Tag Archives: Adam Goldberg

Roundup: Popup Bagels, Spirited & Small Town Movies, Staples Football …

Popup Bagels — the Westport-based company that has taken the tri-state area by storm (including several out-of-the-suburbs-and-into-the-city awards at Brooklyn BagelFest) — has some eye-popping news.

They just closed on a second round of (poppy) seed funding. Founder and CEO Adam Goldberg calls it “a few million dollars — more than a couple.” That’s on top of about $250,000 last year.

The most recent funding was led by film producer John Davis. Other investors include actors Patrick Schwarzenegger and Paul Rudd; swimmer Michael Phelps, and NFL players JJ and TJ Watt, and Michael Strahan.

The company will now hire a team to examine expansion ideas, including more locations in the New York area (and possibly adding Los Angeles). They’ll also add production capability.

Click here for the full story, from Restaurant Business.

Adam Goldberg, with his Brooklyn BagelFest awards.

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Spirited” — the Christmas-themed musical comedy retelling of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” — has opened to great reviews. It’s in theaters, and streaming on Apple TV.

The music-writing team includes 2003 Staples High School graduate Justin Paul, and his songwriting partner Benj Pasek (“Dear Evan Hansen,” “La La Land,” “The Greatest Showman”).

Justin — also credited as an executive producer — said he had “a blast” working on the score during the pandemic, on Zoom.

In this quick, intriguing interview below, he provides a bit of the back story:

(Hat tip: Julie Whamond)

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Speaking of cinema: “Small Town Movie” is making its way to distribution.

And that “small town” is Westport.

Jarret Liotta — a Staples High School graduate, now a journalist and writer — filmed the dark satire that tries to make sense (“or non-sense”) of racism, gun violence and modern cancel culture in an “average, upper middle class, affluent Connecticut town.”

The timely script will make audiences laugh. “Or furious, depending on their mood that day,” Jarret says.

His goal is to “poke fun at everyone equally, regardless of their social or political views. Hopefully it provides a minor epiphany for everyone — about themselves and the comical world in which we live.

“If Westporters enjoyed my smarmy columns and editorial writing in the past, they’ll probably adore this flick,” Jarret — former editor of Westport Journal — adds.

“If they hated them, this will help them hate me even more.”

The film includes original music by Staples grads Tom Shaner and Margot Liotta.

Jarret plans a screening in Westport after the holidays. Then, he hopes, it will start getting attention from film festivals.

For more information, click here.

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The Staples football team’s quest for a state tournament semifinal berth fell a few agonizing inches short last night.

The Wreckers — seeded 4th in the “LL” (extra large schools) division — dropped a 23-22 heartbreaker to #5 Fairfield Prep, at Paul Lane Field.

The game came down to the final seconds. With no timeouts left, Staples junior quarterback Caleb Smith brought his team 77 yards in the final 2:22. A pass into the end zone was broken up with 3 seconds to go. A final 29-yard field goal attempt was just wide.

Congratulations to coach Adam Behrends and his squad for an excellent 9-2 season. This was the Wreckers’ first playoff game in 7 years.

Quarterback Caleb Smith. (Photo/John Nash courtesy of The Ruden Report)

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WestportMoms’ Holiday Shopping Event always draws a huge crowd to the Westport Country Playhouse. Vendors offer nearly everything shoppers need to complete their gift list.

This year, it’s moving inside, to the Playhouse barn. (Some tables will be outside too). It’s set for this Friday (December 2, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Warm drinks will be provided. Those WestportMoms think of everything.

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Westporters raveled to Guatemala this month to help expand a local English academy, and also create healthy cooking stoves for local families.

Led by Howard Greene, chair of the non-profit Friends of BEA, the group spent a week building 2 middle school classrooms, painting the exterior, erecting a fence, and working in homes to build energy-efficient and properly ventilated cooking stoves. They also met students, and observed classes.

Among the volunteers: Howard and Joyce Greene, Jeff and Nancy Plotkin, Dan and Ivy Guetta, Robert and Heidi Flicker, Tony and Amy Riggio, Steve and julie Lewine, and Mark Mathias.

The Guatemala group.

Balanya English Academy provides high quality, English-based education, and supportive services to students, their families and the local community.  The goal is to prepare graduates to work in an increasingly globalized world.

For more information, click here or email hgreene@balanyaenglishacademy.org. Check out the drone video below too, shot by Mark Mathias:

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Longtime Westport resident Dr. Paul Schulman died peacefully in his sleep last month, doing what he and his late wife Susan loved: traveling overseas. He was 89 years old.

He was the highly respected chief of hematology and oncology at Norwalk Hospital. He also served at both Yale New Haven Hospital and Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York.

Paul was born in New York, graduated from Columbia College and SUNY Medical School, and served in the US Air Force.

After he and Susan married in 1965 they moved to Westport, and purchased a home on Twin Oaks Lane in 1968 in anticipation of a family. They raised Heidi and Bruce, both of whom graduated from Staples High School.

Paul coached Little League baseball and softball. He played tennis with friends, enjoyed Westport Pizzeria, and dropped in at Harvey’s Liquor Locker and Klein’s (to purchase action thrillers). Paul and Susan spent many weekend nights dining at Mario’s.

He and Susan shared a passion for art and antiques, especially clocks, which he collected and wound every Sunday. Their collections were fueled by their intrepid travel. Paul and Susan were among early visitors to Antarctica, Burma (now Myanmar), China, and New Guinea, among many other destinations.

After spending nearly 40 years in Westport, Paul and Susan retired to South Carolina and Marbella, Spain. After Susan died in 2016 Paul moved into Fox Hill Residences in Bethesda, Maryland, near where his son lives with his family.

Paul was an active member of the Fox Hill community, participating in the quarterly “radio show,” passing evenings at his end stool at the bar, and watching his grandsons in sports and school activities. He became dear friends with the late Rhoda Herman. Together they enjoyed weekends at her country home in Leesburg, Virginia.

Paul is survived by his children Bruce (Frazier) and Heidi Greenwald (Brad), and 5 grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family has set up a memorial page at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

A service to celebrate his life will be held in Bethesda in January. Email Bruce (bschulman@hotmail.com) for details.

Dr. Paul Schulman

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Whether you’re a buck — or you’re paying big bucks for a sticker — it can be tough finding a spot at the Greens Farms train station.

David Hyman spotted today’s “Westport … Naturally” scene yesterday afternoon.

(Photo/David Hyman)

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And finally … Louise Tobin died Saturday in Texas. She was 104.

In 1939, the vocalist with Benny Goodman’s orchestra was ready for national fame. But her husband — bandleader/trumpeter Harry James — had her put her career on hold, to further his own career.

They divorced 4 years later. She raised 2 sons, and was forgotten. But her career was jump started years later in New Orleans, when Al Hirt recognized her and invited her on stage.

Click here for her full, fascinating obituary.

(Louise Tobin may have been forgotten. Please don’t forget “06880.” Just click here, to help support your hyper-local blog.)

Roundup: Blue Sunday, Brown-Covered Books, Red Cross …

Pop-Up Bagels has done it again!

This weekend Adam Goldberg’s stealth-no-more store — the one behind Cycle Dynamics that draws dozens of devoted customers every Friday, Saturday and Sunday — repeated last year’s upset, out-of-the-burbs Brooklyn Bagelfest win.

This time, they even doubled their victory. They captured both the expert judges and people’s choice awards.

So let there be no doubt: The best bagel shop in New York is … Pop-Up Bagels. From Westport, Connecticut.

Adam Goldberg with the gold, from last year and this.

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The blues are alive and well in Westport.

A standing room crowd packed the Trefz Forum yesterday for the first of Mark Naftalin’s “Blue Sundays.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer — former keyboardist with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, who has reocrded or played with James Cotton, John Lee Hooker, Etta James, Percy Mayfield, Carla Thomas, Irma Thomas, Otis Rush, Big Mama Thornton, Big Joe Turner and many others — curates and hosts the monthly series.

Mark Naftalin on piano, fellow Westporter and saxophonist Crispin Cioe, and other band members.

His initial session included an all-star cast: Chance Browne, Chris “Otis” Cross, Paul Gabriel, Manny Foglio, Mark Zarestky, David Anastasia, Matt Moadel, Barry Urich, Smokin’ Joe Naimy, Crispin Cioe and Washboard Slim.

They ripped through classics like “I Put a Spell on You,” and originals that deserve to be classics.

As the blues-influenced Rolling Stones sang in Chuck Berry’s “Around and Around”: “The joint was rockin’.”

Another shot of the band. (Photos/Dan Woog)

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Speaking of the library: There’s a thought-provoking display just inside the front door, on the main level.

Across the nation, drives to ban books are gaining momentum. Challenges come from the right and the left.

The reasons vary. They include degradation of women, sexual explicitness, political viewpoints, bias against male students, sexual assault, offensive language, LGBTQ+ content, violence, insensitivity and  Satanism.

The Westport Library shows those challenges sharply:

Like many libraries everywhere, Westport’s has committed itself to “empowering the individual and strengthening the community through dynamic interaction and the lively exchange of ideas.”

Without banning access to them.

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With the Red Cross experiencing a blood shortage, this Wednesday’s drive at the VFW is crucial (September 21, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 465 Riverside Avenue). The event is sponsored by the Westport Young Woman’s League. Click here to make an appointment; use sponsor code “VFWWestport.”

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Damon Rein and his son Jack Rein — a Staples High School senior — are training hard. Their goal is to collectively do over 2,500 push-ups in 1 hour next month, to raise money for the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. It’s part of the 13th annual Push Against Cancer.

They’re already halfway to their $10,000 goal. Click here for more information, and to help.

PS: Jack created this cartoon of Andrew Berman — the local Push leader — in honor of the event:

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Graffiti “artists” have tagged 2 locations in Westport: the Hales Road bridge over I-95, and (below), the pedestrian bridge over Dedman Brook, connecting the Levitt Pavilion and the Imperial Avenue parking lot:

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“Finding Westport”‘s latest design leaves no doubt about the town’s name:

It’s available as a t-shirt, tank, fleece, hoodie, sweatshirt, mug, tote bag, greeting card, blanket, pint glass, tumbler and outdoor rug. Click here to order, and for more “Finding Westport” options.

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Lisa Newman writes: “My son spotted this little guy spectating on opening day of Westport softball at the Town Hall fields.”

What a great way to start off our “Westport … Naturally” week!

(Photo/Lisa Newman)

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And finally … as noted above, Mark Naftalin’s “Blue Sunday” show at the Westport LIbrary included the classic “I Put a Spell on You.”

Here are 5 other versions of this great song:

(“06880” isn’t singing the blues. But contributions always help keep this blog in the pink. Please click here to help.)

Roundup: “06880” Blog Party, Popup Bagels, Manna Toast …

Save the date!

Thursday, July 21 is the day for our annual “06880” blog party.

It’s fun. It’s social. It’s chill.

Longtime resident or newcomer; old or young; frequent commenter or lurker — all are welcome.

Meet neighbors and strangers; politicians and normal people. Put faces to names you’ve only read about. And do it all at a place dear to every “06880” resident’s heart: Compo Beach’s South Beach, near the kayak launch.

Remember that date: July 21. See you there!

Food and fun at an “06880” bash.

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Westperters have long known and loved Popup Bagels — well, at least since 2020, when our neighbor Adam Goldberg took advantage of COVID downtime, his love of baking and his creativity to come up with what some argue is the Best. Bagel. Ever.

Compact, crusty and generously coated with seeds, they draw raves wherever they’re sold. But they’re sold only in pop-up — that is, pickup — locations.

I may have been the first media outlet to write about Popup Bagels. Since then, he’s expanded to Redding and Greenwich.

And, occasionally, New York.

Traditionally hard-to-please bagel lovers there have embraced Adam’s creations.  So has Brooklyn BagelFest, where he won the People’s Choice award. It was a stunning victory for a Fairfield County upstart.

Now comes another prize: a writeup in the New York Times. Today’s Food section contains a mouth-watering review (and photos).

Click here for the full story. Click here for the website to order — but good luck with that.

You shoulda thought of it sooner. (Hat tip: Sharon Fiarman)

A few of Adam Goldberg’s many bagels. (Photo/Jen Goldberg)

Adam Goldberg with his Brooklyn Bagelfest award.

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The closing of Church Lane to vehicles has brought excitement — and outdoor dining — to that small street downtown.

But with no dinner menu, Manna Toast could not capitalize on the fun.

Now they can. The restaurant — whose loyal customers love its plant-based, non-GMO, artisanal, organic, locally-sourced eat-in, takeout and delivery menu — has added “Manna at Night.”

Available at heated tables and indoors until 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (with more days to come soon), chef Jason Wiener offers shared plates (the roasted brussels with gingery soy and cashew coconut crunch is great), bowls (ditto the Thai curry), sliders and desserts, along with cocktails, wine and beer.

Manna Toast has rolled out the dinner options quietly, working out the kinks while maintaining the café and caterers’ high quality.

Now the word is out: Manna is much more than breakfast, lunch and toast.

(Manna Toast is open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here for more information.)

A dinnertime welcome at Manna Toast.

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The last time I posted a story about a musician asking for help in the Stop & Shop parking lot, I learned it was a scam.

This one seems more legit. But I can’t vouch for sure.

Nn “06880” reader (and shopper) writes: “I came out of Stop & Shop, and heard the most beautiful music. This family moved here from Romania 6 months ago, and are living out of their car.

“They said they are connected with Family & Children’s Agency (their English was not great, so I think that is what he said). The father (playing/pictured here) was an electrician in Romania, but said he can/will do any kind of work. He learned to play music from his grandmother.”

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Rockwell Dance Center in Trumbull got to know Charlie Capalbo through his cousin Harrison, who danced there.

Every year, RDC organizes a benefit concert. Charlie — the Fairfield Ludlowe High School graduate/hockey goalie, and grandson of Westporters Ina Chadwick and Richard Epstein — was battling cancer for the 4th time.

When RDC asked Charlie if they could do this year’s concert in his honor, he said yes — provided the proceeds went to 2 local pediatric cancer charities that helped him and his family. He chose Infinite Love for Kids Fighting Cancer, and LIVFREE.

Charlie died last week, a month before his 24th birthday. The concert — this Saturday (April 30, 7 p.m., Trumbull High School) — will celebrate his life.

The dance community and hockey community will come together for Charlie. The Fairfield Co-op, Fairfield Prep, Trumbull High and St. Joseph hockey teams will open the concert with a “stick tap for Charlie.”

The concert includes song and dance. Tickets are $20, and are available at the door (cash, check or Venmo), or through Venmo now (@theparkerproject).

Charlie Capalbo (Photo/Dave Gunn)

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MoCA Westport’s Family Day will have something for everyone.

Even the world-famous Piglet.

The June 18 event (noon to 2 p.m.) features the blind, deaf pink puppy of that name. He’s  inspired a global movement for acceptance, inclusion, empathy and kindness. Veterinarian Melissa Shapiro — author and co-creator of “The Piglet Mindset” — will share his story, and talk about her new children’s book “Piglet Comes Home.”

The day also includes healing art activities, mural painting, music by Dustin Lowman, an ice cream truck, meet-and-greet with dogs from Westport Animal Shelter Advocates, homemade doggy treats from Earth Animal, and free admission to the exhibit of Westport student artwork. Click here for tickets.

Piglet at Compo Beach.

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Starting Sunday (May 1,), stickers will be required to park at Westport beaches.

Part of the fee goes to beach maintenance. Crews were out in force yesterday, getting ready for the (hopefully) warm weather ahead.

(Photo/Pat Auber)

(Photo/Jonathan Prager)

Meanwhile, progress continues on the jetty/groin project at Burying Hill Beach.

(Photo/Peter J. Swift)

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The spring issue of Westport Magazine is out.

Author Jane Green graces the cover. Other features include dozens of ways to enjoy life, and a glowing review of Allium Eatery.

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Three years ago, RTM member Andrew Colabella turned 30. He wrote about that turning point for “06880.”

Today he turns 33. Time marches on. Happy birthday to a good old guy.

Andrew Colabella

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The Burying Hill osprey gets less press than its Fresh Market cousin.

But it too is majestic. It poses here, in all its “Westport … Naturally” splendor,

(Photo/John Prenderville Jr.)

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And finally … Duke Ellington was born 123 years ago today. The jazz pianist, composer and bandleader died in 1974. But his music is eternal.

 

 

 

Roundup: Bagelfest, Bobcat, LGBTQ …

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Yesterday, “06880” reported that Adam Goldberg’s pop-up bagel store — the one behind Cycle Dynamics that draws dozens of devoted customers every Saturday — was entering the Brooklyn Bagelfest contest.

Sure, Westporters love them. But — as the only out-of-state entrant in the bunch — Adam was sure that others had a home borough advantage.

Well whaddayouknow: The boys from the ‘burbs won it all!

Congratulations to Adam. Now all of New York knows whose bagels are the best.

And it ain’t theirs.

Da winners!

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A reader writes:

“At the Y this morning, we were shocked to see a very big wild cat walk by on the paved path outside the fitness center. This is an area used frequently by children and adults. I called 911 because in my experience, coming from California, large wild cats are dangerous. They should not be seen in urban areas alongside humans, as this indicates a lack of fear or illness that is even more dangerous.

The big cat.

Animal control assistant Peter Reid responded by email. He wrote:

“That is a decent-sized bobcat, and he is certainly walking around like he owns the place!

“That YMCA property used to be a summer camp, and was mostly woods. Now they have developed almost all of it, and with reduced cover, animal sightings have increased. We had a bear move through that property on several occasions this past summer.

“I will talk to the YMCA about some signage. I know there was at least one previous sighting earlier this week.

“And I will add that area to my patrol route!”

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October 11 is National Coming Out Day.

To celebrate, Westport Pride is sponsoring a virtual panel discussion. From 7 to 8:30 p.m. that day, an “A team” of LGBTQ area residents will answer “When did you know?” They’ll tell their own personal stories of self-realization, acceptance and coming out.

Panelists include

  • John Dodig, former Staples High School principal
  • Zac Mathias, Weston High School senior and media influencer
  • Samantha Webster, Staples High graduate and former Staples Player
  • Luke Foreman, Staples grad and varsity tennis captain
  • Jen DeLoyd and Bethany Eppner, Westport parents
  • Kayla Iannetta, Staples teacher and founder of the Westport Public Schools’ Pride Coalition
  • Brian McGunagle, Westport parent and founder of Westport Pride.

Email westportctpride@gmail.com for a Zoom link.

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Yesterday’s Police Benevolent Association classic car show drew plenty of old-time autos — and throngs of admirers — to the train station.

Among beauties:

(Photo/Sarathi Roy)

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Halloween is all about dressing up. And what better place for a costume than the Westport Country Playhouse.

On the day before the holiday — October 30, noon to 4 p.m. — the historic theater hosts an outdoor family event. On tap: activities for kids, food trucks, a food drive for the community, beer tasting, scavenger hunt, raffle, and a costume parade (dogs welcome!).

Westport Country Playhouse (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

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One of last month’s Photo Challenges showed “Onyx Perpetual” — the sculpture by Sally Mttikow that stands near the Riverwalk downtown. It’s part of the Westport Public Art Collections.

It was also — as JC Martin’s image showed — overgrown with weeds and brush.

That’s been removed. Passersby can see the artwork as originally intended.

Except for one thing. As Werner Liepolt noted, it is now heavily damaged.

(Photo/Werner Liepolt)

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Spotted on Route 33:

“Maybe the driver works for Campbell’s Soups,” says photographer June Rose Whittaker.

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Today, “Westport … Naturally” heads to Sherwood Island State Park. Here are some pods in the dunes:

(Photo/Elena Naseruddin)

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And finally … in honor of Pop-up Bagels bagging the Brooklyn Bagelfest gold, this nugget says it all:

 

Roundup: Pink Aid, Bagels, Pickleball …

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Like many charities, Pink Aid CT has pivoted this year to a virtual event.

They’re calling it “virtuous.” Hundreds of items –will be auctioned off starting Tuesday (October 5, 9 a.m.). Among them:

  • A flight on Marc Lasry’s private jet to sit courtside and watch the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks
  • Private safari for 2 in Tanzania
  • VIP seating at Christian Siriano’s fall 2022 show, with backstage passes.

All funds raised benefit women with breast cancer in underserved communities.

A video about the event features the auction’s host, Westporter and “A Million Little Things” star Stephanie Szostak.

For auction tickets and more, click here.

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Adam Goldberg’s pop-up bagel project at the Manna Hub kitchen has grown into a full-time operation. It’s packed on weekends, and a full-time store opens soon in Georgetown.

Now he’s going even bigger time. Adam was the only out-of-state vendor invited to compete at this weekend’s Brooklyn Bagelfest.

Can a little Westport bagel guy beat the big boys at their own game? Fingers crossed. Stay tuned!

Behind the scenes in the Don Memo kitchen. From left: Rachel Golan,.David Levinson
Jason Epstein, Adam Goldberg. (Photo/Ria Rueda)

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Leonard Everett Fisher is a Westport icon. He’s a World War II veteran, a civic volunteer — and, for over 70 years, a nationally enowned illustrator, painter and designer.

He’s being honored through the end of the year by the Westport Library. An exhibit of his work — “A Life of Art” — is open at the Sheffer and South Galleries.

Fisher has written and illustrated hundreds of children’s books, and created over 700 paintings and 6000 scratch boards. The Library show features many original illustrations and acrylic paintings. 

It’s an exhibit not to be missed. Before you go, click here (then scroll down) for a virtual studio tour of this remarkable man.

Leonard Everett Fisher at Westport’s 2016 Memorial Day ceremonies.

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The agenda for Wednesday’s Parks & Recreation Commission meeting (7:30 p.m., Zoom) includes a discussion of possible pickleball sites.

The meeting ID is 879 8059 1192. The passcode is 480909.

The Compo Beach pickleball courts get plenty of use.

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Two great Nash’s Corner businesses are offering 20% off deals for new customers. You can combine them, or just take advantage of one.

Felicia’s Salon Nash — run by the wonderful Felicia Catale — provides cuts for women, men, girls and boys. with blowouts and coloring too. Call 203-747-9753 and 203-349-5814.

For 20% off 3D synthetic mink eyelashes — usually $180, now $144 — at Nash’s Lashes by Judy, call 203- 557-8964,

Felicia Catale

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On October 1, 1961 — 60 years ago yesterday — Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s home run record.

A young Westporter named Robert Mull was there. It was the first Major League game he ever saw. His father captured all of Maris’ at-bats that day — including the shot off Tracy Stallard, his hat tip and more.

Now Mull has posted the video online. Click here to see. (Speaking of hat tips: thanks, Fred Cantor!)

Screenshot from the Roger Maris video.

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The other day, Chris Grimm was scrolling through a site that sells t-shirts of defunct Connecticut businesses. (I didn’t ask for details.) He found this classic for Arnie’s Place, the video game arcade that is now Ulta:

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Next up for the Westport Astronomical Society: NASA astrophysicist Scott Guzewich discusses “Roving Mars with Curiosity and Perseverance.”

It’s a clever title, and is sure to be out of this world. Click on the October 19 (8 p.m.) links: Zoom and YouTube livestream.

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The National Charity League’s Westport chapter invites 6th grade girls to apply for the 2022-23 year. NCL With over 275 members, the local group provides volunteer service for over 30 community organizations. Members are women and their daughters in grades 7-12.

The 6-year core program includes leadership development and cultural activities. For more information click here, or email lisa22607@gmail.com.

The National Charity League gang takes a break from volunteer work.

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The good news: Rebecca Schussheim, Lucia Wang and Tom Zhang  will represent Staples High School at the 8th annual Normandy International Youth Leadership Summit next month.. They were chosen because of their academic performance and interest in world affairs.

The bad news: This year’s event is virtual, so they don’t get to go to France.

But congratulations anyway, on a great achievement!

(From left): Rebecca Schussheim,Lucia Wang, Tom Zhang.

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Samera Nasereddin describes today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo:

“Two baby raccoons visited our garden, and delighted my cat and me. They were very curious, unafraid and non-aggressive. We sent a photo to a local expert, who told us they were healthy 3-4-month-olds, learning how to fend for themselves. I’m so grateful for their sweet visit. I hope that they continue to be safe and healthy, wherever they are now.”

(Photo/Samera Nasereddin)

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And finally … It’s been a long time since I’ve thought of Roger Maris. But seeing his name — and the video of his 61st home run — made me think of other famous players.

And of course:

Adam Goldberg: Pop (Up) Goes The Bagel

What can be better than a pop-up bagel shop?

Two of them.

Last week, “06880” featured Sugar & Olives’ Saturday morning pick-up service. Today we highlight a delicious Sunday option, courtesy of Adam Goldberg.

Bagels represent the third career for the longtime Westporter. In 2012, after years in structured finance, he bought the rights to flood mitigation company Aquafence.

He still operates it. But the pandemic hit that industry hard, like so many others.

With time on his hands — and a lifelong love of cooking and entertaining — he began baking. After a year and a half on the keto diet (and a mild case of COVID), Goldberg was ready for some lockdown carbs.

He made sourdoughs, pizzas and pastas.

Then came bagels.

Using his own recipe, Goldberg invited friends to stop by. He’d send out a text at 6 a.m.: “I’m baking today. Stop by.”

This was a great way to see them — if only to hand them his bagels through a backyard pick-up window, while chatting for a minute or two.

Adam Goldberg, his wife Jen, his bagels, his back yard, and his window (background).

He had no set schedule. That didn’t matter, because every day blended into every other one.

Word spread. His text chain grew. Now Goldberg was getting requests for bagels from “tertiary friends.”

November 1 was his birthday. In normal years, he throws a party. This time, he teamed with Filling in the Blanks, the Norwalk non-profit that provides weekend meals to needy children. His bagel sale raised around $1,000.

That drew more attention. Soon, 1200 people were requesting bagels. Most were strangers.

Help came when Rachel Golan reached out. The wife of Don Memo owner Bill Taibe offered their kitchen on a Sunday morning.

Goldberg was not sure if that would work. “Bagels are sensitive,” he notes. “I didn’t know if the oven or the process would be right.”

In early December, he took a chance. He baked 300 bagels.

All were quickly gobbled up.

A few of Adam Goldberg’s many bagels. (Photo/Jen Goldberg)

For his second Sunday, Goldberg devised an advance online ordering system. He cut that off at 500 bagels.

His third and fourth efforts were capped at 1,000 each. Both sold out — within minutes.

He, his wife and local kids he hired hand-delivered bagels over the holidays. They too sold out in seconds.

This past Wednesday, it took just 82 seconds for all bagels to be spoken for. Another 155 names joined the wait list.

“I never set out to sell,” Goldberg says. “But people keep knocking. I’ve been in the flood business for all these years. I never had 500 people on my mailing list.”

He no longer works alone. Golan helps bake; so do a doctor, fashion executive and hedge fund woman.

“It’s 6:30 in the morning. The radio is on. I’m with good friends, rolling bagels. There’s no place I’d rather be,” Goldberg says.

Behind the scenes in the Don Memo kitchen. From left: Rachel Golan, David Levinson,
Jason Epstein, Adam Goldberg. (Photo/Ria Rueda)

Recently, he got a state license. It allows him to cook non-perishable items at home, for sale.

Goldberg’s goods have gained notice — and not just from normal, run-of-the-mill bagel lovers.

CTbites recently included Pop Up Bagels on its “Top Eats for 2020” — by 2 separate food writers. Goldberg was listed along with some of the top restaurants (and chefs) in the state.

The past months have taught the bagel baker some important lessons. For example: “It’s exciting to grow a business. It’s always tricky to scale something done at home. But if you make a great product, there’s a market for it.”

That market includes many people with “childhood memories of eating great bagels,” Goldberg says. Seemingly all grew up in the tri-state area.

Those memories are strong. When he ran an online contest (the prize: a dozen bagels) asking for recollections, the nearly 100 responses were “off the charts. People remembered smells, sights, everything. There’s a lot of nostalgia for bagels.”

Each Sunday, he gets feedback.

“Thanks for letting me buy your bagels,” one customer wrote. “I feel like I won the lottery.”

“This Long Island girl finally feels at home here,” another said.

Such comments are gratifying. They could turn a bagel maker’s head. But Goldberg is not biting. He tells people who urge him to expand: “We’re taking our time. We want to be sure to hit it right.”

He pauses. “It’s a hobby gone wild.’

(Goldberg typically bakes salted poppy, sesame, Maldon salt, cinnamon raisin, everything and plain bagels; occasionally he adds honey whole wheat. Don Memo offers an artisan schmear, when you pick up your bagels. To be notified of upcoming sales, follow popupbagels on Instagram or click here.)

Truckin’: From Westport To Houston In 3 (Not So) Easy Days

Last Saturday, dozens of people headed to the Imperial Avenue parking lot. They dropped off piles of goods, for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Soon, a 30-foot truck loaded with donations headed south.

Adam Goldberg — the Westporter who masterminded the effort — sends this report:

After a successful packing job, with many residents moving and lifting boxes, the Aquafence truck went on its way.

But just an hour in — by Elizabeth, New Jersey — the driver noticed something was not right. After a diagnostic test, he discovered the truck was 100% overweight.

Scrambling for a solution, we found an article about the Elizabeth Fire Department doing a donation drive for Harvey victims. To their surprise, our truck pulled up with donations for their truck.

We gave them 1/3 of our stuff — mostly used clothing and some heavier gear. We knew it would eventually make it to Texas, so we felt good.

The New Jersey transfer: from the Westport Aquafence truck, to the Elizabeth one.

There was more to come. The truck had 2 flat tires on the way, but arrived safely in Houston Tuesday morning — only 1 day behind schedule.

Our first assigned location was the Kingwood relief center. The neighborhood was hit hard, and many people lost everything. We unloaded half our items there, focusing on what they needed most.

We then headed to our 2nd drop site. The Church Without Walls was a much larger facility, serving much of western Houston.

As with Kingwood, while we were not the only truck delivering supplies that day, they were thrilled to see us. They offered us a meal, a hug and a huge thank you.

Adding to the donations in Houston.

It was now 3 p.m. We had been delivering goods since 8 a.m., but we had one more task ahead of us that day.

Our next mission was to provide a delicious hot meal for those in need. We had been lined up to cook for the Southeast Houston relief center on Wednesday for 200 people. But local authorities asked us to cook instead for a funeral honoring a police sergeant and first responder who died in the storm.

With the support of our intended cooking spot to switch our venue, it was now up to another Westporter, Jason Epstein, who had flown down to help prepare food for 500 or more people.

We also needed to buy the grills and cooking supplies, which were to be donated after the cook. With the help of some amazing locals who joined us, we pulled it all off.

We made beef, chicken and shrimp tacos. But the biggest hit was the kale Caesar salad.

Grilling in Houston, Westport-style: Jason Epstein (left) and Adam Goldberg.

The cash donations we’d collected, from a Westport lemonade stand and others, went to an amazing cause. Three large grills, along with 2 generators, were delivered to the Southeast Houston Relief Mission. They still lack electricity, but now they can serve hot meals every day.

When our 2 days were over, we delivered our vehicle to the Houston FEMA office. They gave us a fascinating tour of central command — and were even kind enough to drive us to the airport.

We’re back now. But we will never forget this amazing experience helping others.

FEMA’s Houston headquarters.

 

Hurricane Harvey: Updated Most-Needed List

“06880” readers have reacted quickly to Adam Goldberg’s request for Hurricane Harvey help.

The Westporter is organizing a truckload of relief efforts for victims. He’s also donating the 30-foot truck itself, once it arrives in Texas.

Workers in Houston say that right now, the most needed items are:

  • Backpacks filled with school supplies
  • Toiletries (soap, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)
  • New underwear and socks (for all ages)
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Cleaning supplies and scrub brushes.

People who have already told Goldberg (adam.goldberg@aquafence.com) that they’ll bring clothing to the collection point (Imperial Avenue parking lot this Saturday, September 9, 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) should still do so.

But, Goldberg says, the items above are desperately needed too.

He’s gratified by the response so far.

Including the lemonade stand he saw last weekend. Children used his flyer to solicit donations.

He has no idea who they were. But — like Goldberg, and many other Westporters — they were doing whatever they can to help.

Fill A Truck For Harvey

Adam Goldberg is a longtime Westporter. His company, Aquafence, provides state of-the-art removable flood barriers that work great in emergencies, but are kept out of sight the rest of the time.

His product was not available in Texas when Hurricane Harvey roared through. But that doesn’t mean he can’t help.

Goldberg is sending a 30-foot truck to Houston. He hopes it will be filled to the brim with supplies — donated by area residents.

He’s looking for:

  • Non-perishable food items
  • Snack bars, granola and fruit bars
  • Cleaning materials and detergents
  • Diapers and formula
  • Clean blankets and pillows
  • Soap, shampoo, deodorant and bug spray
  • School supplies
  • Toys
  • Pet food
  • Clean, sorted and folded clothes
  • Paper products.

Donations should be brought in boxes and bags, labeled with what’s inside. They can be brought to the Imperial Avenue parking lot this Saturday (September 9, 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

Please email Goldberg (adam.goldberg@aquafence.com) beforehand, with a list of goods being donated or any questions.

PS: Goldberg’s generosity extends far beyond collecting and delivering much-needed goods. After driving the truck to Houston, he’ll donate it to a relief organization there — for keeps.

He’ll fly home. And no doubt start organizing his next project.

Westporters are doing what they can to help Hurricane Harvey victims. Yesterday, Sammi and Spencer Henske went shopping for supplies.