Tomorrow is worldwide “Make Music Day.” There are more than 1,000 events, in over 120 countries.
Unfortunately, there is no specific Westport celebration. But residents Louis Fuertes and Pat Blaufuss — members of the 4-person band Picnic on the 4th of July — will perform at Old Post Tavern in Fairfield (7 to 8 p.m.).
The CUkes — a ukulele group that originated at the Westport Weston Family YMCA — entertain in the Nordstrom Courtyard of The SoNo Collection mall (Norwalk, 6 p.m.).
And Talking Heads members Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth — who live just over the line in Fairfield — are part of an international “This Moment in Time” musical event. Click here for details.
Starting July 1, the Senior Center will reopen. It’s limited, sure — but it will be wonderful for the thousands of Westporters who rely on our great center.
The phased reopening will include in-house, outdoor, hybrid, televised and Zoom classes all summer long.
Director Sue Pfister and her staff have meticulously established safety protocols. They includes enhanced air-handlers, sanitizers, and other CDC-guided precautions.
There’s also a canopy over part of the back patio, to extend outdoor space.
The congregate luncheon program will remain closed until September. In addition, summer plans will not include drop-in visits or congregating during the initial reopening phase. Water fountains will not be available, so participants are encouraged to bring a water bottle from home.
For months, Westporters have wondered about the fate of the Kowalsky property. The large tract of land on Morningside Drive South and Clapboard Hill Road is some of the last privately owned open space in town.
Perc tests and a Conceptual Plan are now available outlining a proposed 8 Bedroom home, Infinity Edge Swimming Pool and Septic. Build your dream home on this prestigious 2.0 Acre property in a well established Greens Farms neighborhood.
This property is truly majestic with part ownership of a man made pond, and several character outbuildings. This sought after location is less than a mile to Metro North/Greens Farms train station and Burying Hill Beach. Two homes on Morningside Drive South (# 90 and # 88) have SOLD within the year, both currently in stages of being torn down for over a million dollars an acre. There is value here on this special piece of land.
This is a Land listing. The home on the property is ‘As Is’. As with any Land listing, buyers to perform their own due diligence.
Plenty of people like Hook’d on the Sound, the new Compo Beach concessionaire.
Plenty do not like the fact that it closes at 6 p.m.
The previous snack bar tenant — Joey’s by the Shore — stayed open till dark. Two years ago, he relocated to the former Elvira’s, around the corner across from Old Mill Beach.
Now Joey’s has introduced a delivery service to Compo. It’s available Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
You can order online. Enter “2 Soundview Drive” as the delivery address. Your food will be delivered — in a thermal bag, with no extra charge — at the pickup/ dropoff location next to the Compo volleyball courts.
The undefeated, nationally ranked Staples High School rugby team kicked off its national tournament quest in Kansas City yesterday with a 26-22 win against St. Thomas Aquinas. The Wreckers are ranked #5; Aquinas was #4. The temperature at the start was 100.
Little Barn The Little Barn in Westport is the local site for viewing. The next match is tonight (6 p.m.), against #1 Herriman from Utah.
Watching yesterday’s game at Little Barn. (Photo/Terry Brannigan)
Previewing the tournament, a rugby publication described Staples as “the best-kept secret of the tournament. (They have) compiled one heck of a season up in Connecticut. Winners over big dogs Xavier, Greenwich, and Fairfield, these boys are battle-tested and battle-accomplished. Jot them down as your dark horse now.”
For more information on the national rugby tournament, click here.
Wakeman Town Farm kicks off its farm stand season tomorrow (Saturday, June 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
Every Saturday, the Cross Highway stand features farm-grown veggies, baked goods, honeys, Shearwater coffee, Wave Hill breads, Kneads pastries, Pam’s Jams, Guardians farm goat soap & lotion, plus logowear.
Tomorrow’s fresh produce offerings include collard greens, lettuce, kale, peas, radishes, garlic scapes, Chinese green onions, strawberries (limited quantities!), and herbs.
This year, WTF expands its offerings with a rotating list of local guest vendors. This week they welcome Lorenza Arnal, creator of Alma de Mexico’s homemade salsas, and Sk*p, a sustainably packaged hair & body care line with local roots.
Staples High School’s Class of 1976 is planning their 45th reunion. And — in the spirit of ’76 — they’re doing more than their share.
The July 30-31 weekend includes parties at the Black Duck and Compo Beach. They’ve added a “Great Gatsby” town tour.
And — because several classmates volunteer with CLASP Homes, the supportive housing organization for people with developmental disabilities (and Tracy Flood works there), the reunion-goers will do yard projects at the site. (They might not even know that CLASP was founded in 1976!)
During the darkest days of the pandemic, Amanda DeRosa was heartened by regular trips to Starbucks.
With several health issues, the 37-year-old Westporter used the drive-thru. She got to know one of the regular order takers.
“She’s so lively and bubbly,” Amanda says. “She’s spunky and young. I’d think about her while I was waiting to pick up my order. She made me feel secure.”
At the drive-thru window, Amanda adds, “she wore a mask. But I could see the smile in her eyes.”
A Starbucks worker brings joy to customers.
Recently, Amanda noticed the woman was pregnant. But when Amanda congratulated her, she looked sad.
Amanda wanted to help. She asked for the woman’s phone number; a tear rolled down her cheek.
They began texting. Amanda learned her new friend lives in a Bridgeport studio apartment. She has a 3-year-old son, and a longtime partner. When she was 12, her mother died. She’s struggling.
She’s been at Starbucks more than 3 years, and hopes for a promotion.
“This is a dig-her-heels in woman. She works hard for her family,” Amanda says.
The Westporter wanted to offer more than encouragement. When her own son was born, she was registered with Buy Buy Baby. Suddenly, she had an idea: collect donations, and present the woman with a gift card.
“I want her to have the joy of walking into the store with her partner, and pick out the stroller, car seat, crib, bassinet, toys, books and formula they need,” Amanda says.
Babies need lots of “stuff.”
She put the word on social media last night. As of this morning, grateful Starbucks customers — and those who do not even know the woman — had contributed $440.
Amanda hopes for much more. She’s cleared her own personal Venmo account. All donations (Venmo: @AmandaDeRosa) will go directly to the woman. (To ease concerns, Amanda will send “06880” a screen shot of the balance, plus the gift card receipt.)
Amanda will present Westport’s gift to the woman on Monday. (She knows she’s getting something, but has no idea what.) A florist — who did not want to be named — will contribute a bouquet, to accompany the gift card.
“We’re all human beings,” Amanda says.
“We all do what we can, with what we have. This is a wonderful woman, someone in need. I’m proud of how this great community is helping her.”
Doug Tirola — one of the founders of the Remarkable Theater — is a native Westporter, and father of a Staples High School student. He know we’ve got some remarkable members of the senior class — and that they had a remarkable year.
Tomorrow Doug — whose day job is filmmaking — wants to hear about their experiences. He’s making a short feature starring Staples seniors. It will play before (naturally) the drive-in screening of “The Breakfast Club” later this month.
High school seniors are invited to a quick interview tomorrow (Wednesday, June 16, 3 p.m.) at Staples’ front entrance.
NOTE: Seniors who are not yet 18 should email firstname.lastname@example.org for a release form, to be signed by a parent prior to film.
“The Breakfast Club”: Quite possibly the best high school movie ever made.
But the young staff — overseeing kayaks, paddleboards and the increasingly crowded Saugatuck River — has major responsibilities.
Yesterday, owners Taryn and Robbie Guimond brought Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Services staff onto the Riverside Avenue site. EMTs ran everyone through every imaginable safety scenario and protocol.
The entire Westport Paddle Club staff is now certified in CPR, first aid and “stop the blood.” They’re ready for anything — and for you.
“With so much negativity about police in our country, we feel lucky we have a Police Department that responds quickly and professionally to our needs, on many levels.
“On Sunday around 2:30 p.m., my husband Larry and I, 2 Westport friends and our puppy were stranded on our small boat in the Sound. It just stopped, and refused to start again no matter what we were tried.
“To our much appreciated rescue came 2 police officers: a man and a woman. With efficiency, respect and utmost professionalism, we were towed to our marina on Saugatuck shores.
“We are privileged to live in a town with such an incredible Police Department. Thank you!”
The Lefkowitzes’ boat, after being towed to safety.
For weeks, Pequot Trail neighbors have been upset about the clear-cutting done in preparation for a teardown and new home.
Yesterday, News12 reported on the issue.
As noted in the report, owners can do whatever they want with their property. But, Tree Board chair Monica Buesser notes, trees play many roles beyond beauty — including noise abatement and reduced flood risk.
Marketplace at Franny’s of Westport celebrates its first year as a local pop-up partner this Saturday (June 19, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.).
The Bedford Square shop will be filled with live music, free samples and giveaways. Tracey Medeiros will sign copies of “The Art of Cooking with Cannabis,” and Franny Tacy — founder of Franny’s Farmacy — will be on hand too, to say, um, “hi.”
The world is opening up. But plenty of neighbors are still in dire straits.
To help fill Person 2 Person’s Norwalk food pantry, Westport Sunrise Rotary members will collect food donations in the rear of Saugatuck Congregational Church (Saturday, June 26, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
They urge folks to include these items on upcoming shopping trips: hearty soups, snack and granola bars, pasta and sauce, 1-pound rice boxes, peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, canned tuna and chicken, canned fruits and vegetables, dried and canned beans, pancake mix, cold cereal, oatmeal and shelf-stable milk.
Among the most needed household and personal items: laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, dryer sheets, toothbrushes and toothpaste, disinfectant wipes, hand and body soap, kitchen sponges, deodorant, liquid dish detergent, diapers and wipes (especially sizes 5 and 6), tissues and Kleenex.
From left: Greg Dobbs (Person2Person food pantry site manger) with Westport Sunrise Rotarians Rob Hauck and president George Masumian.
Last week on “06880,” Fred Cantor suggested that landlords offer short-term leases to help revitalize important areas like Main Street. He wondered why, for example, such a visible, viable location like the Remarkable Book Shop has remained vacant for so long.
Robbyn Footlick thought the same thing.
A high-powered pro who’d spent her career creating content — as a newspaper reporter, then supervising storytelling for ESPN shows and executive editor of ESPN The Magazine, most recently at a content strategy agency she helped found — Footlick used the COVID slowdown to explore a different concept: retail.
Curating and showcasing physical goods, she realized, was not much different from choosing stories to tell — and selecting the best place to tell them.
Sitting at GG & Joe, drinking matcha latte, gazing at the river (and inspired by the owners’ courage in opening in the midst of a global health crisis), she honed her concept.
The goal was to curate commonly themed art and goods — “none available on Amazon!” — in one space. Footlick had a COVID-influenced but all-encompassing name (The Cohort) and a first theme (“Friends and Family Edition,” inspired by what we held dear and what we missed during the pandemic).
A few months ago, she inquired about short-term leases on vacant downtown storefronts. Having never opened a retail business, she was not ready for long-term.
Most landlords said no. She was surprised. Who wouldn’t want a paying tenant, of any kind?
But — knowing nothing about commercial real estate — she assumed they had their reasons.
Eventually, she tried again at her favorite location. She noted her willingness to allow brokers to show the space to potential long-term tenants.
The landlord was flexible. Which is why this evening, The Cohort opens (reception, 5 to 7 p.m.). It’s right next to GG & Joe, at the Parker Harding Plaza entrance. It runs through August 15.
The Cohort. TD Bank is on the other side of the entrance to Parker Harding Plaza.
Footlick’s pop-up is a collection of people brought together by a longtime, close friend: Susan Eley. She owns a fine art gallery in Manhattan and Hudson, New York. Her parents — Richard and Carole Eisner — have a home in Weston, where Eley and Footlick spent memorable times growing up.
Many of the “Friends and Family” items were produced in Connecticut, including shibori napkins, dish towels from an indigo farm, and children’s prints and cards.
Margaret Fitzgerald’s work is on display at The Cohort.
Footlick loves being downtown. She draws energy from the crowds — particularly after a year of lockdowns. “We all appreciate the interaction that comes with walking into a shop or restaurant, engaging with other human beings,” she notes. “It’s heartening.”
The Cohort is all about “resilience, flexibility and hope,” she adds.
The same qualities that helped all of us make it through COVID — and gave her the confidence to keep looking for that short-term, let’s-open-a-pop-up- downtown lease.
(The Cohort is at 179 Main Street. It’s open Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment at 646-306-3274. For more information, email email@example.com.)
Meanwhile, summer is actually almost here. That means more folks walking, jogging, biking and driving past the former Positano restaurant on Hillspoint Road.
For over a year, permit violations have halted construction on what was to be a private residence. The building — half-finished, swathed in blue, surrounded by weeds — has become a neighborhood eyesore.
A security fence now encloses the property. That makes it safer.
Speaking of politics: On Tuesday night, the Representative Town Meeting affirmed the Planning & Zoning Commission’s decision to allow 157 units of housing to be built on Hiawatha Lane.
The decision to settle with the developer — Summit Saugatuck — and put an end to 3 lawsuits seems to be final.
However, Carolanne Curry — a resident of the area, and founder of Save Old Saugatuck — vows to keep fighting.
“SOS will continue efforts,” she says. “Neighbors will continue to meet and share ideas and concerns. We will continue to do our collective research and telephoning. Motivated more than ever to save this community and keep our homes, we will find other paths to victory.”
SoulCycle has reopened its indoor Westportstudio, at 50% capacity. They’ve redesigned their space, emphasizing safety, comfort — and of course, the importance of cycling for physical and mental health.
But the shopping behemoth is taking over Avi Kaner’s parking spots.
Every morning at 8:30, the former Westport 2nd selectman/Board of Finance chair — and, more importantly for this story, an owner of the 16-store Morton Williams grocery store chain in New York — sees trucks part in front of 2 of his Upper East Side markets.
Workers appear. For the next 5 hours, Crains’ New York Business reports, they use hand trucks to deliver groceries to residents who ordered from Amazon online.
“They use it like a warehouse,” Kaner says. “The city is allowing these places to block our business.”
An Amazon spokeswoman described the scene as an “exchange point.”
Kaner notes that Morton Williams’ sales in residential areas are down only 5-15% from pre-COVID levels, but that stores in business districts are still doing just half of their previous numbers. (Click here for the full Crains’ story.)
Avi Kaner in a Morton Williams store. (Photo/Danny Ghitis for the New York Times)
The Westport PAL car show set for June 20 has been postponed to July 17. It’s still 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; still at the railroad station parking lot near Railroad Place and Franklin Street); it still features cool cars, food and raffle prizes.
Tickets are still $15 each. But kids — that is, anyone under 12 — are still free.
Click here to help support “06880” via credit card or PayPal. Any amount is welcome — and appreciated! Reader contributions keep this blog going. (Alternate methods: Please send a check to: Dan Woog, 301 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880. Or use Venmo: @DanWoog06880. Or Zelle: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!)