Tag Archives: Church Lane

Pop (Up) Goes The Library Shop

The Westport Library’s Transformation Project roars along. It’s on schedule to be finished in June.

Of course, the library is still open. But to make sure that holiday shoppers don’t miss a chance to buy goodies from its store, the library has opened a pop-up shop.

It’s in Bedford Square — across from the Spotted Horse restaurant, and most recently the site of the CronArt gallery.

The space is filled with greeting cards, reading glasses, cards and notepads, socks and scarves, booties and onesies, toys, games, building sets, novelties, bags and pouches, jewelry, umbrellas, tech gadgets, decorative lighting, maker kits and more.

A few of the many items available at the Westport Library pop-up store …

Some items are handmade. Some are quirky. There’s something for everyone, of any age.

This being the library shop — even off-site — there are even books for sale. Fiction, mystery, coffee table, children’s books — you’ll find them all. The selection changes weekly.

The pop-up shop is open through the end of the year: weekdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, 12-5 p.m. All proceeds benefit the Westport Library.

… and some of the books.

Pic Of The Day #520

Church Lane, after yesterday’s rain (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Photo Challenge #188

There were many ways to describe last week’s photo challenge.

Lauren Schiller’s shot showed a few windows, and beige and tan structures.

Some “06880” readers described them as storefronts on the Post Road, across from Bank of America. Some mentioned current tenants, like Arogya. Others placed them “down the street from old Westport Bank & Trust” (now Patagonia), “between Urban Outfitters and Nefaire Spa,” and where B&G Army Navy and Chroma card store used to be.

All are somewhat correct. Congrats to Fred Cantor, Seth Goltzer, Suzanne Raboy and Bobbie Herman.

But the folks who really nailed it — that’s you Matt Murray, Elaine Marino, Jonathan McClure, Joelle Harris Malec and Michael Calise — knew that the image actually shows the backs of those stores (117-131 Post Road East, as Elaine accurately points out).

The view is from Church Lane — in front of Bedford Square.

The buildings are architecturally undistinguished. Sometimes they fade into the landscape.

But you can’t hide anything from alert “06880” readers. (Click here for the photo, and all guesses.)

Meanwhile, with Democratic and Republican primaries coming this month, now is a good time for an election-related photo challenge:

Photo challenge 2 - Grover Fitch

(Photos/Grover Fitch)

Sure, it’s been 28 years since Lowell Weicker ran for governor (and won) as a candidate of the independent A Connecticut Party.

He’s remembered best for implementing a state income tax — a much-criticized measure that nonetheless earned him the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s Profiles in Courage award for taking an unpopular stand, then holding firm.

The state tax is still with us. So is this sign. Where in Westport is it?

If you know, click “Comments” below. And if you have any memories of Governor Weicker, send those along too!

 

Pic Of The Day #451

A street musician, 2 art gallery receptions, a sidewalk jewelry sale, artisinal honey, comfy chairs and perfect weather — Church Lane was the place to be tonight. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Photo Challenge #178

Downtown Westport has tons of shortcuts.

You just have to know where to look.

Let’s say you bought a beautiful bedroom set at Design Within Reach (the old post office). But you also need a French press from the new Williams- Sonoma in Bedford Square.

You could cross the Post Road (carefully!), then circle all the way around Patagonia to Church Lane. You could do the same with Sconset Square.

It’s quicker to walk through the small underground parking area next to Westport Pizzeria, or cut straight through Urban Outfitters.

But the really fun way is to take the narrow alleyway between Urban Outfitters and Cotélac. It hides there in plain sight, a direct shot for those who know about it.

Yet maybe no one does. A mural painted — somehow — on the tight wall of Urban Outfitters was last week’s photo challenge. I took it earlier this month. (Click here for the photo. It’s pretty cool, if I do say so myself.)

But are the muralists and I the only people who know about the alley?

Perhaps. Only one person — one! — guessed last Sunday’s photo challenge.

And it took Staples High School senior Nicole Arellano 6 days — all the way until yesterday — to come up with the right answer.

Well done, Nicole. It was worth waiting for!

This week’s photo challenge should be easier.

I hope.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

Friday Flashback #86

Two weeks ago, our Friday Flashback showed the unchanging nature of an important downtown crossroads.

A time traveler from decades ago would have no difficulty today recognizing the Westport Bank & Trust building (though some of the fashions at the present tenant, Patagonia, might surprise her).

Across Church Lane, the transformation of the Westport Weston YMCA into Bedford Square has altered — but not radically changed — the streetscape.

Of course, it did not always look that way.

Here’s a view of Main Street, at what was then called “The Square” (note the horse watering trough in the middle). The building on the right was replaced by the Westport Hotel — which itself was replaced in 1923 by E.T. Bedford’s gift to the town, the YMCA.

(Photo courtesy of Westport Historical Society)

Another view — looking west up the Post Road, toward the Saugatuck River — shows the building on the Main Street corner (on the right) from another angle.

(Photo courtesy of Westport Historical Society)

Check out the trolley. It provided great local transportation, with branches running from downtown to Saugatuck and Compo Beach.

And where was the trolley barn?

Somewhere on Church Lane. So — despite its current unchanging look — that area was indeed different, back in the day.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Ehrismann)

Pic Of The Day #323

Elm Street and Church Lane: the calm before the storm (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

Al Fresco Aux Delices

éAux Délices chose the right day to open.

Early this gorgeous spring afternoon, every outdoor table was taken. The Church Lane specialty food store/salad shop/coffee spot looked like it had been there for years.

Sconset Square/Post Road Redevelopment: The Sequel

Sunday’s post described a new vision of downtown Westport.

It explained that David Waldman — the Westport-based developer who conceived of and completed Bedford Square — is under contract to buy both Sconset Square and 155 Post Road East. They’re contiguous properties: Sconset is the small shopping center off Myrtle Avenue with stores like Bungalow and Le Penguin restaurant, while 155 Post Road is the cement building across from Design Within Reach (the old post office).

(Though the Westport Pizzeria building may at some point be part of some deal in some way, don’t worry: It’s open, and will be for the foreseeable future.)

If Waldman buys #155 and Sconset Square, parking areas behind them could be utilized more efficiently. And #155 could potentially house organizations like the Westport Arts Center and Westport Cinema Initiative

155 Post Road East, across from Design Within Reach (the old post office).

That story generated a decent number of comments. But because Sunday was Easter — and the most beautiful day of the year — it may not have reached every “06880” reader.

And not everyone with an opinion might have responded.

A few town officials asked if I thought the comments posted — generally positive, some not — reflect the feeling of most Westporters.

I have no idea.

So here’s another opportunity to respond. Click “Comments” below.

This is far from the final word, of course. But on a matter like this, the more voices, the merrier.

Sconset Square. Redevelopment of the area could open the backs of the existing stores to shoppers too.

Bedford Square Is Complete. Another Intriguing Project May Come Next.

Since it opened 2 weeks ago, Bedford Square has become Westport’s newest destination. Folks flock there to shop, eat, and hang out in the courtyard.

David Waldman’s project — which took many years to conceive and sell to town boards, and another 2 years to construct — seems like the end of a long process.

But it may be only the beginning.

Numerous sources say that the Westport-based developer is under contract to buy both Sconset Square and 155 Post Road East. They’re contiguous properties: Sconset is the small shopping center off Myrtle Avenue with stores like Bungalow and Le Penguin restaurant, while 155 Post Road is the cement building across from Design Within Reach (the old post office). Eyeglasses.com is a current tenant; it used to house the Tack Room and Christian Science reading room.

155 Post Road East is a tired-looking building across from Design Within Reach (the old post office).

With Bedford Square, Waldman re-imagined the way we use Elm Street/Church Lane/Main Street. If he acquires those nearby properties — and, rumor has it, the Westport Pizzeria building too — he could redesign that section of downtown as well.

And tie it together with Bedford Square, which is much closer physically to Sconset Square than most of us now realize.

Sconset Square has been in Westport for years. Originally called Sherwood Square, it was the site of the original Sport Mart.

Word on the downtown street is that Waldman could reorient Sconset Square, opening up the backs of those stores to anyone using a redesigned walkway from the Post Road to Church Lane.

Removing the Westport Pizzeria building could create a pedestrian walkway to Church Lane — and enable merchants to utilize the backs of their stores, as well as the fronts.

He could also consolidate several of the parking lots on Church Lane — like the one behind SoNo Baking (soon to be Aux Delices) — making them more accessible and practical.

Right now there’s a hodgepodge of small parking areas off Church Lane, and behind Sconset Square. It’s tough to walk there from the Post Road.

Other rumors are flying, including the possibility of the Westport Arts Center and/or Westport Film Initiative moving into 155 Post Road East. That could give those organizations great visibility — and bring more people downtown.

The synergy between arts, retail, restaurants (and the new Bedford Square rental units) sounds exciting.

Of course, Bedford Square did not happen overnight.

It took many long nights of meetings.

Followed by 2 years of construction.

Westporters have so far voted with their feet. They’ve poured into Bedford Square.

There are sure to be many votes ahead for this next phase of downtown development.