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Jim Marpe: Volunteers Help Make Westport Work

The other day, Jim Marpe was talking about volunteerism in Westport.

He should know. His paid gig is first selectman — after a long career as a senior partner in Accenture — but before his election, Marpe served this town in a wide variety of capacities.

He was a 2-term Board of Education member (including vice chair); chairman of the Westport Weston Family YMCA board of trustees; Homes With Hope and Westport Rotary Club board member, and president of Greens Farms Congregational Church.

First Selectman Jim Marpe sports a Sunrise Rotary Great Duck Race hat. He himself is a member of the noontime Rotary Club.

First Selectman Jim Marpe sports a Sunrise Rotary Great Duck Race hat. He himself is a member of the noontime Rotary Club.

Marpe is also an active member of the Y’s Men, League of Women Voters, Longshore Men’s Golf Association, Minuteman Yacht Club, Saugatuck Rowing Club, Senior Center and Near & Far Aid Spring Gala Committee.

His remarks about volunteering were made at the Westport Woman’s Club. For over 100 years, members have made their mark: laying sidewalks, greening the Post Road, initiating a visiting nurse service, pioneering classes for children with learning disabilities, organizing emergency food distribution, granting scholarships — the list is long and proud.

But volunteering takes work. And as Westport changes, the face of volunteerism does too.

Last week, I asked Marpe to expand on his speech at the Woman’s Club. The topic is important to him. He was eager to do so.

Marpe said that many long-standing membership organizations here are “more challenged” than they were just a decade or so ago. Quite simply, it’s harder to find helping hands.

The Westport Woman's Club -- shown here in the Memorial Day parade -- has been helping Westport since 1907. (Photo/courtesy of Dorothy Curran)

The Westport Woman’s Club — shown here in the Memorial Day parade — has been helping Westport since 1907. (Photo/courtesy of Dorothy Curran)

Government bodies — elected and appointed town boards and commissions, from Education and Finance to the RTM and TEAM Westport — depend on volunteers too. Like clubs and organizations, they sometimes scramble.

But, Marpe said, at the same time there’s a great outpouring of volunteers for special projects.

The first selectman cited a recent “06880” story on the decrepit state of Sherwood Island’s 9/11 Memorial. Immediately, Westporters offered time and energy to clean it up. Some did it on their own; others joined a low-key but hard-working group called Friends of Sherwood Island.

Just in the previous few days, Marpe said, he’d seen scores of Westporters working hard at Lobster Fest, the Wakeman Town Farm Harvest Fest, and a food allergy and education walk.

Marpe pointed too to the many Westporters helping a Syrian refugee family adjust to the area, the numerous parents involved in children’s sports and arts activites, and Staples High School students who belong to groups like SLOBs (Service League of Boys).

Among their many efforts, SLOBs (Service League of Boys) sponsors an annual spring clean-up day.

Among their many efforts, SLOBs (Service League of Boys) sponsors an annual spring clean-up day.

“There’s still a volunteer spirit in town,” Marpe said. “But different things attract people today. They’re more willing to jump into short, defined activities, that have an end point.”

Town government service does not usually have an end (unless it’s the end of a term). Marpe admitted that there was a period when it was tough to find folks who would serve. But he thinks the pendulum is swinging back.

Recently, he said, 8 candidates interviewed for a vacancy on the Board of Finance. All were “very, very accomplished people.”

It’s not easy — particularly in these days of glaring social media — to ask men and women to “put themselves in the public eye,” Marpe said. “But in a town like ours, we rely on volunteers to make government work.”

Westport’s commitment to volunteerism remains strong, Marpe noted. In fact, he said, “we’re still in the forefront of communities where individuals give of themselves. Volunteers are the people who make Westport, Westport.”

Click here for “06880+”: The easy way to publicize upcoming events, sell items, find or advertise your service, ask questions, etc. It’s the “06880” community bulletin board!

Westporters Renovate 2 Historic Structures. Now Neighbors Want Them Torn Down.

Most Westport preservation battles follow the same pattern.

A historic house is sold. The new owner wants to tear it down. Outraged residents object. Others point out that preservationists could have bought the home, but did not — and the people who did, can now do whatever they want.

In rare cases — like 93 Cross Highway108 Cross Highway, or the one across the street at #113 — the home is saved. It’s a handsome stretch on an important main road.

Further down Cross Highway though, something bizarre is happening.

Near the Fairfield border sits 188 Cross Highway. The gorgeous 2.9-acre property includes a saltbox built in 1728,  a barn circa 1790-1810, and 2 legal pre-1959 cottage apartments.

When the British marched past in 1777 en route to Danbury — taking brothers Benjamin and Daniel Meeker prisoner, and sacking the house — it was already half a century old.

The "Meeker house" in the 1930s, as photographed for a WPA project. After the Revolutionary War, Benjamin Meeker built the barn in back. It -- and the house -- still stand today.

The “Meeker house” in the 1930s, as photographed for a WPA project. After the Revolutionary War, Benjamin Meeker built the barn in back. They still stand.

The Schilthuis-Meeker house — Sally Schilthuis was influential in preventing construction of Merritt Parkway Exit 43 in the area, resulting in the current “No Man’s Land” between Exits 42 and 44 — is one of 5 remaining nationwide of original medieval structure Colonial revival construction.

In 2003, Mark Yurkiw and Wendy Van Wie purchased the property. It was in foreclosure. The houses were in distress, ready to be plowed under. But the couple saved the historic homes.

For 2 decades, they have poured time and energy into their renovation project. The result is gorgeous.

The exterior of 188 Cross Highway.

The exterior of 188 Cross Highway.

But it’s been costly.

And one couple can’t live in 2 houses. They live in the barn, and rented out the saltbox. The tenants wanted to buy. Mark and  Wendy would love to sell to them — as a practical matter, and to make sure the historic structure is loved, cared for and maintained as it deserves.

They’re even willing to add covenants to keep — in perpetuity — the historic house as a single-family dwelling; forever maintain the facade, and do whatever else is necessary to maintain the house where it is. In other words, no future owner could move — or demolish — the structure.

Right now though, they can’t sell. Planning and Zoning regulations don’t permit 2 homes to exist on 1 piece of property.

Sounds like a win-win: for Mark and Wendy, and the neighborhood.

But a small cadre of Cross Highway neighbors object.

At a Planning and Zoning Commission hearing on Thursday, they (and their lawyer) cited traffic, safety, density, the fact that the house is currently unoccupied, and the sight of dandelions on the lawn as reasons to reject the application.

A recent, sun-dappled fall day.

A recent, sun-dappled fall day.

After 2 hours of heated testimony — during which Wendy and her supporters countered most of the objections, then offered even more covenants and encumbrances to save the historic building and properties — the real issue came through.

Robert Yules and a few other neighbors opposed the subdivision because it would save the historic houses.

He said essentially that the state of the property did not reflect his McMansion, and others nearby. The grounds — period gardens and stone walls, with cobblestone walkways — did not match his extremely well-kept lawn.

One more view of 188 Cross Highway.

One more view of 188 Cross Highway.

“Trash” and “eyesore” are usually not associated with painstaking historic rehab projects. But they were Thursday night.

It’s astonishing. Yet in this through-the-looking-glass tale, there’s something even more eye-popping.

In 2006, Robert and Susan Yules wrote to the P&Z supporting the efforts of their “friends and neighbors,” Wendy and Mark, on the “renovating and improving of the main house and free standing cottage/barn.”

The Yuleses added, “Their efforts have transformed the buildings significantly. Please permit them to continue to remodel the buildings as they will enhance the beauty of the neighborhood.”

An interior view of the bright, high-ceilinged renovated barn.

An interior view of the bright, high-ceilinged renovated barn.

They were not the only neighbors to appreciate Mark and Wendy’s work.

Others described how Mark and Wendy had “lovingly restore(d) these irreplaceable architectural treasures” to their “deserved place” in Westport and American history.

Now the Yuleses and a few neighbors have changed their tune. They believe a new, large construction better fits the neighborhood than a plan that would save 2 structures — lovingly restored, and paying homage to the days when history quite literally marched past the front door.

“Houses are only kept alive by their owners,” Mark says.

“This is very discouraging. We’re not trying to ‘win.’ We’re trying to give the town something.

This could be one of the most topsy-turvy tales I’ve ever told.

But don’t take my word for it. Drive by 188 Cross Highway. (That’s the official number. The mailboxes have always said 178 and 180). See for yourself. Then — if you want to contact the Planning & Zoning Commission — click here.

Will Mennie: All The Way With Gary Johnson

Much ink and many pixels have been spent trying to figure out how — or if — millennials will vote in this presidential election.

Many seem put off by both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Some see no point in voting at all.

Others have hopped on the Gary Johnson bandwagon.

Will Mennie is helping drive it.

At Staples High School, the Class of 2014 member was vice president of the Philosophy Club. He also served on the School Climate Committee.

johnson-weldLast summer — after his sophomore year at the University of Arizona, where he’s a behavioral economics major — Will met the former New Mexico governor in New York.

“Neither of the 2 presidential candidates seemed viable to me,” he says. “I had been looking into a 3rd option. The more I learned, the more I liked his sense of message and his sense of responsibility.”

Will found Johnson to be “very friendly.” He looked for ways to get involved.

Last month, the Johnson campaign sent an email to UA students. Almost immediately, Will became chair of his campus chapter.

Impressed by his work, the campaign called last week and asked him to introduce Johnson at a Phoenix rally. The request came hours before what Will admits was the Libertarian Party candidate’s “2nd Aleppo moment” — his inability to name a world leader he admired — but the chapter chair was undaunted.

Which is how, last Saturday, the young Westporter found himself in a jam-packed hotel ballroom, speaking about the man he firmly believes could be the next president of the United States.

Will did his own research for his speech. He mentioned “facts people don’t know, like he was the most financially successful governor. He lowered taxes, and created thousands and thousands of jobs.”

The event drew 12,000 viewers on Facebook Live. That — and Johnson’s strong speech — convinced Will more than ever that despite two major gaffes, his candidate has a legitimate shot at winning.

“Being a campaigner on TV is very different from having the decision-making skills to be president,” Will insists.

“Those things” — Johnson’s Aleppo and world leader stumbles — “won’t sway my vote. He’s still a candidate I very much back. He’s had a lot of applicable experience — much more than Trump.

“Hillary does have experience. But something about her rubs me the wrong way. I think a lot of millennials feel that way.”

Will Mennie introduces Gary Johnson in Phoenix.

Will Mennie (center) introduces Gary Johnson in Phoenix.

I understand Gary Johnson’s appeal to a certain segment of the electorate. But I’m convinced that no matter what you think of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, one of those 2 will be our next president. I asked Will if a vote for Johnson is not really a wasted vote.

His response: “It’s an uphill battle. But I genuinely think he’s electable.

“Only 30% of Americans know him by name or by his accomplishments. If in the next 30 days we can get attention beyond him forgetting things, he has a chance. If more people knew more about him than just 2 minutes of news clips — if they knew he’s so socially understanding, but also financially responsible — that could happen.”

Campaign organizers with Gary Johnson (center) include Will Mennie (2nd from right) and University of Arizona treasurer Julian Cohen (far right). Julian is from Weston.

Campaign organizers with Gary Johnson (center) include Will Mennie (2nd from right) and University of Arizona treasurer Julian Cohen (far right). Julian is from Weston.

The Phoenix event was encouraging, Will says. On Facebook Live, “the likes and smiles flooded in.”

This is his 1st presidential vote. The Staples grad is registered in Tucson.

“Come Election Day, that’s where I’ll be,” he promises.

(Click here for Facebook’s full video of the Phoenix rally. Will’s speech begins around 21:20, and lasts 7 minutes. Johnson speaks at 34:40. Hat tip: Jeff Mitchell)

Irene Backalenick: Our 95-Year-Young Poet

Grandma Moses took up painting at age 78. Compared to Irene Backalenick, she was just a kid.

Irene is a poet, not a painter. But after a long career as a journalist — she wrote for the New York Times, then became a noted theater reviewer — the longtime Westport resident penned her first poem just a couple of years ago.

She’s 95.

Irene has been published many times. She has fans in far-flung places. Poetry, she says, has become one of the most important parts of her life.

Irene — a Providence native who worked as a secretary after high school, then 5 years later was accepted without any college prep at Brown University, and graduated summa cum laude — never thought about poetry until she moved to the Watermark at 3030 Park in Bridgeport. She found the retirement community to be exciting, vibrant and fulfilling.

She and another former journalist decided to start a writers’ workshop. They found an inspiring teacher, Regina Krummel of Norwalk.

The small group of 5 women — including former Westport writer Gloria Sugarman — meet regularly, and dine together even more often.

Irene Backalenick

Irene Backalenick

Regina pushed Irene to spread beyond the interview-type stories she’d always written. Irene tried her hand at a few poems.

A new career was born.

All bustle, bag, bravura
She arrives upon the scene
With stethoscope, suppositories
And mountains of good will
She grips the fragile patient
Reviews his vital parts
She mumbles, notes, equivocates
Fills the room with bluster
Writes down her precious thoughts
Then offers false assurance
And beamingly departs

Some of her first poems were written after her husband Bill died in June of 2015.

The art form was “like a release,” she says. Poetry gives her “a chance to be absolutely honest about my life.” She writes compellingly of “regrets — things I should have done, and things I shouldn’t have.” Her poems include things she never told anyone.

Irene’s poems are short. But they pour out of her. When she wakes at 2 a.m. with a phrase floating in her head she goes to her computer, and writes.

Friends and lovers
Treasures stored away
In the attic of my mind
Ancient friends and lovers
Neatly stacked in boxes
Or tossed about with random
Upon the attic floor.

Jerry, detonated long ago
On the beach at Normandy
And Lise of suburban days
With judgments wise and foolish
And David of my college years
Who found me in the bookstacks

A shaft of light stabs the pane
Brings them sharply into focus
I open boxes, dust them off
Friends and lovers once again.

Irene has been published in journals — online and print. She posts on her own blog, Awakening Poems. Altogether, she’s written about 175 poems.

In the autumn of her life, Irene Backalenick has become a prolific poet.

In the autumn of her life, Irene Backalenick has become a prolific poet.

Some of her best feedback comes from Facebook. The 95-year-old likes the immediacy, ease and intimacy of instant comments.

Irene has done presentations at the Watermark and Stratford Library. She thinks it’s important for poets to read their own work. “I’m very conscious of tempo and beat,” she says. “I want to hit the reader unexpectedly.”

Dementia nibbles away
At corners of the brain.
Rounding off sharp edges
Like hungry mice
With small sharp teeth
Steadily, relentlessly,
Devouring the tasty feast.

Nine months ago, she collapsed in an elevator. The diagnosis: irregular heartbeat. She got a pacemaker, was put on medication, and now feels much better.

The incident slowed her writing — but not for long. Thanks to the Watermark and her poetry, Irene says, “I have a new life.”

(That new life includes modeling. Recently, Chico produced a fashion show at her residence. She walked the runway.)

Irene asks if I’ve ever written poetry.

No, I say. My mind does not work that way.

“Maybe you can do it in your old age,” she encourages.

Just like she does. Although any writer or poet can certainly come up with a better word than “old” to describe Irene Backalenick.

(Click here for Irene Backalenick’s blog.)

Well-Known Cottage Expands

Every table is usually filled at The Cottage — one of Westport’s most popular restaurants.

That will soon get easier. Chef Brian Lewis announced today that he’s adding 800 square feet to his existing 1,500. That means more seating, and an expanded bar.


The existing entrance and vestibule will stay. But the new, large bar is the centerpiece of an open floor plan. Tables can be combined for larger parties, and a window seat banquette will seat 10.

There’s an expanded kitchen area — and Lewis is revamping the existing “Chef’s Counter” to give diners a better view of what’s going on there.

Lewis now offers catering services on and off-site. New square footage adds the option of renting out either the entire restaurant or the bar for private events.

The Cottage — known for ts locally sourced cuisine — was recently named the #1 restaurant in Fairfield County by Hearst Media/CT Bites. The New York Times gave it a rare “excellent” rating.

But until the renovations are complete, you should keep making reservations the old way: as far in advance as you can.

The Cottage's current limited seating.

The Cottage’s current limited seating. (Photo/

Michael Calise: South Beach Improvement Plan Should Be Heard Later

Alert “06880” reader — and longtime keep-the-beach-as-it-is advocate — Michael Calise writes:

The Recreation Commission has a meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday, August 17, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall Room 201/201A.)

Item #7 on the agenda item says: “To take such action as the meeting may determine to approve a request for an appropriation for design and engineering services for the south beach walkway and south beach restrooms at Compo Beach.”

It is obvious that the plan which was so soundly rejected by most Westporters is being implemented by the commission in stages. I am surprised they are holding a meeting in August, when many people are away, when most other meetings are not scheduled at all, and that this item is far down the agenda.

Further, grouping a walkway with a South Beach bathroom clouds the issue, as most people feel differently about each.

Our beach is a great natural treasure enjoyed by many. It is not begging to become a park!

The public deserves the right to participate in these discussions at a later time and with more notice. I hope those who have an interest in the future of Compo will attend this meeting to impress on the commission to leave the hearing open for its September meeting, in order to give the public a greater opportunity to participate and comment.

I asked Parks and Recreation Commission chair Charlie Haberstroh for a comment. He replied:

“The appropriation is for design and engineering services, not for the construction. There will be plenty of open meetings to discuss the eventual design and construction. We are anxious to get the ball rolling. This is just the start of the process.”

Westport's Recreation Commission may vote on appropriating money for a walkway and restrooms at South Beach on Wednesday.

The Parks and Recreation Commission may vote on appropriating money for the design and engineering of a walkway and restrooms at South Beach on Wednesday.

Click here for “06880+”: The easy way to publicize upcoming events, sell items, find or advertise your service, ask questions, etc. It’s the “06880” community bulletin board!

Lee Papageorge Died Today

The popular Oscar’s owner was 65.

I am away until Thursday with very limited internet access. I join Westport in mourning his death, and thank him for all he did for all of us – Dan Woog

Fresh Air Fund A Great Experience For Guests — And Hosts

Alert “06880” reader — and very generous Westporter Seth Schachter — saw a posting here in January about the Fresh Air Fund. Remembering his parents’ experience with the program, which brings inner-city children to suburban and rural communities many years ago — and their lessons about opening doors to others in need — he decided to participate.

He and his wife just wrapped up a week as hosts to 9-year-old Jonathan, from the Bronx. Seth wants to share his emotions, insights and lessons. He writes:

Of course, we had some reservations and concerns going into this. Would Jonathan get along with our 2 children (Aiden, age 10 and Rebecca, 9)? Would he enjoy a week in our home? Would he get homesick? What would we say to his mom or dad before he arrived, and then during his stay?

Aiden and Rebecca painted “Welcome” signs for Jonathan. We picked him up in Fairfield.

Fresh Air Fund - welcome

While the week was not without a few bumps (as we expected), Jonathan loved his time in Westport. A few hours after returning home he left us a phone message, asking to come back!

And we definitely enjoyed having him as part of our family. We told him many times how courageous he was for leaving his home to stay with complete strangers.

Aiden had occasional struggles sharing his room for a week, something he’d never done before. I supposed many children would react the same way. It was also a bit hard for him to carve out “alone time.”

A friend of mine recently said that our experience hosting was like a non-stop, 7-day play date. Anyone who has hosted play dates knows that some are easier than others. They often require a little nudging to get kids engaged.

Our week was full of activities. We kept our children out of camp, to allow more quality time together. (Some host families enroll their Fresh Air Fund child in the half- or full-day camps their children are attending.)

Fresh Air Fund - baking cookie

We took Jonathan to a few of Westport’s easily-taken-for-granted jewels: the Levitt Pavilion, Compo and Burying Hill Beaches, Longshore pool.

Fresh Air Fund - Levitt Pavilion

Fresh Air Fund - Compo crab

Fresh Air Fund - Burying Hill

We included some good old-fashioned fun around the house, like slip-and-slide, water gun and water balloon battles, and his first overnight “camping” experience (n a tent he helped set up). He was equally fascinated catching fireflies at dusk.

Fresh Air Fund - tent

We ate at the family-friendly Rio Bravo restaurant. Jonathan was amazed we got unlimited free chips and salsa just for sitting down there.

He also devoured treats at one of our favorite places, Saugatuck Sweets.

We took him out on a boat. He loved it, especially steering it at the helm. At the end of that day we had dinner at Johnny Utah’s in SoNo. Aiden, Rebecca and Jonathan all enjoyed riding their first mechanical bull.

Fresh Air Fund - boating

We wrapped up our final full day taking the ferry to Port Jefferson. We had lunch, playground fun, and shopping at a mom-and-pop toy store.

Fresh Air Fund - Port Jefferson ferry

We were pretty confident that Jonathan and Aiden would have no problem clicking. But a great surprise all week was seeing Jonathan and Rebecca click too.

Some memorable quotes and observations:

Jonathan asked Aiden why he was reading at home. He said he only reads at school, when he has to. He asked me if I would read “all those words” when he saw me with a newspaper at the beach.

He had never played with Legos, and was surprised that Aiden and Rebecca had created things with them by themselves. They helped Jonathan build a speedboat, which he was very proud of. We learned he spends most of his time at home playing video games.

After being in the Longshore pool for over 4 hours, he looked at his shriveled hands and worried that he had skin cancer. He rarely goes in a pool, and never for such a long time. He learned how to play Marco Polo, and loved it.

Fresh Air Fund - Longshore Marco Polo

As we drove him to Fairfield for the bus that would take Jonathan and other Fresh Air Fund children back to New York, he said, “Everyone has cars around here. I barely see anyone walking.” I explained how hard it is to get around the suburbs without a car — unlike a city, with mass transit everywhere, and so much within walking distance.

Fresh Air Fund - goodbye

Our Westport world is vastly different than Jonathan’s in the Bronx. One of our hopes was that could enjoy a change in scenery, and participating some of the treasures our community offers. We’re certain this was realized.

Another hope was that our children would come away from the experience with a greater respect and appreciation for all that they have, in addition to heightened awareness of those in need. We feel this was accomplished. Who knows — perhaps lifelong friendships were initiated too.

The question for our family is not whether we will take part in the Fresh Air program again — we’re certain we will — but whether or not we will host Jonathan next summer. Families can request the same child up to 18 years old. But Rebecca would really love hosting a girl, so there are some things we have to figure out.

All in all, we thing the program is wonderful. It offers the opportunity to give so much to a child in need. We hope that many of you reading this will think about taking part too. I am happy to talk with anyone about the program, and our experience. Dan can put us in touch.


Garelick & Herbs Move Is Finally (Almost) Here

Good food — the kind you get at Garelick & Herbs — takes time to prepare.

It also takes time to design and build a new store.

Next month — a year after he expected — Jason Garelick moves his gourmet food/catering business into a much larger, more welcoming space.  He and his business partner Paola’s new digs are just a couple of hundred yards from his current Post Road flagship spot.

For the owners and staff — and their many loyal customers — it will be well worth the wait.

Jason Garelick, outside the soon-to-be-open Garelick & Herbs on the Post Road, just over the Southport line.

Jason Garelick, outside the soon-to-be-open Garelick & Herbs on the Post Road, just over the Southport line.

The new place — on the Southport line, just past Wafu and Fetzer Tire — boasts 4850 square feet on the big, open, vaulted-ceiling 1st floor. And another 4850 for the kitchen and production areas downstairs.

The current Westport location — Garelick & Herbs’ original one — is just 3650 square feet.

Since opening in 1993, they’ve added stores in Greenwich, New Canaan and — 2 years ago — Saugatuck. They cater all of Westport Inn events, as well as the Mora Mora club in South Norwalk.

But they long ago outgrew their Westport space. “The key to longevity is to own your own building,” Jason says.

Garelick and Herbs logoHe spent a decade looking. He feels most connected to Westport — the site of their 1st store — but nothing worked.

At last he saw land for rent on the Southport line: the old Double L Farm Stand. He made an offer to buy, not rent — and got ready to build.

Of course, in the food business — and in real estate — nothing is easy. Environmental issues delayed the project long past its sell-by date.

Finally, he’s ready to move. The opening is on or around August 15.

The bulk of the cooking — for all of Garelick & Herbs’ operations — will be done at the new location. One kitchen is as big as the current one in Westport; the 2nd is bigger.

Garelick & Herbs will move its baking from New Canaan to the new site. There will be an expanded bakery, full juice bar, larger salad bar, pizza oven, and a separate sandwich and panini station.

A stove and griddle next to the deli cases enables cooked-to-g0 orders, for breakfast and lunch.

There’s seating for 35 or 40 outside — separated from Post Road traffic by a soon-to-come garden and hedge. Handsome masonry by Gino Vona of Fairfield completes the look.

Garelick & Herbs' big new -- and still unfinished -- 1st floor interior.

Garelick & Herbs’ big new — and still unfinished — 1st floor interior.

As proud as Jason is of all that, though, he’s equally excited by the downstairs that customers will never see. Enormous space for freezers, prep rooms and storage will allow Garelick & Herbs to provide services they’ve only dreamed of.

He designed it all, and — with Paola — was involved every step of the way.

Good food — and good new buildings — take time.

Garelick & Herbs’ time has finally come.

Old Famous Photographers’ New Life

The Famous Photographers School is long gone. (So is the business that bought its Wilton Road headquarters: Save the Children.)

But — more than 40 years after it closed — some of its most famous photographs live on.

Yale University Art Gallery has bought Famous Photographers’ entire archive. Images, course books, advertisements — all are now housed in New Haven. A small exhibit from the archive is on display now.

After Famous Photographers School — and its cousins, Famous Artists and Famous Writers Schools — closed in 1974, thousands of artifacts gathered dust. Jeffrey Price — a Norwalk business owner — found the Famous Photographers archive, and restored it.

Among the most famous Famous Photographers faculty: Richard Avedon, Joseph Costa, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Phillippe Halsman, Irving Penn, Ezra Stoller, and Bert Stern.

This iconic photo of Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca was taken by Famous Artists School founder Victor Keppler. And even the folks who know that don’t know this iconic shot was taken by Victor Keppler. The renowned photographer lived in Westport until his death in 1987 at 83. This image is now part of the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection.

This iconic photo of Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca was taken by Famous Artists School founder Victor Keppler. The renowned photographer lived in Westport until his death in 1987 at 83. This image is now part of the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection.

(Hat tip: Wally Meyer)