Roundup: Positano, Crossword Contest, Hidden Gem …

A reader writes:

The recent “06880” story about 233 Hillspoint Road [the former Positano restaurant, now being rebuilt as a private home] led me down the Google rabbit hole, to a wonderful surprise.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, my family and I had a Positano reunion at the former Chef Joseph’s son and daughter’s recently opened West Village restaurant, Ferdi.

The hospitality and food is instantly, wonderfully, familiar, while also sparkling with the imprint of the next generation of Chef Fernando and Manager Aida.

My sister and her husband were with us, visiting from Ohio. They married on the beach outside Positano 21 years ago, and had their wedding party at the restaurant. (Its first, I think.)

My adult children, who also were at this dinner with my husband and me, grew up talking to young Fernando and Aida during our countless meals at Positano.

The evening was meaningful for all of us — and we have “06880” to thank for getting the ball rolling.

Positano lives on — as Ferdi, in New York.


What are you doing at 9 a.m. this Thursday (December 1)?

If you’re a fan of both Staples High School’s Candlelight Concert and the Westport Library’s Crossword Puzzle Contest, you’ll have to prioritize.

Tickets for both popular events go on sale — at the exact same moment. And they go quickly for both.

Click here for the December 16-17 holiday production.

Click here for the February 4 word games event.

And good luck to all!


Aaron and Brett Fortunoff are Bedford Middle School students, with big hearts and great goals. They write:

“In the spirit of giving and being thankful, we can’t forget about those who are less fortunate and fail to receive a proper daily breakfast — the most important meal of the day.

“So we teamed up with a non-profit called Cereal4All that helps provide cereals to local food pantries. We hope ‘06880’ readers can help us with this important cause.

“For local readers, we will be by both entrances of Stop & Shop this weekend (December 3 and 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). We will then deliver the collected cereal to food pantries in Fairfield County.

“There will also be a collection box at Temple Israel in Westport, from December 2 to 16.

“For readers are not local, we created an Amazon wish list you can donate to.  Also, you can Venmo our mother, Laurie. She will buy cereal with the money raised: @lauriefortunoff. You can also click here and donate directly to the charity. The donation is tax deductible.

Aaron and Brett Fortunoff



The Hidden Gem — the combination hair salon/crystal shop on Maple Avenue South, just south of the Exxon station — has closed.

A “for sale” sign sits on the property, the former site of Juljen, Bill’s and Mario & Mike’s.

The asking price is $2 million. Click here for details. (Hat tip: Chris Grimm)

6 Maple Avenue South, with a previous tenant.


The stars are aligned. This is your chance to order a 2023 Westport Astronomical Society calendar.

It’s filled with daily astronomical data from Phil Harrington, and illustrated with astro-photography from talented WAS members.

The calendar is $15 for members, $20 for non-members ($5 shipping for 1-2; $10 for 3-5). It’s available at any upcoming event (click here for the calendar), or by email (; include quantity and shipping address; you’ll be invoiced via PayPal).


No matter what the season, there’s beauty at Compo Beach.

Today’s timeless “Westport … Naturally” photo comes from Lauri Weiser.

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)


And finally … Keith Levene — a founding member of both the Clash and Public Image Ltd. — died earlier this month in England. He was 65, and suffered from liver cancer. Click here for a full obituary.

(Don’t be a punk. Please support “06880.” Click here to help. Thank you!)

13 responses to “Roundup: Positano, Crossword Contest, Hidden Gem …

  1. I’m 75, and only four barbers ever gave me a haircut. Mario was one of the four, and I had many at that South Maple Ave. location. I also only had one dentist for 50 years, Dr. Victor Oliver, on Center St. I used to come up from Florida to go to the dentist and get a haircut. Obviously I visited family too.

  2. Miss Positano, had some good and fun meals there. Also miss the Cafe de la Plage from back in the day. Now we have that spiffy house there! Oy.

  3. Ferdis is on 7th Avenue South in the West Village, a street with an interesting history. It was created long after the basic grid was created and built up as an extension of 7th Avenue necessitated by the building of the 7th Avenue IRT subway. The avenue went against the grid and many existing buildings had parts chopped off, resulting in unusual shapes. I don’t know if Ferdis is in a building from that era, but it does have the unusual shape of buildings on that street.

  4. Twenty-five years ago, we used to go to a restaurant called Cafe Español at 172 Bleeker Street. I loved the Paella there. It’s closed now, but probably not far from the West Village.

  5. When I moved to NYC when I was in my 20s and lived originally at the 92nd Street Y, we would go to the Cafe Whah at McDougal and Bleeker. Many of the cafes had pictures of famous musicians who performed there–so why were we stuck with these musicians no one ever heard of. We didn’t appreciate that nobody heard of Bob Dylan, Peter Paul &Mary, etc. when they performed at these places. Who knows if any of the unknown musicians I heard became famous. Of course we did see famous musicians and comedians at the Rheingold Music Festival at the Central Park Rink for $3.00. Donald Trump later paid for the renovation of the

  6. John, I believe Cafe Español was at the corner of Bleeker and MacDougal! I remember parking was tough to get. There was a LaGuardia St. nearby and a Sullivan St. We used to go the Comedy Cellar, which I think was on Sullivan St. Any of this ring a bell?

  7. I lived in the Village briefly, before getting married. I remember the White Horse Tavern on Hudson Street. Dylan Thomas used to read his poetry there before passing out. Also the Village Vanguard which featured Professor Irwin Corey, the funniest man alive. Or am I dating myself? However…

    • Dermot Meuchner

      I remember the Professor he was racy for the time. As far as the Village Vanguard, my Dad was friends with Max Gordon who founded the legendary club. I still go down to see shows because there is no room like it.

  8. Elisabeth Keane

    Oh yes, the White Horse and the Vanguard…and the Knickerbocker for Sir Roland Hanna and Michael on bass, and Bradley’s (after hours to reopening when there was even more fabulous music) and the old Peacock Cafe originally on West 4th and later on Greenwich Ave where they would welcome one warmly and let you sit for hours….

  9. Eliabeth Keane

    Don’t forget the Blue Note and for a change of pace, the Film Forum.

  10. I looked up Cafe Wha on the web and it still exists. Since 1958. (Though I remember a middle eastern-themed restaurant replaced the Cafe Wha briefly with the same ownership.) I presume they have a new group of patrons–I don’t think those of us who patronized the place back in the day are now there as we are old geezers in our 70s.. While I’m not in NYC anymore, if they had a special old-geezer day and I were in NYC I would definitely attend. The people in the acts we saw are also in their 70’s, though Miick Jagger can still pull it off.

  11. Dermot Meuchner

    Birdland, Smoke, Knitting Factory were great venues too. There is a lot in Brooklyn now , clubs all over the borough. The VFW is the only place around I can hear what I like. I recommend it highly.

  12. The great Keith Levene wasn’t a household name, but his musical influence was enormous.

    While he played on neither of the attached cuts by the two iconic bands that he helped found, he can be seen and heard here, on the first PiL single. I mean it as no backhanded complement to The Edge to say that pretty much all of his iconic U2 guitar sound can be heard being played by Keith Levene in the song, “Public Image.”