Category Archives: Downtown

Pics Of The Day #1206

Jesup Green was the place to be today, post-Isaias …

… or the library steps …

… for internet access, hanging out, or even a ukulele concert (Photos/Miggs Burroughs)

Photo Challenge #292

On a hot Sunday last week, “06880” offered a cool view.

Harrison Gordon’s image showed the back of a Wilton Road house, near the Kings Highway North intersection. The view was from across the Saugatuck River, by Parker Harding Plaza. (Click here to see.)

The home was designed to maximize its view. As Harrison’s photo shows, it sure does.

Wendy Cusick, Bob Grant, Susan Iseman, Rich Stein, Andrew Colabella, Ralph Balducci, Diane Silfen, James Weisz, Seth Schachter, Ken Gilbertie, PK Cleary, Lynn Untermeyer Miller and Mary Ann Batsell all nailed this one. Congrats!

Before moving on to this week’s Photo Challenge, here’s a note on the one before last. It featured “Alvord Beach” — the name of Sherwood Island State Park’s East Beach, which virtually no one has ever heard of (or used). No one around here has ever heard of “Alvord,” either.

But MaryAnn Meyer — who lives not far from Sherwood Island — found an “Alvord Genealogy” online. It mentions Nelson Alvord’s home at 295 Greens Farms Road.

Nelson Alvord began a carriage-making business in Torrington, in 1835. The genealogy notes:

He was a pioneer in shipping top vehicles to Ga. These were used for distributing merchandise through the country long before the advent of railroads in that section of the South.

He built up a large business, probably the largest in the state, employing at times 125 men. Before the railroad was built through the Naugatuck Valley, he had to transport his wagons by team to New Haven, thence by water to Savannah, Ga. He continued in active business until he retired in 1863, and removed to Green’s Farms, Conn., on the shore of Long Island Sound.

See you at Alvord Beach!

Meanwhile, see if you can identify this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport this is, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Lee Scharfstein)

Pics Of The Day #1202

Church Lane will be closed from Elm Street to the Post Road, through the end of August.

That gives pedestrians more room — and restaurants like Spotted Horse, Manna Toast and Amis the chance to put tables in the street.

To kick off the new look, the Busted Chops band played funk and soul tonight.

It was just the way developers envisioned the area to look, a few years ago.

Without, of course, the masks and hand sanitizers.

(Photos/Dan Woog)

Roundup: Busted Chops, Haiku, Suite Tooth, More


Tonight, Church Lane celebrates its closure to traffic with music.

Busted Chops plays funk and soul between Spotted Horse and Urban Outfitters, from 6 to 9 p.m. Bring your friends — and masks!

Busted Chops takes over tonight, fro 6 to 9 p.m.


First there were planters. Now comes haiku.

This weekend, the Westport Arts Advisory Committee’s is placing 20 lawn signs throughout downtown. Each contains a photo of Westport, and a haiku by town poet laureate Diane Lowman.

Rotating lawn sign “art shows” are designed to keep downtown visitors inspired and smiling during the pandemic. Here are 2 signs — still packaged — for the first round.


Among the Westport Garden Club’s many roles: maintaining the “Beach Buds” garden at the entrance to Compo Beach.

Yesterday they added more color, through their #FridayFlowers bouquet. They came from Ginger Donaher’s garden.

So even if you arrive too late this weekend and find the parking lot closed, you’ll have something to smile about.

(Photo/Topsy Siderowf)


It’s a syrupy name, but it does the job. SuiteTooth — already active in New York City and the Hamptons — has just started working in Westport. They solve  a big obstacle to visiting the dentist — it’s inconvenient (especially now, during the pandemic) — by offering at-home preventative dental care (cleanings, exams, X-rays and sealants), plus cosmetic services like whitenings.

Their mobile dental suite can be set up inside a home, outside, or in a pergola or pool house. (You do have a pergola, right?) They just need an 8×8 space, electricity, WiFi and a bathroom.

For more details, click here or call 347-256-1445.


And finally … it’s already August. Can September be far behind?

 

Pics Of The Day #1199

The other day, “06880” photographer Lauri Weiser took a stroll downtown. Here’s what she saw:

(Photos/Lauri Weiser)

Roundup: Olivia de Havilland; Patagonia; More


Olivia de Havilland — who died Saturday at 104 — is best known for her many film roles (including “Gone With the Wind”).

But in 1946 — 5 years before her Broadway debut in “Romeo and Juliet” — the already legendary actress appeared in the Westport Country Playhouse production of “What Every Woman Knows.”

As noted on “06880” last year, on the same day she was set to open the show, she married novelist and journalist Marcus Goodrich. The 12:30 p.m. wedding ceremony took place at the Weston home of Armina and Lawrence Langner, Playhouse founders.

For some reason, the poster that week clarified that the star of the show would appear “in person.” (Hat tip: Joey Kaempfer)


Every year, the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects runs a “Connecticut Treasures” contest. Each county is represented by one building; the public votes on its favorite.

This year’s theme is banks — either still functioning or repurposed.

The Fairfield County representative is the former Westport Bank & Trust, smack (and handsome) in the middle of downtown. Today we know it as Patagonia.

The flatiron-type Charles Cutler building dates to 1924. In 2005 it was restored as mixed-use retail space. David Adam Realty saved and refurbished the original exterior, terrazzo flooring, murals, and 4 of the 5 bank vaults.

To see this and the other 7 county entrants (and vote for your favorite), click here(Hat tip: Jack Franzen)

Patagonia — formerly Westport Bank & Trust.


And finally … we missed Mick Jagger’s 77th birthday yesterday. So here’s belated best wishes. Fun fact: Olivia de Havilland was old enough to be his mother.

Roundup: Compo Playground; Comet; Art; PAL; More


The latest reopening is a big one: the Compo Beach playground.

Everyone — except those under 2 — must wear a mask. Social distancing must be observed.

Other than that: Have fun!


The Neowise comet got plenty of publicity when it first arrived.

It’s still visible — all the way through August 15. In fact, says Elyse Heise — who took the great photo below, at Saugatuck Elementary School — it just hit peak brightness yesterday.

The view tonight should be as bright as the day this past week, when she took this shot.

(Photo/Elyse Heise Photography)


Three downtown galleries — Amy Simon, Pop’TArt and Sorelle — are sponsoring an art walk this Thursday (July 30, 5 to 8 p.m.). There’s live music and refreshments (masks required, of course).

If this one goes well, more are planned for future Thursdays.

Amy Simon Fine Art


For decades — and very quietly — Westport PAL has impacted thousands of lives.

In addition to organizing 10 sports for 2,000 kids each year, supporting Staples High School sports, helping with field enhancements, organizing the 4th of July fireworks and Main Street Halloween parade, PAL awards college scholarships. Since 2003, they’ve handed out $400,000 in aid.

Their fundraisers are low-key. Unfortunately, their biggest — the fireworks — was canceled this year.

But the 58th annual Chief Samuel Luciano Golf Tournament is still on. Set for September 14 at Longshore, it’s more important — and fun — than ever. Click here to register, and for more details.


In these tough COVID times, EnergizeCT has expanded their rebates and incentives. The popular — and free — Home Energy Solutions program helps state residents save on bills by reducing waste.

Virtual visits (“pre-assessments”) offer a look into a home’s energy efficiency situation, so experts can make suggestions and explain how the rebates work.

There is no co-pay, regardless of how the home is heated. And the insulation rebate rate is now $2.20 per square foot — more than twice the previous $1 rate.

For more information, click here or call 877-947-3873.


This week’s #FridayFlowers — courtesy, as always, of the Westport Garden Club — adorn the entrance to Longshore.

(Photo/Topsy Siderowf)


And finally … play ball! Baseball is back!  There’s new grass on the field …

 

Remarkable Theater Adds New Features

The Remarkable Theater’s remarkable summer series continues.

And there are some outstanding coming attractions.

The Imperial Avenue drive-in — the surprise smash of the season — announces “Christmas in July.”

This Thursday (July 30), the theater shows “Elf.” Movie-goers are invited to decorate their car in a Christmas theme, and dress in Christmas-themed clothing.

The group with the best decor and costumes receives a free ticket to an upcoming film of their choice.

Other upcoming shows include:

  • “The Sandlot” (Friday, July 31)
  • “Guardians of the Galaxy” (Saturday, August 1)
  • “Casablanca” (now celebrating its 75th anniversary; half-price, Tuesday, August 4)
  • “Toy Story” (Wednesday, August 5).

BONUS FEATURE: The idea for the “Elf” contest came from Remarkable board member Joanna Borner. She said, “We can all use a little Christmas right now.”

Great ideas come from anywhere — and the theater wants to hear all of them. Email info@remarkabletheater.org, or call 203-349-3414.

Click here for tickets and more information. Tickets may not yet be available for all shows. (Don’t wait! Last night’s screenings of “Goonies,” and tonight’s of “Grease,” are both sold out.)

Walking Tour Of Downtown Art Galleries

We joke about the number of women’s clothing stores in downtown Westport.

But there are nearly as many art galleries — places to buy paintings, sculpture and  more — as there are spots for skirts, shoes and Spandex.

Six galleries hug both banks of the river. Each has its own style. Taken together, they reinforce Westport’s reputation as an arts town.

Amy Simon Fine Art recently moved from Southport to 123 Post Road East. A dealer with over 30 years’ experience at places like the Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum of Art (and with the estate of Jackson Pollock), Amy showcases work by established and emerging artists, Chinese contemporary art, and limited edition prints by the likes of Warhol, Rauschenberg and Lichtenstein.

Amy Simon Fine Art

Around the corner on Church lane is Sorelle Gallery, a recent arrival from New Canaan. The women-owned and managed business (the name means “sisters” in Italian) — which also has a robust online presence — includes plenty of reasonably priced work. (NOTE: Today at 1 p.m., Sorelle is hosting a reception — with Prosecco. All are welcome.)

Sorelle Gallery

Perhaps Westport’s best known — and most visible — gallery is Pop’TArt, at the head of Main Street by the Post Road. Originally a pop-up, it focuses on contemporary American art that pushes visitors to think about current headlines. All artists live in or have ties to Fairfield County. Pop’TArt hosted the hugely successful Aware breast cancer campaign, and currently exhibits statues by Bolek.

Pop’TArt

Three galleries lie just across the Saugatuck River. Bankside Contemporary by historic National Hall calls itself more than just a gallery. It’s a “communal gathering space,” offering a relaxed, casual atmosphere along with art.

Artwork by Steve Lyons at Bankside Contemporary (Photo/Phil Nourie)

Around the corner on Wilton Road is Quidley and Company Fine Art. Open by appointment now, with a focus on only one or two artists at a time, it features landscapes, portraits and figurative works, marine and still lifes. Owner Chris Quidley owns another gallery in Nantucket.

Quidley and Company

Across the street, Westport River Gallery at the corner of the Post Road and Riverside opened in 2004. Owners Ken and Pat Warren carry international fine art, and work with collectors, corporate clients and decorators from across the nation.

Westport River Gallery

That’s not all the art in the area, either. The Artists Collective of Westport has organized shows in the 47 Main Street storefront. The Downtown Merchants plan special events soon.

Keep your eye on this space. And on all those galleries too.

(Hat tip: Rebecca Mace)

Roundup: Starbucks; State Regulations; Fine Arts Festival; Townee T-shirts; More


Westporters gathered at Starbucks’ downtown location this morning, to show support for a popular employee. He’s been the target of racial harassment and stalking by a customer,

After a firestorm on social media, Starbucks has finally banned the customer from its property.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce reports:

While the state has paused its Phase 3 reopening, officials have made updates to  industry-specific rules.

The updates provide more specific guidance, and new recommendations for a broad range of sectors. Highlights include new rules for Indoor Recreation; expanded guidance for Outdoor and Indoor Events.

Changes impacting  Offices, Personal Services, Hair Salons & Barbershops,  Retail, Libraries, etc. include:

    • Non-essential businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask.
    • In the event an employee tests positive for COVID-19, it is recommended the business implement a 24-hour passive decontamination and follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting.

Changes impacting restaurants include:

      • Servers are no longer required to wear gloves.
      • Indoor performances are now allowed (with the exception of musical vocalists).

In addition, hotels are now permitted to provide non-essential services and amenities (valets, ice machines, etc.).


First, the downtown Fine Arts Festival was moved from always-hot July to much more pleasurable late May. Then the pandemic pushed it back to fall.

Now the Westport Downtown Merchants Association has reluctantly announced its cancellation. The next festival — with hundreds of artists, plus music, food, kids’ activities and more — is set for Memorial Day weekend of 2021 (May 29 – 30.

But you can still enjoy this year’s show. Click here for links to over 175 juried fine artists who would have attended, and will be welcomed back next year.

A scene from last year’s Fine Arts Festival.


Back in 2017, “06880” ran a story on Townee. The new company produced authentic, Westport-inspired t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and more.

This summer they’ve added hand-created tie-dye clothing. “It’s the perfect way to show town spirit and positivity,” say Nick Prior and Theo Vergakis. They’re rising juniors at Staples High School — and they’ll deliver your goods personally.

They also offer tie-dye workshops at small home camps in town. Kids pick their styles, then learn how to tie-dye. The cost is just $20.

For more information, click here or email nickprior04@gmail.com

Theo Vergakis, Nick Prior and Townee tie-dyed tees.


Last night, Westport Public Schools officials presented 3 options for reopening to the Board of Education.

Today at 5 p.m., Westport Magazine’s Dave Briggs interviews Staples High School principal Stafford Thomas, on Instagram Live. The former CNN, NBC Sports and Fox News anchor will ask about that topic, and other important issues.

Search for @westportmagazine on Instagram to hear the interview. Questions can be submitted live (@westportmagazine), or beforehand (@davebriggstv).


The other day, “06880” gave a shout-out to 2020 Connecticut Entrepreneur Award winners Sarah Deren of Experience Camps, Remarkable STEAM and Mark Mathias.

There’s another local honoree (with an asterisk).

FinTron invest placed first in the Venture (Pre-Revenue) category. Their office is on Franklin Street. But they moved from Fairfield in the beginning of March, so that town gets credit for them in the list of winners.

No problem. From here on, FinTron is ours.


Partly cloudy skies are predicted for this weekend. Temperatures will be in the 80s — well below last weekend’s sizzling weather.

No matter what the weather, Westport’s Parks & Recreation staff is ready to welcome beachgoers. They manage the crowds with efficiency and energy.

And smiles — even if you can’t see them, behind their masks!


The Westport Library Book Sale is not accepting any more donations this week. The donation shed is full. Next chance: next Thursday.


And finally … what better way to celebrate the end of another week than with this great put-on-a-smile-on-your-face song? One more reason to love Scotland!