Question Box #9

Our Question Box is not quite full. But now is as good a time as any to empty it.

Unfortunately, I have almost none of the answers to “06880” queries. I thought I knew a lot about Westport. Now I see how clueless I am.

So readers: Please chime in with any additional information. Click “Comments” below.

If you’ve got a question for our box, email


Why is cell service so bad at Staples High School, Coleytown Middle School and the beach? (Mark Lassoff)

That’s a technical question, far beyond my pay grade. But it sure is a vexing one.

We can send a telescope into the vast reaches of space. We can (with a bit of work) elect a speaker of the House of Representatives.

But we can’t figure out a reliable way to connect the internet to some of the most popular places in a well-populated, well-wired town?

Can you hear me now?


In a similar vein, a reader moving to Westport asks for the best broadband provider: Frontier? Optimum? Someone else?

I’ll leave that to readers too. Please be specific — don’t just say “they both suck.”

At least today’s providers are faster than this.


What’s up with the line of cars parked on the Birchwood Country Club side of Riverside Avenue (near Rive Bistro and the medical offices) every day? I can’t believe they’re parking for the train, or any of the nearby office parks. (Bob Mitchell)

I’ve wondered about that for years. As best I know, the cars belong to Westport Auto Craft, the highly regarded body shop. Apparently they get moved there from in front of and behind the building during the day, to make room for those being worked on.

However, few of them ever look wrecked. And I’ve never seen anyone actually moving one of the vehicles back and forth.

Riverside-area readers: If there’s a different or better answer, please let us know.

Riverside Avenue mystery.


Why is the medical complex at Kings Highway North and Wilton Road called Fort Apache? (Arthur Hayes)

Hey! I (sort of) know this!

When it was built in the 1960s, its fencepost-like architecture reminded people of a Wild West outpost.

It was a daring — and controversial — look, for what was then primarily pediatric and general practitioner offices.

Today, there are many more controversial buildings around town. “Fort Apache” blends into the scenery.

Fort Apache (aka 125-131 Kings Highway North).


What is your favorite Westport restaurant right now? And what’s your favorite one that’s gone? (Anonymous)

You’re kidding, right? Do you think I’d tackle this hornet’s nest alone?

Westport has a robust dining scene right now. Readers: Click “Comments” to let us know your favorites — and why.

As for long-gone: I’m not sure. But I sure wouldn’t mind traveling back in time for burgers from Chubby Lane’s and Big Top, or meatballs (and the ambiance) at the Arrow.

One of my many go-to Westport restaurants.

(“06880” answers questions — and provokes conversations. If you’re part of our online community, please support our work. Click here to contribute.)

29 responses to “Question Box #9

  1. For the cell service question. The cell service in Westport is not as good as other towns due to fewer cell Towers. In buildings like Staples the signal is trying to get through many different brick walls. Which creates a lack of “line of sight” it frequently happens in office buildings as well. I usually go someplace higher up and stand by a window.

    I hope this helps.

    Rachel Bassick

  2. Broadband: You can see, house by house, what the FCC thinks is available: It’s only slightly out of date.

    Mostly, Optimum cable has been the only realistic choice. Prices are climbing sharply and upload speeds have been cut to 10mpbs except at the highest tier as they milk the brand.

    Contractors for Frontier and Optimum have been overbuilding fiber all over town, as you can see from the unsightly messes festooning telephone poles. Where they have lit it that would be the cheaper, more reliable and fastest choice. But one fallen tree from disaster.

    T-Mobile Home is also a choice that has the potential for better resiliency.

    DSLReports is a good place for more information.

  3. Diane E Yormark

    I cracked up when I saw the “Dex machine.” Yes, I am dating myself. In my opinion, Verizon is the best provider for the area. Thanks for the blast from the past!

  4. I think the cars/country club question does have something to do with the auto body shop and the cars being moved there during the day and back to the lot at the end of the day. The vehicles at the curb are often damaged, and I have definitely regularly seen the courageous employee who must move them and risk his life getting back and forth across Riverside.

  5. 1) Cell Service in schools is an easy one; Concrete structures prevent the transmission of service to pass from floor to floor and through exterior masonry walls. Solution; The town needs to install a booster system in the public hallways of the schools to increase the service.
    2) I have only used Optimum, their actual internet service is good but unfortunately their administrative service is awful and they are incredibly expensive.
    3) Line of Cars; That’s an easy one, of course those cars are related to the auto repair business. Funny because all new real estate development projects in this town are not permitted to assume any street parking, yet for decades, those cars have been parking on a major road without issue. I’m OK with it. Street parking should be permitted in more locations and studies have proven street parking slows down speeding cars.

  6. To add to Joe’s comment the move to 5g is also part of the problem. It uses higher frequencies and has a shorter range of usability and is more prone to problems with buildings, flora and the lay of the land. Here in SWNH we bonded with Consolidated and now have fiber to all current and future addresses. I am paying $70 a month for a 1gig synchronous connection. We also pay an additional $7.80 a month to pay for the bond. After one year the one gig price goes to $95 plus the bond fee.

  7. Nomade is beautiful – especially the bar – and there are some great dishes. Three cheers for the expansion of Kawa Ni- we had a wonderful lunch there yesterday. You can’t beat the views or the cuisine at La Plage and Rive Bistro – both venues are fun to take out of towners. I miss the lobster bisque at Ships!

  8. Re: Fort Apache. My husband and l moved here from Manhattan 30 years ago. A friend drove me by the Westport Fort Apache and told me those medical buildings were called that. I asked why and she became annoyed that l didn’t get it. As a New Yorker, Fort Apache meant that notoriously dangerous part of the South Bronx. Of course.

  9. Suzanne Warner Raboy

    Casa Me and Nomade

  10. i miss Pierre’s french onion soup and Carrol’s fastfood fries !!!
    Go to place now: Pane e Bene !!!

  11. I still miss Soups On and V’s.

  12. I miss DeRosa’s, a late night burger at Marios, and Allen’s Seafood. V’s was a fun place to hang out with Dave the bartender. Bar Lupa is very good as is Tarantinos.

  13. Oscars Mario’s Allen’s DeRosa’s Che Pierre Joey’s Dameon’s Porky’s Ships ……

  14. Today: Pane E Bene, Yesterday: Big Top by a mile……….

  15. The four unit development on the corner of Kings Highway North and Wilton Road (know today as “The Willows”) was originally named Fort Apache. The name was appropriate as the 4 modernist buildings, Designed by one of the “Harvard five” architects Victor Crist-Janer, the name was appropriate for its architectural elements like slit windows and gun-nest type towers and flat roofs trimmed intermittently with gunnels.
    The original dark-stained natural wood shingled exteriors were further reminiscent of the forts constructed by the U.S. Calvary as a military defense against the indigenous people who sought to protect their lands from the westward expansion that followed the Civil War.
    In the mid-20th century, the term “Fort Apache” was appropriated to describe the failed urban renewal of the South Bronx when the slums and resultant derelict and abandoned buildings attracted armed criminals and a crime wave easily likened to the culture of the old West.

  16. Bar Lupa

  17. Joseph V. Vallone, A.I.A.

    Gloria, well said, thank you for that slice of Westport history!

  18. As far as restaurants gone by, two really stand out to me. The first is Le Chambourd. A true French dining experience. I loved the Grand Marnier Soufflé that had to be ordered at the beginning of your meal. The second is DeRosa’s. The best Chicken Rollatini.

  19. Well, we still have the Black Duck.


    Missed Restaurants: Glynn’s and Winslow’s

  21. Re: Fort Apache: 1981 Paul Newman film: Fort Apache The Bronx. Doesn’t that constitute a connection?

  22. Missed restaurants: Chez Pierre, The Ships Lantern , Bridge Grill, La Plage, Manero’s, Mario’s, The Pepper Mill, Big Top, West Lake, Viva Zapata

  23. Our favorite is definitely Finalmente, the small family-run restaurant located where Jerry Apuso’s gas station once was. Andre and Mary consistently serve delicious authentic Italian dishes from their small but busy kitchen. Their homemade cheesecake is the lightest and best ever! Gone is the warmth of the very popular Porky Manero’s Steak House, with its friendly waiters, big fireplaces, always thirsty bar crowd and great menu. Angela & Dick Diviney

  24. Nistico’s Arrow Restaurant, Mario’s Place, and Allens Clam house

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