Category Archives: Downtown

Pics Of The Day #1082

One view of the Saugatuck River …

… and another (Photo/Stephanie Mastocciolo)

Pic Of The Day #1078

Behind the Levitt Pavilion (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

To order any of John Videler’s Westport prints, click here.

Photo Challenge #274

Every so often, a Photo Challenge sends readers all over town.

Yet seldom have the responses been as far afield as last week.

Howard Silver’s image showed 3 large, colorful figures stuck to trees in the back yard of a Hitchcock Lane home. But where did they hang originally? (Click here to see.)

Not in any of the schools, stores or even Starbucks readers mentioned. Not at the old Westport Arts Center. Nope, nope, nope.

Cheryl McKenna knew, though. She remembered them from the tallest building on Main Street: the one we now know as The Gap.

Back in the day — after the furniture store at that site burned to the ground — a new 3-story structure arose. It was filled with small stores and offices.

It never worked. Westporters were not used to shopping vertically. (The Gap is a different story — it’s just one store.)

Those dancing figures hung in the atrium. Cheryl knew the artist too: Elise Black. She even remembered the original owner of the building: the Senie family.

Truly impressive.

Now it’s on to this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

0*6*Art*Art*0 — Week 2 Gallery

Last week, “06880” debuted “0*6*Art*Art*0.”

Every Saturday, we’ll share readers’ artwork. Professional, amateur, old, young  — send us your painting, collage, sketch, photo, sculpture, chalkwork, cartoon, whatever.

The only rule is it must be inspired by, reflective of, or otherwise related to the times we’re going through. We’re all experiencing tons of emotions, and art is a wonderful way to express (and share) them. Email your submission to dwoog@optonline.net.

Here is today’s gallery.

Keep the submissions coming. If yours is not posted yet, be patient. There will be more next Saturday. And, unfortunately, for some time to come.

Joanie Landau’s “Hope” was inspired by Robert Indiana’s “Love.”

Brandon Malin’s medium is photography. The Staples High School senior’s drone shot of downtown Westport — empty at night, in the midst of the pandemic — is striking.

Untitled, Beth DeVoll

Artwork by Merri Mueller’s young Fillow Street neighbors Addie and Nora (ages 4 and 6)

“Compassion” (Miggs Burroughs)

Ellen Greenberg made “The Birds and the Bees” for a friend’s first baby shower (postponed now until after the birth). She dropped it in a sealed bag at her friend’s house. The expectant mom is a beekeeper. “I want her to remember their joy, and the love of all their friends during these challenging times,” Ellen says.

Amy Schneider’s collage expresses how she feels these days.

“Peaceful Valley” (Laura Loffredo, age 8)

“The Low Hum of Anxiety” (Jennifer Sabella)

“Comforting” (Lawrence Weisman)

Julie Van Norden painted this last year. “Prophetic about social distancing,” she says.

Emma Nordberg, age 15, took this photo during the first week of quarantine. “Despite the virus, it’s a beautiful spring,” she says.

Pics Of The Day #1071

 

Post Road East, 11:30 a.m., looking west …

… and east (Photos/Dan Woog)

Not far away, the Post Road … 

… and, a few hours later, Main Street (Photos/Katherine Bruan)

Pics Of The Day #1066

Westport copes with the coronavirus …

Solitude at Grace Salmon Park (Photo/Jo Shields)

Empty parking lots on a weekday downtown … (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

… at the train station, and on I-95 (Drone photo/Patrick Sikes)

The message has gotten through. Teenagers stay in their cars, practicing social distancing — but hang out together at Longshore. 

A mid-March late afternoon dip at Old Mill Beach (Photo/Robin Tauck)

Lindsay Blaivas, her daughter Kenzie and dog Ruby went for a neighborhood walk. Along the way, they left some messages. “Getting creative and staying connected!” Lindsay says.  Here’s one.

Two weeks ago, you’d say “huh?” Now you say, “Where’d you get it?!” (Photo/Darcy Hicks)

Santa Claus comes early to Stop & Shop (Photo/Chip Stephens)

COVID-19 Roundup: What’s Open And Closed: New Police Procedures; Access To Health Insurance; Earthplace Ideas; Help Your Household Help; Jim Himes Telephone Town Hall, And More

Looking for an up-to-date list of what’s open, closed or semi-operating downtown? Click here for the Westport Downtown Merchants Association list.

Click here for the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce’s list of restaurants that offer takeout and/or delivery services. In addition to ordering delivery directly, Seamless, Grubhub and UberEats also deliver without personal contact. They can leave the food at the door. Payment is automatically processed through a credit card in their systems. Most Westport restaurants are participating in one or more of these services.

Another resource: FindingWestport.com. Their “What’s Open” page includes stores, restaurants, gyms, services, real estate firms and salons around town.


To protect the public and police officers during the COVID-19 emergency, the Westport Police Department encourages telephone contact, rather than visits to headquarters.

Calls made to non-emergency and emergency lines will continue to be answered as always. The operator will ask questions about the nature and details of the call, to determine whether officers are required to respond.

Officers will continue to respond to crimes in progress, violent offenses and medical emergencies. If the call does not meet criteria for response but requires follow-up, the call taker will log the complaint. An officer or detective will remotely conduct a follow-up investigation.

Click here for information on online reporting.

The records division will no longer process requests at the window. All records related inquiries should be directed to 203- 341-6001. Requested records will be sent electronically

In addition, fingerprinting services are suspended indefinitely.  ‘


Effective today, the Saugatuck and Greens Farms railroad stations buildings are closed to the public. This has no impact on normal railroad operations.

The closures are meant to keep people from congregating in close contact. It is unknown how long they will last.

The building is closed. Trains are still operating.


Westporters without health insurance can pick up coverage starting tomorrow through April 2, through Access Health CT. Click here for information. (Hat tip: Mary Jennings)


Earthplace is continually updating its website with ideas and resources for crafts, home study,  and outdoor and online activities. Click here for details.

 


Concerned reader Lindsey Blaivas writes:

Many of us have people come to our homes on a weekly basis — cleaning crews (mine are like family), babysitters (also like family), piano teachers and more.

Each have their own families and rely on their income. Please consider supporting them — for example, through Skype lessons or outdoor alternatives for cleaning crews (grills, outdoor furniture, garage cleaning). Think creatively.

Or maybe just pay them as you normally would, because they (like us) need to survive and protect their families. My cleaning people have reported many clients are cancelling without pay.

Please consider the macro impact on micro thinking. It’s not just one person cancelling — it’s everyone.


Grateful reader Deborah Green called Verizon with a question about her iPhone.  She did not want to come in, because of her age.

Manager Dominic di Pasquale — whom she had never met — answered her question. Then, remarkably, he told Deborah to call if she needed him to shop for groceries or do any other errands!

She thanked him profusely. He replied simply, “We all have to be there for each other during these times.”

She made one more call: to Verizon’s HR department, to praise their magnificent employee.


The other day, Congressman Jim Himes held a fascinating, informative telephone town hall. He’s got another one set for tomorrow (Thursday, March 19, 3:30 p.m.)

The call-in number is 855-962-0953. The streaming link is Himes.House.Gov/Live.

For answers to his most frequently asked questions, click here(Hat tip: Nicole Klein)

Congressman Jim Himes


Le Rouge Aartisan Chocolates is — like many small businesses — struggling. But owner Aarti Khosla is still thinking of others.

Customers can buy her “Give a Little Love” chocolate hearts, to send to first responders, hospital workers and others on the front lines. She’ll match whatever you buy, to let them know how much we appreciate their work.

She started by campaign by donating 100 hearts to Norwalk Hospital and EMS. Click here to donate.


The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce has extended its Soup Contest through April. They encourage everyone to try soups via restaurant takeout or delivery services.

 

 

Pic Of The Day #1064

New artwork by Steve Lyons arrives at the Bankside Contemporary gallery on Post Road West (Photo/Phil Nourie)

Homes With Hope Still Needs Help

As Westporters hunker down at home, there’s one group of neighbors we can’t forget: the homeless.

Homes with Hope serves Westport’s most vulnerable population. For 36 years, individual citizens, civic organizations, religious institutions and schools have dropped off food — and volunteered to serve it — at Gillespie Center, the downtown shelter.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Homes with Hope will continue to do their great work. But a few things have changed.

People can continue to bring food for lunch and dinner. Just call ahead, or knock on the door. A staff member will pick up the items from you in the courtyard (behind Restoration Hardware).

However, volunteers no longer serve meals. Those will be handled by staff.

Christine Baskin hands donated items to Homes with Hope staff member Pat Wilson.

In addition, the community kitchen will no longer serve meals for non-resident guests inside. Instead, prepared food bags will be available for pick-up in the courtyard. Each bag includes a flyer with instructions for hand washing and other best practices.

Residents can still drop off items for the food pantry, which is available to anyone who’s hungry. Non-perishable goods like soups, tuna fish, and canned items are needed. These groceries will be brought curbside to anyone in need of food.

In other words: All operations continue at Gillespie Center. Everyone will be served; no one is turned away. However, some procedures are changed, to protect residents and staff members.

Need is as high — in fact, much higher — than ever. Homes with Hope thanks everyone who has helped in the past, and all those who continue to.

(Need help with housing or food? Want to help? Call Homes with Hope director Helen McAlinden directly: 475-225-5292.)

 

Downtown, The Plywood Comes Off

The timing may not be the greatest. But today there’s good news downtown.

After months of work, Lululemon has moved into the Main Street property previously occupied by Nike. With 5,500 square feet, the popular athletic wear store has almost doubled their previous space.

The opening comes after months of work that brought a desolate look — plywood-covered windows in front, and construction blocking Parker Harding Plaza in back — to the area.

The work was necessary to flood-proof the vulnerable property. Basements have been redesigned, and walls bathtubbed to prevent water from spreading.

Lululemon Athletica is open for business.

The landlord — Empire State Realty Trust — owns other Main Street property too, all the way down to the former Westport Pizzeria.

Skip Lane — Empire State’s broker — says that other stores will open soon, once their own flood-proofing and renovations are complete.

7 for All Mankind — a men’s and women’s jeans store — will share space in the old Chico’s with Splendid, which offers casual clothes for women and children.

On the north side of Lululemon, Johnny Was — the boho-chic clothier — opens soon.

A deal is close for the old Lululemon space. And Theory — another women’s clothing store — is being renovated too.

Sundance — founded by Robert Redford in 1969 as a general store, and now a retailer of men’s and women’s apparel, jewelry, footwear, accessories and home furnishings — will take over the former Ann Taylor space.

On the other side of Main Street, Lane says, a “cool high-end furniture line” will move into Banana Republic.

With most Americans worried about COVID-19 — and heeding advice to avoid crowds, if not self-isolate — this might not seem the best time to announce new store openings in Westport.

But the plywood has been up too long on Main Street. It’s coming down now. Soon enough, Empire State Realty Trust — and everyone else invested in downtown —  hopes, the shoppers will return.

Ready for customers at Lululemon.