Roundup: Parker Harding Parking, OMG Open Hours, Merit Money …

The Downtown Plan Implementation Committee continues its work.

One “06880” reader is worried about one aspect of it. She shares this letter, which she sent this week to the group:

“I understand that at this morning’s meeting (which I could not attend) the discussion of losing 44 parking spaces in the Parker Harding lot was discussed.

“I believe this will be detrimental to our stores downtown. There is already a shortage of parking during peak (and many other) hours.

“I believe that the solution of taking a bus from town to Imperial Avenue is not a good solution for shoppers. It is inconvenient for folks who are only in town for a short while.

“I believe — and always have — that the store employees who park all day should use the shuttle service and parking at Imperial Avenue.

“I understand that some store managers felt that their employees ‘wouldn’t do that.’ When I worked in a town like this many years ago with similar parking issues, we were told we would be fired if caught parking in spots reserved for shoppers.

“It’s not a big deal if they are there all day. Managers are being over-dramatic if they did position this in that manner.

“I understand the value of the greening/beautification project, but we need to keep shoppers coming to town and keep our stores in business. It’s all too easy to shop on the internet these days.

“Thank you for your consideration of this concern.”

Up to 44 parking spots may be lost in the Parker Harding Plaza lot, in concepts under consideration by the Downtown Plan Implementation Committe.


Summer hours begin Monday at Old Mill Grocery & Deli.

The Hillspoint Road spot will be open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, ice cream and much more, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week.

Ready for summer.


MoCA hosts 2 very different concerts within 48 hours of each other next week.

On Thursday (May 18), New York-based punk band Darling performs a 30-minute set, following a curator talk with Emann Odufu, as part of the “Cocktails & Conversation” series.

Emann is the curator of the current “Rainbow in the Dark” exhibition featuring Anselm Reyle. His practice is inspired by his participation in the punk and heavy metal music movements, and his fascination with psychedelic and punk aesthetics.

Two nights later (Saturday, May 20, 7 p.m.), MoCA welcomes back Staples High School graduate Michelle Pauker. This year, she offers a tribute to Joni Mitchell.

Click here for more information, and tickets.

Michelle Pauker


Speaking of music: 2018 Staples High grad and Berklee College of Music singer/songwriter Margot Liotta just released her latest single.

It’s available on tons of platforms. Click here for your favorite.

Margot Liotta


Westport’s 3 National Merit Scholarship $2,500 winners attend 3 different schools.

Congratulations to Staples High School’s Lucia Wang (also the valedictorian), Alexis Bienstock of Westport’s Pierrepont School, and Joy Xu (Hopkins School).

From left: Alexis Bienstock and Lucia Wang.


The limited edition vinyl LP of “Verso Records: Volume One” has arrived. Now, the Westport Library gets ready to celebrate the “artists, conspirators and community” that helped create the first vinyl record ever recorded, produced and released by a public library.

June 3 marks the official release. It includes 12 live tracks from tri-state area artists. Genres include rock, jazz, hip hop, folk and indie. All were recorded at the Library’s Verso Studios.

A release party is set for that night (7 p.m., Trefz Forum). Four of the bands will perform live.

The release party is free. A $25 ticket option includes a copy of “Verso Records: Volume One” and a free drink. (No record player? A digital copy will be available for $10.)

The album is available for pre-order. Preorders can be picked up at the release party, or will be shipped afterward.

Can’t attend, but want to support and/or listen to the album? Vinyl and digital copies are available via Bandcamp.


Longtime Westporter and noted civic volunteer Irma Schachter, wife of Joseph Schachter, died Thursday after a short illness. She was 95 years old.

Irma was an early female leader in the male-dominated retail store management field of the 1950s. Her career started after completing the Harvard-Radcliff Business School program with a position at Abraham & Strauss, and continued at G. Fox & Co., Bloomingdale’s, as manager of Burdine’s department store in Miami Beach, and a Lord & Taylor vice president managing 7 New England stores.

She attended what is now Northfield-Mount Hermon School. She was recently honored by the Northfield Alumni Association with its rarely given Lamplighter Award for outstanding service to the school, achieving 100% yearly participation by her entire class in support of the annual fund.

She attended Hartford Junior College, and graduated from Connecticut College.

In Westport, she supported the new Library and Norwalk Hospital

She married Joe Schachter in 1966, after his wife — Irma’s friend Carol Kagan — died at 34. She helped raise Carol and Joe’s 3 young sons, and soon legally adopted them.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by sons Ted (Susan) of Los Angeles, Stephen (Carrie) of Gainesville, Florida, and David (Danny) of Belmont, California; niece Carmen Carrol (Christopher); nephew Andrew Klein, 5 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held tomorrow (Sunday, May 14, 1 p.m., Congregation Beth El, 109 East Avenue, Norwalk). Shiva will be Sunday and Monday at 7 p.m. at 28 Mayflower Parkway, Westport.

Irma and Joe Schachter.


Peter Green — a highly accomplished stained glass artist also active in several other art forms — died earlier this year at Bridgeport Hospital, of pancreatic cancer. He was 77.

He was the founder in 1971, and co-owner with his wife of 48 years Tina, of Westport’s Renaissance Studio. Click here for a 2012 “06880”story on that artistic journey.

His 5-decade career as a stained glass artist was marked by many commissions and installations in Westport and the tri-state area. He and Tina taught stained glass classes at their studio and in area adult education programs.

After 30 years on Saugatuck Avenue, the studio moved in 2003 to the Greens’ home on Imperial Avenue. Tina continues to operate it.

Peter designed and installed stained glass windows and panels in hundreds of homes, restaurants and other businesses, and for religious institutions. His Installations include Temple Israel in Westport, St. Francis of Assisi Church in Weston, and St. Joseph’s Church in Stratford.

A member of the Stained Glass Association of America, he was also a successful woodturner, photographer and painter. He was a past president of the Nutmeg Woodturners at the Brookfield Craft Center. His unique works graced the covers of Wood Turning and Stained Glass magazines.

Peter’s first career was in music. After graduating from Adelphi University in 1968, he played guitar in The Villagers folk group. They opened for Simon and Garfunkel in the mid-’60s at Adelphi. He played for the rest of his life for family and friends.

An Army Reserve veteran, he was also an avid sailor, surfer, kayaker and cyclist. He swam regularly at the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

Peter frequently researched, read and combed the recorded music collection at his beloved Westport Library.

Survivors in addition to his wife include his children, Andrew of Westport and Charlotte of Greenwich; his sister Susan Behan of Longboat Key, Florida; his brother Bob Green of Kapaa, Hawaii; his mother-in-law Anna Godick of Westport, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A private memorial celebration of his life is planned for later this year. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his memory be made to The Westport Library or the American Cancer Society.

Peter Green


Burying Hill Beach is Johanna Keyser Rossi’s happy place.

And here — happily — is her “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … happy 73rd birthday to Stevie Wonder.

There are way too many great songs to pick from. Here are 5 from his now-overlooked, but very productive, mid-1960s/early-1970s years:

(If you enjoy our daily “06880” music selections, it would be “wonder”-ful to help support the blog. Please click here — and thank you!)

21 responses to “Roundup: Parker Harding Parking, OMG Open Hours, Merit Money …

  1. Linda Montecalvo

    Regarding the comment on downtown store employees using a shuttle service to Imperial Avenue – I am 100% sure employees would become even harder (and it’s hard now!) to find if they had to wait for shuttles to take them to and from their autos especially in Winter when it’s cold & dark. The real problem – poor planning and a bit of greed – anxious to build build build without planning for the inevitable. Why do our city, town and state planners repeat this mistake oven and over? Now someone is asking low wage workers to pay the price. As I said, over and over.

  2. Thank you so much, Dan, for posting about Margot & her new song, “Planet Song” !! 🙂 … I want to note that her producer/arranger is the brilliant Zach Rogers, also SHS Class of ’18, now rockin’ it at Brown University (which I know you’re familiar with!) … He does amazing work with her in the studio & they make a terrific team!! 🙂 xoxo

  3. Cutting 40 odd parking spaces from Westport’s most oversubscribed lot is obviously unwise. But disappearing that critical cut through road too looks like extreme planning malpractice. In any event, this is what happens when good intentions hijack clear eyed analysis.

  4. I’ve been told the revised design for Parker
    harding eliminates the southbound lane to exit onto Post Road.
    Where will that traffic go? Church Street?

  5. The contributor who suggested that store employees park in the Imperial lot is correct. Losing this many spaces that provide convenience for downtown shoppers is a poor plan. Can’t understand why store mgrs have a issue with this. Don’t they realize it will effect their stores sales income

  6. Last I checked, the Parker Harding
    lot was a parking lot; designed for…parking. So who in their right mind would come up with a remodeling plan that reduces its intended purpose by 44 spaces? To paraphrase Orwell, some ideas are so dumb, only someone with an urban planning degree would come up with them.

  7. Elisabeth Keane

    Myrtle Ave will back up all the way from PRE to north Main to exit 42 and/or to Canal and Fort Apache and then 33 to Merritt exit 41 and if you can’t even leave Incredibly Harder Parking lot, also abandon all hope of reaching Kings Highway North (and due to the apartment construction opposite Fort Apache, that 33/KingsHighwayNorth intersection has its own thrills) if that incomprehensibly dumb and short sighted idea to eliminate the southbound exit lane from Increasingly Harder Parking were to become reality, along with losing so many parking spaces. Main Street will become impassable. What possibly could persuade potential shoppers to want to participate in a town-created NYC-style traffic jam in that part of town which inherently will have spill over? Even adjusting all the green turn arrows in that general part of town to 10 minutes minimum would barely move traffic.. How would EMS, Fire and Police, even with sirens, be able to move quickly through such an automotive quagmire?

    Please, will somebody explain to me precisely why this plan is considered desireable? How does creating congestion help Main Street shops and restaurants? How does removing any parking spaces, let alone so many spaces, encourage or enhance the shopping experience and how does making Parking Incredibly Harder for everybody encourage out of towners (or anybody else) to want shop here at all? And don’t forget the safety factor, with only one ingress/egress point. Seriously?

  8. I don’t know what the optimum number of parking spaces is for the Harder Parking Lot, but the idea that able-bodied employees can’t walk from the Imperial Avenue lot to their jobs on Main Street is bizarre. Closer parking can no doubt be provided for the disabled, but it is only half a mile on foot from the Imperial Avenue lot to the intersection of Main St and Avery Place. Any fit person can walk half a mile in seven to ten minutes. For a less fit person, perhaps fifteen minutes. If it’s raining, bring an umbrella. If it’s snowing, wear boots and a hat. When and how did we become so weak and feeble that the idea of walking less than half a mile could become intolerable?

  9. The concept of removing 44 parking spots and shutting down the roadway permanently is only going to redirect traffic to either Church lane or Kings Hwy and RT. 33 which is about to get much more crowded with 16 condos being constructed at the SE corner. The state DOT already gives the intersection an F.
    I can almost guarantee that closing Parker Harding to traffic out to Post Road East is one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make.
    A neighbor suggested shutting it if to traffic for a month or two and see how it works out. Like him, I already know….NIGHTMARE ON PARKER HARDING will occur and diverted traffic will only make tempers shorter than they are on our roadways today. Please rethink this as common sense needs to prevail here.
    This will be met with a large downtown neighborhood opposition.

  10. Ciara Webster

    It is not 44 parking spaces lost in Parker Harding. It is a lot more.
    We discovered at the public hearing the other day that they have put 5-6 parking spots in lieu of all the existing loading zones which are an absolute necessity for businesses in town. Non negotiable.

    A member of the public brought up the issue of the loading zones and there was a stand up argument with the DPIC saying the loading zones were still on the plan. And eventually when asked to point them out on the plan it was acknowledged what a surprise that in fact they were eliminated to add parking spots( to make the loss of parking look more minimal)
    Those loading zones have about 20 parking spots in them on the plan.. there are 4 loading zones. so 44 goes to 64.
    Loading zones are a necessary part of doing business.
    DPIC suggested the trucks could double park in the middle of the road, and should come early.
    First of all those trucks come when they please.
    They do not fulfill early drop off requests.
    Not do they have to.
    Second sometimes it takes up to 20 plus minutes to unload. Imagine getting stuck behind one while looking for parking..
    I believe we have already lost 20 spots in the elm parking lot.

    Incidentally I am sitting in Parker Harding right now observing the s show and boy is this a disaster.
    There is not a single parking spot in town to be had anywhere.
    All parking is full.
    And this is before the removal of the 64 plus spots..
    NIGHTMARE is right.

    I walk regularly. I am fit.
    I walked from imperial last week. It’s a 20 minute walk to the j crew end of Main Street.
    Might as well be parked in Norwalk.
    It’s NOT a downtown parking lot.
    Possibly if your destination is the library or green and tonic, don memos, onion alley etc, it might, and I say might be doable.
    But not really.
    Again it’s not downtown.
    And it’s not appropriate to lump it in with downtown parking.
    It is the towns responsibility to provide parking for customers and staff alike in close proximity to their destinations. Or curtail the numbers and types of businesses.
    It’s called “planning”.
    Fact: nobody will work in a business that expects them to walk 20 minutes in rain and snow or 90 degrees to come to work. NOBODY

    STAFF are not second class citizens. Without staff we would have no businesses, no restaurants etc..
    it’s not staffs fault that this green area is being suggested.
    And it’s not customers fault.

    Now in the case of the Hamlet not built yet, I see a case for bussing all their staff in, or making provision for parking at the planning stage, acknowledging that there is a huge parking issue there. I believe they are addressing this.
    But on Main Street these businesses are already existing decades.

    Fact remains we cannot afford to lose a single parking spot in downtown, imperial is not an option for anyone staff or otherwise.

    The removal of the cut through to post is just an unbelievably ridiculous idea. It is in constant use as one of only 2 escapes out of town now that church lane is closed 8 months of the year.
    Reduce the escape to 1 and we will have a catastrophe on our hands…
    In fairness it’s already a catastrophe.
    And let me add the closure of church lane tars away a further 25 parking spots while adding 150 plus seats on the street. That’s another 100 parking spots required.

    And these are the reasons we have an even greater lack of parking.
    By rights GG&joes, pancake house, and Starbucks should be able to do as railroad place and take parking spots to build pop up dining for summer.
    They have not yet, but if railroad place can do it, no reason why they should not.
    Really same should go for all restaurants.
    Can’t have 1 rule for some only.

    The suggestion to close parker Harding road to post for 2 months is brilliant ! But it need to be done at the busiest time of the year. Not in summer when everyone’s on vacation.

    Just Brilliant.

    Ciara Webster

  11. Clark Thiemann

    1.) Why did we not build an actual garage in the lot behind Christ and Holy Trinity? That would be a much better location to get extra parking and alleviate the pressure. Without that, downtown parking is a pain. 2.) Wouldn’t it be nice if Hook’d was open anything close to the same hours as OMG?

  12. At around 1:15 today (Saturday) it was business as usual downtown: Myrtle was backed up from the PRE light to Evergreen and Church Lane was backed up to Elm. Yet this the path that the unelected people planning the Parker Harding redo want everyone to take when they eliminate the cut though road?

  13. Parking: once upon a time, a “meter-maid” would patrol the Parking-Harding lot with wand fitted with a piece of chalk — she would mark the treat of a rear tire of each car as she passed. An hour or two later, cars which were “still there” as shown by the presence of the chalk mark got a parking ticket. Clearly, the cars of staff at the adjacent stores had to park somewhere else.

    National Merit Scholarships: congratulations to the winners! But it gives me pause to contemplate the erosion of the value of these scholarships over the last, say, 50 years: back then the awards were $1000, about the equivalent of $7500 in 2023 dollars, so the awards have lost 2/3 of their value in 50 years. But it’s really much worse: 50 years ago, annual tuition at first-rank private college cost about $2500, so the National Merit Scholarship was worth about 40% of freshman year tuition. But college tuition has increased much more rapidly than general inflation — tuition at these same schools now runs about $60,000 per year, so the purchasing power of the National Merit Scholarship for tuition (the only thing it can be used for!) is now about 10% of it’s value 50 years ago. Sigh!

  14. Ciara Webster

    Scott, it takes more than 2 hours to park, shop, eat and get back to your car.

    Most people erased the chalk line and others just tag teamed and switched parking spaces so they moved a couple spaces down.
    I can tell you one thing never did the staff park at imperial nor anyone else.
    How convenient that these planners think it’s appropriate to even suggest it. I wonder as they are technically all staff themselves do they plan on leading by example, and making the 20 minute camel ride to imperial in treacherous weather conditions. Hmmm I highly doubt it.

    Seems strange the negative comments against staff as though this s show was created by them and the service they provide !

    Towns have businesses, businesses have staff, customers and staff need parking.

    Perhaps the town should set up a massive valet system where the onus is on the town to ferry cars to imperial and deliver cars back to the said drivers.
    Because I’m really wracking my brains here to come up with a solution.
    We’ve already established that no staff of any business in town, nor any customer is going to park at imperial. Nor can anyone force them to. I have spoken with almost every business in town. I can tell you every business is of the same view. What’s more,
    That would be to have a 2 class system. A them and us.
    Not very PC nowadays, treating the staff as the “great unwashed”

    The solution is not simple because regardless of the proposed green spaces and losing parking we don’t even have enough now. Today Main Street and traffic was a total joke !

    We need the town to build a parking garage with the American rescue fund money, and charge for parking, after it’s been paid for, it will be a wonderful source of huge revenue for the town ad infinitum.

    The town should not outsource this but keep what will be a very precious revenue stream for our town coffers.

    And until that parking garage is built, Parker Harding should be left alone.
    As should the very busy road through it.
    I for one and anybody trying to get over the bridge back to saugatuck exclusively uses that cut through.
    I used to use church lane but that is now closed.

    We can’t have it all.

  15. Larry Weisman

    The answer to the P-H dilemma is and always has been to build a 2 or 3 story parking structure on the Baldwin lot. With the recently built liner stores along the street, such a structure would hardly be visible, and it’s a short walk from there to Main St. Opposition to parking structures in places like downtown and the railroad station is irrational and should be overcome for the good of the town.

    • Agree totally with Baldwin lot garage idea- It would be out of sight if it was built and I mean that two ways!

      Also – Larry- we (wife and me) really look forward to seeing your weekly sketches!!

    • Larry, with respect, not everyone who opposes your group’s position as it relates to a parking structure on Baldwin is “irrational”. Besides, it’s my neighborhood, not yours and we’ve already taken more than enough for the team. As an aside, apparantly, the Imperial Lot is “a short walk” too. If that’s true (I have my doubts) then build your creepy car ghetto over there. Just don’t ask me to finance it – and don’t forget to rezone that parcel first; it’s presently Res. A.

  16. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    Just do yourselves a favor and make sure whatever 2-4 story parking garage is built is designed with taste because you’re going to be stuck with it for a long, long time. I would suggest gutting the downtown stores that currently occupy the former Y building and moving them out to Camp Mahackeno. Then turn the former Y building into downtown parking. That’ll allow you to remove an additional 44 parking spaces from the Parker Harding lot. The last consideration is make sure the new 2-4 story parking garage is designed to hold the weight of EV’s. NYC didn’t think of that and their parking garages are collapsing as we speak. And don’t forget the charging stations.

  17. Celeste Champagne

    Removing the Parker Harding parking is a total nightmarish thought. As a “born to shopper” from Norwalk, it would diminish the desire to shop and have to walk miles to a parking lot. What are the powers that be thinking?

  18. where is common sense? eliminate parking spots in one of the busiest lots. LOL!

  19. John D McCarthy

    The instinct to reclaim riverfront space is not a bad one. But the Parker Harding plan, as proposed, is simply a ridiculous plan. I would have preferred the DIC focus solely on flipping Jessup Green to parking while reclaiming the parking lot along the river.

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