Tag Archives: Beachside Avenue

Roundup: Christopher Plummer, Staples Players, Avi Kaner, More

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In 1987 — its bicentennial — Weston produced a history of the town.

Lots of communities do something similar.

But not many get to have theirs produced and narrated by one the most famous actors in the world.

This video — courtesy of Cristina Negrin — says all you need to know about the deep feeling Christopher Plummer had for his adopted hometown.

And Weston loved him right back.

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Due to snow, Staples Players’ 1st radio play of 2nd semester — the thriller “Sorry, Wrong Number,” broadcast live from the Black Box Theater — has been postponed. The new date is Wednesday, February 10 (7 p.m.).

The production will be streamed live (and free) at wwwptfm.org.

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Westporters know Avi Kaner as our former 2nd selectman and Board of Finance chair.

But he also co-owns Morton Williams, the noted New York City supermarket chain. It’s a 75-year-old family company, but it’s never faced a challenge like today’s pandemic and its many side effects.

The other day, Kaner spoke to NTD Business about the state of his business, and New York — including the flight to the suburbs. Click below for the fascinating interview.

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“06880 readers” can’t get enough of the “new” view of I-95 and the Beachside Avenue overpass, now that it’s been removed for reconstruction. Here’s one more shot:

(Photo/John Richers)

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This guy hung out at the Lansdowne condos yesterday. No telling what he’ll look like today.

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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Westport Town Clerk Patty Strauss retired in December. Last month, she and her husband Ed moved to North Carolina.

Yesterday, their Juniper Road was torn down. Real estate moves fast around here.

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

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Numerous fire trucks raced to Bayberry Lane this morning, to put out a fire at Belta’s farm.

The blaze was confined to an outbuilding, rented to tenants.

Belta’s farm, with fire apparatus on hand.

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And finally … Jim Weatherly died Wednesday near Nashville, of natural causes. He was 77.

He wrote hit songs for Ray Price, Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers and many others. His biggest was originally called “Midnight Plane to Houston.” Gladys Knight and the Pips turned it into the much more memorable “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

 

Roundup: Vaccines, Christopher Plummer, More

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United Way of Connecticut is expanding availability and access to vaccine scheduling.

Beginning Monday (February 8), 125 contact specialists will take phone calls to schedule appointments from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week. They can book up to 10,000 appointments at 12 locations across Connecticut. Call 877-918-2224.

For more vaccine information, click here. The state is focused on vaccinating residents 75 and older, but priority groups will expand this month as more vaccine becomes availabl.e

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In the wake of Christopher Plummer’s death yesterday in Weston, Hedi Lieberman sends along this video of a “CBS Sunday Morning” profile from 2011. It includes scenes of the legendary actor at the venue where he made his American stage debut in 1953: the Westport Country Playhouse.

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Yesterday’s Friday Flashback offered some long-forgotten views of Westport during the 1950s construction of I-95 (Connecticut Turnpike).

They showed Saugatuck and the South Compo areas. But Beachside Avenue was also impacted and altered, as a new bridge rose then between Greens Farms Road and Burying Hill Beach.

Nearly 7 decades later, it’s being replaced. The result is a novel look at the area — whether you’re driving past on Greens Farms, or underneath on the highway.

(Photo/Scott Smith)

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Longtime Westporter John Caggiano died peacefully at home last month, of complications from Alzheimer’s.  He was 82 years old.

Growing up in Brooklyn, his family instilled in him a great love of his Italian heritage. It stayed with him all his life.

John studied art after high school, then went into advertising. He spent most of his career at Doyle Dane Bernbach, rising to creative director and driving award-winning campaigns for Volkswagen, IBM, Sony, Hershey and Colombian Coffee. He brought originality and flair to every project.

After retirement John pursued art with a passion, honing his sketching and painting skills at the Silvermine, Rowayton and Westport Arts Centers, and the Westport Senior Center. His work was often seen at local art shows.

He enjoyed the many activities activities Westport offers, including boating, tennis and golf at Longshore, and Old Mill and Compo Beaches.

John loved animals. He loved walking his rescue dog Bella around Compo Beach and Winslow Park. He was known and adored by both the humans and dogs who visited these spots.

John is survived by his wife of 57 years, Anita; his son Marco, daughter-in-law Elena, and beloved grandchildren Caroline and John; son Roman; sister Linda Brienza (Dr. Gene); sister-in-law Dolores Paliseno, and nieces and nephews.

John was filled with bluster and heart.  He was known for his humor and his legendary stories.

Donations in John’s memory can be made to the Westport Senior Center, 21 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT, 06880, or Homes With Hope, PO Box 631, Westport, CT, 06881.  A memorial service will be held in late summer.

John Caggiano

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The other day, Rindy Higgins gave herself a 72nd birthday present: a penguin mold.

Here’s the result, on the corner of Madeline Avenue and Harbor Road. At least, it looked like that a couple of days ago. It’s all melted now.

(Photo/Rindy Higgins)

Just wait. There’s a winter storm warning for tomorrow. An accumulation of 5 to 7 inches is forecast.

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Next up in the Westport Astronomical Society’s free virtual lecture series: “Mapping the Haystack While Finding the Needles: How Crowdsourcing Science is Solving Big Data Problems in Research.”

Dr. Lucy Fortson of the University of Minnesota speaks February 16 (8 p.m.). Click here for the link.

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And finally … in one of his most famous roles (“The Sound of Music”), Christopher Plummer’s voice was dubbed by Bill Lee. Here is a clip from that film, with his singing “Edelweiss” himself:

Roundup: Income Tax Help, Teachers Return, More

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Need help with taxes? (Besides having more money, that is.)

Westport’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program — free state and federal preparation — runs from now through April 15. IRS-certified preparers assist seniors and low- to moderate-income households, virtually or through a limited in-person scanning option. 

The national program is run locally by the Department of Human Services.

The virtual option provides uploading of  information via a secure encrypted site A specialist reviews and follows up for additional information as needed. Click here to participate.

The limited, on-site scanning capabilities at the Senior Center is offered Tuesdays (1 to 4 p.m.) and Thursdays (9 a.m. to noon). Participants complete a phone call to confirm what documentation is required to participate. Call 203-341-1071 for an appointment.

More than 700 returns were prepared and filed last year in Westport, with total refunds exceeding $350,000.

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Elementary school students have returned to full-time, in-person learning for the first time in 10 months.

Yesterday, the Kings Highway PTA welcomed teachers and staff with this sign:

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Last night’s full wolf moon was beautiful even with the naked eye.

If you were lucky enough to view it through the Westport Astronomical Society’s telescope at the Rolnick Observatory, it looked even more spectacular:

(Photo/Franco Fellah)

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Westporter Joshua Aronson — who teaches applied psychology at New York University — heads a panel on “The Anti-Racist Policy Agenda: Education” (February 4, 7:30 p.m., Zoom).

Along with educators and politicians, he’ll discuss racial disparities in the educational system, their political impact, and the future of educational equity in Connecticut.

Sponsors are the Democratic Women of Westport and the Staples Young Democrats. Click here to register. For more information, email dww06880@gmail.com.

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Work continues on the Beachside Avenue I-95 overpass. The bridge is now down to its skeleton. Renovation will continue for several months.

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

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And finally … on this day in 1861, Kansas was admitted as the 34th state in the union.

Photo Challenge #309

I haven’t counted, but probably 90% of the Long Island Sound images I post are of Compo and Old Mill.

Both spots are photographers’ dreams. Cannons, jetties, a marina, a playground, a Cape Code-style cove — those and much more keep professionals and amateurs snapping away.

But Westport’s water views are hardly limited to our 2 most popular beaches. Saugatuck Shores, Sherwood Island and Burying Hill also provide ever-changing photographic opportunities.

Other vistas too should get more attention than they do. One was last week’s Photo Challenge.

Tom Lowrie’s shot looked west, toward Burying Hill and, beyond, Sherwood Island. It was taken from Beachside Avenue — the site, 350 years ago, of the first white settlements in what is now Westport. (Click here to see.)

It’s one of the prettiest spots in town. But only Jacque O’Brien, Rob Hauck, Andrew Colabella, Rich Stein and Tom Wall correctly identified it. Congratulations!

Here is this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where it is, click “Comments” below. Bonus points if you’ve got the back story!

(Photo/Mary Gai)

Roundup: Beachside Avenue, Playhouse Cocktails, More


The equipment is in place. Plans have been made.

And the date is set. Replacement work on the Beachside Avenue bridge over I-95 begins January 4. It’s expected to last through September/

The $1.5 million project includes realignment of Beachside Avenue.

During the project, traffic will be detoured past the Greens Farms station, and New Creek Road. Longer detours will be needed for trucks that cannot fit under the railroad bridge.

Beachside Avenue I-95 bridge, at Greens Farms Road.


All summer long, the Westport Country Playhouse was dark.

But bright conversation took place online, via virtual chats with artists. It was called “Coffee With …”

The series continues this Thursday (November 19, 7 p.m.), with artistic director Mark Lamos. He’ll talk about the upcoming season, casting, his career, and anything else you ask.

Questions can be emailed to info@westportplayhouse.org by noon Tuesday. Then click on Facebook Live or YouTube.

The winter series is called “Cocktails With …” Mix it up!


And finally … on this day in 1969, half a million anti-Vietnam War protestors poured into Washington, DC. They were following up on Moratorium to End the War protests a month earlier, held in cities and towns around the country.

It is considered to have been the largest demonstration ever in the capital. President Nixon said, “I understand that there has been, and continues to be, opposition to the war in Vietnam on the campuses and also in the nation. As far as this kind of activity is concerned, we expect it; however, under no circumstances will I be affected whatever by it.”

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.)