Tag Archives: Age of Reason

Photo Challenge #193

There are many ways to describe the location of last week’s Photo Challenge.

Post Road West, right over the bridge. The 2nd floor apartments over Arezzo restaurant, Winfield Street Deli, Stephen Kempson and Age of Reason. The Hunt & Downs Building. Across from National Hall.

All are correct. It’s a familiar sight, even if the angle was different. Click here for the photo.

Congratulations to Tom Ryan, Elaine Marino, Rich Stein, Fred Cantor, Seth Goltzer, Bruce Salvo, Linda Amos, Rosalie Kaye, Bobbie Herman, Martha Witte, Joelle Malec, Yvonne Ferris, Joyce Bottone and Michael Calise. No matter how they identified it, they nailed the challenge.

Here’s this week’s photo:

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

We’ve all walked by it — often. But how many of us actually notice it?

If you have, click “Comments” below.

Age Of Reason Reopens

In May, Age of Reason closed.

Fans of the unique toy store mourned. Founded in 1983, it became a Westport favorite for items hand-picked to deliver creative, developmental and educational encouragement and enjoyment.

With no sign — and no message on its answering machine — it seemed Age of Reason was one more victim of the Toys R Us/Amazon one-two punch.

But this is even better than Toy Story.

The shop was merely closed for 5 months. Now it’s reopened at 9 Post Road West — 4 doors down from its previous location. It’s between Winfield Deli and Stephen Kempson custom tailor.

Age of Reason has swapped spots with a bridal shop. The brides needed more space; the kids, a bit less.

Sounds “reason”able — and wonderful — to me!

Nina Royce Heads West

She’s not a politician. She’s not a civic volunteer. She’s not a noted artist.

But politicians, volunteers and artists — especially artists — all love Nina Royce.

And we’ll all miss her, now that she’s left the Westport she loved and served so long and well.

She moved here in 1969, from New Haven. She married a Harvard guy, David Royce. Three children — and a master’s in fine arts — followed.

Nina spent 45 years at Max’s Art Supplies — the beloved downtown gathering spot for artists, designers, and anyone else needing pens, paint or paper. Nina was an important part of the glue that kept this town’s arts scene connected and vibrant.

Nina Royce (far left) with Max’s colleagues — and the store’s famous Karron’s clock.

For the past 3 years — ever since Max’s closed — you could find Nina at Age of Reason. She worked her magic on that innovative toy store’s many devoted customers — young and old.

Nina was also a regular at the Senior Center. She enjoyed exercise classes — and everyone there enjoyed her quiet, sunny presence.

Now it’s time for a change. Nina is moving to Ashland, Oregon. She’ll be near her son Zach, and granddog Otto. Seattle (son Peter) and Minneapolis (daughter Casey) are not too far away.

Nina has put out the welcome mat for Westporters heading west.

Happy (Oregon) trails, Nina, from all of us whose lives you have enriched!

(Hat tip: Jo Shields)

Nina Royce (seated, center) was feted by friends last week. She’s already on her way to Oregon.

Maybe Reason Will Prevail

Earlier today, I posted that Age of Reason is empty, and no one answered their phone.

But alert “06880” reader Svea Vocke writes:

I was in there this week and they said they’re simply moving a couple doors down. They should reopen at the end of May or so – switching places with the bridal shop! They needed a little less space, and the bridal shop needed a little more.

That’s great news!

Perhaps they could add that info to the sign out front, and put it on their telephone answering machine…

The End Of Reason

Age of Reason appears closed.

The popular store — a longtime destination for the kinds of kids’ items you will not find at Toys R Us — has a sale sign in front. But the interior is cleared out, and no one answered the phone when I called a few minutes ago.

They’ve struggled for a while. Online competition has been hard. The location — on the Post Road/Riverside Avenue “worst intersection in Connecticut” — has not helped.

But the small staff was unfailingly kind.

And very, very knowledgeable.

These days, those qualities are not high on enough shoppers’ lists.

(Hat tip: Jessica Newshel)

$mall Business $aturday

Shoehorned in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is tomorrow’s much-less-ballyhooed event: Small Business Saturday.

I am not making this up. According to (naturally) the Small Business Administration, tomorrow is “a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.”

As a small person myself, I fully support all small business people.

Here are a few ways to spend Small Business Saturday:

Compo Basin — a holiday card by Kassie Foss.

  • Head across the river to Age of Reason. It and other Post Road  West shops — all worth visiting — were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.  The educational toy store, for example, lost $40,000 in merchandise.
  • Don’t forget Sally’s Place.You might buy all your music on iTunes (or, ahem, not “buy” it at all), but someone on your list still loves CDs or vinyl. And if Sally White’s shop on Main Street (just past Avery Place) is good enough for Keith Richards, it’s good enough for you.

I know there are many more stores worthy of our business on Small Business Saturday. Click “Comments” to add your own.

No Room At The Inn

A sad chapter in the storied history of National Hall has sputtered to an end.  The Inn’s final day is Monday.  Antiques, chandeliers, a 15-foot cherry bookshelf — all could go the way of Shaw’s, if that’s what Antares, the property’s elusive owner, wants.

Can’t Westporters — a creative bunch, for sure — mine the  handsome 3-story 137-year-old building’s past for an appropriate remodel?

Back in 1884 National Hall served as the 1st home of Staples High School.  Of course, just 4 years ago we dedicated an $84 million renovation, so odds are we won’t be moving back downtown any time soon.

At one time the top floor was used as a basketball court.  Rumor has it that the YMCA is dissatisfied with its current digs, just a skyhook away from National Hall.  If they haven’t made plans to move anywhere, maybe the Inn could serve as a new Y.  On 2nd thought, it is a bit cramped.

For many years, National Hall housed a furniture store.  Age of Reason — right across the street — wanted to expand there recently, but Antares never returned phone calls.  Returning to retail remains another option.

Because the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, it can’t be torn down as easily as your basic split-level.  But that designation — and local politics — also constrict possible uses of the property.

So I guess there are no other options for…wait!  I’ve got it!

One of National Hall’s most noted incarnations was as the home of Horace Staples’ Westport Bank & Trust Company.  What a perfect location for a bank — and just what Westport needs!

On second thought — nah.  No one would ever think of opening a new bank around here.