Category Archives: Transportation

Pics Of The Day #1601

Classic cars, seen around Westport:

(Photos/Andrew Colabella)

Metro-North: You Can Still Get There From Here. Just Not As Easily.

It may be because Metro-North ridership is still down significantly — off by about 65% — from pre-pandemic levels.

Perhaps commuters are just used to the regional rail system taking away, rather than giving.

But Metro-North’s recent switch in service — longer trips, and the reduction of express trains — has generated little of the outrage usually associated with such changes.

It now takes 79 to 84 minutes — according to the timetables, anyway — to get from Westport to Grand Central on weekday mornings.

Afternoon/evening service is “quicker”: 70 to 76 minutes (63, on trains that discharge passengers only).

That’s still appreciably slower than our parents’ and grandparents’ commutes in the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

Not to mention the lure of express trains. They’ve now joined other the Concorde as relics from a bygone — but speedier — era of transportation.

A train streaks through Westport. But it will stop often. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Roundup: Wheels, Donut Crazy, Challah …

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Effective today, Wheels2U Westport — the Westport Transit District’s on-demand, group ride, door-to-train platform shuttle service — is expanding to serve even more of Westport.  The area from Coleytown Road to the Weston border is now included.

The new addition is bounded by North Avenue, Lyons Plains Road and Coleytown Road and includes all of Arlen Road, Fraser Road, Fraser Lane and Snowflake Lane. Wheels2U Westport now provides convenient service to over 90% of all Westport.

Residents living in the service area can use the Wheels2U Westport app to request a pickup  between 5:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., and 4 and 8 p.m., to be taken to or from the Saugatuck or Greens Farms train platform and their front door.

Pickups should be requested about 20 minutes before you would normally leave to drive to the station.  The fare is $2 when paid with the Wheels2U app.  A Metro North Uniticket rail/bus pass can also be used.

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

New service area.

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Westport’s VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 reserved a special table today. The setting honored the 13 US servicemembers killed last week in Afghanistan.

The “Missing Man Table” — also known as the “Fallen Comrade Table” — is steeped in symbolism. It is a humble way to remember the sacrifice of the men and women who gave their lives protecting our freedom.

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Just in time for the new academic year, the Westport Public Schools have unveiled a new website.

The look is clean and fresh. There’s tons of information, in an easy-to-navigate, intuitive layout.

Click here to explore it on your own. Be sure to check out the drone video for each school. Just click on the name, and get a bird’s-eye view of every facility. (Hat tip: Seth Schachter)

Screenshot of the new website

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Donut Crazy is back open. This is the most recent sign, on the train station door:

(Photo/Gary Nusbaum)

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Last night’s almost-season-ending Levitt Pavilion performance — Dr. K’s Motown Review — had a filled-to-capacity audience dancing in the street.

Or at least, in their pods.

Three shows remain: Always-popular DNR, in a benefit for Westport EMS and first responders (September 10, 7:30 p.m.); Barboletta, a tribute to Santana (September 11, 7:30 p.m.), and Sheryl Crow, a ticketed benefit show (October 8, 8 p.m.).

Click here for tickets and details.

Last night’s Levitt Pavilion show. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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Dogs are not allowed on Compo Beach (until October 1).

So this one — at Winslow Park Animal Hospital on the Post Road — made his own.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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Every home should have a challah.

And not just on the East Coast.

The Westport-based delivery company has just acquired ChallahFresh, Silicon Valley’s tech-enabled business.

“My goal is to deliver a freshly baked challah, candles, a weekly dose of inspiration each week, plus black & white cookies, rugelach or hamentaschen to as many homes, nursing homes and college dorms as possible in the US, says CEO Scott Sharkey.

“Now we ae one step closer to accomplishing this.”

Sharkey donates a portion of each challah subscription to a charity of the customer’s choice. A dropdown menu offers a dozen or so options, including ADL, Doctors Without Borders, Feeding America, Red Cross, Save the Children, St. Jude’s Hospital, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Fund, Hadassah and UJA Federation.

For more information, click here.

Challah, from Every Home Should Have a Challah.

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Wendy Crowther explains today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

“Two bumble bees harvest resources on a stand of thistle at Baron’s South last week. Thistles have a high wildlife value. They not only provide pollen and nectar to bees and butterflies, but later the flowers turn to seeds that will be eaten by goldfinches. Even the down from the seeds will be used by birds to line their nests.”

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)

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And finally … in honor of today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo (above):

 

 

Too Much Traffic? Try This!

Westport may not be able to solve every traffic problem by ourselves.

We need help from the state — synchronizing Post Road lights, for example.

It would be nice if Waze could rejigger its algorithms, so the slightest fender-bender on I-95 or the Merritt does not send highway drivers onto local streets.

But we’re not blameless.

There are things Westporters can do to alleviate traffic congestion and stress. We don’t help matters, with our aggressive, me-first driving styles and attitudes.

You know who you are, and chances are you’re not going to change.

Just another day at Bedford Middle School. (Photo/Adam Vengrow)

But here’s one simple tweak that could go a long way toward making traffic flow more smoothly. It comes from Jimmy Izzo, the RTM member and native Westporter who has spent decades living in, watching and wondering about the town he loves.

Jimmy says: “Observe the yellow light.”

That’s right. When the traffic light turns amber: Stop.

Don’t speed up. Don’t try to beat it. Just put on the brakes, and wait for red, then green.

Think about it. How many times have you seen (or been the driver of) a car that has just come over the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen (Post Road) bridge downtown. You floor it on yellow, trying to turn left onto Riverside.

But you get stuck in the intersection. Every car on Riverside and Wilton Road, turning and heading toward town, has to maneuver around you. By the time it’s all sorted out, another cycle of traffic has backed up on all 4 corners.

Trying to beat the yellow light.

It works the other way too. Drivers turning left from Wilton Road, and right from Riverside, who try to beat the yellow cause similar chaos.

Or consider the Compo Shopping Center (CVS)/Compo Acres (Trader Joe’s) cluster****. You come down the hill in front of Gold’s. You try to make the yellow light. You stop smack in the middle of the CVS exit. No one moves — though cars try desperately to maneuver around you. Meanwhile, the CVS/Gold’s lots get even more crowded.

Another spot where drivers try to beat the yellow.

Westporters treat yellow lights like greens, Jimmy says. In fact, they’re closer to red.

Believe it or not, stopping at yellows might actually make traffic flow more easily when the red turns to green.

And drivers wouldn’t have to resort to such colorful language all the time, either.

This may soon be obsolete in Westport.

Roundup: 3rd Moderna, Modern Thermometer, Polestar EVs …

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The Westport Weston Health District will host a “3rd dose” Moderna vaccine clinic — for moderately and severely immunocompromised people — on September 10 (1 to 4 p.m., Senior Center).

Appointments can be scheduled here. Bring your vaccination card to the appointment.

The CDC’s additional dose recommendation includes people who have:

Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood

Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

Received a stem cell transplant within the past 2 years, or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system

Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency

Advanced or untreated HIV infection

Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress an immune response.

To learn more, speak with your healthcare provider. Click here for the CDC website.

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Polestar2 — an all-electronic vehicle — is giving test free test drives to the public. From now through Sunday (11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.), they’re doing it at Bedford Square.

If you’ve never driven a fully electric vehicle, this is a great. chance. Everyone is welcome — so long as you have a driver’s license!

Polestars, at Bedford Square.

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On Wednesday, Bob Weingarten went to Town Hall, for house research.

Usually he signs in at the front desk, and heads to the Town Clerk’s office. This time, he was asked for a temperature check — and to do it himself.

There’s a device, just inside the main door. Stand in front, and get a readout.

I haven’t been in Town Hall in months. I don’t know if this is new and noteworthy, or not news. It could be cool — or a story like George H.W. Bush’s surprise at how a supermarket scanner works.

You be the judge. I’m just passing along Bob’s photo.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

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2003 Staples High School graduate Jesse Levin owns the Readiness Collective — an emergency training club and outfitter in Norwalk. Earlier, he opened a pop-up shop in Bedford Square.

After the chilling news from Afghanistan, Jesse turned the Collective into am ad hoc volunteer emergency operations center, to facilitate emergency evacuation efforts.

We have turned our training club, The Readiness Collective into an ad hoc volunteer emergency coordination operations center to facilitate efforts under way for emergency evacuations in Afghanistan.

Professional logistics and disaster response experts on site help guide volunteers on how to contribute. They’re tied in with working groups on the ground, and assisting from abroad.

Recent efforts include the expatriation of 20 targeted Afghan nationals and their families to Uganda, critical medical advice provided to parents of a young girl injured by a tear gas canister and unable to reach medical help, and the development of overland evacuation plans for wide distribution.

Jesse’s Collective needs help and support. “Just bring a computer and a willingness to dig in,” he says.

Offices are in the SoNo Collection (just off I-95 Exit 15 in Norwalk, Level II0. Questions? Email ready@readinesscollective.com, or call 203-275-7297.

Jesse Levin, providing aid in Puerto Rico.

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Sure, Westport Book Shop is the go-to for “pre-owned” (okay, used) books and more — including music.

But they also run an online store. It’s got a selection of new, sealed CDs, in categories from pop and oldies to classical and jazz.

Click here to browse the online selections.

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Three attorneys at Westport-based FLB Law have been named to the Best Lawyers in America list.

The FLB honorees are managing partner Stephen P. Fogerty, and attorneys Alan S. Rubenstein and Leslie E. Grodd.

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Seen the giant sunflower at Viva Zapata?

The restaurant’s Sam O’Mahony explains today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo, growing out of the 2nd-floor window boxes:

“We didn’t plant sunflowers this year! We’re assuming a bird dropped it up there last summer from our garden in the side yard.”

(Photo/Sam O’Mahony)

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And finally … in honor of Town Hall’s new temperature scanner:

 

Roundup: Donut Crazy, Merritt Parkway, “La Mancha” …

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Donut Crazy — the wonderful, warm, not-for-the-calorie-conscious coffeehouse on the eastbound side of the Saugatuck train station — is closed today.

It’s unclear whether it’s permanent. Loyal customers hope not. Their fingers are crossed it will reopen — perhaps under new owners.

The past 17 months have not been easy. Always a bit out of the way for late-arriving morning commuters to New York, the steep drop in ridership during the pandemic must have hurt.

The arrival of Steam donuts and coffee at Desi’s Corner, at the Railroad Place by Riverside Avenue, is another blow.

Donut Crazy’s 4 other locations — in Stratford, Shelton, Branford and West Hartford — remain open. That’s not too far to go for some of the craziest donuts (and more) on earth. (Hat tip: Carolanne Curry)

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Hurricane Henri was a washout. It had virtually no effect on Westport — except for a ban on beach activities through Wednesday.

Swimming, fishing and paddle crafts are prohibited for the next 2 days, says Westport Weston Health District director Mark Cooper.

The cause: possible contamination of Long Island Sound, from untreated sewage discharges after the storm.

It’s a good thing Caroline Sherman swam to Cockenoe Island before Sunday. (Photo/Alex Sherman)

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The Merritt Parkway paving project between northbound Exits 40 and 41 appear to be a mess.

Readers report numerous flat tires, due to holes in the pavement. Be careful out there!

In better days …

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Sam Palmer is the son of a Staples High School teacher. A 2019 graduate of Fairfield Warde High School, he’s been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He’s waiting for a blood stem cell/bone marrow transplant.

And he needs a donor.

A “Swab for Sam/Be the Match” donor registration drive is set for this Saturday (August 28, 9 to 11 a.m., Fairfield Warde High School, 755 Melville Avenue).

It takes just 5 minutes to register, and have your cheek swabbed to enter the marrow donor registry. The more donors, the more chances Sam — and others like him — have to live long, full lives.

Sam Palmer

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Rod Gilbert — the New York Rangers great who died last weekend at 80 — leaves behind many fans.

Among them: Charlie Capalbo. The Fairfield hockey player — and grandson of Westporters Ina Chadwick and Richard Epstein — has battled cancer for several years. His spirits have been lifted by many people in the hockey world.

Gilbert was among the first. Here was his message to Charlie, in 2017:

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Did you miss the 2018 Westport Country Playhouse presentation of “Man of La Mancha?” Saw it, and want to see it again? Just looking for great entertainment, as the Delta variant has us all wary again of crowds?

The award-winning show is available now, on demand, through September 5.  Tickets start at just $25. Click here to order.

Pick a time. Buy sangria. Prepare paella. Enjoy!

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Laura Nelson died Friday, surrounded by family and friends, following a battle with cancer. She was 55.

Her family says: “Laura’s light always shined brightly. The people of Westport may remember sharing a friendly wave, a peace sign or a warm smile with Laura as she drove around the neighborhood in her clementine orange VW bus, laughing and soaking up every drop of life.

“She was an accomplished communications executive and public relations expert, dedicated wife and mother, loving sister and aunt, best friend, and adored colleague.

“Above all, Laura loved her husband Jim and their children Charlie and Annabelle fiercely and unconditionally. Her pride in their accomplishments knew no bounds.”

Laura began her career as a PR professional with Dan Klores Associates in New York City. For over 3 decades she rose through the media industry as the cable television business flourished.

In her early career she led the communications team at Comedy Central, then a fledgling startup channel. She rose to senior vice president of communications and public affairs for VH1 and MTV. She later joined Nielsen, where she served as chief communications officer during a transformative period.

Laura advised celebrities and media executives throughout her career. Her family says, “She was known as a savvy strategist and insightful advisor. She was a student of the spoken and written word and used this knowledge to advance the interests of her clients and organizations. Maybe most importantly, Laura knew how to bring out the best in her people—she was the perfect combination of mentor, coach, advocate, leader, and friend. Over the years, she assembled multiple award-winning teams, and many of her protégés have gone on to serve as chief marketing and communications officers themselves.”

Born in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, Laura grew up in Darien. In 1983, Laura served as a Page in the US Senate and attended the Capitol Page School. At Darien High School she was the editor of the school newspaper. She graduated from Boston College with a BA in ohilosophy. As part of her undergraduate studies, she attended Temple University in Rome, where she developed a lifelong love of Italy and its culture.

Her family notes: “Laura was generous, loyal, and warm, and she readily adopted friends into her extended family. She was known for her sense of humor, authenticity, and dedication to her family and friends. She was unyielding on the things that mattered to her and to the world, and she loved with her whole heart and soul.

She is survived by her husband James A. Kremens; children Charles Kremens and Annabelle Kremens, all of Westport; siblings Gina Wilcox (Brady) of Old Lyme; Paul Nelson (Julie) of Wilmette, Illinois, and Andrew Nelson (Meghan) of Cincinnati.

A mass of Christian burial will be held Friday, (August 27, 11 a.m., Church of the Assumption.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Cancer Couch Foundation, P.O. Box 1145, Southport, CT 06890, or thecancercouch.com.

Laura Nelson

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The rain seems finally to have moved away. As it moved out yesterday, it left this hopeful sign over Sherwood Mill Pond:

(Photo/Ferdinand Jahnel)

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The Friends of the Weston Senior Activities Center plan a flea market for Saturday, September 18 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Weston High School).

Past years have drawn 80 vendors, selling old, new and handmade items. Spaces are going quickly. To reserve a space, call 203-222-2608.

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It doesn’t get more “Westport … Naturally” than this Winslow Park scene.

(Photo/JC Martin)

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And finally … country singer/songwriter Tom T. Hall died Friday, at his Tennessee home.

He was known both for the songs he wrote and sang himself, and those he wrote for others. Click here for a full obituary.

Roundup: Weather, Sam Wilkes, RFK …

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Yesterday’s “hurricane” was a dud. All that time spent hauling in patio furnitue, hauling boats out of the water, hauling ass around town for food, batteries and gas — what a waste!

Except it wasn’t.

Storms are capricious. We expected to be battered this time, but barely got a tap. Last summer, no one was worried about Isaias. It brought us to our knees.

It’s the same with winter weather. We’ve stripped Stop & Shop of all its eggs and milk, only to receive a few flakes. And we’ve been homebound for days after snow and ice we didn’t really expect.

So what’s the lesson? Should we ignore every warning, and just try to be prepared all the time?

No. The weatherpersons have gotten their forecasts right far more often than they’ve been wrong. Listen to the experts. It really is better to be safe than sorry.

Or put another way: It’s a lot better to be pleasantly surprised that Henri was a dud — in Westport, at least — than to broil in the dark, with no utility truck in sight for days, because of a storm we were not worried about.

Homes on Compo Cove — many boarded up, in anticipation of Hurricane Henri — yesterday. Instead of high winds and heavy rain, the day passed without incident. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

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After closing the town’s Emergency Operations Center yesterday afternoon, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe said:

“I want to thank our residents and businesses for heeding the instructions to remain at home and prepare for what could’ve been a major situation. I hope that for many Westporters, today was a day well spent with family, or at least a chance to test and improve your emergency preparedness.

Thank you also to the Westport Fire, Police, Public Health, Parks & Recreation, Public Works and Human Services Departments for their efforts to monitor and prepare to respond to the needs of our community.”

Fire marshal Nate Gibbons provided updates on Henri yesterday, on WWPT-FM. He had little to report.

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One last Henri photo.

In contrast to Saturday’s packed-all-day Merritt Parkway, yesterday was a breeze.

Merritt Parkway, from the North Avenue bridge. (Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)

Maybe we should have hurricane warnings more often?

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At Staples, Sam Wilkes was all music, nearly all the time. He played in the band, jazz band and orchestra. (He also took as many English courses as he could: 4 in senior year.) In high school, he says, “I learned how to learn.”

After graduating in 2009, Sam headed to the University of Southern California. He was in the 1st class of the new Popular Music Performance program.

He’s still playing — and living life on his own terms.

The August 23 issue of The New Yorker includes a piece about Sam and his musical partner, Sam Gendel. Kelefa Sanneh explores their 2018 jazz-and-more album “Music for Saxofone & Bass Guitar,” one song of which was featured n the Netflix movie “Malcolm & Marie.””BOA” has been streamed nearly 2 million times on Spotify.

Wilkes is doing plenty of recording, including with Chaka Khan. Sanneh expresses surprise in The New Yorker that he and Gendels do not tour more, and describesthe quirky route to where the duo is today. He appreciates, though, their simplicity, ambience and texture.

Sanneh mentions a video Wilkes and Gendel filmed with the band KNOWER. They help the group “burn through a breakneck funk groove”; Wilkes, he says, “contributes a particularly tasty bass fill.”

it’s been viewed more than 5 million times. (Click here for the full story.)

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Check out the new header (top photo) on “06880.” The great, wide shot of the Levitt Pavilion comes courtesy of Joel Treisman. Much appreciated!

Speaking of the Levitt: Here’s this week’s schedule.

  • Tuesday, August 24: The Fairfield Counts (19-member big band)
  • Wednesday, August 25:  Sonia de los Santos (Latin Grammy nominee)
  • Thursday, August 26: Nellie McKay (Great American Songbook)
  • Friday, August 27: Mihali (Singer/songwriter)
  • Saturday, August 28; Gunsmoke (country, Western swing, rockabilly)
  • Sunday, August 29: Dr. K’s Motown Revue

Click here for times, and (free!) ticket information.

Dr. K’s Motown Revue will have audiences dancing in the street — well, on the grass — next Sunday, at the Levitt Pavilion.

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As summer workers head off to college, this retro Compo Beach Soundview parking lot sign may soon be hauled out of storage:

(Photo/Daniel Maya)

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Robin Gusick ventured out to Fresh Market yesterday. She reports:

“The ice cream shelves were empty. But shoppers could start advance planning for Thanksgiving.

“They might even begin saving, to buy an $89.99 chocolate turkey.”

What?! Have we just skipped Halloween, and gone straight to “the holidays”?!

(Photo/Robin Gusick)

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Spotted downtown: Support for a politician absolutely with no chance of winning.

(Photo/JC Martin)

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These 2 Compo birds had no idea yesterday that a fierce hurricane was predicted. Or that it never arrived.

They didn’t even realize they were posing for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature. They just did their Compo thing.

(Photo/Dr. Michelle Widmeier)

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Don Everly — the older of the duo, whose “fusion of Appalachian harmonies and a tighter, cleaner version of big-beat rock ’n’ roll made them harbingers of both folk-rock and country-rock” (according to the New York Times), died Saturday at his Nashville home. He was 84.

Click here for the full obituary.

 

Roundup: Real Estate, Trash, YMCA …

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July’s real estate numbers are in.

According to Brown Harris Stevens, while the total number of closed homes declined from 96 to 69 from last year’s frothy July numbers — still the 2nd-highest number of closings for  the month since 2001 — the average closing price rose 19%, from $1,627,253 to $1,929, 908. That’s the highest for July since 2008.

Houses sold, on average, for 101% of the list price. That’s the 5th straight month the figure has surpassed 100%.

As of July 31, there were also 103 pending sales. Another 178 were listed as “active inventory.”

As for condos: 31 closed in July 2021, up from 22 the previous July. The average closing price for condos in the first 7 months of 2021 was $628,002, a rise of 34$ since the comparable period a year ago.

The total volume of house house and condo closings since January 1 is $644,692,685. That’s up a whopping 45% since the first 7 months of 2020. (Hat tip: Chuck Greenlee)

This 4-acre property on Beachside Avenue — once part of the JC Penney estate — is listed for $6,495,000. One drawback: It is not actually on the water.

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Lou Weinberg is best known as the chair of Westport’s Community Gardens.

But the Westporter’s stewardship of the earth extends to the water. He writes:

“A recent walk along Burying Hill Beach yielded an astronomical amount of garbage. The bag on the right was what my wife and I picked up. The garbage on the left was left by a generous donor or donors.

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

“As I’m sure you can guess, there were plenty of single-use plastic bottles, bottle caps, aluminum cans, balloons, fishing line, food wrappers, etc. On this walk, we even saw a used diaper and the leftovers from somebody’s lunches.

“What one can do: The Burying Hill lifeguards gave us the bag. Perhaps others who are taking a stroll along the beach and beyond could bring their own bags, or get one from the guards. Any effort to bag the garbage may result in one less piece of plastic ingested by wildlife, and a cleaner environment. Nature deserves better.”

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Several years ago, the Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club ordered a historical plaque, commemorating its Westport Historic District Commission Preservation Award of 2018 for the heritage of its building.

Delivery problems delayed the ceremony until this week. Westport Museum of History & Culture house historian Bob Weingarten — who made the presentation to former commodore Paul Rosenblatt — provides the backstory:

The SHYC clubhouse was originally a stable. It was built circa 1887 by Henry C. Eno, as part of his Queen Ann seaside summer estate.

The SHYC was established 1959 by J. Anthony Probst. He remodeled the stable into a clubhouse, with the help of landscape architect Evan Harding. During the 2018 presentation, the HDC noted that underwater marsh land was dredged to create a harbor. It was the first of its kind on the eastern seaboard to feature an underwater bubble system, allowing boats to remain moored year-round.

Former commodore Paul Rosenblatt, the Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club plaque, and the historic clubhouse.

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As I walked out of the Y yesterday, a man approached.

“Is this the YMCA?” he asked.

Duh! I thought. What else would it be?

Then I looked around. There is virtually no signage anywhere.

There’s nothing on Wilton Road, or Merritt Parkway Exit 41 — the only 2 ways to enter the parking lot — that say “Welcome to the Westport Weston Family YMCA!”

The sign above the entrance reads “Bedford Family Center.” Who — including most members — knows that’s the name of the Y building.

High above the entrance — where no one looks, and besides, it’s very hard to make out — is the “Y” logo. But that’s it. It doesn’t even say “YMCA.”

I guess there really is no such thing as a dumb question.

Can you see the “Y” above the “Bedford Family Center” sign? (Photo/Dan Woog)

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No one likes to see a police cruiser in their rear view mirror.

But everyone should support the Westport Police Benevolent Association’s 3rd annual Car Cruise. It’s tomorrow (Saturday, August 21, 4 to 8 p.m., Saugatuck train station parking lot #1).

Cars of all years, makes and models are welcome. It’s a family-friendly event, with music, food trucks and a raffle.

The fee to enter and display a car is $20, with the funds earmarked for causes like the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Special Olympics, and Veterans & Families of Fallen Officers.

The first 100 cars receive a gift bag. Trophies will be awarded too.

A previous Westport PBA car rally

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In 2017, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke a story about Westporter Harvey Weinstein in The New York Times. The smoldering #MeToo movement suddenly caught fire.

The 2 journalists will speak at the Westport Library’s inaugural fundraising event, “The Exchange: Conversations About The Issues of Our Time.” The October 5 (10 a.m.) event will be moderated by Westport corporate executive Joan Gillman,

Click here for more information, and tickets.

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.

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The other day, “Westport … Naturally” featured a snowy egret enjoying a meal. Today, we show one in flight.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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To purchase tickets or a table for this special event go to

And finally … speaking of the YMCA (as we were above): Maybe we need these guys as greeters in front.

Photo Challenge #346

If you’ve ever spent time as a commuter — parking in the eastbound lot, or standing on the platform scanning for your ride when you come back from New York — you’ve probably noticed the large statue of a Buckingham Palace guard, standing watch just inside the gate of a home across Ferry Lane.

Brandon Malin is not a commuter. But the June Staples High School graduate knows his Photo Challenges.

He was the first to answer correctly last week. The University of Michigan-bound reader wrote: “You can see it going toward the river from Route 136 (so going west). Must be an interesting back story!”

Alas, no one filled in that story. We’d love to hear it!

Brandon’s response was followed by John Richers, Matthew Levine (who added “the owner enjoys collecting life-size statues”), Andrew Colabella, Jonathan McClure, Karen Como, Iain Bruce, Pat Saviano (who remembers a red English-style phone booth there too), Linda Vita Velez, Clark Thiemann, Mary Ann Batsell and Claire Elliot.

Not all of them are commuters either. But — like so many “06880” readers — they are a very observant bunch.

Are they — and you — observant enough to know what this week’s Photo Challenge shows?

If so, click “Comments” below.

(Photo collage/Kevin Carroll)

Question Box: Answers #2

Last week’s Question Box was a smash.

Readers wanted answers to everything from Grace Salmon Park and “Bob” to our eternally renovated bridges and old/new firehouse. 

I did what I could to respond. Readers pitched in. (Click here if you missed it.)

Then you sent more. Here’s the next set of questions. I know some of the answers. When I don’t — someone else will. Click “Comments” below to help.

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I’m sure you’ve covered this in the past. But I’m curious about the history of the boat “Gloria” that I pass every day as I ride through Longshore. And what might the future hold for this venerable vessel? (John Richers)

Short answer: Yes, I’ve written about Gloria many times. Click here for some of those stories and photos.

Longer story: Alan Sterling built the wooden oyster boat himself. He named it after an old girlfriend, and took it oystering on 150 acres of beds, between Compo Beach and Cockenoe Island. It was a tough job, but Alan — a Staples grad — loved it from the day he began, in 1964.

Alan moored Gloria in Gray’s Creek, between Compo Beach Road and the Longshore exit. Some winters, he lived on the boat. It was cold — but it was home.

On July 4, 2014, Alan died of a heart attack.

After that, Gloria drifted. Michael Calise took care of it. Earlier this year, it washed up on shore. Its future is uncertain. It’s an old boat that’s seen a lot, and given many Westporters years of joy.

Just as it did for Alan Sterling.

Gloria, in 2017. (Photo/John Kantor)

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I am new to Westport, from Brooklyn. I know there is talk about revitalizing downtown, and bringing in businesses to fill some of the vacancies. I’m curious if there has ever been a survey of what people would like to see downtown? I am interested in business ownership, and really being part of the community. I wonder what type of businesses folks think would be needed and supported. (Travis Rew-Porter)

Travis, this is awesome. I don’t know of any consumer/user survey. It’s a great idea.

And readers: If you’d like to work with Travis on a business or revitalization project, click “Comments” below!

What kind of businesses do Westporters want? Great question! (Drone photo/Brandon Malin)

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Does Public Works have any input into local traffic lights? The timing at Morningside Drive/Post Road has changed to prioritize the Post Road more dramatically. The green light for Morningside lasts just 3 seconds. It is impossible to cross on foot. Help! (Amy Bedi)

Unfortunately, nearly every light in town is on a state road. Those balls are in the Department of Transportation’s court.

Click here for a link to report issues to the DOT. But don’t hold your breath.

Town officials — including the 1st selectman and Department of Public Works — are in contact with the state about traffic lights. They can sometimes push things along. But they don’t hold their breath either.

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Can Westporters use the track at Staples to run, jog or walk? If so, is it time restricted? Do you need a pass? (Carmen Castedo)

The Laddie Lawrence Track at Paul Lane Field (the first time I’ve written that!) is open to all — except during the school day, or when it’s used after school by the track team, or if there is another sports event going on.

No pass is needed. But keep Fido home!

The Laddie Lawrence Track, at Paul Lane Field. (File photo; the track is now blue.)

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Is Clinton Avenue named after the namesake of Joseph J. Clinton VFW Post 399 on Riverside Avenue? (Linda Velez)

Not only have I never been asked that — I never even thought about it.

Private Joseph J. Clinton was a Westport soldier. He was killed in France just 4 days before the armistice.

That explains the VFW name. But the road off Main Street, opposite North Compo: I have no idea. Except to say that it is not named for either Bill or Hillary.

VFW Joseph Clinton Post 399.

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What happened to the time capsule that was buried at Greens Farms Elementary School for the bicentennial? I heard that at one time 3 people had plans and permission to dig it up. There is a new road in front of the school. You have a lot of fans who were involved in the project. (A passive-aggressive reader: This was sent by mail, with no name or return address.)

I addressed this in 2012. The answer was the same then: No one knows. (Click here to see.) 

But one reader responded with a back story:

I remember the time capsule at Greens Farms El in 1976. It was buried in the front lawn. All the classes/grades were asked to participate in drawings (I think that I was in maybe 3rd grade & our class drew pictures of ourselves and described our lives. We all mused how fun it would be for people 100 years later to see how we lived).

A crane dug a deep hole, and there was quite a bit of ceremony around the time capsule being buried. I’ve told people about it over the years, only to wonder if anyone else remembered it, as well:)

If anyone can dig deeper (ho ho), click “Comments” below.

Has anyone seen my time capsule? (Photo/Seth Schachter)

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Some 80 years ago I lived on 573 Imperial Avenue, at the corner of Wakeman Place. The numbers have been reset, but the house is still there. My brothers and I used to swim in the river. I remember diving off “White Rock,” which was close to the shore. Is it still there, or am I dreaming? (Karl Taylor)

You’re probably not dreaming, but I have not heard of it. Wakeman Place residents: What’s the deal?

Wakeman Place at Imperial Avenue. Karl, was this your house?

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Why did the state Department of Transportation remove and replace the trees, bushes and buffering hills from the northbound side of the Merritt Parkway, near the Westport Weston Family YMCA? It cost a lot of money. Was the outcome worth the expense? (Jacque O’Brien)

I asked State Representative Jonathan Steinberg, who serves on the House Transportation Committee. He says that location was a major staging area for projects up and down the Merritt.

Now that equipment and material has been moved in and out, it’s time to replace what was lost.

New trees on the Merritt Parkway, near the Y. (Photo/Bob Mitchell)

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What first inspired you to start “06880,” and did you ever think it would keep you this busy? (Jack Krayson)

Wow! I didn’t expect an “06880” question on “06880.”

I started the blog in March of 2009. I was a columnist for the Westport News (I still am!), but realized the future of print journalism was, um, iffy. I wanted to continue to write about town people, issues, events and history. Someone suggested I start a blog.

“No way!” I said. (That’s also what I said about cell phones, when they came in. And computers, before that.)

But he showed me WordPress, a great blogging platform. I learned the basics in a weekend. Here we are, 13,000+ posts (and 136,000+ comments later).

I never dreamed it would keep me this busy. If I knew then what I know now …

… I’d do it all again, in a heartbeat.

(Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

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Why is Westport pronounced “Wessport”? The “t” is silent! (Kevin McCaul)

My guess: It takes too long to say the first “t.”

And Wessporters are always in a hurry.