Category Archives: Westport life

Tents Or Not? You Be The Judge.

I’m not the only one who noticed an invasion of pop-up tents this summer.

A recent “06880” post about summer crowds at Compo drew a number of comments about the pup tents, lean-tos and other space-filling mini-homes that have, in the words of one Westporter, turned our beach into a “tent city.”

(Another commenter, more charitably, compared it to the Caribbean.)

Of course this is not Compo. We don’t have a volleyball court in the middle of the beach.

Turns out it’s not just Westport.

According to the New York Post, a Jersey Shore town — Belmar — is considering banning all tents more than 3 feet high and wide.

Officials there have several concerns:

  • The tents block visibility
  • They take up too much space
  • They’re invasive
  • They cast long shadows
  • They obstruct the view of lifeguards.

One disgruntled beachgoer described his neighbors: “They bring tables, coolers. It looks like they’re moving in for a week.”

Another noted that tailgating is fine at MetLife Stadium. But, he said, the beach is not a Giants game.

What do you think? Take the poll below:

(To read the full New York Post story, click here. Hat tip: David Loffredo)

$35 For Out-Of-Towners

I love so many things about Compo Beach.

The sunrises and sunsets.

The wide variety of things to do: Swim. Walk. Jog. Bike. Sail. Kayak. Fish. Eat at Joey’s. Enjoy a picnic. Play basketball, soccer, pickleball or at the playground. Explore the jetty. Worship. Get married. Read. Nap.

I also love the wide variety of people. Foreign languages abound. So do out-of-state license plates, and plenty of folks who look nothing like “typical” Westporters.

There are 2 main reasons, I think, for the large rise in out-of-towners at Compo over the past few years. Sherwood Island banned alcohol, and we now appear online — I’m not sure where — as a welcoming alternative for families searching for a fun, relatively inexpensive day at the beach.

I am well aware that some residents don’t share my joy at sharing Compo with non-residents.

A recent Facebook posting — on a Westport/Fairfield group — was strong and direct. It read:

What is your view on the compo beach situation with out of town cars/people?

The fee they pay is very minimal, $35 week day and $50 on weekends per car. On several occasions the beach has been closed because they were at max capacity. My question is this…

Can we raise the fee that they pay? Maybe $75 per car? More on weekends?

The line of cars waiting to get into Compo Beach can be long.

Also what does the town do with the money they receive? Does it go towards our beaches?

Can we have a system set up like Greenwich where they go to Town Hall and purchase their pass during the week for the weekends? This would eliminate the crazy line of traffic that we see every weekend.

I’d like to see a police officer paid to patrol our beach. Years ago there was always an officer stationed at the beach especially on the weekends. I know due to budget constraints it was eliminated but I’d like to bring that back, especially with the crowds that are developing at Compo.

Welcome to Compo!

And finally I’d like to get a petition going to see how many are on board? I’ve spoken to and overheard many people at compo about their frustrations with parking and so on because of all the NY plates. They are all on board.

Just wanted to get your thoughts?

There were 100 comments. Many — though not all — agreed with the poster.

There were references to too many cars, and too many people being dropped off by Uber; litter, and overcrowding.

“We have a state park in town,” one person wrote. “Out of towners should go there.”

When the comments got out of hand, the post was removed.

Lisa Sabino — the alert “06880” reader who sent me the link — called many of the comments “heartbreaking.” She added:

I don’t believe they are truly representative of the people in this town.

By raising prices, we have to really think about who exactly we are keeping off our beach. I think the simple answer is ‘outsiders.’ People who are from other communities, lower income brackets, and who we see as less than us.

This town could do with some  more economic, social and racial diversity. That is not going to happen by raising the cost of spending the day at our exclusive beach.

There is plenty of antisocial, illegal and rowdy behavior caused by Westporters. As much as I dislike it, dealing with it is a natural part of going out in public places.

Westporters — not out-of-towners — aggressively reserve spots for the fireworks.

This is certainly a fraught subject. It involves issues of crowding, noise, access to picnic tables and grills — and race, class and money.

Frankly, I’m surprised no one has emailed me about this before. It’s been one of the hot topics every summer for the past few years.

What do you think? Do you agree with the Facebook post, or the woman who contacted me about it? Are you — like some Westporters — conflicted?

Click “Comments” below. Let this important conversation begin!

Whose beach is it, anyway? (Photo/Tom Cook)

Bad News: Yellow Pages Will Be Tossed In Your Driveway Soon. Good News: You Can Opt Out!

The new edition of the Yellow Pages will be distributed hurled intrusively onto your driveway soon. The project — which wastes enormous amounts of fuel as drivers deliver a product that wastes enormous numbers of trees, and which no one uses these days anyway — begins around September 22.

If you’re one of the 100% of Westporters who believe the Yellow Pages — and if not them, their current distribution system — should go the way of the Flivver and the fax, you’re in luck.

According to the 1st selectman’s office, you can opt out of “future phone book deliveries” by visiting If you opt out 60 days in advance of the delivery, you will not receive the current publication. (Today is July 27. I know, I know…)

Westport’s official town nuisance.

Supposedly, data submitted will never be used for marketing purposes, and will not be given to third parties.

You can also use those links to request directories.  As if.

If you have “concerns” about the Yellow Pages, email Provide your name, address, contact information and specific details about why you’re concerned.

Meanwhile, if you’ve got any strategies for stopping the even more intrusive — as in, every week — Minuteman, click “Comments” to share.


Today’s Trader Joe’s Stupid Parking Trick

(Photo/Howard Silver)

Trader Joe's 2

(Photo/Barbara Jay)

“06880” Party Is A Week Away!

The 5th annual “06880″ party is less than a week away.

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

Next Thursday (July 20, 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, not far from our new palm tree — 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.

Bring your own food, beverages, beach chairs and blankets. (If you bring extras to share with others, we won’t say no). Then mix, mingle and enjoy the evening with the “06880″ crowd.

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

A “blog party” — the “06880” version of a block party.

See you next Thursday!

The Sidewalks Of Westport

Westport’s annual Sidewalk Sale takes place this weekend.

But this is not a story about that.

In fact, when they move here or visit from other parts of the country, people often remark on the lack of sidewalks in Westport.

We’ve got them.

We just don’t use them.

The other day, I drove from the beach, down South Compo, up North Compo, then Cross Highway and North Avenue to Staples.

There are sidewalks most of the way.

The number of folks on them: Zero.

Nada. Nil.

Okay, maybe they’re crossing the street. But this is the closest photo I could find to showing people in the road, when there’s a perfectly good sidewalk nearby.

I did see people on the sides of the road, sandwiched between speeding cars and grass, on the other side of which were perfectly good, safe and completely empty sidewalks.

I saw people walking abreast, chatting.

I saw people walking alone, headphones on, oblivious to the world.

I saw several women (and one man) pushing mega-strollers, right there on the street.

I’m not sure why Westporters don’t use sidewalks.

Is it laziness (you may have to cross the street to get there)?

Is it ignorance (people don’t know they’re there — or have no idea what they’re used for)?

Perhaps the sidewalks are cracked or uneven (though as a bike rider, I know our streets are not exactly baby-bottom smooth)?

If you’ve got a theory, please click “Comments” below. And if you’re one of the (many) non-sidewalk-using Westporters, I’d really like to know!

Looking Back At The 3rd, On The 4th

Last night’s fireworks: The view from Old Mill Beach. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

A panoramic view of Compo Beach. Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Happy 241st, America!

Andrew Colabella gets in the red-white-and-blue spirit.

A small portion of the large crowd.

Adam Goldberg serves up shrimp. He and his Honor Bar Beach Club were on the beach since 6:30 a.m. — with someone always in the cabana.

Every dog has his Independence Day.

Food, a book and an umbrella — what more do you need?

As always, a long line of cars waited to get into Compo Beach.

Popular Police Chief Foti Koskinas gives Ben Kiev a seat on his motorcycle.

The Cobras dance band wowed the crowd.

Westport’s fireworks are timeless. This shot is from 2016 — it’s better than anything I took last night. Happy 4th! (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Ghosts Get Ready For Fireworks

Westport has 2 Independence Day traditions:

  • The fireworks, and
  • Saving enormous swaths of the beach for the fireworks.

This was the scene today, well before noon:

See you tonight. It should be a great show.

If there’s any space left.

The Palm Tree Lives!

When I posted yesterday’s photo of a palm tree that appeared suddenly last Friday at Compo Beach near Ned Dimes Marina, I thought it was just a cute little piece.

More than a dozen readers responded. Most loved it.

Charlie Haberstroh did not. The chair of Westport’s Parks and Recreation Commission commented:

Just to be clear, it was not planted by the Parks and Rec Department nor was it by the Tree Warden. Hopefully, whoever planted it will remove it and save the tree.


One view of the palm tree … (Photo/Jaime Bairaktaris)

When I heard the back story (Butchie Izzo planted it as a replacement for a tree that died) — and posted it this morning — I figured folks would be amused.

Very quickly, over 40 “06880” readers added their thoughts. All of them love the palm tree. It’s fun; it’s quirky; it was done by a great guy, with a huge Westport heart.

Haberstroh heard you.

… and another. (Photo/Randy Christophersen)

A few minutes ago, he wrote:

Since the tree is a replacement for a tree originally planted with town authorization, we have decided to let the palm tree stand. It will replaced by Butchie by contract in the fall. Enjoy!


Score one for Westport.

For Butchie Izzo.

And for our friends on the Parks and Rec Commission, who will hopefully enjoy our special palm tree with the rest of us, all summer long.