Photo Challenge #194

Last Sunday’s Photo Challenge showed a glass display case, with notices about dogs: registration, adoption, fixing.

I said: “We’ve all walked by it — often. But how many of us actually notice it?”

Apparently, no one. A couple of folks guessed Winslow Park. Logical, but wrong.

Only Bob Colson said Town Hall. That’s where it is: Just outside the front door, at the top of the steps next to the big white column.

Hopefully the info is also available at the Town Clerk’s office — the “spot” (ho ho) for dog licenses.

Because it’s clear no one sees it where it is: hiding in plain sight. (Click here for the photo.)

This week’s Photo Challenge comes from Peter Barlow.

(Photo/Peter Barlow)

He offers 2 hints: This photo does not show the object’s original location. It’s now in his yard, but that’s not where Westporters would have seen it.

And this is not the only one. At one point, there were a dozen or so.

If you think you know where you might once have seen this, click “Comments” below.

Case Of The Missing Story Walk

Village Pediatrics is a full-service practice.

As part of their mission to connect young patients and their parents, the pediatricians laminate children’s books. They spread them on pylons along the length of their very cool walkway over the Saugatuck River, behind their Riverside Avenue office.

Kids and adults enjoy the story — and the gorgeous view.

They’re not the only ones. Joggers, dog walkers and others also like them too.

The riverwalk behind 323 Riverside Avenue.

The book choices are not random. The Village staff carefully reflects the season, or something relevant to the time of year. Around Election Day, for example, they displayed “Duck for President.”

Recently, they changed the story walk. “The Kissing Hand” is a beautiful book about a raccoon nervous for his first day of school. His mother teaches him that they are always connected — even when they’re physically apart.

Many youngsters and parents appreciated it, as they got ready for school to begin.

An illustration from “The Kissing Hand.”

The other day though, the pediatricians looked out their window. The story walk was gone!

They also had a small live cam taped to one of the pylons, so everyone in the office could watch the swans rotate and eventually hatch their eggs. That camera was taken too.

They’ve asked “06880” to help. Please return “The Kissing Hand” and/or the camera — no questions asked.

Village Pediatrics wants our entire village to enjoy the book!

Pic Of The Day #516

Westport musician Warren Bloom enjoys Westonstock. The festival — held at the Weston Historical Society’s Coley barn — brought hundreds of folks back to the ’60s. It started at 2 p.m. today, and ended just a few minutes ago. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Lisa Brummel Storms To WNBA Title

The Seattle Storm — one of the classiest Women’s National Basketball Association franchises, on the court and off — just won its 3rd championship in 17 years. The team topped the Washington Mystics, 4 games to 1.

Congratulations to Lisa Brummel! The Storm’s co-owner is a big name in the Pacific Northwest — and in Westport.

Lisa’s story is legendary. The daughter of former Westport superintendent of school Ken Brummel, she was the first Staples High School basketball player to score 1,000 points.

The 1977 graduate also starred in softball, track and field hockey, earning All- FCIAC or All-State in all 4 sports.

She continued her success at Yale University, starring in 4 sports (adding volleyball to the list).

Lisa Brummel

Lisa was a 4-year All-Ivy basketball playing, adding Ivy League MVP when the Elis won the title in 1979. She was an Academic All-American 1981.

In addition, she earned Yale’s George H.W. Bush Lifetime of Leadership Award.

She also played three seasons as a catcher with the Raybestos Brakettes (1976-78), winning national titles each year. Lisa was elected to the Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

For 3 years — beginning in high school — she was a catcher for the Raybestos Brakettes. All they did was win ASA national and WSA world championships.

In 1989 Lisa joined Microsoft. She retired in 2014, as Chief People Officer. EWeek named her 1 of the 25 Most Influential People there.

Brummel’s team’s title is a great one. Now let’s see what Westport’s other pro basketball co-owner — Marc Lasry of the Milwaukee Bucks — can do this year.

(Hat tip: Andre Lambros)

The Naan Fills A Niche

In just 2 months since opening, The Naan has developed a loyal and substantial following.

The new place — which follows Kibberia and, before that, John’s Best, on Post Road West just before Whole Foods and the Norwalk line — calls itself a different kind of Indian restaurant.

For one thing, there’s a substantial bar, overseen by experienced cocktail master Steve Barone (most recently of Luxe). Many Indian restaurant bars, he says, are “postage stamps.” His drink list changes seasonally.

Steve Barone, behind the bar.

For another, the menu pays homage to the entire, sprawling country. From Goa (the Portuguese-influenced state whose cuisine celebrates seafood) to the north (breads, rotis, samosas, curries), The Naan offers authentic food — some of it seldom seen in the US — with a modern take.

The restaurant is the dream of Pratiba Anand — an engineer by trade, with a strong sense of style — and her husband Raman Bindra. They moved to Connecticut from Queens, where the Indian population is far more substantial than here.

Anand, Bindra and Barone believe Westport is ready for a fine-dining Indian restaurant, with another twist. “Most Indian places are strait-laced,” Barone says. “Our servers really engage our guests. The atmosphere is not stuffy at all.”

Diners have responded enthusiastically. Lunch draws workers from nearby offices and stores; dinner attracts folks from all over the area.

Including yours truly. The other night, I had a very intriguing mixed grill dish. Lamb, chicken, minced meat, shrimp and salmon were seasoned with herbs and spices, all in a tandoor oven.

Mixed grill at The Naan.

The ginger beer and rose petal ice cream were excellent.

And of course, I loved the naan.

Pic Of The Day #515

Bedford Middle School

Friday Flashback #107

Word on the street — Charles Street — is that Mystic Market opens next month.

Some folks will describe it as the old Blu Parrot spot. Others — with longer memories — will say it’s where Jasmine was.

But real old-timers know it — and will never forget — the site as the beloved Arrow restaurant.

For a couple of decades — after its move from the nearby Saugatuck Avenue/Franklin Street location that gave it its name — the Arrow defined the neighborhood.

And made its mark on all of Westport.

Here’s a look back, at the way we all were.

Owner Frank Nistico

Owner Tom Nistico, back in the day.

Lou Nistico, son of the founders of the Arrow.

FRIDAY FLASHBACK FUN FOLLOW-UP: Last week’s Friday Flashback featured a 1946 photo of Marie Corridon on the Longshore high diving board. 

It was a great shot (click here to see). Now comes word — via alert “06880” reader Chris Corridon — that Maria was not your casual, Sunday diver.

Turns out her family lived in Norwalk, and were members of Longshore. She learned to swim at the then-private club — and went on to win a gold medal at the 1948 Olympics in London!

Marie was the lead swimmer for the champion, Olympic record-setting US team in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay.

She is a member of the swimming Hall of Fame. Her 7 children all participated in Division I athletics. The girls all swam, and are active Masters swimming record holders. One — Sheila Stolarski — is a Weston resident. Several of her grandchildren swim competitively too, in high school and college.

Who knew? Thankfully, Chris Corridon does!

Westport: A Town Of “Darkness And Pain”

Last week, I posted a story about “Land of Steady Habits.”

The movie — based on 2001 Staples High School graduate Ted Thompson’s debut novel about a Westporter seeking something beyond his soul-crushing marriage and job — has just been released by Netflix.

The New York Times‘ A.O. Scott gave it a strong review yesterday, calling it “unpredictable and fresh.”

He begins:

The American suburb is zoned for ambivalence. Neither city nor country, suburbia — at least in the imagination of too many novelists, filmmakers and songwriters to count — yokes affluence to alienation. Beyond the well-kept lawns and hedges are seething hives of adultery, anomie and addiction. These pathologies may not actually be more common along the commuter rail lines than anywhere else, but there is an imposing body of literature that insists otherwise.

He adds of director Nicole Holofcener: “The darkness and pain haunting Westport are more pronounced …than the melancholy and quiet rage that figure in Ms. Holofcener’s other movies.”

Fortunately, that “darkness and pain” refers to the film, not life in our actual town.

I think.

(For the full New York Times review, click here. Hat tips: John Karrel and Fran White)

 

Westport’s FDA Head Hopes To Snuff Out Juuls

Westporter Dr. Scott Gottlieb was in the news on Wednesday.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb

The commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration took aim at e-cigarettes. Targeting both manufacturers and sellers, he gave Juul and 4 other major makers 60 days to prove they can keep their wildly popular devices away from minors.

The FDA also warned 1,100 retailers and issued 131 fines for major corporations — including 7-Eleven and Walgreens — that sell e-cigarettes to people under 18.

The New York Times said Gottlieb’s “aggressive approach against private industry is unusual for an official in the business-friendly Trump administration which has sought to roll back numerous environmental and health regulations.”

But, it added, “critics said that his decision last summer to extend a deadline for e-cigarette manufacturers to demonstrate that their products comply with public health concerns helped perpetuate the the current problem.”

Gottlieb told the Times that “the immense popularity of vaping among teens and the growing addiction among young people was not something he foresaw last summer.”

Juul pods: empty (left) and full.

Regarding actions taken by Juul and other companies since then, he said, if they’d had the impact he intended, “I wouldn’t be viewing the statistics I’m now seeing.”

The Times quoted legal experts, who predicted a “protracted legal fight” over the FDA’s threats.

(To read the entire New York Times story, click here. For one Westport teenager’s story about his e-cigarette addiction, click here.)

Pic Of The Day #514

Saugatuck Island sunset (Photo/William Adler)