Tag Archives: Beachside Avenue

Photo Challenge #290

Our “06880” Photo Challenges are meant to be fun: I post an image, you guess where it is.

I have to crop many submissions creatively. Last weekend’s, though, was a rarity. It was both challenging and artistic.

David Squires’ shot showed a gate with black waves, undulating against a background of green grass and blue sky. (Click here to see.)

It was visually arresting. And it was familiar to Wendy Brown, Jonathan McClure, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Wendy Cusick and Stephanie Mastocciolo. All knew it can be seen on Beachside Avenue, opposite Greens Farms Academy. The look is modern, but the view is classic.

This week’s Photo Challenge is also a bit different. The view is of a Westport beach, obviously — but what’s its official name? Click “Comments” if you know.

PS: No Googling. This is tougher than it looks.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

JC Penney: The Westport Connection

Yesterday’s announcement that J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy did not affect many Westporters. The chain’s closest locations are in Trumbull and Danbury, and it’s been fading from public consciousness for years.

But there is (of course) a local connection.

J.C. Penney

When the founder of what was then a retailing behemoth died in 1971, age 95, the New York Times obituary noted that into his 90s he commuted 3 days a week from Connecticut to the store’s 6th Avenue headquarters in New York.

He lived for many years on Beachside Avenue, just south of the entrance to Greens Farms Academy.

The Times added this anecdote:

His conviction that merchants should exert themselves to serve their customers reached an inadvertent extreme a few years ago. A new resident of Westport, Conn., needed some paint in a hurry and looked up J. C. Penney in the phone book.

When a man answered the call, the potential customer asked, “Does the Penney Company sell paint?” The man re plied, “I believe we do, but let me confirm it.” He was heard dialing and then speaking on another phone. Returning to the inquirer, he said, “Yes, we do.”

What the caller did not know until later was that he had not been speaking to someone at J. C. Penney store, but to James Cash Penney, the founder, then in his late 83’s, who was also a Westport resident.

(For the full obituary of J.C. Penney, click here.)

Pic Of The Day #839

All that’s left, after a Beachside Avenue teardown. View is toward Southport Beach. (Photo/David Squires)

Beachside Eraser Installed In West Palm Beach

Last month, “06880” reported that “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” — Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen’s 19-foot, 10,300-pound sculpture of, yes, a typewriter eraser — was gone, after 20 years, from its Beachside Avenue lawn.

Its new home would be the Norton Museum of Art, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

It’s now fully installed. If you’re in the area — and, given today’s weather, who wouldn’t want to be? — you can see it, tilting proudly on the front plaza. Sam and Ronnie Heyman — who commissioned the piece in the late 1990s — donated it to the Norton.

(Photo copyright Nigel Young for Foster + Partners)

The work welcomes visitors to a completely renovated museum. And the new Norton — sparkling in the sun — came about thanks in large part because of 2 Westporters.

Ronnie Heyman is a Norton trustee.

And Gil Maurer  — who brought in architect Foster + Partners, and saw the renovation through from start to finish — has lived here since the 1950s.

He and his wife Ann — equally passionate about the arts — own a winter home in Palm Beach.

The new Norton is a game-changer for the arts scene in Florida. We should all visit it, and enjoy the Heymans’ and Maurers’ efforts.

In fact, today would be a great day to go!

(For an in-depth story on the new Norton Museum, click here. Hat tip: Meredith Hutchison.)

Gone: One 19-Foot, 10,000-Pound Typewriter Eraser

For years, one of the attractions of Beachside Avenue — besides the beautiful homes, enormous lawns and sweeping views of Long Island Sound — has been a quirky sculpture of a typewriter eraser.

The work — “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” by noted sculptors Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen — stands 19 feet, 3 inches tall, and weighs 10,300 pounds. Enormous blue bristles project from a tilting red wheel.

It was commissioned in the late 1990s by Westporters Sam and Ronnie Heyman. It’s a limited edition piece. Others are in Seattle, Las Vegas, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

The Heymans went to California to see their artwork fabricated. It traveled cross-country in a flatbed truck, before being installed — very trickily, atop a subterranean 12-foot concrete base — on the couple’s front lawn.

“Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” — just the thing for your lawn.

For two decades “Typewriter Eraser, Scale X” amused, entertained and enthralled everyone who drove or jogged by.

Now it’s gone.

But it will be unveiled next month in a new location: the outdoor entrance plaza to the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida.

That’s fitting. The museum will feature an exhibition of Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s work. Much of it focuses on office equipment — including typewriters and erasers.

In fact, the Heymans’ sculpture proved an inspiration for the exhibit. Ronnie Heyman is a Norton trustee.

In 2012, Greens Farms resident Seth Schachter’s son stood in front of the Beachside Avenue fence — with the eraser sculpture in the background.

Plenty of people enjoyed the enormous eraser on Beachside Avenue.

But many, many more will see it in its next home, outside a museum in Florida.

The big question is: How many visitors actually know what a typewriter eraser was?

(Hat tip: Seth Schachter. He spotted an article about the sculpture in the Wall Street Journal. Click here to read the full story.)

Photo Challenge #207

Last week’s Photo Challenge was quite bucolic. Bob Weingarten’s image showed the remains of a high stone wall, now covered with vines and bushes. A quiet road ran behind it. (Click here to see.)

It could have been many places in Westport. Many readers thought it might be found in a cemetery. Assumption on Greens Farms, and Willowbrook on Main Street came to mind.

Nope. It’s on Beachside Avenue, opposite #76.

That’s all I had. But — of course — “06880” readers knew more.

Both Susan Lloyd and Morley Boyd identified it as “Bedford’s Folly.” Mary Ann Batsell got the location too, though not the name. Apparently it was once part of the ginormous E.T. Bedford estate in Greens Farms.

But why the “folly”?

Susan Lloyd offers these fascinating facts: “A garden folly is a useless structure in a garden.”

She adds, “Bedford Gardens was open for walking on Sunday afternoons. There was also a fake canal with a small bridge.”

Sounds like a great place to play mini-golf!

And Morley Boyd notes, “The folly, in this case, served as an important garden design element intended to lend a sense of mystery and romance by imitating an old ruined structure. Trickery is an age old tool in large scale landscape garden design.”

So it’s not really ruined — it just looks that way.

Mary Ann Batsell says the gardens were once open to the public. In the 1980s, her father helped uncover them. (So maybe they were “ruined,” after all.)

Speaking of Sunday afternoon strolls, here’s this week’s Photo Challenge. Click “Comments” if you know where it was taken:

(Photo/Judith Bacal)

HINT: Like last week’s Photo Challenge, this too was not taken in a cemetery.

Glamping: The Sequel

You know that big wedding last weekend on Beachside Avenue?

The one that featured white tents on Harvey Weinstein’s property, for glampers — “glamour campers” — to shelter on Friday and Saturday night, roughing it with only wooden floors and queen beds?

The one where fireworks lit up the sky after the ceremony, and a ton of security (uniformed cops, plainclothes and more) patrolled the area?

Turns out it was pretty, um, glamorous.

Zach Lasry — son of billionaire hedge fund owner/Milwaukee Bucks co-owner/Beachside Avenue resident Marc Lasry — married Arianna Lyons. They work together in film production.

Among the guests: former President Bill Clinton, and former Senator/Secretary of State/presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

President Bill Clinton at the Beachside Avenue wedding…

… and Hillary Clinton. (Photos courtesy of Instagram)

No word on whether they glamped, or decamped after the festivities to Chappaqua.

(Hat tip: WestportNow)

Pics Of The Day #338

Celebrating the first full day of spring!

Beachside Avenue (Photo/David Squires)

Grace Salmon Park (Photo/Doris Ghitelman)

Compo cannons (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Longshore (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Pic Of The Day #76

Beachside Avenue (Photo/Nico Eisenberger)

Friday Flashback #29

As Bedford Square nears completion, it’s shaping up as a handsome addition to downtown. David Waldman has taken the original lines of the Bedford Building — the Tudor YMCA, built in 1923 — and extended them along Church Lane, then up across Elm Street.

But Bedford Square has nothing on the grandeur of its namesake’s estate.

E.T. Bedford —  director of Standard Oil, and philanthropist of (among others) Bedford Junior High and Bedford Elementary School — lived on Beachside Avenue, next to Burying Hill Beach.

Here’s what his house looked like in 1920:

e-t-bedford-estate-beachside-avenue-1920

He wasn’t the only wealthy Beachside resident. This is a view of “Nirvana” — E.B. Sturges’ home (and personal dock) — in 1909:

nirvana-e-b-sturges-residence-beachside-avenue-1909

Yet the Bedford influence was hard to avoid. That’s his windmill in the distance, toward the right side of the photo.

(Hat tip: Ken Bernhard)