Category Archives: Downtown

Pic Of The Day #2092

Saugatuck River at dusk (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Roundup: Portable Classrooms, Police Reports, New Stores …

The 2 portable classrooms for Long Lots Elementary School approved Tuesday by the Board of Education hit a roadblock yesterday.

The Board of Finance declined to vote on the $600,000 request. They want to make sure that other options — including moving some students to other schools with more space — are considered.

Long Lots Elementary School.

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It was another quiet week — mostly — for the Westport Police Department.

There were 3 custodial arrests.

One man was charged with enticing/inducing/coercing a minor with computer service for sex. Another was arrested for criminal trespass.

A third was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, evading responsibility, and failure to drive in the proper lane.

Citations were issued for:

  • Traveling unreasonably fast: 3
  • Failure to obey control signal: 2
  • Public disturbance: 1.
  • Operating an unregistered motor vehicle: 1
  • Improper turn: 1
  • Failure to obey traffic signal: 1.

“Don’t you even know how to make a proper turn?!”

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Main Street continues to add new stores.

Gorjana will open this summer, at #74 — the current location of Sunglass Hut.

Gorjana — a high-end jewelry boutique based in California — opened its first Connecticut location on Greenwich Avenue early last year. They operate 40 boutiques in “lifestyle centers and high street locations in affluent markets nationwide.”

Meanwhile, Courtgirl  will lease their first bricks and mortar location: 2,350 square feet on the upper level of 125 Main Street (the Gap building).

The line of gift and related products for tennis and golf launched in 2019. Courtgirl products are now sold in over 500 private clubs, pro shops and sports stores.

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Nice weather for … a “Westport … Naturally” photo.

It’s on Berkeley Road.

(Photo/Jill Grayson)

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And finally … Phil Ramone was born today, in 1934. He died in 2013.

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Pic Of The Day #2087

Main Street kiss (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Pic Of The Day #2081

Church Lane, and Christ & Holy Trinity Church (Photo/Rowene Weems)

Hummingbird Healing: Sound And Light Relaxation In The Midst Of Main Street

Three days before Christmas, Main Street was a madhouse.

Drivers battled for parking spots. Shoppers streamed in and out of stores. The same holiday songs we’ve heard a squintillion times chirped endlessly, everywhere.

It may be the most wonderful time of the year. But it sure wasn’t the most serene.

Except for the hour I spent at Hummingbird Healing Center.

There — just a few yards off Main Street, and one floor above it — I eased into a zero-gravity chair, inside a Harmonic Egg.

Wrapped in a yak blanket, underneath special lights and listening to soothing, birds-and-water-type music, I spent 40 blissful minutes.

Then came 10 minutes of equally relaxing silence.

When Lisa Pak — the Hummingbird owner — opened the doors of the custom-made birch “egg,” I felt scarily relaxed.

Lisa got me ready for my return to mayhem with an electrolyte drink, and several minutes of quiet talk.

I was reluctant to leave. But the real world beckoned. I strolled down the steps and back to reality, renewed and rejuvenated.

Hummingbird Healing Center opened earlier this month, next to Blue Mercury. The space — formerly a warehouse — has been totally transformed by Lisa.

Facing main street is the Harmonic Egg room. In the middle is a space for group events like sound bath meditations, gong baths, community song circles, drumming circles and more.

Space for group events …

There’s a spot too for “sound healing instruments.” Lisa sells them — Native American flutes and the like — for people who are want to hear their soothing chimes and tones at home.

… and sales of sound instruments …

In the back is a killer view of the Saugatuck River. (Though “killer” may not be the right word to use when describing such a relaxing sensory experience.)

… and Lisa Pak, relaxing near a view of the river.

Lisa’s interest in this type of relaxation goes back 30 years. An interior designer by profession (with a degree from Parsons), she’s practiced yoga, and sung with the Fairfield County Chorale (which, she says, is a “gateway” to a meditative state).

She worked at the Kohler Store here, as a kitchen and bath designer. Then COVID struck. She did not feel safe in a retail environment, and resigned.

The world slowed during the pandemic. Lisa did too.

One day, exploring holistic healing, she watched an interview with the inventor of the Harmonic Egg. She was enthralled.

The egg is an 11′ x 11′ x 17′, 600-pound sound and light chamber. There are 120 worldwide.

Hers is the first in Connecticut.

Lisa Pak, with the Hummingbird Harmonic Egg.

Lisa customizes the sounds and light colors for each user. As the music resonates, “it’s like being inside a guitar body,” she says.

Never having been in a guitar, I could not say. But it certainly was resonant.

Lisa explains that the Harmonic Egg does more than simply relax someone. It can help, she says, with PTSD, inflammation, insomnia and more.

She worked with a 9-year-old with severe anxiety and ADHD, with “amazing results.” She says the autistic community has benefited from the Harmonic Egg too.

“The egg resets your autonomic nervous system,” Lisa explains.

“The egg does not heal you, she notes. “Your body heals itself. But it can’t heal if it’s stressed.” That’s where the egg comes in.

Lisa recommends 3 to 10 sessions. That allows the body to move to homeostasis, then “ground zero.”

I can’t speak to all that. But my one 50-minute session was pretty cool.

One of the other 120 Harmonic Eggs in the world.

Lisa says that the egg differs from other kinds of relaxation and healing methods like Reiki or massage because there is no other person working on you.

“You pick up on the energy of the healer,” she says. “They can be great. But if your massage therapist had a fight with her boyfriend that morning, she won’t be as good.”

Lisa emphasizes, “I’m not a healer by trade. I’m an artist and designer. The egg takes the healer out of the equation. I help set the environment. But the egg does the rest.”

As she designed Hummingbird, Lisa worked with a business coach from SCORE. He advised her to have more than just the egg. She added those sound healing events and instruments.

She also came up with a great name.

Hummingbirds play a significant role in many Native American cultures. They’re seen as symbols of eternity and infinity, and treated as sacred creatures that float free of time.

The Mojaves believe that when their tribe lived underground, a hummingbird fond a path to the light and brought them out.

“That’s what we try to do at the Hummingbird Healing Center: bring people into the light and raise the consciousness of the planet, one person at a time,” Lisa says.

Plus, hummingbirds are beautiful.

Kind of like Lisa Pak’s Harmonic Egg — and the relaxing, healing time spent in one.

(Hummingbird Healing Center is at 57 Main Street. For more information click here, email info@hummingbirdhealingcenter.com, or call 203-930-8000.)

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Roundup: Last Push For Lyman, Eversource Slammed, Main Street Meathead …

Less than 24 hours remain, to reach our goal of $250,000!

That would help rebuild every home and apartment in Lyman — our Ukrainian sister city — that can be salvaged. It would give them each a generator. It would provide a water filtration system for the town. (Click here for the first story about Westport and Lyman, with important details.)

It would get them through a dark, dangerous winter. Those brave, embattled men, women and children need to know that they are not alone.

They already know that Westport has their back. They are very, very grateful for what we’ve done.

Westporter Brian Mayer (right) and his on-the-ground support team of Richard von Groeling and Liz Olegov flank Lyman Mayor Oleksandr Zhuravlyov. Brian, Richard and Liz wear protective equipment, because they’ve just been outside. The Ukrainian and Lyman flags will soon be joined by one from Westport.

Now, on Christmas Day, let’s give them everything they need.

$250,000 sounds like a lot. But it breaks down to just $10 for every resident of Westport.

Can you spare that? If not, no worries. Someone who can, will cover you. Right?

Just click here for the credit card “Donate” button. Click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” You can also scroll down on that page for other donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo.) Or you can donate directly, via Stripe (click here). 

Meanwhile, our online auction for an oil painting of Marigny — our other sister city in France, which joins us in helping Lyman — ends at 11:59 p.m. We began the bidding at $1,000. It is now up to $1,500. Email 06880blog@gmail.com, or click “Comments” to bid; you don’t need to fill out your real (but please include your email).

This Marigny scene is being auctioned to the highest bidder.

Westporters have been supremely generous so far. We are nearing our audacious — but crucial — $250,000 goal. Every dollar helps our sister city of Lyman. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Eversource earned props for putting crews on the road early during Friday’s wind and rain storm. The number of outages in Westport was halved throughout the day, from 700 or so to about 350.

Their performance since then has been less praise-worthy.

An “06880” reader wrote last night, just before midnight:

“I am spending the holidays with my 92-year-old homebound mom on Bayberry Ridge Road. Power has been out for the whole street since 4 a.m. Friday. Despite 40-plus hours elapsing, Eversource still has no projection for repair, citing ‘To Be Determined’ as the date when one inquires.

“They no longer even list Westport on the updated outage report, because over 99% of homes have power. This is cold comfort to residents on this street, who cannot get any information out of this vastly overpaid and underperforming public utility. With zero communication since the beginning, we worry that they’ve forgotten about us entirely.”

The reader responded at 1:04 a.m. that his power was back on. He doesn’t know if it was the result of his phone call, Tweet, or because they were about to do it anyway.

I’m keeping his complaint up though, because it’s not isolated. I’ve heard from other readers in the north end of Westport, who also had issues with Eversource.

Most seemed to understand the severity of the problem. What bothered them was Eversource’s lack of communication about when power was expected to return.

“We just want to be able to plan,” one reader said.

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Compare the situation in Lyman (top story above) with the behavior of one Very Entitled Driver downtown yesterday.

He ignored several “One Way/Do Not Enter” signs. He headed past all the cars, on 2 sides of the street, facing toward him.

Drivers stopped. One rolled down his window, and explained the driver was going the wrong way.

He couldn’t be bothered. Perhaps backing up was too difficult or time-consuming. Maybe doing so would be admitting wrongdoing, or a blow to his masculinity.

So he got out of his car. He had angry words with one of the right-way drivers.

Then he got back in his vehicle, swerved around a couple of cars, and kept driving.

All the way to the Post Road.

Very Entitled Driver — after already being told he is going the wrong way on Main Street.

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Also downtown: Our own Barnes & Noble was featured in the opening seconds of Yahoo News’ recent feature on the chain’s resurgence.

Young readers in particular have driven the opening of new (and newly designed) stores.

CEO James Daunt was interviewed by Dave Briggs. The Yahoo journalist knows what he’s talking about — he lives here in Westport, just a couple of miles from one of those slimmed-down, brighter, more open and less “library-looking” Barnes & Noble’s than the previous one.

Click here for the full Yahoo story.

Screenshot of the Yahoo story

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The Burying Hill High Tide Club has earned an “06880” mention — and props — for weekly swims at that Greens Farms beach, all the way through fall.

Now another group is earning even more awe (and raised eyebrows).

Nico Eisenberger reports: “This year we spawned a crazy cousin of the High Tide Club. Inspired by some of the hardy originals, and carried forward with an unreasonable and illogical vigor, is Club Plunge.

“We’ve done it every week since early November. It’s amazing and wonderful — and makes you think that maybe the extremophiles one sees on YouTube are really on to something.”

The group includes 8 regulars.

“We try to stay in for at least 3 minutes,” Nico says. “The screaming subsides after 1 minute, then picks up again after 2.”

No word on “weather” they ventured in yesterday.

Club Plunge at Burying Hill Beach.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows how a gifted decorator can transform beautiful plants and flowers into something even more stunning.

This is the holiday table at the home of Elena and Richard Nasereddin. She’s Catholic. He’s Muslim.

Both wish everyone in the “0688o” community — in Westport, and cyberspace — “happy holidays, and many blessings in the new year.”

(Photo/Maria Elena Nasereddin)

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And finally … Christmas music ends tonight. Whether that’s good or bad depends on your threshold for jinglyness.

But before we say goodbye (till next year) to Mariah Carey, Josh Groban, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Bobby Helms, Bing Crosby and Gene Autry, let’s tip our Santa hat to Johnny Marks.

He lived for many years on Green Acre Lane, off South Compo. He died in 1985 from complications of diabetes. His son still lives here.

Who was Johnny Marks?

Just the guy who wrote “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

And “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” “Run, Rudolph, Run.” “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas.” And many others.

Not bad for a Jewish kid from Mount Vernon, New York.

Merry Christmas! Oy!

 

Main Street Holiday

Yesterday’s wild weather disrupted the plans of many Westporters.

It started the night before. On Thursday, as the rain and wind began, “06880” photographer Lynn Untermeyer Miller was downtown.

In the midst of the mess, she found color, light and beauty.

Before those memories are baked in to Christmas 2022, let’s take a look back — all the way to a few days ago.

Here’s what Lynn Untermeyer Miller saw then, as she strolled downtown:

Scenes From A Storm: Part 3

Just before noon, Eversource reported 784 Westport customers without power. That’s 6.18% of the town.

In Weston, 366 customers lacked electricity — 9.39% of the town.

Statewide, the total was 85,360 — 6.61% of all Connecticut customers.

Canal Road and Beach (Photo/Gene Borio)

Saugatuck Island (Photo/Bobbi Essagof)

New Creek Road, near Beachside Avenue (Photo/Jacque O’Brien)

Parker Harding Plaza, from inside Lululemon … (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

… while inside, shoppers flocked to make last-minute purchases. They used the Main Street entrance. (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

Saugatuck River at Taylor Place parking lot. (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

One tree took down 2 others on its way down, near Cross Highway. (Photo/David Pogue)

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Among the many trees down in today’s storm: an oak on Compo Road North. It was heavier than it looked, with all kinds of vines.

Roger Wolfe called his friend Terry Brannigan. He and his son Terry Jr. came right over, and took care of it.

The Brannigans, to the rescue. (Photos/Roger Wolfe)

“That’s the kind of people they are,” Roger says.

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Partrick Lane (Photo courtesy of Chip Stephens)

Grove Point flooding crested around 11:15 a.m. (Photo/John Kantor)

Homes at Old Mill Beach, (Photo/Matt Murray)

Gloria in Gray’s Creek (Photo/Gene Fignar)

The storm was not yet over this morning. But utility crews were already out on Rex Lane off Greens Farms Road, putting up a new pole. (Photo/Jacque O’Brien)

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The Westport Office of Emergency management says:

Temperatures will quickly drop below freezing, and are expected to remain below freezing until Tuesday.

In the event of flash freezing, Fire Chief Michael Kronick says: “If you must travel, keep a flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. Allow extra time as some roads may be icy and dangerous if untreated. Please do not drive around barricades or through waters of unknown depth.”

If you lose power to your home during freezing temperatures, follow these steps:

Notify Eversource of an outage: https://www.eversource.com/cg/customer/reportoutage

Now is the time to check your generators and charge your devices in the event of a power outage. Have a battery powered radio on hand.

Stay Safe! Never go near downed power lines including cable TV feeds. They may be live with deadly voltage.

 Stay Warm! On top of dressing in layers and huddling under extra blankets, hang your darker ones on the windows to draw in heat. Keep doors and windows closed and use towels to block drafts around them. If necessary, move to your basement, which may be more insulated by the ground.

Never use charcoal grills or camp stoves indoors. Deaths have occurred when consumers burned charcoal or used camp stoves in enclosed spaces, which produced lethal levels of carbon monoxide.

Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors, and vents. Read and follow instructions on the generator label and in the owner’s manual. Any electrical cables you use with the generator should be free of damage and suitable for outdoor use.

Use caution with candles. If possible, use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave the room.

Listen for updates. If you’re using a cellphone, choose texting over calling to keep phone lines free, or use your landline. Save 911 for emergencies.

Sign up for local EMERGENCY ALERTS: Text 06880 to 888777. Or sign up now at www.nixle.com

 

 

Friday Flashback #327

On Wednesday, a community menorah was celebrated near the front steps of Anthropologie.

It was a joint effort of Westport’s 4 Jewish congregations: Beit Chaverim, Chabad, Temple Israel and The Conservative Synagogue. The candles were lit by Bill Mitchell, a longtime participant in our town’s interfaith efforts.

It’s been nearly a decade since that handsome Tudor building in the center of town has been a go-to spot for furniture, clothes and home items.

Newcomers may not realize that for over 80 years — beginning in 1923 — the spot for our annual community menorah was the site of our town’s YMCA.

You know: the Young Men’s Christian Association.

(Photos courtesy of Dick Foot, former Westport YMCA executive director)

 

Scenes From A Storm: Part 2

Our 10 a.m. report:

A coastal flood warning remains in effect until 1 p.m. today. Westport Fire and EMS say: “We expect flooding along the shoreline imminently. Please move vehicles now, if they are in vulnerable and low-lying areas.”

Areas to avoid include Morningside Avenue South near Clapboard Hill; Cross Highway between Bayberry Lane and Sturges Highway; Compo Road South near Rockland Place, due to downed trees and wires, and Turkey Hill Road South between Clapboard Hill and Arrowhead Road.

If anyone needs help of any kind, please click “Comments” below. Other readers will do their best to respond.

Saugatuck River, downtown (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Parker Harding Plaza (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

Stores in Parker Harding Plaza (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

Tree down on South Compo, near Ferry Lane East. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

Baker Avenue at Imperial Avenue (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

Burying Hill Beach (Photo/John Karrel)

Compo Beach (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Compo Beach (Photo/Matt Murray)

The scene near Soundview Drive. (Photo/Matt Murray)

Compo jetty (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Schlaet’s Point, on Hillspoint Road (Photo/Jim Hood)

Another view of Schlaet’s Point. (Photo/Matt Murray)

Old Mill Beach near Compo Cove (Photo/Fred Cantor)

No one watched the waves this morning. (Photo/Matt Murray)