was the realtor.

Restoration Hardware moved out in June. Soon, Barnes & Noble will move in.(Photo/Chip Stephens)


Last summer, as the pandemic (first) raged, the Westport Downtown Merchants Association partnered with ASF, on a fundraiser to support local businesses. The community helped raise over $2,700.

Last month, the WDMA asked retailers to nominate employees who have gone “above and beyond.”

There were many stories about heroes who put in extra hours, offered creative ideas to keep businesses afloat, provided extraordinary customer service, or remained strong in uncertain times.

Now the WDMA has awarded 26 of those very deserving employees $100 Downtown Dollar eGift Cards. Congratulations and thanks go to:

Karyl Scott (Massage Envy)
Kimberly Lavigne (Sorelle Gallery)
Francisco Moreno (Winfield Street Deli)
Henry Potter (Athleta)
Ellyn Weitzman (Franny’s Farmacy)
Stephanie Soares (Don Memo)
Alba Antun (Don Memo)
Zach Hinman (Don Memo)
Owen Wiseman (Kawa Ni)
Kelly Clement (Kawa Ni)
Marco Almanza (Kawa Ni)
Lux Bond & Green Team
Paulino Garcia (The Whelk)
Lupita Cristostomo (The Whelk)
Matt Balga (The Whelk)
Julie Cook (Savannah Bee)
Will Newman (New England Hemp Farm)
John Vaast (Walrus Alley)
Patricia Andrade (Splash of Pink)
Isabelle Johansen (Cotelac)
Jinkuk Hong (Manna Toast)
Victor Mejia (Manna Toast)
Jessica Zito (Manna Toast)
Karen Martella (Catherine H)


The ink is barely dry on the new federal COVID relief package.

But this afternoon (Tuesday, December 22, 2:30 p.m.), Congressman Jim Himes and officials of the Small Business Administration join a live Zoom discussion to explain it. Click here for the link; the passcode is 509950.

Congressman Jim Himes


Jewish Senior Services is located in Bridgeport, but its Westport roots are strong and deep.

Ken Wirfel and Alan Phillips are the 2 most recent board chairs. Dozens of Westporters are board members and/or supporters, including the Nevas, Kassen and Magidas families.

Scores of Westport relatives are in long-term care there, have gone through short-term rehabilitation, or utilize JSS’ home care or community services.

Yesterday, the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine were administered there, to nearly 300 people. CEO Andrew Banoff called it “a day we will never forget.”

Although JSS’s mission is grounded in Jewish traditions, well over half of the residents and clients are not Jewish. They are “the largest faith-based not-for- profit senior care community in Connecticut.”


Amy Schneider captured the winter solstice sunset — the first one of the season — last night.

Here’s the “bright” side to winter: For the next 6 months, every day there’s a little more light.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


The Saugatuck River Dancers keep dancing — and keep raising funds for suicide prevention.

Suzanne Harvey’s latest choreography is Meghan Trainor’s “Holidays.” She created it to share the joy of dance and the holidays with others. Tomorrow (December 23) is the 28th anniversary of her brother Michael‘s death. He was just 15 when he took his life.

Hilary Solder, Jill Alcott, Deb Montner, Michael Chait and Eva Rawiszer joined Suzanne in dance. The video is below. Click here for a link to donate to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.


And finally … on this day in 1984, subway vigilante Bernhard Goetz shot 4 would-be muggers on a Manhattan subway. Five years later, he was part of a Billy Joel song.

 

3 responses to “Roundup: Celestial Convergence, Barnes & Noble, Downtown Employees, More

  1. Barnes and Noble provides and actual reason to go downtown! Queue the complaints about parking!

  2. Wendy Crowther

    More than “a number” of Westporters headed to Compo Beach last night in hopes of seeing the Great Conjunction. When I got there (about 4:45), nearly every parking space that faced the water along both the South Beach and the main beach were taken. Many sat in their cars while others stood on the beach gazing to the southwest. A few had telescopes, others had binoculars (like me).

    It was disappointing that the clouds on the horizon blocked the view of this rarely-seen planetary alignment. But the visit was not for naught. Hanging out on the beach on the Winter Solstice with a hundred or more equally curious onlookers, all hoping to catch a glimpse of celestial history, was inspirational and beautiful in its own way.

    I’m headed there again tonight to give it another try, even though the planets will be farther apart, lower on the horizon and setting more quickly. It looks like there are clouds on the horizon again tonight but I’m willing to look west for some light at the end of the tunnel.

  3. B&N MIGHT last two years in the new location…already on the ropes, this move to a “no parking” zone will surely be it’s death knell in Westport