Tag Archives: Carvel

Vanity Fair Features Westport’s Essential Workers

Last month, it was “the party.” This week, the short-lived “pandemic drone.”

After 2 turns in the national media glare, the 3rd time’s the charm.

Today, Vanity Fair turns its spotlight on the men and women who keep Westport going in a pandemic..

Stephen Wilkes is a photographer and National Geographic Explorer. He’s documented endangered species and habitats, rising seas, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Ellis Island in decay and more.

He’s also a Westporter.

After hearing about a young Maryland woman infected by COVID-19 who was so devoted to working at a store that it killed her, he set out to photograph essential workers here.

He said “so many great, small mom-and-pop shops are making sure that everybody is okay right now. Without them, I don’t know what we’d do.”

Wilkes’ story includes photos of Gold’s Delicatessen, Carvel and Fleishers Craft Butchery, as well as EMS headquarters and a Metro-North train.

His photos — like the one below, of the Gold’s owners and staff, masked yet still offering curbside pickup behind yellow caution tape (the caption notes that owners Jim and Nancy Eckl celebrated their 37th anniversary “serving their devoted customers”) — are powerful.

And — after all the chatter about a party and a drone — the perfect way to start the weekend.

(Photo/Stephen Wilkes for Vanity Fair)

(For more photos, and the text, click here. Hat tip: Kerry Long)

Paying It Forward At Carvel

Alert “06880” reader Mary Ann West spotted this item on her friend Tim Perry’s Facebook wall:

An old man walked into the Carvel in Westport the other day and ordered an ice cream cake for his grandson’s 3rd birthday.

US Navy vetA stranger saw the old man wearing a baseball cap that read “U.S. Navy Veteran.” The stranger walked up to the vet and said, “Sir, I want to thank you for your service. I would like to pay for your cake.”

The old man was surprised and thankful, and allowed the stranger to buy the ice cream cake.

That old man is my father, and the cake is for my son.

Thank you, kind stranger, for the random act of kindness, and for paying it forward. May we all learn from your kindness and gratitude.

Sunny Daes Is Here

This week, as our thoughts turn to skiing, skating and hot chocolate, Westport welcomes — an ice cream shop.

Sunny Daes introduces its 5th Connecticut location (30 Riverside Avenue — site of the former King’s service station) with a “soft opening” (ho ho).  It will show off its 68 favors of ice cream, gelato and frozen yogurt, with free cones on New Year’s Eve.

I don’t want to be the skunk at the garden party, but I’ve got a few questions:

  • Will the location work? That section of Riverside Avenue — just beyond the Post Road intersection — has always been a tough business environment.  Restaurants and retailers struggle.  It’s out of sight — physically and metaphorically — for manydowntown shoppers.  Most ice cream shops rely heavily on foot traffic, which is non-existent across the river.  And despite a few parking spots in front of the store, getting into and out of the small lot is not easy.
  • Is Westport ready for another ice cream place? Carvel carved out a niche around the time the Bedfords and Coleys settled in town.  Baskin-Robbins has a prime downtown spot, though it’s suffered since the demise of the movie theaters.  Ben & Jerry’s — arguably the world’s most famous ice cream name — recently closed up shop.  Gone too are MaggieMoo’s, TCBY and — for far too long — the crème de la crème, the Ice Cream Parlor.
  • What’s with the name? Sunny Daes does not scream “ice cream”; in fact, it looks vaguely Middle Eastern.  It’s one thing if you’ve got the name recognition of Tom Carvel, but Sunny Daes does not.  They must not only introduce themselves to Westport; they have to explain what they are.

None of those problems are insurmountable.  Sunny Daes may well thrive.  It might lead to a West Bank (of the Saugatuck) renaissance.  Certainly, any new business in Westport is welcome.

Even one selling ice cream in the dead of winter.