Category Archives: Real estate

Restoring Historic Homes, One By One

Teardowns gets tons of publicity. The loss of familiar streetscapes — and their replacement by (often) bigger, more modern homes — is hard to miss.

Renovations are harder to see. Much of that work goes on inside. But they’re an important part of Westport life too.

Tracey Ialeggio Kelly was born and raised in Westport. Her father Tony Ialeggio — an architect for over 40 years — instilled in her a love for historic houses.

She graduated from Staples High School in 1991. Nineteen years later, she purchased a 1927 home on Colonial Road that was a prime candidate for demolition.

She restored it beautifully. In 2012 the Historic District Commission honored her with a Westport Preservation Award. It noted her sensitivity to the mass and scale of the historic Greens Farms Congregational Church neighborhood.

Tracey Ialeggio Kelly’s Colonial Road home … (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

“It is an example of how a small, modest house can be successfully preserved, expanded and adapted to the needs of a modern family on a small parcel of land,” the award said.

But Tracey was not through. Last July, she bought another historic house, on Sylvan Road North.

She asked Westport Museum of History & Culture house historian Bob Weingarten to research it. He found that the property was purchased by Charles and Frederick Fable — brothers who created Fable Funeral Home — in 1939, from Edward Nash.

… and her house on North Sylvan. (Photo/Megan Kelly)

Frederick died a few months later. His son — also named Frederick — continued to build the house, with his uncle Charles. It remained in the family until 1985.

Tracey’s friend Andy Dehler surprised her on Christmas with a historic house plaque. It’s one of many that remind everyone who passes that history continues to live in town.

We just have to know where to look.

Tracey Ialeggio Kelly, with her historic home plaque. (Photo/Megan Kelly)

Roundup: Real Estate, Burying Hill, Bridgewater, More


Just how hot was last year’s real estate market?

COVID-19 pushed the number of single-family home sales to a record 639. That compares to 356 the previous year.

Including condos, there were 688 residential transactions in 2020. The year prior: 389.

It wasn’t just volume that soared. Check out the MLS graph below, showing the dollar volume of closed sales over the past 3 years. Westport is in blue; Weston is green, Fairfield yellow, Wilton red.

Westport’s median sales price in December was $1,399,000. (Hat tips: KMS Partners and Chuck Greenlee)


Remember the November photo of the driver who zoomed past the fence and up the hill at Burying Hill Beach, parked at the top and admired the view of Long Island Sound?

Either she inspired a copycat. Or — just like the US Capitol on Wednesday — it is now okay to breach every normally accepted rule of behavior that has governed us forever.

Rusty Ford spotted this yesterday. And no, it’s not the same car at all.

(Photo/Rusty Ford)


Looking for a job?

Bridgewater Associates is looking for an executive chef.

The Westport-based world’s largest hedge fund ran a classified ad in the current Westport News.

The chef will provide catering services for executive-level meals and VIP meetings — over 150 business and social events annual, from small breakfasts to parties for more than 100.

But he or she won’t be stuck in the firm’s 2 offices here (Weston Road and Nyala Farm). Some of the cooking will be done on the VIP yacht.

The ad explains: “International sailing catering services include … creating menus for daily fare and social events; and procuring necessary culinary supplies in ports of call around the world for extensive travel time on the water. Travel to various unanticipated locations domestically and internationally, including onboard VIP yacht, is required.”

Interested? Send your resume to bw_talentacquisition@bwater.com, or mail to Bridgewater Associates, 1 Glendinning Place, Westport, CT 06880. Don’t forget the job code: BW55.

Bridgewater’s new executive chef will not be stuck at Westport headquarters.


Westport is a Transportation Leader.

That’s the official title. Our Department of Human Resources received the silver award for our CTrides 2021 Transportation Leaders program.

Earning Transportation Leader status requires an annual commitment by town government to work with CTrides to educate, encourage and incentivize employees to use greener modes.

Westport was recognized for providing commuting and CTrides information to all employees, establishing a telework and flexible work schedule program, and access to electric vehicle chargers at Town Hall.

1st Selectman cited interim Transit District director and RTM Transit Committee member Peter Gold for his support in receiving the award.


And finally … happy 80th birthday to singer/songwriter/activist Joan Baez!

 

 

Roundup: Teardowns, Trees, Tony La Russa, More


Yesterday’s Roundup noted the upcoming demolition of 14 Hillandale Road — writer A.E. Hotchner’s longtime home — as part of the construction of Authors Way, a new 4-house subdivision.

Developer Rick Benson says that while the Historic District Commission permit allows teardown any time after Monday (January 11), the final Planning & Zoning Commission hearing is next Thursday (January 14). It’s unlikely, he says, that demolition work will start for a few weeks.

He notes that the house lacks a satisfactory foundation; has no full cellar, first floor bathroom, insulation or central HV/AC system, and has rusted 1920 iron windows.

In addition, Benson says, it lands in the setbacks of the new lot layouts.

14 Hillandale Road


Also slated to be torn down: 27 Gorham Avenue. The home was built in 1933.

27 Gorham Avenue (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)


David Meth writes:

“On Wednesday night, to take a break from the dull routine of daily life and obscene anxiety of politics and pandemic, and actually run away from the assault of the news, a friend and I decided to go out for a delicious pizza at Ignazio’s next to the Sherwood Diner.

“It made the day, because it reminded us of the importance of a pizza and conversation, a glass of beer or wine, a burger at the diner, cup of coffee at the local café … just getting together and talking to one another without devices and electronic interruptions is so wonderfully refreshing and important—and how much we miss the tradition and sense of community of just being with friends, even strangers, to remember who we are as people.”

Remember normal life?


Residents of the Punch Bowl/Gault Park area have noticed a number of trees cut down recently — and others marked with the tape that means their end is near too.

Town tree warden Bruce Lindsay says it’s part of Eversource’s effort to target high-risk trees that could topple in a storm. Many are slender white pines.

The neighborhood bordered by Cross Highway and Weston Road suffered severe damage — including extended power outages — during August’s Tropical Storm Isaias.

Eversource analyzes circuit by circuit performance, then targets the circuits or portions with the most tree-related outages. They then identify trees needing trimming or removal.

Trees account for up to 90% of all outages in Eversource’s system.

(Photo/Joyce Backman)

Tony La Russa is coming to the Westport Library

Well, not really. It’s a livestream, and it’s not likely the Major League Baseball Hall of Famer will be talking from the Westport Library studio.

But he’ll be joined by a good friend — longtime Westporter Steve Parrish — and the Library is sponsoring the event. So — even thought fans can join from anywhere in the world — it does count as “ours.”

The event is set for Tuesday, January 26 (7 p.m.). La Russa will chat about his World Series victories, tell classic baseball stories, and describe his role as new manager of the Chicago White Sox.

Click here to register for the free program.

Tony La Russa


And finally … the War of 1812 roared back in the news this week. That’s the last time — until Wednesday — that the US Capitol suffered a significant breach from opponents of democracy.

On this day in 1815, the last major engagement of that war ended. American forces defeated the British in the bloody Battle of New Orleans.

Andrew Jackson and a ragtag group of frontiersmen, slaves, Indians and pirates held off, then inflicted tremendous damage on a much larger and better trained British force intent on capturing the important port.

In just over 30 minutes, the Americans suffered 60 casualties — and killed 2,000 British.

Jackson became a national hero, and set out on a path to the presidency. However, the battle was for naught. The Treaty of Ghent, ending the war, had been signed 18 days earlier. Word had not yet reached the US from Europe.

Roundup: Community Gathering, Authors Way, Car Heist, More


In response to yesterday’s assault on the US Capitol by a mob, Temple Israel Senior Rabbi Michael Friedman writes:

“Where the rule of law reigns, Jews have flourished. Where lawlessness spreads, we have suffered.

“Similarly, the ancient sage Rabbi Joshua ben Levi taught: ‘Great is peace… if the Holy One had not given peace to the world, sword and beast would devour up the whole world.’

“The Jewish community of Fairfield County will gather tonight (Thursday, January 7, 7 to 7:30 p.m.) online to find comfort in the strength of our community, and to offer prayers for our nation and prayers for peace.”

Click here to register for the webinar.


“Authors Way” is the name of a new subdivision of 4 homes, planned at #14 Hillandale Road.

That’s a nod to Westport’s many famous writers — including A.E. Hotchner. The novelist/playwright/biographer — known for his books about friends like Ernest Hemingway and Paul Newman (with whom he founded the Newman’s Own philanthropy) — died last February. He was 102, and had lived more than half his life — 67 years — here.

His property included a large house. Built in 1928, it was originally part of a 40-acre estate, including a long allée.

Plans call for the homes to be built on 1-acre plots, between Wakeman Road and Ellery Lane. Hotchner’s home — with high ceilings and large rooms — may be torn down as early as Monday (January 11). An application for demolition was made before the Historic District Commission on July 15. They upheld a 180-day delay.

14 Hillandale Road


Police report that at 9:04 a.m. yesterday, the driver of a BMW was pumping gas at the Post Road Exxon station by South Maple Avenue.

A male jumped in and drove off, at a high rate of speed.

GPS tracked the vehicle. West Haven officers tried to pull the driver over. After striking several vehicles in heavy traffic, he finally stopped.

As one of the 2 occupants was taken into custody, the other entered a patrol car. He slammed it into reverse, striking several officer.

The cruiser became disabled after being driven through a nearby cemetery. The second suspect — like the first, a juvenile — was apprehended without further incident.

Westport police remind all motorists to secure their vehicles, even when stepping out for a moment.

For a video of the apprehension of the suspects, click here.


Congressman Jim Himes says:

As part of the recent COVID relief package, qualifying individuals will receive an Economic Impact Payment of up to $600, and up to $600 per dependent child under the age of 17. You can check the status of your EIP by clicking here.

Individuals who make an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household will receive the full $600. EIPs will be reduced by $5 for every $100 of annual income above $75,000 for individual and $150,000 for household. To receive an EIP, you must have a work-eligible Social Security Number. Click here for additional information, including information on new provisions on eligibility for U.S. citizens who file their taxes jointly with a non-citizen.

Some eligible individuals and families did not receive their initial Economic Impact Payment. The IRS is instructing these Americans to claim their payment when they file their 2020 taxes in 2021. Eligible individuals can claim the so-called “Recovery Rebate Credit” on their 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR.

Many people, including recent college graduates, may be eligible to do so. Taxpayers whose incomes fell in 2020 from 2019 can also claim a credit on their 2020 federal income tax return for the difference between the amount they are entitled to under the law and the amount they received as an advanced payment.

For more information, click here.


Beginning Monday (January 11), the yard waste site at 180 Bayberry Lane will begin reduced winter hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon.

Regular hours resume March 8.

Christmas trees will continue to be accepted from Westport residents during winter hours.

Yard waste at 180 Bayberry Lane.

The Parks & Recreation Department has introduced a “Winter Wonderland Walking Challenge.”

Residents are invited to walk, jog or run a distance of their choice, and track their progress.

It runs now through March 31. To register, click here.

Go for it! (Photo/Rowene Weems)


And finally … on this day of outrage, mourning and reflection, we can also be uplifted by Phil Ochs’ stirring anthem.

Here is a land full of power and glory
Beauty that words cannot recall
Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom
Her glory shall rest on us all (on us all).

Roundup: Y’s Hikers, David Waldman, Amazon’s Gatsby, More


COVID has caused many organizations to move meetings online.

You can’t do that with a hiking club, though. So the Y’s Men group has adapted. They meet in smaller numbers now. They maintain strict social distance — 8 feet, just to be sure. They wear masks when they assemble.

But they still get their exercise. And their miles.

Twice a week, Chris Lewis leads 10 to 15 hikers. He knows all the trails, throughout the county.

Wednesday hikes are 2 hours long. Friday’s are more strenuous, and can take up to 3. Only heavy rain or extremely slippery conditions stop the Y’s Men.

In addition, “walkers” meet nearly every day. They avoid difficult trail conditions.

This may not be the Y’s Men’s motto. But it should be: “COVID? Take a hike!”

(Hat tip: Michael Hehenberger)

A recent hike at Trout Brook Preserve, owned and managed by Aspetuck Land Trust.
Tom Johnson (3rd from left) is a Y’s Men hiker and ALT member. (Photo/Sal Mollica)


Dave Briggs is one of the best interviewers around. He brings out the best in his subjects, in a relaxed, fun and insightful way. His Instagram Live chats are always intriguing.

And I’m not just saying that because I was a recent guest.

Today (Wednesday, January 6, 4 p.m.), he’ll chat with David Waldman. They’ll talk about the commercial realtor’s work developing Bedford Square and the west bank of the Saugatuck River, bringing Barnes & Noble downtown, and much more.

Head to @WestportMagazine on Instagram. You’ll be entertained — and learn a lot.


“Gatsby in Connecticut: The Untold Story” is ready for prime time.

Or at least, Amazon Prime.

The 70-minute movie by Robert Steven Williams — starring Sam Waterston and Keir Dullea, covering F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald’s formative summer in Westport — is available on the streaming service.

The New Yorker called it one of the best films of 2020. Click here, and judge for yourself. (Hat tip: David Meth)


David Tarqueno died on December 24 at Norwalk Hospital, from complications of COVID-19. He was 61 years old.

His obituary says, “David left behind an incredible number of friends who loved him. His personality was like no other. His presence could light up a room. His smile, his laughter and his humor will remain with every heart he touched.

“David loved fishing — he was out there every fishing season opening day. Nature and animals were an important part of his life. He was devoted to his family and friends. That devotion was selfless, his trust boundless, and love endless.”

The Staples High School graduate is survived by his parents, Joseph and Marianne Tarqueno; sister Lisa Tarqueno-Crawford; brother Peter Tarqueno, and his beloved dog Harry.

David Tarqueno


And finally … today, the Electoral College meets. Will Vice President Pence do what Joe Biden did as vice president 4 years ago (and Al Gore, George H.W. Bush and many others before him), affirming the legitimate winner of the election 2 months earlier?

Or will American democracy be launched into a parallel universe, one in which lunacy rules and losers’ temper tantrums make us the laughingstock of the world?

Fingers crossed!

Roundup: Garage Renovation, Mike Krysiuk, Larry Aasen, More


Want to celebrate New Year’s at home, but worried about asking guests inside? And no fire pit or hot tub outside to gather round?

Take a page from Claudine Rossman’s book. She and her family converted their Saugatuck Shores garage into a “lodge.” On Christmas Eve a small family group gathered — tested, masked, socially distant, and with the door opened as much as it needed to be.

It’s a great idea. But if you want to do the same for tonight, get busy. This project looks like it took a while.

Claudine Rossman’s garage before …

… and after.


In 1974, Mike Krysiuk was having a great senior year at Staples High School. He played baseball, and worked at Mario’s. But a devastating automobile accident left him with a traumatic brain injury and many broken bones.

He’s well known in his home town, for the motivational talks he gives and the 25 years he’s spent working in Town Hall.

Now Mike has written The Big One: Miracles Happen when You Shoot for the Sun, about his youth in Westport.

He shares insight about his astonishing comeback from the unimaginable, fueled by dogged determination and a dream.

His co-author — award-winning writer Julia Bobkoff — is the co-founder of Westport’s Christmas Lake Creative writing workshop.

The Fairfield University Bookstore host Mike’s virtual book launch on January 14 (7 p.m.); click here for the link. To purchase The Big One, click here.

Mike Krysiuk


Meanwhile, Larry Aasen has just compiled his 9th book — at 98 years old.

The latest effort from the indefatigable, longtime Westporter — who has also authored a possible world record 4 books about his native North Dakota — is Stolen Jokes and Swiped Cartoons.

With illustrations by the late, beloved Westport illustrator Howard Munce, the booklet has gags like this: “A 90-year-old man was complaining. He said, ‘My eyesight is not very good, and I can’t hear too much. Thank God I can still drive a car.'”

To order, email aasenm@aol.com, or call 203-227-6126.


Westporters can’t get enough of this end-of-the-year Full Cold Moon. Jeanine Esposito shares these great shots:

Over the Cribari Bridge …

… and the Saugatuck River (Photos/Jeanine Esposito)


Marcelle Smart — one of a corps of young teachers at Staples High School in the mid- and late-1960s — died recently December 21, from vascular dementia. She was 77 years old.

The French instructor then moved to New Hampshire with her husband, Staples graduate “Doc” Hagen, and raised 2 children. 

Former colleague Jeff Lea remembered her as “very bright, and student-centered.” She graduated from the University of Michigan, and earned a master’s in teaching at Johns Hopkins.

Donations in her memory may be to the Special Friends program at The Worship Place, 811 Sun City Boulevard, Georgetown, TX 78633.

Marcelle Smart, in the Staples High School 1969 yearbook.

And finally … for generations of American’s, it’s not New Year’s without “Auld Lang Syne.”

And it’s not “Auld Lang Syne” without Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians.

The orchestra played almost half a century of New Year’s Eves, first on radio — from the Roosevelt Grill in New York in 1928 — and beginning in 1956 on television, first from the Waldorf Astoria and then Times Square. Lombardo died in 1977, but his band continued playing on CBS for 2 more years.

“Auld Lang Syne” is a poem written by Robert Burns in 1788, and set to the tune of a traditional Scottish folk song.

 

Westport Values Transform A New York Co-op

Earlier this month, the New York Times Real Estate section examined the challenges that coop buildings face during the pandemic.

The lead focused on Lori Levine van Arsdale. She’s the board president of a 5 -unit cooperative near Gramercy Park. Owners there have not always played nice.

Lori is also an 8-year resident of Westport. Her experience here — with great neighbors who look out for each other — has inspired her to make her city residence a more friendly place too.

That was not mentioned in the Times story. But the other day, she talked about it for “06880.”

Lori grew up in New York. She’s owned her co-op for 15 years, and loves the neighborhood.

When she she married her husband Jan 8 years ago, he’d lived in Westport for nearly a decade. They blended their families — she had 2 dogs; he had 2 dogs and 4 kids — and bought a new home. It’s off Park Lane, behind Trader Joe’s.

The van Arsdales (from left): Jansen with Kipper, Stedman, Carolynn with Casey, Jane, Jan with Suki, and Lori.

Many of their neighbors are older than the van Arsdales. Yet right from the start — when a woman brought herbs from her garden — Lori felt welcomed.

Everyone socialized, celebrated birthdays, lent leaf blowers. A neighbor called Lori once in New York, when she spotted an intruder in Lori’s back yard. The Van Arsdales’ stepsons shoveled neighbors’ driveways.

When COVID struck, Lori and Jan spent most of her time in New York. Westport neighbors checked in by phone. One told Lori that her stepchildren — 24, 22, 20 and 18 years old — were doing great. One had offered to go food shopping for homebound neighbors.

“That’s the way living should be,” Lori says. “I wondered why it wasn’t happening in my 5-unit brownstone.”

Owners in the self-managed 1851 building did not get along. When 3 units came on the market, Lori decided things could change. She ran for president, and won.

Lori Levine van Arsdale on the steps of her Gramercy Park co-op. (Photo/Katherine Marks for the New York Times)

She had a long conversation with the remaining owners about working cooperatively, and showing each other kindness and appreciation for all the extra work and effort needed to make their units a home.

She brought her Westport sensibility to the new owners too. Neighborliness became the norm. Her husband shoveled the sidewalk and steps; another owner did the patio.

The co-op bought 2 outdoor heaters for the back yard. They added a table and pop-up gazebo, so people could eat together outside.

“It’s lovely now,” Lori says. “It’s like house living in a communal environment.”

Adapting suburban values to urban living has changed the dynamics of her building. “I’ll never again come home to contentious people,” she says.

She’s changed her views on city life in general too. “This is what everyone should do for someone else. I’ve lived in high rises, where the only interaction you have is with the doorman — not even the people on your floor. It shouldn’t be that way.”

Meanwhile, Lori remains connected to Westport. This is where the family celebrates Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years (it’s the van Arsdales’ anniversary).

“When we blended our family, we wanted everyone to really feel at home,” she says. “We’ve created a home there. Westport has really rubbed off on us.”

Lori laughs. “From the outside, it must have looked like I was living a ‘Sex in the City’ life. Suburbia to me meant Westchester. I always thought Connecticut would be stuffy. But Westport isn’t. It’s charming.”

COVID has caused many city residents to move here, she notes. She hopes they find this to be a great community too.

But — unless they keep their co-op — they can’t bring Westport life back to New York the way she did.

And The Holiday House Decorating Contest Winner Is …

The lights are all strung. The decorations are all hung.

And the votes are all in. The little drummer boy gives us a drum roll for the winners of Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department Holiday Home Decorating Contest. They are …

1st Place: 1 Quintard Place – The Mirabelli Family

2nd Place: 25 Hillandale Road – The Lozyniak Family

3rd Place: 4 Fairport Road – The Carusone Family

1 Quintard Place — the winner!

Here are other entrants. Stop by and visit (though tonight might not be the best night, weather-wise!).

  • 2 Wilcox Lane
  • 8 Evergreen Parkway
  • 14 Brooklawn Drive
  • 1 Lyndale Park
  • 359 Wilton Road
  • 11 Sachem Trail
  • 57 Bermuda Road
  • 20 Bridge Street
  • 6 Vani Court
  • 1 Yankee Hill Road
  • 2 Hidden Hill Road
  • 17 Buena Vista Drive
  • 61 Bulkley Avenue North

Patty Gabal’s Moving Senior Moments

In your 20s, it’s easy to move. You call a friend, toss your few belongings in his truck, throw them on your new floor, and hand him a beer.

In your 30s and 40s it’s tougher — but manageable. Odds are you’re moving to a same size or bigger house. Your company may even foot the bill. You know the drill.

But when you’re older, making what may be your last move can be daunting. Your spouse may have died. You’re leaving a home you love for a smaller place. Most difficult: Look at all that stuff you’ve got! 

Figuring out what to keep and what goes can be paralyzing. Add in other hard questions — who gets what I’m giving away, and how does it get there? — and it’s no wonder some people simply give up and stay put.

They should call Patty Gabal.

Patty Gabal

She and her husband Jim have lived in the same Westport home for 23 years. They raised 3 kids there. But this is not a cobbler’s-children-have-no-shoes tale.

In 2005 Patty — who had been a registered nurse and an executive recruiter — heard about an emerging industry. “Senior move managers” were helping older folks downsize, and move into a new type of community: independent and assisted living.

A few dozen companies had formed the National Association of Senior and Specialty Move Managers. They were helpful and kind — just the sort of people she’d have wanted to move her own parents.

She and a childhood friend, Paula Meighan of Larchmont, researched the field. They formed a company: Stardust Move Managers.

It was a natural “move” for Patty.

“I’m very organized,” she explains. “When I was a nurse, I learned to do things in order. Whenever I moved, I kept a notebook of things that needed to be done.”

To prepare for her new role she took classes, went to conventions, learned the industry’s code of ethics, and paid for insurance and workmen’s compensation.

Aargh! Look at this basement! Where to begin?! No problem. Patty was on it!

She and Paula filled a huge need few folks even knew existed. They’re full-service. too. Stardust — which employs 7 people, including Westporters Diane McCoy, Judy Raines and Lillian Krause (Paula now has her own business, in Westchester) — hires movers, supervises packing and unpacking, ships items that are given to children and others, and works with other managers if someone moves outside this area.

For items that don’t make the bring-or-give-to-kids’ list, Patty arranges donations to organizations like Homes with Hope, Neighbor to Neighbor and Goodwill.

Of course, not every senior wants to move. For those who stay in place, Patty can de-clutter to make a home more livable.

But a recent moving client is typical, Patty says. Julie Belaga was downsizing, from her Westport home to The Residence, our town’s new independent living facility.

The Residence at Westport is beautiful. But apartments are smaller than the average Westport home.

She felt overwhelmed by the task. Like many in her situation, she had no idea where to begin.

Patty helped her choose which furniture she wanted to keep. Patty got a Residence floor plan, measured each item, and figured out what could go where.

Julie’s children came from their homes across the country. They decided what they wanted. Those items stayed, and helped Julie’s realtor stage the home for showing.

Patty stickered every item: go, give to (child’s name); give away. She has strong relationships with moving companies; the packing process is quick and efficient.

Patty was at Julie’s new home for unloading. Her staff unpacked everything, hung all the clothes in the closet, made the bed, then got rid of the boxes.

When Julie walked in with her daughter, her eyes lit up. “It’s beautiful!” she said — like a recreation of her home.

Unpacking in a new kitchen.

In her 15 years as a senior move manager, Patty has realized “how much things mean to people.”

She appreciates the delicacy and impact of what she does. “People share their most intimate things with us. They do it because we’ve built trust.

“There’s no judgment. If someone is really attached to something — anything — we try to make it work.”

She also sees family dynamics at work. “You’d be surprised at how much goes into breaking up a home.” (There’s a book about this: Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?)

“But we’re a neutral party. We help them negotiate it. Children of adults love us. We help guide them all.”

Patty pauses. “And when we’re there, people act better.”

A new bedroom, ready to move into.

It is rewarding, she says. “to see seniors transition without all the physical work and decision-making. And to see them in one piece, not exhausted, able to start right out enjoying their new community.”

Another reward: listening.

“Seniors have been through a lot. They tell amazing stories,” says Patty.

“When I was starting out, I moved a lot of World War II veterans. They had some amazing collections, including art. Some of them were like museums.”

Of course, even museums deaccession their collections. If they’re smart, they’ll call Patty Gabal for help.

The Stardust Move Managers. Front row (from left): Sue Lapsien, Lillian Krause, Judy Raines, Liz Donovan. Back: Diane McCoy, Patty Gabal. Maura Connolly, Kelly Chase.

(Click here to contact Stardust Move Managers.)

Bankside Condos To Rise On River

To everyone’s surprise, one unintended consequence of COVID-19 has been a sizzling local real estate market.

Tucked into that surprise: A luxury condominium project that was given up for dead has roared back to life.

Bankside’s 12 units will rise soon on Wilton Avenue, at the site of the now-demolished Save the Children building. The design takes advantage of the Saugatuck River location. There is only one residence per floor — and stunning views.

Artist’s rendering of the Bankside condos.

Bankside began in 2013. David Waldman — the developer of Bedford Square, and many other local projects — joined with Greenfield Partners (whose offices are in nearby National Hall) to buy the Save the Children site.

Waldman and Greenfield hired Roger Ferris + Partners — the architectural firm that designed many new buildings on the river’s west bank — to bring their vision of a spectacular new development to life. It included a new office building, and a land swap to create a right-turn lane at the notorious Wilton Road/Post Road West bottleneck.

The office building was built — and has already been sold. But the 7-year residential slog included the town’s denial of the land swap, and a drying up of the luxury condo market.

A year ago Waldman, Greenfield and their investors were ready to sell that building site at a loss.

Then coronavirus struck. Suddenly the suburbs seemed more attractive than cities. The housing market changed dramatically.

Waldman found a new partner. He sold the land to Eric O’Brien — owner of the innovative New Haven building firm Urbane — but stayed on as part of the development group.

Work begins soon on Ferris’ design. Unlike most condos, 10 of the 12 units will share only floors and ceilings — no walls. Windows will look out on the river and downtown on one side, woods and hills on another. Patios of up to 800 square feet front the water.

The condos feature outdoor living on the river.

Ten of the units are 2,500 square feet, including 2 bedrooms and a den. The other 2 units are 3,400 square feet, with 3 bedrooms. Prices range from $2.25 million to $4.25 million.

Completion is scheduled for spring of 2022. Click here for more details.