Category Archives: Transportation

Roundup: Fine Arts Festival, Ospreys, Dementia …

The 50th annual Fine Arts Festival ended yesterday just as it began Saturday: with huge crowds, a great variety of excellent art, plenty of music and food, and tons of smiles.

The Westport Downtown Association drew raves for the organization, execution and energy of what many called the “best ever” of all 50 shows.

The family-friendly event included a children’s art project, sponsored by the Artists Collective of Westport. Youngsters drew a huge whale in chalk, near Bedford Square.

It was part of Westport artist Jana Ireijo’s “Vanishing Mural” project. It looked great. But it will eventually disappear — emphasizing the fragility of the natural world.

The not-yet-completed, but eventually vanishing, whale. (Photo/Dan Woog)

The Fine Arts Festival was pet-friendly too — for real dogs, and artistic ones.

(Photo/Ted Horowitz)


Yesterday, as Carolyn Doan does what she often does — checking on the Fresh Market ospreys — a concerned woman in the parking lot said she had not seen them in a couple of weeks. She worried they were no longer there.

Carolyn reports, happily, that all is well. Both adults were in the nest, doing fine.

“They are probably taking care of hatching eggs or very young chicks now,” she says.

“When they sit on the eggs, it’s very hard to see them. Thank you to the nice lady who asked about them!”

And thank you, Carolyn, for sending along this photo:

(Photo/Carolyn Doan)


Of all the difficult traffic merges in town, one of the worst is heading west on Coleytown Road, where it runs into Lyons Plains Road.

You stop, crane your neck, and hope for the best. Not only can’t you see to the right — but oncoming traffic does not stop, in either direction.

Some drivers may not be aware of that last fact.

Fortunately, a new addition to the stop sign lets you know.

It won’t help you see. But in this case at least, a little knowledge is not a dangerous thing.

(Photo and hat tip: Stacy Prince)


The League of Women Voters of Westport’s annual meeting and lunch is Wednesday, June 7 (11:30 a.m., Green’s Farms Congregational Church).

The public is invited — and welcome to stay for a very timely panel.

The topic: “Building Consensus in Today’s Political Climate.” Panelists include  Jim Marpe, former Westport first selectman; Ken Bernhard, former Connecticut state representative, and Dr. Nora Madjar, associate professor of management at the University of Connecticut School of Business.

The lunch (cheese platter, sliced beef tenderloin, poached salmon, 4 salads, dessert) is $50 per person. RSVP to, or send checks to LWV Westport, PO Box 285, Westport, CT 06881.


Homes with Hope brought back its famed “Gather ‘Round the Table” fundraiser, for Project Return at Susie’s House.

Among the 240 guests at the Shorehaven Golf Club luncheon were the keynote speaker,  Connecticut Commissioner of Housing Seila Mosquera-Bruno; Westport 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, and the many town employees who work hard behind the scenes to support the home and program.

Plans have been approved for renovations, to better accommodate homeless women in Fairfield County. The program offers long-term housing in a nurturing, home-like environment.

From left: Lena Holleran, Connecticut Department of Housing; Homes With Hope program director Paris Looney; Seila Mosquero Bruno, Connecticut Commissioner of Housing; executive director Helen McAlinden;; Carmen Ayala of Homes with Hope, at the “Gather ‘Round the Table” fundraiser.


Looking for “The Complete Family Guide to Dementia”?

Thomas Harrison and Dr. Brent Forester — authors of a book by the same name — will be at The Residence at Westport on June 19 (4 p.m.), talking about that subject.

A limited number of complimentary books are available. To RSVP, email, or call 203-349-2002.


Before he graduated in 2005, Igor Pikayzen was already one of the most talented violinists in Staples High School’s long musical history.

After Juilliard, a master’s degree and artist’s diploma from Yale University, a doctorate in musical arts at CUNY and solo appearances with major orchestras at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow and more, he founded Festivo Edalio.

The opening concert June 11 (7:30 p.m., Saugatuck Congregational Church) celebrates the joy of sharing live music.

Pikayzen will play Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” As the violinist says, “‘Edelio’ means ‘forever young.’ This masterpiece remains beloved 300 years after it was composed.”

The program also includes the “Estaciones Porteñas” of Argentine legend Astor Piazzolla.

Edelio continues at the Pequot Library June 14 (7 p.m.). The return to chamber music features Mozart’s impeccable piano quartet in G minor, the rarely played edgy and tumultuous first Shostakovich trio, and the triumphant Dvorak piano quartet.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

Igor Pikayzen


Most “Westport … Naturally” photos are completely natural.

Today’s, from Hillandale Road, shows a man-made assist to Mother Nature.

Come to think of it, the hedge and stone wall look a bit unnatural too.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)


And finally … on this (and every) Memorial Day, we salute all the men and women who served in our armed forces. And we remember the far too many, who gave their lives so that we can be here today, living ours.

(“06880” is honored to bring you news and information about Westport, on this holiday and every day. Please consider a contribution to help us continue. Click here — and thank you.) 

“06880 On The Go”: The Worst Intersections In Westport

“06880” intern Colin Morgeson returns with the 2nd installment of “06880 On The Go.”

Today, the Staples High School senior offers an in-depth look at the worst intersections in Westport.

Colin crowd sources the data, then comes up with the winner. A dubious honor, indeed.

Click below to see. And buckle up!

 (“06880” is your source for information, news, upcoming events, photos — and now, video. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

Roundup: AI, Free Haircuts, Change For Lyman …

David Pogue’s talk the other day about the potential and perils of artificial intelligence had everyone who saw it, well, talking.

Now the Westport Library — which hosted the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston event — has posted it online.

Whether you’re excited or ambivalent about the future of AI — or don’t know what to think — click below.

It may be one of the most important hours you’ll spend as a human being.


Yesterday’s announcement of LymanAID — the July 9 event thanking Westporters for their support of our sister city in Ukraine, and kicking off the next phase of help — created plenty of excitement.

And it brought a great offer from Felicia Catale. She’s not even waiting until July.

Felicia — the owner of Salon Nash, on Post Road West — is offering free haircuts on any Monday in June, for anyone who donates at least $60 to Lyman.

Those cuts and blow dries — for men, women and kids — usually go for a lot more than that.

Click here to donate via the Ukraine Aid International website (under “Designation,” choose “Westport-Lyman” from the dropdown menu).

Then call or text Felicia (203-747-9753) to make an appointment. Be sure to bring your donation receipt to enjoy your free, generous hair session!

Felicia Catale


Speaking of LymanAID: Staples High School sophomore Sam Rossoni is doing his part to help too.

It’s a big one.

He’s joined with Connie Caruso and a few other volunteers to run “Change for Ukraine: Making a Difference, One Cent at a Time.”

They bought boxes of plastic jars, and are distributing them to businesses, organizations and locations throughout Westport and nearby towns.

They in turn will give jars to individuals or families. Staples students can pick up jars at school.

Between now and early July, participants will try to fill each jar with bills, change and checks (payable to “Ukraine Aid International”). Each holds about $65 worth of coins.

Anyone who fills up a jar will have their lid entered into a raffle. One lid will be selected at random, during the July 9 LymanAID event. The winner gets a $1,000 cash prize.

Want a jar? Or want to contribute? Call or text Sam Rossoni: 917-535-0327.

Collection jars for Lyman.


One of the most dangerous intersections in town just got a bit safer.

Two new stop signs have been added to the north and south sides of West Parish and Hillandale Roads.

Previously, there were — confusingly — only 2 signs. Now drivers coming from all 4 directions must stop.

New north side stop sign on West Parish Road. (Hat tip and photo/Bob Weingarten)


Speaking of accidents: There was a bad-looking one yesterday at the Long Lots Road/North Avenue intersection.

I’m surprised there aren’t more. Between the volume of traffic, the 3-way stop that includes a dip in the road, 2 options southbound from North Avenue and westbound on Long Lots, plus the tempting roll-through-the-stop-sign-and-take-a-right from Long Lots, it’s (as the saying goes) “an accident waiting to happen.”


It’s more than a Teardown of the Day. Call this the Teardown of the Season.

Demolition has begun on the old Westport Inn. The 120-room Post Road East property — first built in 1960 as the New Englander Motel — is being developed by Delamar into an 85-unit boutique hotel.

Upgrades include less building and site coverage, and more green areas.

Delamar owns popular hotels in Southport, Greenwich, West Hartford and Traverse City, Michigan. A couple of miles from the old Westport Inn, they’re also redeveloping the Inn at Longshore.

The demolished front section of the Westport Inn. (Photo/Dan Woog)


As Westport prepares for Memorial Day, our beloved Minute Man is ready.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

But those American flags didn’t fall out of the sky.

Kudos to Westport Hardware for their donation.

And to Andrew Colabella, who has placed them at the base every year since 2008.


Another Memorial Day weekend tradition:

This morning, Scouts from Troops 39 and 139 placed American flags on veterans’ graves, at cemeteries around Westport.

This was the scene at the Green’s Farms Congregational Church Upper Burial Ground:

(Photo/MaryAnn Meyer)


“Below Surface” — the 19-minute documentary short film highlighting Patty Kondub’s life-changing Westport Weston Family YMCA Aquafit class — has earned raves. And awards.

On June 9 (7 p.m.), the Westport Country Playhouse hosts a special screening.

After the show, Patty joins the movie’s producers for a panel discussion. Tracey Knight Narang — a Tony Award-winning producer, and a playwright — moderates.

Admission is free. Click here to register.


Just a few days after another “06880” report on another delay in the ongoing saga of the Bayberry Lane bridge …

… it’s open!

Andrew Colabella was there early yesterday morning, to see the finishing touches put on the long-running project — and to (happily and helpfully) move the “Road Closed” sign out of the way.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)


Sotheby’s auction of a vast collection of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s personal belongings — from chairs and rugs to a “White Stag Speedo Leisure Tennis Suit Worn by Newman” — has begun.

“A Life & Legacy: The Joanne Woodward & Paul Newman Collection” is live through June 12. Click here to bid.

Or just gawk. (Hat tip: Debbie O’Malley and Bill Kutik)

This photo of Paul Newman and fellow Westporter Michael Brockman at the 1994 24 Hours of Daytona race is valued at $800 to $1,200. Bidding starts at $200.


Comp Beach lifeguards return on Monday (Memorial Day).

But at least one was in the guard shack yesterday. Among the duties: updating the popular informational/inspirational sign, for the 2023 season.

(Photo/Karen Como)


The newest member of Westport’s deer community poses for its first “Westport … Naturally” photo:

(Photo/Scott Weiner)


And finally … Ed Ames, whose long career stretched from lead singer of the Ames Brothers, to Fess Parker’s Native American companion on “Daniel Boone,” died last Sunday in Beverly Hills. He was 95.

Click here for a full obituary. And click not just on 2 of his most memorable songs, but on one of the most famous moments ever in Johnny Carson history. (Watch to the end!)

(Sure, it’s a holiday weekend. But “06880” is still at work, bringing you all the information you need about Westport. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

A Familiar Lament

This post could be written by nearly any Westporter.

It’s not unique, or even unusual. It’s simply another day in our town.

But misery loves company. So, a reader writes: 

Early this evening I sat in standstill, gridlocked rush hour traffic getting off I-95 Exit 17.

I am astounded by the number of choke points, and truly concerned about the state of things to come. With 2 large housing developments green-lighted, I can’t imagine what awaits us.

A familiar traffic map (4:15 p.m. Thursday).

Waiting to reach Saugatuck Avenue, I watched cars go straight from the left turn only lane, a truck use the left turn only lane to make a right turn, and painstakingly crawled along waiting to reach the light at Saugatuck Avenue.

This delay was not caused by construction on the I-95 bridge. Nor was it holiday weekend or summer traffic. It’s not even beach weather yet.

This is just an ordinary Wednesday.

Perhaps the situation could be improved with a “right turn only” lane constructed where the current grassy border exists. A traffic officer would be helpful, or some sort of physical barrier to prevent opportunistic lane hopping. Something, however, must be done.

The promised land? Not quite.

Reaching the light at Saugatuck Avenue was gratifying, yet only the first completed challenge in my quest to reach the Cribari Bridge.

Next I drove along Charles Street, by railroad parking and Luciano Park. It felt like I was maneuvering in a video game, as cars on either side sought to merge into the lane of traffic.

At the next green light, I had to wait. And wait. Metro-North must have deposited commuters wanting badly to come home. They obstructed the intersection as they inched themselves in position onto Charles Street. Several cycles of waiting at green lights ensued.

A driver makes a right turn on red from Railroad Place onto Charles Street, despite traffic inching forward.

Eventually, I made it through the light. Second challenge completed.

Continuing on Charles Street, I inched toward the light at the intersection of Riverside Avenue. Cars coming from the train station were backed up and inserted themselves into the intersection despite their red light.

Finally I was through.

Next, I drove on Riverside Avenue, needing to manage the cars that had availed themselves of Ketchum Street as a way to avoid the Charles Street shenanigans.

Good for them, yes. But once they entered the fray at Riverside, they backed up people waiting behind them and blocked traffic in both directions. Ah, courtesy.

Merging onto Riverside Avenue, from the Ketchum Street “shortcut.”

At last, the traffic officer by Cribari Bridge. As she waved me to turn right and cross the bridge, I felt like she had given me a Get Out of Jail Free card.

It had only taken 25 minutes to reach this point after getting off  at Exit 17. Success!

Until I reached the backup at the intersection of Bridge Street and Imperial Avenue….

Roundup: Metro-North, Super-Duper Weenies, All-Terrain Wheelchair …

The Connecticut Legislature could cut up to $40 million from the $267 million the state pays to fund Metro-North’s New Haven line.

That would slice the number of daily trains from 309 to 260. Both peak and off-peak service would be affected.

Click here for the full New York Daily News story. (Hat tip: Peter Gold)


Club 203 had a super-duper time last night.


The Super Duper Weenie Truck) fed over 100 attendees, at Longshore’s Evan Harding Point picnic area.

The group — part of Westport’s social organizations for adults with disabilities — enjoying dancing, dining, dessert, yard games, art with MOCA, and relaxing, all with great views of Long Island Sound.

Organizers give a shoutout too to their “super-duper volunteers.”

Club 203’s next event is June 15 (6:30 to 8 p.m.), at the Westport Library. Click here for details.

Club 203 fun at Longshore. (Photo/Jacqueline Lobdell)


Wakeman Town Farm is a fantastic resource for people of all ages and interests.

Now, it’s accessible to those with mobility issues.

The Westport Garden Club recently donated funds for a Fold & Go all-terrain electric wheelchair. It’s been delivered, just in time for the spring/summer season.

People with limited mobility, or their friends or relatives, should email before a visit. The Farm’s dducation coordinator will have the wheelchair waiting.

From left: Kelle Ruden, Joan Andrews and Ginger Donaher, with the all-terrain wheelchair at Wakeman Town Farm.


Visitors to yesterday’s Westport Farmers’ Market enjoyed great weather; the usual wide variety of food, herbs and more — and a “Ducks in Buckets” game.

The Westport Sunrise Rotary Club was there, promoting their annual Great Duck Race.

$10,000.00 in prize money will be given away; the grand prize winner gets $5,000 of it. All proceeds go to charities.

The annual fundraiser is Saturday, June 24 at Jesup Green. Attendance is free. Tickets to compete are available online; at the Farmers’ Market next Thursday (July 1); from any club member, and the day of the race.  

Pitching in for the Great Duck Race, at the Farmers’ Market.


Climate change and racial justice are key issues.

And they’re related. Environmental impacts cross borders. They affect every group of citizens.

On June 1 (7 p.m., Westport Library), Roosevelt Institute director of climate policy Rhiana Gunn-Wright will explore the connections between environmental justice and racial justice. Her talk is called “Just Transitions to Regional Sustainability.”

The event is part of a Saugatuck Congregational Church initiative to “embrace our coastal community” and is a partnership with the Library, TEAM Westport, and Sustainable Westport. Click here for more information.

Rhiana Gunn-Wright


“06880” usually bird dogs new businesses.

But we missed the arrival recently of Birddogs.

The mens’ shorts/pants/polo shirts shop is open in Brooks Corner. It’s their 3rd brick-and-mortar store. The others are in New York City and Short Hills, New Jersey.

Click here for their minimalist website. Or check them out for yourself.

(Photo and hat tip/Stacey Henske)


Coming soon at the Westport Country Playhouse:

A reading of the comedy “Quick Service” as part of the New Works series (June 5, 7 p.m.; meet the playwright and director afterward). All tickets are $25. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

A “Script in Hand” play reading of Agatha Christie’s “The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd” (June 12, 7 p.m.). All tickets are $25. Click here to purchase, and for more information.


A longtime tradition continued this morning.

A group of dads gathered at 5:30 a.m. to install a water slide for Kings Highway Elementary School’s field day.

At 100 feet long and 50 feet wide, that’s no easy task.

Even harder, no doubt, will be wrestling it — big and wet — back into its original packaging.

Great weather for a water slide!


Sorelle Gallery on Church Lane showcases Daniel Pollera and Michele Poirier-Mozzone, from June 2 through 24.

He focuses on land and seascapes, while she paints soft, fragmented figures from underwater vantage points. Both explore themes of water and light, and the relationship between them.

Click here for more information.

Artwork by Daniel Pollera


Speaking of art: Around the corner from Sorelle, in Sconset Square, Vanessa Lewis’ recently relocated her Penfield Collective “retail concept” (I’m assuming that means “store”) from Fairfield.

Now there’s a new addition, right outside.

Donna Forma’s sculpture has been installed at the door. Made of laminated walnut, it has been treated to become weather resistant.

The new artwork is all in the family. Lewis is Forma’s daughter.

Donna Forma’s sculpture.


Summer is near. Which means more and more beachgoers will see sights like this — today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)

Horseshoe crabs are fascinating creatures. Scary, ugly, primordial, they send a strong message: “Stay away. This is our beach. We were here first.”

We walk warily past them.

Unless you’re a kid. In which case you pick them up, with a combination of courage and awe.


And finally … Rolf Harris, the Australian singer whose “Tie Me Kangaroo  Down, Sport” was a huge novelty hit, but whose long career on British television ended when he was convicted of sexually abusing teenage girls — died earlier this month in England. He was 93.

Click here for a full obituary.

(Celebrate Memorial Day weekend the traditional way: with a contribution to “06880.” Please click here. Thank you!)

Roundup: Dog Fest, Equity Study, Fire Danger …

This Sunday, Westport’s dog park really goes to the dogs.

The 7th annual Dog Festival takes over Winslow Park on May 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event — produced by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce and TAILS — celebrates all things canine.

The day includes guide dog and training demonstrations, a police K-9 presentation, an obstacle course (the winner gets a year’s supply of dog food), adoptables, kids activities, food trucks, information on non-profits, and more.

Prizes will be given for best tail wagger, best dressed, best kisser, best trick, best lap dog over 50 pounds and dog that most looks like its owner. Dog owners can register for the competitions at the festival, or online.

Surrounding the main activities are over 60 pet-related vendors, picture taking, caricatures, face painting, balloon bending and giveaways.

Proceeds from the entrance fee of $10 per person, and $30 for a family of 4 will benefit nonprofit organizations. So far, over $36,000 has been donated by the Chamber to local groups.

Parking is available at business lots along Post Road East. Click here for more Dog Festival information.


For months, the Board of Education has discussed an “Equity Study Action Plan.” The goal is to help all students feel a sense of belonging.

The debate continued Monday night, for 3 hours. But one of the most compelling comments came not from a board member, but from a teenager.

One who cannot even speak.

Wynston Browne — an autistic Staples High School sophomore — has made remarkable progress over the past 2 years, using a spelling device. His parents and teachers realize now that a very keen and incisive mind had been locked away for over a decade. Wynston’s goal is to be a neuroscientist.

On Monday, Wynston typed. His words appeared on screen: “I want to do things that all kids my age do. I want to eat lunch with friends in the Staples cafeteria, and laugh instead of being laughed at. I want to attend classes that are challenging.”

And, he concluded: “Everyone got it wrong, for so long. It’s time to make it right, starting now.”

Click here to see Wynston’s compelling 6-minute speech. He did not speak out loud — but his words said it all.


Effective immediately, the Westport Fire Department has banned all outside burning until further notice. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for the entire state, due to extremely dry conditions.

The ban includes all recreational campfires and fire pits. Brush fires spread rapidly, and can threaten homes and property. 


Today’s “Westport … What’s Happening” podcast features an introduction to the Westport Center for Senior Activities’ new director, Wendy Petty.

She discusses her plans for the center with 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker. Click below to listen to the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston production:


Westport Rotary club’s weekly lunches are always illuminating.

For 39 local non-profits, yesterday’s was also lucrative.

In a ceremony at Green’s Farms Church, the civic group distributed grants to each one. Funds came from the more than $200,000 raised by ticket sales and from sponsors of September’s LobsterFest.

Giving Committee chair Peter Helt handed charitable checks to representatives of, among others (in alphabetical order): A Better Chance of Westport, Builders Beyond Borders, Carver Foundation of Norwalk, Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Mercy Learning Center, Norwalk Housing Foundation, Positive Directions, Remarkable Theater, Staples Tuition Grants, Westport Book Sales Ventures, Westport Country Playhouse, and Westport Volunteer EMS.

75 percent of LobsterFest proceeds go to local organizations; 25 percent to international organizations.

Rotarian Rick Benson described a few of those projects, including water sanitation efforts in Kenya and providing medical equipment to a hospital in Uganda.

Rotary Club members and grant recipients, at Green’s Farms Church.


Jeff Scher is a prolific filmmaker and animator.

The 1972 Staples High School graduate — now back in Westport, working in a Cross Highway studio a few steps from his house — has created everything from an HBO documentary about a Holocaust survivor, to holiday videos for Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, and a short film about summer and water.

He made the official video for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Teach Your Children.”

Now he’s made another one for Graham Nash’s new album. It’s environmentally themed — and there’s a “no mower” section that’s very Westport.

Click below to see:


Wheels2UWestport’s Park Connect returns this summer. The service — funded by Connecticut’s Departments of Transportation, and Energy and Environmental Protection — provides free rides to and from anywhere in Westport and Sherwood Island State Park.

Similar free-ride programs are available at 6 other state parks.

Rides are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends and holidays, beginning Memorial Day weekend and running through Labor Day.

Rides are available through the Wheels2U app Westporters use to and from the train station.

For more information about Wheels2U and Park Connect, click here. For more information about the Westport Transit District’s services for the elderly and people with disabilities, click here.

Sherwood Island — Westport’s “other” beach — is Connecticut’s first state park.


The Westport Woman’s Club and Congregation for Humanistic Judaism team up for an important event this Sunday (May 21; light breakfast, 9:30 a.m.; program, 10 a.m., 44 Imperial Avenue; click here for the livestream link with passcode 581845).

Dr. Deborah Varat, professor of art history at Southern New Hampshire University, presents “Arthur Szyk’s ‘The New Order’: How the Cartoons of a Polish Jew Helped Prepare the US for War.”

The cartoonist’s work helped Americans visualize and personalize the Nazi evil, against which they ultimately had to fight. Today his illustrations and impact on moving American public opinion toward readiness for war are commemorated in museums around the world. For more information on Szyk, click here.

Arthur Szyk’s “Freedom From Fear.”


Lime Rock Park celebrates the 37th anniversary of Paul Newman’s Trans-Am win with an exhibit of his racing estate on May 27, during the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic.

It includes helmets, racing suits and other memorabilia that former Westport resident Newman used during his storied career. Click here for tickets. (Hat tip: Frank Rosen)

Paul Newman at Lime Rock.


The Saugatuck Rowing Club was not around — not even a dream — when the Staples High School Class of 1983 graduated.

But that’s where their 40th reunion will be, on July 29 (6 to 10 p.m.).

Click here for tickets. Click here for the ’83 Facebook page.

Graduation Day, 1983.


This pond did not look particularly inviting — unless you’re a dog.

Mark Mathias captured today’s wet “Westport … Naturally” image at the Leonard Schine Preserve, off Weston Road.

(Photo/Mark Mathias)


And finally … happy 81st birthday to Taj Mahal.

The multi-talented musician (guitar, piano, banjo, harmonica and many other instruments) has incorporated Caribbean, African, Indian, Hawaiian and South Pacific sounds into his blues/rock/gospel/funk repertoire.

He has played all over the world — including, in 1971 and ’73, at Staples High School. He returned in 1974, to the Westport Country Playhouse.

(It’s a dog’s world, as the first story above explains. Don’t be a bitch. Help support “06880.” Please click here. Thank you!)

Pic Of The Day #2212

Next stop: Greens Farms! (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Roundup: Railroad Parking, Clarendon Art, Woman’s Club Show …

Prices for the Saugatuck and Greens Farms parking lots will increase on July 1.

The new rates are:

Single permit: $400 plus $25.40 state sales tax = $425.40 yearly

Multi-permit: $500 plus $31.75 state sales tax = $531.75 yearly.

Daily parking: $6. That’s the first daily parking increase since 2011.

For full information on railroad station parking, click here.

Weekdays at the train station are more crowded than this weekday shot. (Photo/Caroly Van Duyn)


Clarendon Fine Art has 80 locations in the UK.

Now they’ve got one in the US.

Their 22 Main Street gallery opened in February. Last night, a large crowd welcomed them, at their official launch party.

CEO Helen Swaby loved Westport, from the moment she saw it. She calls our town ‘a flourishing cultural and creative center (which), like Clarendon, has a strong commitment to preserving community, traditions, and quality of life.”

The world’s largest gallery group wants to make art “accessible to all.” They showcase an eclectic portfolio of artists, across a broad range of genres.

The new 2-story building features an international portfolio of originals, collector’s editions, and sculpture from famous names, alongside emerging talents.

Works from artists like Picasso, Miro, Warhol and Hockney; cutting edge pop, street, and contemporary art; more traditional work including landscape, wildlife, still life, figurative and abstract art, is all on view — and sale — at Clarendon.

Clarendon’s 2nd floor. (Photo/Dan Woog)


Speaking of art: There are plenty of great works at this weekend’s Westport Woman’s Club 8th annual show.

Yesterday, there was also A-list entertainment.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame keyboardist Mark Naftalin (Paul Butterfield Blues Band) and Crispin Cioe — who has played sax with James Brown, the Rolling Stones, Solomon Burke, Darlene Love, Tom Waits, Ray Charles, Robert Palmer, Bronski Beat, the Ohio Players, Usher and others — offered music to admire art by. Both are Westporters.

The show ends today: 2 to 5 p.m., 44 Imperial Avenue.

Mark Naftalin and Crispin Cioe, at the Westport Woman’s Club.  (Photo/Miggs Burroughs)


In an age when every youngster seems to be on a device — and/or traveling up and down the East Coast playing youth sports — it’s nice to see that these kids had good old-fashioned fun yesterday, decorating a driveway on Gorham Avenue.

Elle and Axel Enslin, their mom Kara, and Charlotte Peters, hard at work.


Lovely lilacs are today’s “Westport … Naturally” featured flower. Thank you, Dana Kuyper!

(Photo/Dana Kuyper)


And finally … it’s great having Mark Naftalin as our neighbor (see story above). He is very generous with his time, and talent.

He’s sure had a legendary career. Here’s one small sample, from 1965:

(Get your mojo working — and support “06880.” Just click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Ed Budget, Farmers’ Market, Traffic Safety, Laura Linney …

A day after passing the $81.3 million town budget, Westport’s Representative Town Meeting okayed a second, much larger one.

Voting 31-0 after little discussion, the legislative body passed the $144.3 million plan.

The final part of the 3-step budget process is approving the mill rate. That comes later this month.


In journalism, a “dog bites man” story is one that happens so frequently, it’s not really news.

Without downplaying its seriousness, that’s a good way to describe accidents at the Cross Highway/North Avenue intersection.

Another one took place yesterday at the poorly angled, difficult-to-see-past site. This one involved 2 vehicles, with injuries. The Westport Fire Department released a photo, but provided no other details.

Yesterday’s crash at Cross Highway and North Avenue. (Photo courtesy of Westport Fire Department)

The Post Road/Wilton Road/Riverside Avenue intersection has been called Westport’s worst.

But at least it has a light.

And, from time to time, a cop.


Coincidentally, Today’s “Westport … What’s Happening” podcast features 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker’s take on the recent public meeting on street improvement for traffic and pedestrian safety, and the increased Westport Police traffic safety enforcement program.

Click below to listen to this Y’s Men of Westport and Weston production.


Happy May! And happy return of the Westport Farmers’ Market!

Our favorite outdoor produce-and-much-more celebration returns to the Imperial Avenue parking lot May 11. It runs every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., through early November.

This year promises to be the best in the market’s 17-year history. A variety of programs operating under their “who grows your food” banner will add even more community-inspired programs, vendors, sponsors and activities.

Vendors – WFM favorites and new faces – will hold to high standards of sustainable practices, including plastic-free packaging, and participate in other market-to-community efforts. Among them: Farmer-to-School-to-Community, Farmer Kids Community, Friend of the Market, Recipe, Farmer-to-Veterans, Get Growing, Farmer Fund, Young Shoots, and other programs focused on giving back.

This year’s lunch and music areas will be shaded and separated from the central shopping experience. The Westport Library will select musical guests, through Verso Studios.

For more details, click here or email


Tickets for “Booked for the Evening” — the Westport Library’s big fundraiser — go on sale next Monday (May 8, 10 a.m.; click here).

This year’s guest is Laura Linney. The noted theater, film and television actor will be honored in the Trefz Forum on July 13.

Now in its 24th year, “Booked for the Evening” celebrates an individual whose work reflects the purpose of the Library: to nurture a love of learning, and enhance our understanding of the world.

Laura Linney


Mexicue — the very popular new Main Street restaurant — has expanded both their menu and hours.

They’ve added dinner-focused “Platos Fuertes,” while at the same time opening for lunch 7 days a week. Their new hours are Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with brunch on weekends from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weekday happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m.

Updated hours below. We also just launched a new menu with several more dinner-focused “Platos Fuertes” – menu attached.

Mexicue is the newest addition to our “06880” Restaurants tab. Just click on at the top of our home page (or here), for a wide variety of local spots — including menus, websites and social media.

Mexicue’s intriguing interior.


Speaking of restaurants: Is Emmy Squared coming to Westport?

CTBites — the state’s premier food blog, published by our very own Stephanie Webster — reports the “unconfirmed” news that the “iconic and much-loved” restaurant is looking for staff here.

Begun in Brooklyn in 2016, “they are known for their signature Detroit-style pizza, marked by its square shape, crispy bottom, fluffy dough, cheesy ‘frico’ crust, and signature sauce stripes.

“Their famed double-stack burger, Le Big Matt (served on a pretzel bun), was named ‘#1 Best Burger in Nashville’ by The Tennessean and Nashville Lifestyles, voted one of ‘The Best New Burgers In NYC’ by Gothamist, and listed as one of the ‘20 Best Burgers in NYC’ by The Infatuation. The menu also highlights a selection of approachable salads and sandwiches served on pretzel buns.”

There are now 8 location in New York, Nashville, Philadelphia, Washington and Louisville.”

Pizzas from Emmy Squared.


In March, “06880” reported on Lynda Bluestein’s crusade. The longtime and very active member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport has terminal fallopian tube cancer. That month she reached a settlement with the state of Vermont, making her the first non-resident to take advantage of a law that allows people with terminal illnesses to end their own lives.

Yesterday, Governor Phil Scott signed a bill that removes the residency requirement from the state’s medical aid in dying law. Bluestein’s case prompted legislators to revise the law for all non-Vermonters. Click here for the full story.

Lynda Bluestein and her husband Paul. (Photo courtesy of NBC Connecticut)


Westport resident Lee Bly’s home golf course is Longshore.

But on Sunday, at Stamford’s Sterling Farms, the 2007 Staples High School graduate had a hole-in-one. Playing with former classmate Carter Myers, Lee aced the 223-yard par 3 17th hole.

Congratulations, Lee!

Lee Bly, at his now-favorite hole.


TAP Strength hosts a special Sound Bath Meditation Class tomorrow (Thursday, May 4, 7 to 8 p.m., 180 Post Road East).

Experience deep relaxation, enhanced mental focus, clarity and creativity through crystal and Tibetan bowls, gongs, chimes and other instruments.

Bring a mat and any other items to feel comfortable. Member and non-member class fees apply. Email or call 203-292-9353 for more information.


Jazz at the Post goes international this week.

Japanese pianist Hiroshi Yamazaki will be joined by Takashi Otsuka on bass, and Americans Jason Tiemann on drums and Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” on sax.

There are 2 shows (7:30 and 8:45 p.m., Thursday, May 4; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399). Dinner service begins at 7.

Reservations are highly recommended:

Hiroshi Yamazaki


Since moving here a couple of years ago, Shona Rhimes has become an avid Westporter.

Westport Lifestyle magazine caught up with our new neighbor, for their May issue. She describes how she chose our town, the buzz behind buying her house, what she’s up to now (a “Bridgerton” prequel) and more. Click here to read.

Shonda Rhimes, last year at the Westport Library. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)


Once upon a time, you saw sights like this in Westport.

(Photo/Carl Addison Swanson)

You still see it in New York.

But — as Carl Addison Swanson, who spotted the sofa and sign on Richmondville Avenue — notes, “This may be the last free thing in Westport.”


Among the recent “Westport … Naturally” sights this spring: a crabapple tree at Ned Dimes Marina.

(Photo/Laurie Sorensen)


And finally … Gordon Lightfoot died Monday in Toronto. He was 84.

Though never as popular in the US as in his native Canada — where he was a beloved icon — the folk singer was one of my all-time favorites. He had me with “Go Go Round” in the mid-1960s, and never let go.

Click here for a full obituary.

(Every day, the “06880” Roundup is filled with news you can use [or not — your choice]. If you enjoy this feature, please consider a contribution. Just click here — and thank you!)

Roundup: Wynston Browne, Traffic, Hook’d …

If you want an inspiring way to start the week, keep reading.

Then click the video below.

“06880” has highlighted the story of Wynston Browne. For 14 of his 15 years, the non-speaking, autistic Staples High School sophomore was thought by everyone — educators, doctors, even family members — as having a profound intellectual disability. It was believed he could barely learn or communicate.

That was far from the truth. He had learned on his own, all his life.

Two years ago, Wynston began communicating through a spelling device. His vast knowledge and intelligence were unlocked.

The weekend before last, at a Circle of Friends ceremony — where local teens were honored for their work with people with disabilities — Wynston shared insights into his journey.

And into his future, as a neuroscientist and advocate for people with autism and other disabilities.

It was a remarkable afternoon. His standing ovations were well-earned.

Thank you, Wynston, for inspiring us all!

PS: To learn more about the remarkable first generation of “spellers” that Wynston is part of, click here.


Alert — and frustrated — “06880” reader Ray Broady writes:

This issue gets worse by the day.

My evening commute back to Westport takes me off I-95 at exit 17 daily, usually between 4:30 and 6 p.m. This route is getting so bad, it sometimes adds 45 minutes to my time.

Friday evening, it took an extra half hour just to exit I-95 and sit in traffic through Saugatuck, to the right turn at the Cribari Bridge.

One issue is that Westport stations a police officer across from the bridge to help keep the intersection moving. This really helps, but this person is nor in place until 5:30 or 6 p.m. I have called the police, and requested the lieutenant in charge of traffic and safety issues to try to have that person on duty from 4:30 to 6:30,  when the problem is at its worst.

This problem is amplified when Waze reroutes thousands of I-95 commuters onto Bridge Street and Greens Farms Road.

I realize that this section of streets is a state route (136), and possibly only the state Transportation Department and engineers can affect changes. But there must be something Westport can do to improve this horrible situation.

I have not heard of any change on the Cribari Bridge status, so I don’t know what is happening there. It may even worsen this, for so many Westporters.

I am more than willing to donate some of my time and energy to address this disaster. But I need help from others to make this a Westport priority. How can we get this ball rolling?

I feel we should get a group of volunteers together, to start a positive effort to work on interfacing with town, state, police and the impacted Saugatuck community to help find a permanent solution, and not a bucket list future dream.

Charles Street traffic. (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)


A steady crowd braved yesterday’s rain, for a book signing at Savvy + Grace.

Spoiler alert: It was mine.

Thanks to all who came to pick up “Pick of the Pics”: the best-of-“06880” photos compilation.

Lyah Muktavaram — my Staples High intern last spring, who did all the hard work on the book — and I had a great time greeting the 100 or so folks at Main Street’s favorite gift-and-more store.

Couldn’t make it? Click here to order!

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Ted Horowitz — whose photos are in the book — joined Lyah Muktavaram and Dan Woog at the Savvy + Grace launch party. (Photo/JC Martin)


Sure, Hook’d opened 2 weeks after their contract said they would.

But hey — the retro video games are free!

(Photo and hat tip/Johanna Rossi)


“Westport … Naturally” starts the week with this gorgeous photo from Imperial Avenue.

Scenes like this are as fleeting as they are welcome. Enjoy them while you can!

(Photo/Fred Cantor)


And finally … hard to believe, but I missed Willie Nelson’s birthday.

It was Saturday.

So: Happy birthday, to one of my favorite all-time musicians. One of the highlights of my life was being up front at his Levitt Pavilion performance a decade or so ago.

It’s also hard to believe he is 90 years young.

Here’s to another 90 great ones. Don’t bet against him.

Unbelievably, it’s his 88th. He will outlive us all.

(Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be people who don’t support the blog they read. Please click here to contribute to “06880.” Thank you!)