Tag Archives: Connecticut Magazine

2 For 40 Under 40

There are 169 towns and cities in Connecticut. But 2 Westporters — one current, one former — have made Connecticut Magazine’ s “40 Under 40” list. The feature celebrates 40 Nutmeggers doing interesting and/or important work, all before their 40th birthday.

Andy Friedland now lives in New Haven, but he grew up here. Here’s the magazine’s shout-out to the 2008 Staples High School graduate:

With a sharp rise in hate crimes statewide nationally and internationally in the past 3 years, Friedland’s job as associate director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Connecticut office keeps him busy.

A former team leader with AmeriCorps, he is a primary responder to combat anti-Semitism, other bias incidents and all forms of bigotry. He works with schools, law enforcement and “whoever comes into the picture” to educate people about anti-Semitism and its local origins.

Friedland has led educational programs on topics such as the Holocaust and genocide and the separation of church and state. He has lobbied for and testified for the ADL’s initiative Backspace Hate for legislation to address online harassment, including cyberstalking.

Connecticut has good laws, Friedland says, but adds that it’s important to “keep laws up to date and take on the issues that are really important and dangerous.”

Andy Friedland (Photo by Harold Shapiro for Connecticut Magazine)

Dan Orlovsky grew up in Shelton, but lives here now. His writeup says:

Orlovsky has been famous in Connecticut since he was a teenager. In 2000, the senior quarterback led Shelton High School to an undefeated season and the Class LL state championship before being named state player of the year.

Despite receiving interest from traditional college football powerhouses, Orlovsky stayed in state and attended UConn. He rewrote the school’s record book — still holding every major passing mark in Huskies history to this day — and also led UConn to the program’s first bowl game, a 39-10 win over Toledo in the Motor City Bowl in 2004. Orlovsky was named MVP of the game.

The Detroit Lions selected Orlovsky in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Serving mostly as a backup QB in his 12 years in the league, Orlovsky was uniquely preparing himself for his second career as an ESPN football analyst.

Orlovsky was already considered a rising media star when he joined the network in 2018. Now he provides color commentary in the broadcast booth (he recently called the Camping World Bowl on TV and the Rose Bowl for radio) and intelligent and insightful analysis on studio shows including Get Up!, NFL Live and SportsCenter.

Dan Orlovsky (Photo by Melissa Rawlins/ESPN for Connecticut Magazine)

Congratulations, Andy and Dan. And to all you other Westporters under 40: Get to work!

(For the full “40 Under 40” story, click here. Hat tip: Amy Schafrann)

Shop Till You Drop

You know all that downtown-bashing that Westporters love?

We’re wrong.

According to the September issue of Connecticut Magazinein which the editors offer dozens of “Best of Connecticut” picks, in hopes of selling more ads providing interesting content — Westport is one of the state’s 3 “Destination Shopping” towns.

“When is a mall not a mall?” Connecticut asks. And then answers:

When it’s a lovely Main Street with parking along the great wide Saugatuck.

Not a mall at all.

Along with usual suspects like J. Crew, Ann Taylor, Williams Sonoma, Chico’s Gap and Coach (and lovable stalwarts Max’s Art Supply, Oscar’s Deli and Sally’s Place, there are plenty of new kids on the block — Benefit Cosmetics, Nike, Kate Spade, West Elm and Theory.

On surrounding streets there are BOC winners Dovecote, Soleil Toile and newbie Urban Outfitters.

Speaking of which, the latter’s mother company URBN obviously finds lots to like in Westport: Up the Post Road a piece you’ll find two of their other properties, Anthropologie and totally gorgeous new home-and-garden store (an inadequate description if we’ve ever seen one) Terrain.

“Totally goregous” Terrain.

The other 2 “Destination Shopping” towns — Guilford and West Hartford — get equally gushing reviews.

“Best of Connecticut” also gives category shout-outs to these Westport spots:

  • Bakery:  Sono Baking Company
  • Fish and chips:  Mansion Clam House (“Still the go-to place for local seafood lovers”)
  • Muffins: Aux Delices
  • Munchies:  Trader Joe’s
  • Mussels:  The Whelk  (“Delish — and pure bliss”)
  • Raising the bar:  Spotted Horse  (“We can’t help wondering: Where did these throngs of people hang out before?”)

  • Side dish (escarole):  Pane e Bene
  • Salad bar:  Whole Foods
  • Chop salad:  The Dressing Room
  • Hair salon:  Phillip Bruce
  • Jewelry (eclectic):  Dovecote
  • Lingerie:  Soleil Toile
  • Toy store: Age of Reason
  • Consignment shop (clothing):  DLC
  • Boutique (teens):  Urban Outfitters
  • Men’s clothing:  Mitchells (“A Westport icon since 1958”)
  • Men’s ties:  Vineyard Vines

Congratulations to every winner.

But if you’ve read all the way through, shame on you.

Why aren’t you out shopping — preferably downtown, on our “lovely Main Street with parking along the great wide Saugatuck”?

Watching Westport From Behind The Green Door

The September issue of Connecticut Magazine includes a long story on Marilyn Chambers.

Marilyn Chambers Most news coverage following her death in April has centered on her intriguing transition from Ivory Snow model to porn star.  Tom Connor’s piece focuses on her teenage years in Westport.

It’s always interesting to read someone else’s take on a story you know well.  I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on 1960s and ’70s Westport — like the young Marilyn Briggs, I grew up here then — so I was glad that Tom got most of the facts right.

What stopped me cold — and made me think — were the perspectives behind the facts.

According to Connecticut Magazine, the Westport of Marilyn’s and my youth was a “seductive mix of art and money, bohemianism and raw ambition.”

More than many places in the country, Tom wrote, Westport was “particularly tumultuous and libidinous….While towns such as Greenwich and New Canaan tilted toward conservative bankers, lawyers and financiers, Westport attracted those of a more liberal bent.”

Our artists’ colony cred was cemented in 1931, Connecticut Magazine said.  The Westport Country Playhouse opened then, “in effect posting a casting call to the entertainment crowd and furthering the town’s reputation for fabulous fun and fame.

Marilyn_Chambers “The ‘fast times’ mood still prevailed in the late 1960s,” the story continued, “when many Staples students were openly drinking — some were doing drugs in the bathrooms — and freely acting out their parts in the sexual revolution.”

And, according to Nile Rogers, a guitarist and music producer who grew up in Harlem and came to Westport in his late teens:  “I’d known what I thought were some pretty crazy girls in New York City.  But these were the wildest women I’d ever met.”

Whether Tom Connor’s portrayal of Westport is completely true, somewhat on target or completely off the mark is immaterial.  Perception is reality.  To thousands of readers across the state, Westport in the 1960s and ’70s is now forever fixed as a tumultuous, libidinous place filled with wild women, art, money, bohemianism and raw ambition.

Was it really that way?  Don’t ask me.  I was just a teenager. 

Besides, how could I remember?  It was the ’60s.

DNR

By day they perform biopsies and colonoscopies.  At night they rock the house.

Dr. Robert Altbaum

Dr. Robert Altbaum

They’re DNR, the area’s only physician-assisted classic rock band.  Four of the 8 members are doctors, and they’re as adept with an ax as they are with a knife.  In fact, Bob Altbaum — a Westport internist and the band’s keyboardist/vocalist — has just been named a “Top Doc” by Connecticut Magazine.

That’s no small honor.  The publication asked 2,000 doctors who they’d recommend to a loved one.  This is Altbaum’s 5th consecutive appearance on the list.

Two other DNR members — Norwalk’s Andrew Parker (ear, nose and throat specialist/lead singer) and Fairfield’s Richard Frank (cancer specialist/saxophonist) — were also named “Top Docs.”  

Also in the band:  Westport’s Fred Ury.  He’s a bass guitarist/lawyer.  Go figure.

DNR is a long-time Levitt Pavilion, charity affair and private party favorite. 

Their name — medicalese for “Do Not Resuscitate” — is an inside joke.  I hope.