Category Archives: Saugatuck

Commuter Spots Available — But Watch Those Signs!

An alert, ticketed — and ticked-off — “06880” reader writes:

I’ve been a railroad parking permit holder for 20 years. Today I got a ticket because I couldn’t find a spot in a permit lot.

The town has changed the lot by Exit 17 from being permit-only to daily parking only.

I don’t get it. I pay for my permit, yet when I catch a later train (9 a.m. today), I get stuck with a daily fee ticket?

When I went to the police station, I was told that having a permit does not mean you get a space. It strikes me that the town is forcing permit holders who come later in the morning to pay twice to park: once for the permit, then for the daily fee. Do I have this right?

Not exactly. I contacted Foti Koskinas, Westport’s police chief who also administers railroad parking.

train station parking

He says that the police monitor parking spots every day. There has never been “no parking” for permit holders. In fact, he says, Lot 3 — on the south side of the tracks — has 75 to 100 spaces open every day.

What the department has done is change some of the parking distribution. After taking surveys and watching traffic patters, they realized that the limited number of $5 daily parking spots in each lot caused daily parkers to drive from lot to lot, searching for them.

Now, 2 lots — #4 and #8, one on each side of the tracks — are dedicated solely to $5 daily parking.

By parking in one of those lots — when permit places were available elsewhere — the “06880” reader took a spot away from a daily parker. That’s why he got a ticket, Foti says.

“Just because you have a permit, that doesn’t mean you can park anywhere,” he emphasizes. “We have 6,000 to 8,000 commuters a day. There’s a real science to this.”

In other railroad parking news, new lights will be installed Friday.

Commuter parking, circa 1949.

Commuter parking, circa 1949.

Oh My 06880 — Photo Challenge #91

You guys know your highway bridges.

And when I say “guys,” I mean it. Thirteen alert “06880” readers identified last week’s photo challenge as the Riverside Avenue view of the I-95 underpass. And 10 of those 13 were males.

I’m guessing that on their way to the station, men look at the concrete. Women gaze at the river. Not to stereotype, of course.

Congratulations to Ed Hulina, Richard Stein, Seth Schachter, Jonathan Maddock, Jill Turner Odice, Michael Moore, Fred Rubin, Alec Head, Bill Kiedaisch, Tom Wall, Morley Boyd, Seth Braunstein and Nancy Axthelm. Click here for the photo, and all the comments.

Here’s this week’s challenge. Male or female, click “Comments” if you think you know where this is. Of course, add any background info on it that you know.


Slicing Up Saugatuck

Today was hot and humid. But it’s never too hot for Saugatuck’s great Italian food, from places like Tutti’s and Tarantino’s.

Or Mexican (Viva’s, Cuatro Hermanos), Thai (Rainbow) or Japanese (Kawa Ni).

Every restaurant — including Dunkin’ Donuts — was represented at this afternoon’s Slice of Saugatuck.

So were stores, ranging from liquor (99 Bottles) to sports (Attic) to my favorite — not just in Saugatuck but all of Westport (Indulge by Mersene).

The 5th annual event was sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. Funds benefit the Gillespie Center food pantry. Slice is nice!

The line to sample Julian's pizza ran past Parker Mansion.

The line to sample Julian’s pizza ran past Parker Mansion.

Tutti's served up -- among other favorites -- spicy chicken.

Tutti’s served up — among other favorites — a tasty chicken dish.

Al DiGuido's Saugatuck Sweets scooped ice cream, on the plaza.

Al DiGuido’s Saugatuck Sweets scooped ice cream, on the plaza.

Things were quieter on the river, where Downunder offered kayaks.

Things were quieter on the river, where Downunder offered kayaks.

Bands -- rock, acoustic, even Caribbean -- played throughout Saugatuck. This group had a prime spot, at Bridge Square.

Bands — rock, acoustic, even Caribbean — played throughout Saugatuck. This group had a prime spot, at Bridge Square.

First Selectman Jim Marpe and his wife Mary Ellen hung out at the Black Duck.

First Selectman Jim Marpe and his wife Mary Ellen hung out at the Black Duck.

Cuatro Hermanos added a sombrero their rice and beans.

Cuatro Hermanos added a sombrero to their rice and beans.

A tae kwan do demonstration livened up Railroad Place. Shattered boards lie on the left.

A tae kwan do demonstration enlivened Railroad Place. Shattered boards lie on the left.

Slice Is Nice!

Every year — with new shops and new residents joining established stores and longtime residents — Saugatuck gets better than ever.

You can say the same about Slice of Saugatuck.

The 5th annual event — set for Saturday, September 10 (2 to 5 p.m.) — is already one of the street fair highlights on the Westport calendar. A few tweaks this year will make it the best one yet.

The sponsors — the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce — has added beer gardens on Bridge Street and Railroad Place. A later start time allows restaurants to offer happy hour for food and drinks after the festival.

From Bridge Square to Railroad Place -- and everywhere else -- Slice of Saugatuck is packed. (Photo/Terry Cosgrave)

From Bridge Square to Railroad Place — and everywhere else — Slice of Saugatuck is packed. (Photo/Terry Cosgrave)

Speaking of Railroad Place: Every business there is participating this year. All told, nearly 50 restaurants and merchants will open their doors (or put food samples and wares out on the sidewalk).

New music at 6 venues will rock the Slice — including high school bands promoting a fundraiser for Toquet Hall.

Slice of Saugatuck — a fun combination of food tasting and retail experiencing — draws over 2,000 people a year. They wander the narrow streets of this vibrant neighborhood, visiting favorite restaurants and stores and discovering new gems.

The Slice is a kids’ delight too, with an obstacle course, bouncy houses, a climbing wall, balloon bender, dance demonstrations and a Maker Faire area.

What kid doesn't like getting in a fire truck?

What kid doesn’t like getting in a fire truck?

There’s a $10 admission fee ($5 for kids) — but funds go back to the Gillespie Center food pantry. So far, over $14,000 has been raised.

“Slice” refers to both the physical boundaries of Saugatuck — it looks like a pizza serving — and the area’s many Italian restaurants.

Pizza can be served both traditionally, and in new, creative ways.

You can say the same about Slice of Saugatuck.

(For more information, and to see participants and a “Slice of Saugatuck” map, click here.)

Click here for “06880+”: The easy way to publicize upcoming events, sell items, find or advertise your service, ask questions, etc. It’s the “06880” community bulletin board!

A Taste Of Saugatuck

The other day, alert — and hungry — “06880” reader JP Vellotti was walking home from the train station.

Smells from the many area restaurants were alluring. He got even hungrier.

Then he saw these cherry tomatoes growing outside  Fleishers Craft Butchery.

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

JP says, “If they don’t put a ‘please do not pick’ sign up soon, there might be a new meaning to ‘community garden.’

But he resisted temptation. And got his tomato fix at Julian’s instead.

Suit Yourself

Parking along Railroad Place is restricted to customers of shops facing the train station.

Apparently these 2 guys liked the spot in front of — the high-quality, hand-crafted suit store — so much, they figured out a way to save it for a while.

They’re no dummies.

A Ducky Sunset

On Friday evening, traffic was probably heavy on I-95.

Folks at the Black Duck probably did not care.

Alert “06880” photographer Andrew Colabella captured this unique shot of both.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Oh My 06880 — Photo Challenge #84

Our weekly photo challenges take readers all over Westport — and occasionally underneath.

Last week’s image — from Seth Schacter — showed the underside of the William Cribari (aka Bridge Street) bridge. It was a unique view — but anyone who has sailed, motorboated, kayaked, canoed or swum (?!) under the 131-year-old, often controversial structure would recognize it.

For the 2nd week in a row, Adam Stolpen was not only first — he nailed it within 2 minutes of posting. Adam was followed closely by Matt Murray, Janis Wasserman, Tom Feeley Jr., Susan Schmidt, Ginny Clark, Mary Ruggiero, Rick Benson, Rebecca Wolin, Susan Feliciano and Leslie Beatus. Congratulations to all! (Click here to see the photo; scroll down for all guesses.)

We’re back above ground for this week’s challenge. If you recognize this image, click “Comments” below.

Oh My 06880 -- August 7, 2016

Rummaging Through A New Sports Attic

If you’re like many Westport families, your house is filled with things your kids have grown out of, moved on from or otherwise discarded: Clothes. Toys. Sports equipment.

Greg DiLenge can’t unclutter your home of clothes or toys. But those too-small skates, extra lacrosse sticks and unused skis?

Take ’em from the basement to the attic. The Sports Attic.

Sports AtticThat’s the name of his new business, across from the train station at 26 Railroad Place.

He’s still buying “quality secondhand sporting equipment.” He’s in the midst of a soft opening — but he offers cash on the spot.

Or you can check out the amply stocked shelves, and buy gear — inexpensively — for your kid who may (or may not) end up loving a sport.

Growing up, Greg did. “To me, sports have always evoked a sense of responsibility,” the Philadelphia native says.

“They taught me the value of working with others. Sports encouraged a sense of self. I love the camaraderie of playing sports, and am in awe of the discipline required to be an elite athlete.”

But he knows not everyone will reach that goal, or wants to.

He knows too that not everyone can afford sports equipment.

As a kid, Greg loved hockey. But there was not enough money for both him and his brother to play. So they flipped a coin. Greg lost, and got basketball. His brother went on to play hockey at Penn State.

Greg cheered him on. But he always wondered, “What if…?”

For many years, Greg worked traded commodities in New York — while looking for a lifestyle change. His uncle started a new and quality pre-owned sporting goods store in Westchester over 15 years ago. The business model attracted Greg.

Now — with his 1st child due later this month —  Greg is ready to make that leap. It’s the perfect time to launch a new business aimed at helping kids.

Greg DiLenge, in his Sports Attic.

Greg DiLenge, in his Sports Attic.

“We want to be more than a store,” Greg says. “We want to connect with families, schools, camps and local sports organizations, to collaborate and help each other.”

His goal is to provide “an interesting alternative for acquiring sports equipment.”

Though Greg loves all sports, he has a soft spot for hockey and lacrosse. Both are expensive — and can be daunting for parents who don’t know if their children will follow through.

Greg has reached out to major vendors, amassing “starter” kits to help soften the sting on wallets.

His narrow shop is rapidly filling with sports gear. His goal is to turn it over rapidly — buying good-quality equipment from parents whose kids have outgrown or discarded it, then selling it to others whose kids are just starting out.

And when those youngsters move up or on — well, Sports Attic will be there for them too.


Bright Vs. Blight

For years, the Weston Road/Easton Road/North Main Street rotary near Exit 42 — the unofficial “Welcome to Westport” landmark for everyone coming off the Merritt Parkway — was maintained, as a public service, by Daybreak Nursery.

But when financial problems caused the nearby business to close, the triangular plot grew grungy.

Now — suddenly — the space looks gorgeous.

(Photo/Russ Miller)

(Photo/Russ Miller)

I don’t think it was a state Department of Transportation project. But huge props to whoever got it done.

Meanwhile — across town — another “Welcome to Westport” site looks decidedly less welcoming.

(Photo/Joanne Romano)

(Photo/Joanne Romano)

Just one more reason to avoid I-95, and take the Merritt.