Category Archives: Longshore

La Plage Brings Beach New Vibe (And Menu) To Longshore

Westport’s newest restaurant opens Wednesday, at one of the town’s oldest, most favorite sites.

La Plage takes over the space previously occupied by Pearl, and before that Splash. It’s the restaurant portion of the Inn at Longshore, a property that has never quite taken advantage of its unique location: a spectacular view of the water, nestled next to a golf course and tennis courts.

Killer water views at La Plage.

If last night’s preview is any indication, La Plage will quickly become one of the town’s go-to destinations.

“La Plage” means “the beach” in French. The menu is “coastal.”

Greenwich Hospitality Group — owner of the Delamar Hotels, and the new operator of the Inn — has redecorated  the interior, and updated its dishes, to take full advantage of its assets.

It’s a more-than-worthy addition to the Delamar’s other 2 noted restaurants, Artisan in Southport and L’Escale in Greenwich.

The bright dining room.

Shellfish selections include oysters, clams and shrimps, of course — and an octopus dish with chorizo, fingerling pepper and castelvetrano that will keep its Mediterranean sources hopping.

The “Baked/Grilled/Broiled” portion of the menu is highlighted by a grilled prosciutto pinsa with Bayley Hazen Blue cheese, figs, arugula and spicy honey; a lobster roll, and a variety of pasta, fish and meat dishes. Dessert includes a highly touted Ile flottante with vanilla English cream, caramel and almond, and more.

Much of the interior — light, bright, and beckoning “la plage” — comes from Serena & Lily. That’s just one more way Michael Ryan and his crew have taken Longshore’s venerable Inn, and given it a new Westport vibe.

The redecorated entrance. (Photos/Dan Woog)

La Plage will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, beginning this Wednesday. Click here for the menu, and reservations.

 

Friday Flashback #255

As plans proceed for the renovation of the Inn at Longshore, here’s a look back at a much earlier building. It was called “Longshore House.”

Is this the bones of the building that’s still there? Was it a previous building on the same site? Was it located elsewhere on the property?

Whatever the answer, it was quite a structure. If you know anything about this — which may have been owned by the Cuttings and Lehn families — click “Comments” below.

Roundup: Run For RTM, Boat Storage, Senior Golf, STAR Jobs,

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Want to run the town?

Or at least, help pass budgets, review board and commission decisions, and weigh in on matters like plastic bags and the Vietnam War?

The non-partisan Representative Town Meeting (RTM) does (or has done) all that, and much more.

36 members are elected to 2-year terms, from 9 districts. All seats are open, in the next election.

Westport residents interested in running can pick up a petition at the Town Clerk’s office. You  need 25 signatures from residents in their district to be on the November 2 ballot. 

The Town Clerk’s office will supply a district map, and list of all voters. Petitions are due September 14.

Questions? Contact town clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton: 203-341-1105; jdunkerton@westportct.gov.

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No, you were not alone.

Air quality in Westport was poor last night. The culprit — as some suspected — was the wildfires ravaging the West. Particles have traveled thousands of miles, and are affecting our East Coast town.

Here’s a view from Compo Beach:

(Photo/Betsy Pollak)

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Last night was also a mess downtown.

Water gushed into the street from construction work at the former Banana Republic on Main Street. The Fire Department responded promptly.

Main Street, yesterday. (Photo/Isabelle Taglia, Coleytown Middle School 8th grader)

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Starting November 1, Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department will offer winter boat storage at Longshore. Residents can store boats on their trailers in the gravel lot (Lot F) through April 15.

Space is available for 24 boats up to 24 feet (including trailer). Five more spaces are available, for boats with up to 32 feet. Rates are $720 plus tax for up to 24 feet, $960 for tax for the longer vessels..

Spots are first come, first served, for Westport residents only. For an application, email rgiunta@westportct.gov. (Hat tip: Fred Cantor)

A beautiful summer sight. But where will you store our boat this winter?

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Congratulations to Marc Lasry. Besides being a hedge fund billionaire, the Greens Farms resident owns the Milwaukee Bucks. Last night, they won their 1st NBA championship in 50 years.

Marc Lasry (right), after the Bucks won the NBA championship. (Screen shot photo/Fred Cantor)

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Speaking of sports: Leela Narang-Benaderet just made history. The 1988 Staples High School grad is the first Westporter to qualify for the US Senior Women’s Golf Open. She did it last week, with a 76 in the qualifier at Greenwich Country Club.

Over 400 golfers — most of them pros — competed internationally to earn a spot. Leela may have the easiest travel of all: The event will be hosted by Brooklawn Country Club in Fairfield. Mark your calendars: July 29 to August 1. (Hat tip: Patty Kondub)

Leela Narang-Benaderet

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More competition news:

Vivek Kanthan is the US Rotax Max Challenge karting champion. The Westport 7th grader — who attends Pearson Online Academy, due to his travel schedule — won 7 of the 12 races in this year’s series. He will represent the US at the world championship in Bahrain later this year.

The final race was at New Jersey Motorsports Park last weekend. Sweltering heat, humidity and track temperatures of 103 degrees made the already exciting final round much more intense.

Karts reached speeds of 70 miles an hour. Vivek overcame a strong challenge to win, by just 0.08 seconds.

Vivek Kanthan, at the winner’s podium.

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STAR Lighting the Way has received a $20,000 grant from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. The money will help people  with intellectual and developmental disabilities find work, through STAR’s My First Jobs program.

STAR’s customized employment program for people with disabilities leads the state in job placements and hours worked. A team of job developers, employment managers and job coaches work with individuals, and networks with businesses, to create job opportunities, supervise training, and find locations to host classes in life, social, arts, and recreational skills.

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Parking’s reserved. So — apparently — is this spot atop the sign, for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Daniel Hoffman)

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And finally … today marks the 160th anniversary of the first major Civil War battle. The First Battle of Bull Run, near Manassas, Virginia, ended in a Confederate victory.

In 1990, Ric Burns’ astonishing 9-part PBS miniseries brought the war — in all its glory and greed, courage and cowardice, epic sweep and tiny details — into American homes. I watch it every few years, to try and understand this momentous event in our nation’s history.

Perhaps the most memorable segment of the entire series was Sullivan Ballou’s letter to his wife. Written a week before the First Battle of Bull Run, it provides viewers an astonishing combination of love, eloquence and historical perspective.

Jay Ungar’s haunting “Ashokan Farewell” — a heart-rending violin duet with Molly Mason — makes this the most impactful three minutes you may ever see and hear.

La Plage Pops Up At Longshore

Michael Ryan has spent his career in hospitality. He’s opened restaurants around the world.

But as a longtime Westporter, he’s always been fascinated by Longshore. The Inn — beautifully situated, now a bit long in the tooth — has enormous potential. The restaurant — now closed — also has the chance to be something special.

For the past several months, Ryan has worked on both properties.

He’s partnered with Greenwich Hospitality Group — owner of the Delamar Hotels, and the new operator of the Inn at Longshore.

Renovating the Inn is a long-term project. Fortunately for a few dozen brides, their weddings have gone on without a hitch (so to speak).

The big news is that a pop-up restaurant will appear soon, in the old Pearl space.

The restaurant at the Inn at Longshore is a spectacular location.

“La Plage” — French for “the beach” (though the menu will be “coastal,” rather than French) — hopes to be open by the end of July.

Work was underway this week. Floors have been stripped; the interior is lighter; the deck and patio are as inviting as ever.

“This spot deserves something special,” says Ryan.

Meanwhile, he is looking for help. The labor shortage is real. He’s put out a call for everyone: kitchen help, front of the house, bartenders, servers, hosts. If interested, email mryan@innatlongshore.com.

And keep checking “06880” for news. The moment La Plage opens, you’ll know.

Pics Of The Day #1549

Last night’s Longshore sunset … (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

… and across Gray’s Creek at Compo Beach

(Compo photos/Paul Delano)

Pic Of The Day #1532

Longshore golf course, early this morning (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

Roundup: Renovations, Playhouse Comedy, Kids’ Fathers Day Cards …

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Two town-owned buildings with important tenants are getting upgrades.

Tomorrow (Thursday, June 10, 5 p.m., livestream) the Public Site and Building Commission considers renovations to the Longshore restaurant, and Homes with Hope.

Greenwich Hospitality Group — owner of the Delamar Hotels, and the new operator of the Inn at Longshore — will be making improvements to the restaurant, which is currently closed. The Inn remains open.

The town has received a $500,000 grant for work on the Gillespie Center. The shelter behind Barnes & Noble will undergo ADA improvements, and air quality systems will be upgraded.

The PS&BC meeting is available on Zoom (868 1556 4709; passcode: 266287).

The Gillespie Center. (Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

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There’s nothing funny about the Westport Country Playhouse’s productions being pushed back from this summer to next.

But there will plenty to laugh about onstage soon. From June 18-25, there’s live, stand-up comedy, on the fabled stage.

In partnership with Fairfield Comedy Club’s 3rd annual festival, comedians Mike Birbiglia, Boomer Funny Ladies, Harrison Greenbaum, Jessica Kirson, Dan Soder and others will bring smiles (and belly laughs) to real, live faces. (“Content is appropriate for age 18 and up,” the WCP says.)

Audience members must be fully vaccinated, or receive a negative COVID test with 72 hours of the performance. Concession stands are open. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Mike Birbiglia

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Just in time for Fathers Day, Westport Book Shop is hosting a Children’s Craft Event.

Saturday, June 19 — the day before the big one — kids ages 6 to 11 are invited to the used book store on Jesup Green to make their own cards.

There are 2 sessions: 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., and 11:15 to noon. Call 203-349-5141 to register.

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Westport’s National Charity League chapter has donated $3,750 to 3 Bridgeport charities serving people hit hard by the pandemic. Grants include $1,250 each to Homes for the Brave, Mercy Learning Center and Caroline House.

While NCL normally only donates time and talent, they made an exception in these critical times.

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“Westport … Naturally” is big on mallards wildlife. This one finds a tasty morsel in the Saugatuck River, near the library.

(Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

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And finally … in 1968, President Johnson declared this a national day of mourning. Presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy died 3 days earlier, from an assassin’s bullet. Two months earlier, Martin Luther King was similarly slain.

Pic Of The Day #1512

ER Strait Marina (Photo/Dennis Jackson)

Roundup: Bear, Beach Sticker, Back …

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The past few days have brought numerous reports of a bear wandering in northern Westport. It is behaving normally — and non-aggressively.

The Westport Police Department says:

“Black bears are becoming increasingly common in Connecticut. To safely co-exist, residents are reminded to take precautions to prevent negative encounters.

“Bears have an incredible sense of smell. To prevent luring them towards your property, secure your garbage in sturdy covered containers in a garage or outbuilding. Residents who compost should do so responsibly. Do not throw meat scraps or greasy, oily, or sweet materials in your compost pile. These will attract bears and other animals.

“Clean barbecues and grills after each use, refrain from leaving pet food outdoors, and remove bird feeders from your property for the summer. Keep your eye on pets and small children playing outside.

“While it can be frightening to see a bear on or around your property, it is important to know that they are very timid animals. They try to avoid human contact.

“If sighted, use caution, and do not approach the bear. The mere presence of a bear does not necessitate its removal. If left alone and given an avenue for escape, the bear will usually wander back into more secluded areas. Sightings can be reported to Westport Animal Control at 203-341-5076, or reported to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (click here).”

The bear on Old Hill. (Photo/Stella Wong)

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After a year’s hiatus, beach sticker sales to non-residents is back.

Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department began sales yesterday. The cost is $775 (plus tax). Click here, then follow the “Membership” links.

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Back too are Staples Players. Their laugh-out-loud funny, wide-ranging, clever and very welcome spring production — “Words Words Words … and Music” drew raves when the high school troupe returned to stage last month.

Now it’s available — this weekend only — as a video stream. Starting at noon on Saturday (June 5) through midnight Monday (June 7), you can watch the show as many times as you like. It’s a great offer for out-of-towners, and anyone who missed the show (or wants to see it again). Click here for tickets.

Sophie Rossman, Benny Zack and Samanath Webster in “Words Words Words.” They are monkey, writing “Hamlet.” Or trying to … (Photo/Kerry Long)

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How “back” is Westport?

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce announces the return of 2 favorite events. Both were knocked out last year by COVID.

Slice of Saugatuck returns Saturday, September 11. It’s an afternoon of food, entertainment, food, games, food, fun and food. It takes place in the pizza-shaped “slice” of Saugatuck that is home to so many restaurants, and is so easily walkable.

The Dog Festival returns Sunday, October 10. Winslow Park — always a haven for canines and their masters — really goes to the dogs. It’s filled with vendors, K-9 demonstrations, obstacle courses, contests and much more.

To learn more about both events, click here.

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Also back after a year away: The Y’s Men’s Tuesday evening gathering at Compo Beach. Non-men are, as usual, always welcome.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And back too is the Longshore pool. Michael Catarevas reports: “After rainouts Saturday and Sunday, and no one showing up on Memorial Day, I was delighted to be first in the water this season — especially after it was closed all last year. I had three pools to myself Tuesday afternoon, though I only used the big one. The water was very cold, but great!”

Michael Catarevas: first in the Longshore pool. (Photo/Patrick Haggerty)

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Yet another post-pandemic sign: Starting Monday (June 7), the Board of Education will return to in-person meetings. Everyone must wear a mask, and maintain 3 feet of social distancing. Meetings will still be livestreamed on the town website and Cablevision Channel 78.

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Today (Wednesday, June 2) is the 1st-ever Lou Gehrig Day across Major League Baseball.

Chuck Haberstroh co-chairs the group that lobbied for the day. It will be featuresd on all media platforms.

A large group of Westporters will be at Yankee Stadium, honoring Chuck’s mom Patty Haberstroh, an inspiration to her family and the entire town.

Click here for an interview with Chuck and Sweeny Murti, WFAN’s longtime Yankees beat reporter. Chuck starts around the 15-minute mark.

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Speaking of baseball: 50 years to the day after Staples High School beat Norwalk 4-2 in a state tournament game, Class of ’71 teammates Nils Nilsen and Steve McCoy returned to the Wrecker diamond.

They were in the stands to watch the ’21 team open its own state tournament. Unfortunately Staples fell, 9-4 to New Canaan.

Half a century ago, Nilsen halted a Bear rally with 1-hit relief pitching. McCoy had 2 hits, including a game-winning double.

Nilsen went on to pitch at Harvard University. McCoy became a soccer captain, and the 3rd-leading career goal scorer at Duke.

Nils Nilsen and Steve McCoy, at the Staples baseball field. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

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MoCA Westport’s “Yappy Hour” — yes, for dogs — has been postponed. It was set for tomorrow (June 3); the new date is Thursday, June 10.

The event includes custom drinks (for owners), and a chance for pets to meet others, sit for a free portrait, and romp outdoors. It’s free — but all dogs must be leashed. (MoCA encourages donations of unopened food or treats to support local rescue organizations. For more information, click here.

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A crew of volunteers — including Danielle Dobin, Michael Cammeyer, Emma Rojas, Sarah Manning, Luc Lafonta and Shawn Kapitan turned out yesterday to change the lights on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen bridge.

Danielle Dobin and Michael Cammeyer, on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

They now shine in the colors of the rainbow, to celebrate Pride Month. Enjoy them throughout June!

(Photo/Brian McGunigle)

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One of the 3 American oystercatcher chicks at Compo Beach has died, Carolyn Doan reports.

She adds: “My son James is a huge fan of the piping plovers, so we visit the area regularly. The Audubon Society has talked with the town because of drones being flown overhead. Oystercatchers attack them frantically to distract them from the nest, thinking they are predators.”

So, Westporters: Give all these birds space. They were there long before us!

American oystercatcher and chick (Carolyn Doan)

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” takes us to the Lansdowne garden of Lauri Weiser. What a spring we’ve had!

(Photo/Laurii Weiser)

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Before we close the book on the 2021 Memorial Day parade, here’s one final shot. It’s a unique drone perspective from Joel Triesman, as marchers turn onto the Post Road and cross the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge:

(Drone photo/Joel Triesman)

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And finally … the lyrics and art are cringe-worthy. But in honor of the bear that is doing who knows what in our woods:

Roundup: Longshore Pool, Netflix, Hair …

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The Town of Westport website’s Longshore pool page says: “We anticipate opening on Memorial Day weekend, however we are awaiting on information from the State of Connecticut for updated COVID-19 guidance.”

Meanwhile, the 3 pools are filled, and the pumps are pumping.

Also meanwhile: The Westport Weston Family Y ends its pool reservation system — in place since last summer — as of Tuesday (June 1). For nearly a year, swimmers have had to reserve times, 3 days ahead of time. (Hat tip: Michael Catarevas)

Longshore pool (Photo/Pamela Einarsen)

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Dog-walkers at Winslow Park have been intrigued by several large trucks parked in the nearby Westport Country Playhouse parking lot.

Yesterday, Wendy Crowther saw a man moving an enormous fan. She chatted him up, and learned it will be part of a movie shoot.

Netflix is filming “The Noel Diary” around Fairfield County. Based on the novel of the same name, and starring Justin Hartley, Bonnie Bedelia and Treat Williams, it’s a Christmas flick. The fan is to help with the “snow.”

No word yet on when the Westport scenes will be shot.

One of the trucks in the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Another Compo Beach memorial bench has been found!

Barbara De Rome Gross posted on a Weston social media page that while kayaking at Compo, she found a bench honoring the Geismar family. David and Mirjam were longtime, beloved Weston EMTs — and Holocaust survivors.

Barbara told Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department of her find. They’ll retrieve it, restore it, and reposition it at its rightful place near the Ned Dimes Marina.

How it ended up where it did is “a mystery,” Barbara writes. But thanks to her eagle eye, the Geismars will once again have their place of honor by the water. (Hat tip: Laurie Crouse)

The Geismars’ memorial bench.

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Catherine Cook purchased the house at 13 Morningside Drive North in 2020.   Her sister Julie French lives in Wimberley, Texas. Her hobby is family and home historical records.

When Catherine moved to Westport, Julie contacted the Westport Historical Society for information. She learned about their plaque program, and realized it would be a great housewarming gift.

It took a while, but Julie has finally presented her gift: a plaque citing “The Eliason House,” built in 1917.

In 1916 Clara Eliason purchased the property from Edward Birge. She built her house the next year. After Clara died in 1951, the property was transferred to family members, who lived there until 1997. (Hat tip: Bob Weingarten)

Catherine Cook (left) with the plaque purchased by her sister, Julie French.

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The Staples High School boys lacrosse team made history yesterday.

The Wreckers scored early and often, held Wilton scoreless for the entire first half, and cruised to a 16-2 victory in the FCIAC semifinal, held at Staples.

The blue-and-whites — seeded 2nd in the league vie for the program’s first league title ever tomorrow (Friday, May 28, 5 p.m., New Canaan High School’s Dunning Field). They face top-ranked Darien. The Blue Wave won their regular season encounter 10-7, earlier this spring.

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A reader recently wondered what happened to the wonderful crew at Compo Barbers.

Felice, Chau, Tony and Tina have moved just a few doors east — right across the driveway next to CVS — to Westport Hair & Co. They’ve even kept the old Compo Barber Shop phone number (203-227-9779).

And speaking of Felice: another great stylist, Felicia Catale, is back in business at Salon Nash, at Nash’s Corner on Post Road West.

Whichever side of the river you choose, your hair will thank you.

Felice and Felicia

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Just in time for Pride Month, Jillian Elder — of Finding Westport, Finding Fairfield County and Finding Connecticut fame — has rolled out LGBTQ-themed merchandise. They’re available through June 30 only.

Jillian is donating 10% of all sales to Westport Pride, the group that is organizing local celebrations throughout June.

Click here for rainbow-style water bottles, coffee mugs, hoodies and t-shirts. Then show them off with pride!

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Canal Beach may be one of Westport’s lesser-known spots. Still, it’s hard to imagine no one noticing someone cutting a metal pole holding a clamming sign.

It’s harder still to figure out why someone would do it.

The sign is now back up. Sort of.

(Photos/Gene Borio)

But the mystery continues.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo shows a scene right outside Roseann Spengler’s front door:

(Photo/Roseann Spengler)

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And finally … today in 1933, the Walt Disney Company released the cartoon Three Little Pigs. It included a soon-to-be-hit song: “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?”

Here’s how it sounded then …

… and how it sounds now: