Category Archives: Westport life

“06880” Party Just 1 Week Away!

The 4th annual “06880″ party is less than a week away.

And if you’re reading this, you’re invited.

Next Thursday (July 21, 6 p.m.) is the day and time. The far end of Compo’s South Beach — away from the cannons, near the boat and kayak launch, the best place to watch the sunset — is the place. (Still confused? See the aerial view below.)

The blue arrow marks the "06880" party spot.

The blue arrow marks the “06880” party spot.

Every member of the “06880″ (as in, this website) community is invited. We welcome frequent commenters and lurkers. Folks who have lived here all their lives, and those who moved here yesterday. People who want the Saugatuck bridge to stay the same, those who want a new one, and everyone in between. (Though we’ll keep the party a politics-free zone.)

The tagline for “06880″ is “Where Westport meets the world.” Next Thursday, that world comes to Compo.

Rick Eason's drone's-eye view of the 2014 party. Too bad he took it so early -- plenty more folks arrived after this shot!

Rick Eason’s drone’s-eye view of the 2014 party. Too bad he took it so early — plenty more folks arrived after this shot!

Bring your own food, beverages, beach chairs and blankets. Then mix, mingle and enjoy the evening with the “06880″ crowd.

There’s no charge. It’s a “fun-raiser,” not a fundraiser.

See you next Thursday!

Life In The Westport Bubble

This weekend, my biggest worry is the cloudy forecast. It’s summertime. I love the beach. Will my cookout be canceled? If not, will I still be able to enjoy a lovely Compo sunset?

I do not worry about being shot at a barbecue grill.

Compo Beach: long a place of joy, peace and safety.

Compo Beach: long a place of joy, peace and safety.

I have an excellent relationship with the Westport police. I grew up with some officers. The chief is a great guy, and a good friend. I know our cops’ jobs are complex and sometimes dangerous. Of course, I do get the usual twinge of anxiety when I see a patrol car in the rear view mirror.

I do not worry about being shot by a policeman.

I own my own home, and a car. I have savings for retirement, and health insurance. I am on the low end of the Westport income scale, but that is the high end for virtually every other community in the country. I am not in the 1%, but — in a town filled with haves and have-mores — I have everything I could possibly need or want.

I do not worry about where my next meal comes from, whether the roof over my head will disappear, or if I am one doctor’s visit away from ruin.

Most Westporters feel safe and secure in our homes. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)

Most Westporters feel safe and secure in our homes. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)

I am a minority — a gay man — but I have never been treated differently because of it. On the contrary, I am surrounded by straight men and women who affirm their support for same-sex marriage, for my right to hold any job I want, for my dignity and worth as a human being.

I do not worry about being murdered in a nightclub. And I certainly do not have to worry about issues like which bathroom I use.

Walking around town, and especially at the beach, I enjoy hearing so many different languages being spoken. I drive across the Post Road bridge on jUNe Day just to see so many different flags flying proudly. I am proud to be an American, and proud to be a global citizen of the world.

I do not worry that some people do not want me here. I do not worry that because of the way I look or dress or talk, some people will make assumptions about me. And although I worry about the consequences of a wall being built on our border, that worry is for all of us. I do not worry that I will be on the other side.

On jUNe Day, the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge brims with flags from around the world. (Photo/Jeff Simon)

On jUNe Day, the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge brims with flags from around the world. (Photo/Jeff Simon)

In the comfort of my home, I watch the news on my flat-screen TV. If the images get too depressing, I can change the channel. I can order up a movie on demand, go for a walk in beautiful Winslow Park next door, or do anything else I please. If the political rhetoric gets too heated, the voices too shrill or the idiocy and hypocrisy too dismal, I can read a book on one of my many devices. Or even a real one.

But — because I am an American, and a global citizen of the world — I do not change the channel. I do not watch a movie, go for a walk or read a book. Instead — fascinated, horrified, frightened, angry, sad — I stay tuned to the latest episode of the reality show that is “America.” Every day, the plot line gets crazier and crazier.

And — in the bubble that is Westport — I worry. I worry for me. I worry for you. And I worry for all the people outside our bubble.

Because, after all, they really are all of us too.

Happy 4th From The FD

The 4th of July is not exactly a greeting-card holiday.

But the Westport Fire Department sent this photo — and best wishes — to the town today:

Westport Fire Department

Members of Platoon pose in traditional military green fire t-shirts. They show the department’s patriotism — and honor its many members who are military veterans.

The note says: “The Westport Fire Department asks all citizens to remember in your thoughts and prayers your public servants this 4th of July. Likewise, the members of Platoon 1, who are on duty this July 4th, wish all citizens a safe and blessed holiday.”

Thanks to Platoon 1 — and all of our firefighters — for all they do, for all of us.

July Comes In With A Bang!

Westport celebrated the arrival of July — and Independence Day — with perfect weather, and one of the largest fireworks crowds ever, last night.

It was a wonderful, friendly, community vibe. There was food and fun, glow sticks and sparklers, and wall-to-wall people.

Westport may have been the 1st community in America to celebrate July 4th this year. But the date doesn’t matter. The great feelings — about our town and our country — do.

Thanks, Westport PAL, Melissa & Doug, our police and fire and EMTs and Parks & Rec crew, and everyone else who made last night special!

Click on or hover over photos to enlarge. All images below by Dan Woog, unless otherwise noted.

It's not Independence Day unless you wear red, white and blue.

It’s not Independence Day unless you wear red, white and blue…

...whatever your age...

…whatever your age…

 

...and deck your house in an American flag.

…and deck your house in an American flag.

Celebrating the 2nd Amendment.

Celebrating the 2nd Amendment. (Don’t worry! They’re toys!)

One man found solitude around 5 p.m. The large crowds had not yet arrived.

One man found solitude around 5 p.m. The large crowds had not yet arrived.

On Compo Beach Road, youngsters sold lemonade and cookies to raise funds to fight Alzheimer's.

On Compo Beach Road, youngsters raised money to fight Alzheimer’s.

Police officers did their job -- and mingled with the crowds. Ned Batlin knows everyone.

Police officers did their job — and mingled with the crowds. Ned Batlin knows everyone.

This scene was repeated hundreds of times, up and down the beach.

This scene was repeated hundreds of times, all along the beach.

Boats were out in force, all afternoon and evening.

Boats were out in force, all afternoon and evening.

Up and down Soundview, the boardwalk and beyond, teenagers strutted their stuff.

Up and down Soundview, the boardwalk and beyond, teenagers strutted their stuff.

New York City's Cobras put on a great dance and drum performance. They appeared in the movie "Birdman."

New York City’s Cobras put on a great dance and drum performance. They appeared in the movie “Birdman.”

A classic shot. We sometimes forget that the cannons represent Westport's part in our war for independence.

A classic shot. We sometimes forget that the cannons represent Westport’s role in our war for independence.

As night fell, bunting was illuminated on Soundview Drive.

As night fell, bunting was illuminated on Soundview Drive.

The main attraction.

The main attraction.

The fireworks, as seen from a Soundview Drive front porch. (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

The fireworks, as seen from a Soundview Drive front porch. (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

 

You Know It’s Fireworks Night When…

…spots are already reserved at 8 a.m.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

Crane Is Back!

Well, it’s not exactly the magnificent crane that enthralled Westporters, as it towered over Bedford Square for several months.

This one — across from Fire Department headquarters — is quite a bit smaller:

Crane

But how fitting that it’s there. The Post Road office building being renovated was once the international headquarters of Terex.

You know: the manufacturer of heavy construction equipment.

Save The Date: “06880” Party Is July 21

Mark your calendar: Thursday, July 21 (6 p.m.). That’s the date of the 4th annual “06880” party.

The first 3 years were great successes. They were true community gatherings– chances to meet and mingle with the diverse “06880” community (both online and real).

This year’s party will be even better. The word is out: It’s an event not to be missed.

We’ll gather at Compo Beach — the alcohol-is-okay end. Bring your own food, beverages, beach chairs and blankets. Like the website, “06880” simply provides space to get together, have a good time, chat, laugh, and of course bitch.

Part of the scene at last year's "06880" party.

Part of the scene at last year’s “06880” party.

There’s no charge. It’s a “fun-raiser,” not a fundraiser.

The “06880” tagline is “Where Westport meets the world.” We call this party “where ‘06880’ meets each other.”

PS: We picked a Thursday because the beach is not as crowded as on weekends. As alert readers know, “06880” does not believe in reserving tables.

jUNe Day Busts Out

For the 51st summer, Westport welcomed United Nations diplomats, staff members and their families. Our jUNe Day guests enjoyed soccer, swimming, tennis, and visits to spots like Earthplace and downtown.

Every year on jUNe Day, flags of visitors’ nations replace the American flags on the Post Road’s Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

So who was Ruth Steinkraus Cohen?

The founder and — for many years — guiding spirit behind the annual event.

There could be no better tribute — and no finer day for our guests.

(PhotoCharlie Colasurdo)

(PhotoCharlie Colasurdo)

One Woman’s Lament

I got a call yesterday from an older Westport woman. Her voice shook.

Around 11:20 the night before, she said, a flickering light bulb burst into flames. Panicked, she called 911.

Fire DepartmentAlmost immediately, police officers and firefighters arrived — sirens blazing, lights blaring. The fire chief came too. All were wonderful. The fire was put out. They stayed to help her clean up, and calm her down.

But that’s not why she called me.

She’s lived on her private road for 51 years. She raised her kids here, in a friendly, social, tight-knit neighborhood.

But despite all the commotion Friday night, she said, no one came over to see what was going on.

And no one called Saturday, to see how she was.

Several years ago, her son gave her contact information to neighbors. He asked them to check in on her, from time time — and in an emergency, do what they could.

Of course, they said. We’re happy to do that.

This weekend though, no one did.

“Last night was very scary,” she said, hours after the fire.

“But now I’m more hurt than scared.”

Westporter: Door-To-Door Solicitation Is “Insane”

The other day, alert — and irate — “06880” reader Trish Lawrence wrote:

It’s spring — and the door-to-door solicitors are back.

At 8:30 last night, my door bell rang. I let the young woman know I wasn’t interested in buying anything. But I had to hear her whole spiel.

She claimed that because I didn’t have a sign up, she had the right to knock on my door from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The police concurred that when a permit is given to a group, those are the hours. I called Town Hall, and was told that Westporters voted yes to this solicitation law several years ago.

Door to door

Last summer, a fellow wanted to use my phone because he was afraid the van had left without him.

I told another very pushy — no, downright surly — young woman that I was going to call the police if she didn’t leave. Her retort? “No cop is gonna tell me I can’t do my job.”

Several years ago I did donate some money to a young man. He had kicked drugs and, being a felon, found it nearly impossible to land a job. So he was trying the door-to-door thing.

I know these people need help, but I don’t think going door to door is the answer.

The police say the answer is a sign. In my neighborhood, tons of little kids stop by to pet our dogs and cats. Now I have to be the nasty old lady who puts up a “No Trespassing” sign? That’s not me.

No soliciting

Perhaps folks who voted yes live in houses with gates and security cameras. I grew up here, and I can’t imagine anyone voting for this.

My husband was home last night. If he was away on business, I would not have felt safe.

The next day, Trish followed up:

I just booted another guy off my stoop — and this time my husband is away.

The police said there is nothing they can do, and admitted they don’t have the time to vet all the people who supply for solicitation licenses.

Do people realize that once a permit is given, groups fill their vans with a dozen people and drop them off in neighborhoods like mine, where homes are close together?

It’s insane.

Yesterday, Trish wrote again:

I did some homework. Door-to-door solicitation falls under the 1st Amendment. Grievances similar to mine have reached the Supreme Court. The 1st Amendment wins every time.

1st amendment

Westport changed the hours of solicitation in April to 9 a.m to 6 p.m. The police department is not aware of this, and Town Hall told me that they can only suggest these hours.

The only answer is to put up a sign. If the solicitor chooses to dismiss it you have to ask for their permit, and take down the info to show the police. I’ll put the sign up, but no way am I going to confront these people for permit info.