Tag Archives: 21 Charles Street

Photo Challenge #427

There’s an old saying: “No publicity is bad publicity. Just spell my name right.”

A corollary might be: “It doesn’t matter if you’re the ugliest building in Westport. Everyone knows you.”

Everyone — well, 24 readers, which is a ton for this contest — recognized last week’s Photo Challenge.

Ed Simek’s shot showed the sculpture that — for half a century or so — has sat on the side of what nearly everyone who has seen it calls “the ugliest building in Westport.” (Click here to see.)

And — because the location in the heart of Saugatuck, near the train station, by Exit 17, a few yards from I-95 — is so visible, at some point everyone sees it.

Readers described it in many ways: near the old Arrow restaurant, across from the now-closed Tarry Lodge, by the station, next to Luciano Park, even (most accurately) 21 Charles Street.

No one though said, “Hey, the building is beautiful!”

A few folks pointed out that the artwork’s creator — Harvey Weiss — is a noted sculptor.

A few also asked what would happen to the building if the Hamlet at Saugatuck project is approved.

The bad news: It’s not going anywhere.

The good news: It will be re-skinned.

Congratulations to Fred Cantor, John Richers, Elaine Marino, Bill Dohme, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Kate Caputo Squyres, Vanessa Bradford, Scott Brodie, Ken Stamm, Peter Barlow, Lucy Kiermaier, Bobbie Herman, Kenny Gilbertie, Suzanne Warner Raboy, Alicia Kaye Kronick, Tom Feeley, John Lisee, Richard Hyman, Clay Yalof, Brooks Sumberg, Michael Calise, Amy Schneider, Sharon Paulsen and Howard Potter.

You sure know ugly when you see it.

This week’s Photo Challenge shows a handsome grandfather clock. If you know where in Westport you’d find it, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Tom Lowrie)

New Saugatuck Story Lab Is The “Write” Place

For nearly 10 years, a suite of offices sat empty on the top floor of 21 Charles Street — the building opposite Tarry Lodge. That’s odd. It’s just a few steps from the train station, there are great restaurants all around, and the view is spectacular.

But the space is now rented. There’s a story there. In fact, there are countless stories.

The new tenant is Fairfield County Story Lab. It’s the brainchild of Carol Dannhauser, a journalist and writing teacher who loves both the written word, and the people who write it.

Carol Dannhauser enjoys working on one of Story Lab’s inviting couches.  

After 30 years with (among others) the New Haven Register and New York Daily News — and a freelance career in books, magazines and documentaries — Dannhauser realized that although writing is a solitary act, writers need solidarity.

She had a nice home office. Yet she’d head to Panera or Starbucks to work. She liked the background buzz. But even with a cup of coffee, she could not sit there forever.

“I was looking for ‘my people,'” Dannhauser says. “There are great writing studios in Westport” — in fact, she’s co-founder of the Fairfield County Writers Studio, elsewhere in the Charles Street building — “but they’re all about teaching,  not actually writing. I wanted a place where people could write, connect and prosper.”

She knows this town is filled with real writers: novelists, playwrights, journalists, children’s book authors, poets — you name it. She figured, “If you build it, they will come.”

She did. And they did.

Working in one of the common areas …

Dannhauser, her husband, and her business partner Diane Salerno spent 5 months renovating the 2,5oo-square foot space. They worked from Dannhauser’s vision: Give writers every type of accommodation they could imagine.

And even some they couldn’t.

There are all kinds of configurations: rooms with desks. Sofas. A quiet room (NO TALKING ALLOWED!). A deadline room (for an extra $100 a week you can lock the door, and race to finish that book or TV project.)

The cafe/kitchen — a corner room with great lighting and a killer view — is stocked with cheese, cookies, coffee, tea and a microwave.

A community room is perfect for a book club meeting, or book launch party.

… and the community room.

There’s also an interview room, a phone room and storyboard room, where groups of creatives can plot ideas. Of course, free WiFi is everywhere.

An attorney offers pro bono advice once a month on issues like copyrights and royalties.

A grand opening recently drew 100 people, including best-selling authors and 1st Selectman Jim Marpe. Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce president Matthew Mandell was there too. He’s excited that Story Lab will draw folks to Saugatuck. And — because you can’t sit and write forever — they’ll get up, go outside, and patronize nearby shops and restaurants.

As well as Mystic Market. The new store in the old Blu Parrot/Arrow had opened just a few days earlier. The market welcomed their new neighbor with a huge plate of cookies.

It’s open from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. Hey, even writers need to sleep.

(Story Lab memberships range from a day rate to every day for a year, with several options in between. For more information, click here.)

The quiet room is QUIET!

Photo Challenge #131

Say what you will about the office building at 21 Charles Street in Saugatuck — and what most people say can’t be repeated in mixed company, or even on “06880” — everyone knows it.

And 14 readers quickly identified last week’s photo challenge as the odd sculpture hanging on the side of the 4-story structure, between Tarry Lodge and the train station.

Congratulations to Drew Seath, David Sampson, Fred Cantor, Jonathan McClure, Peter Barlow, Rick Benson, Seth Braunstein, Diane Silfen, Bobbie Herman, Ginny Hamil Clark, Tom Wall, Linda Amos, John Dodig and Jeanine Esposito for nailing this one. Click here for the photo, and all the comments — including some interesting info on sculptor Harvey Weiss, who at least tried to put lipstick on that concrete pig.

Now, since last week’s photo challenge was so popular, here’s another side-of-a-building image. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Wendy Cusick)