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Tag Archives: Green’s Farms train station
The other day, alert — and compassionate — “06880” reader Elaine Marino sent me an email.
Earlier that morning, she said, she dropped off her husband at the Greens Farms train station.
Elaine noticed a woman who had just gotten off the train. She began walking, and turned left on Greens Farms Road, toward Morningside Drive.
Elaine pulled over and asked, “Can I give you a ride?” The woman gladly got in the car.
Elaine drove her to a house on a side street, just past the Sherwood Island Connector. Her name was Maria, and she was very grateful.
That was not the first time Elaine gave a ride to someone walking from the train station. For the past several years she’s done it for people who are household staff — nannies, cleaners, gardeners — who don’t have a ride from the train to their destination.
“I have met lovely people this way,” Elaine says. “I have never felt unsafe. It gives me a good feeling to help someone — especially in below-freezing temperatures. It would be great if even more people did this.”
Elaine did not expect me to name her this week’s Unsung Hero. She just wanted more Westporters to be aware of needs like this in our midst — and to reach out and help those who need it.
I’m sure she’s not the only one who has done something like this.
But I’m also sure there are many more — like me — who have not.
Thanks, Elaine, for stopping, and caring. And for reminding us all to do the same.
Last month, the Westport Transit District announced a new commuter shuttle marketing campaign.
Unlike many Metro-North trains, it arrived on time.
Recently — with the help of Police Chief Foti Koskinas and his team — the WTD installed new billboards at the Saugatuck and Greens Farms railroad station.
They’re eye-catching. And clever.
A much-needed route map helps too:
The WTD is also placing 5 x 7 route and information cards all around town: the stations, coffee shops, library, Town Hall and at real estate agencies, to name a few.
Meanwhile, they’ve sent emails to railroad parking permit holders, those on the wait list, and the Westport Parks and Recreation list. Those have generated interest in the WestportTransit.org website, which includes schedules and instructions on how to download the MyStop app. (Yes, it takes you to the Norwalk Transit District site. You’re in the right place.)
The Westport Transit District is making all the right moves to boost ridership.
Plus, those billboards give you something to look at while you wait for that overdue train.
Forget CNN. Who needs “Good Morning America”? And don’t even think about Channel 12 News.
At Donut Crazy — the new and very popular breakfast place on the eastbound side of the Westport railroad station — the TV is turned to a static shot of the Greens Farms station.
It’s not as random as you think.
As soon as you see your train pull into Greens Farms, you’ve got 3 minutes to get up, scurry through the tunnel, and board your ride to New York.
It’s a genius idea.
Right up there with strawberry cheesecake, cookies & cream and nutella donuts.
Alert “06880” reader Nico Eisenberger was saddened to see another large oak tree cut down earlier this month, near the Greens Farms train station.
He understands the “tree cutting frenzy” after recent hurricanes and windstorms.
But he wishes there was “transparency in who makes these decisions, and what the guidelines and objectives are.”
In recent days — as the stump and logs remain — he’s moved from sadness to anger. Why, he wonders, does Eversource (or the town) not conduct “prompt cleanup after they fell a once-beautiful, long-living thing?”
Steam — the coffee vendor at the Westport railroad station — has brewed its last joe there.
The town of Westport made several attempts to help Steam stay open, says Foti Koskinas, deputy police chief who oversees railroad operations.
However, he says, the Saugatuck location is now vacant. The town is initiating eviction proceedings at Green’s Farms. Termination of the current lease will follow.
The Green’s Farms building will stay open though, with coffee and baked goods. It’s a different situation than at the Westport station — where there are restrooms on the other (westbound) side, and several coffee shops.
The town will advertise soon for a new vendor.
(Hat tip: Lee Scharfstein)
First it was the Merritt Parkway.
Now, alert “06880” reader John Hartwell notes, Eversource is removing trees near the Green’s Farms train station, on both sides of New Creek Road.
Area resident Nico Eisenberger was surprised to see the same scene. He understands the need to trim trees from power lines, but wonders who made the decision to clear-cut so many trees — and would love to know how it was made.
According to Hartwell — a member of the Connecticut Commuter Rail Council — Foti Koskinas (the deputy police chief who oversees maintenance and operations of the Green’s Farms and Saugatuck train stations on behalf of the town ) could not find a tree company to work on trees he was concerned about, near high voltage wires.
Because the property belongs to the state, Koskinas asked the Connecticut Department of Transportation to take a look. At a meeting including Koskinas, tree warden Bruce Lindsay and the DOT, Metro-North and EverSouce determined that the trees could not be trimmed. They needed to be removed.
Two sets of trees are being taken down: scrub trees on the parking lot side, and 70-foot pines on the station side.
Hartwell has been told that Lindsay is working on a landscaping plan. On the station side at least, trees with deep roots are needed to hold the hill in place.
It’s easy to mock Metro-North for those “good service” messages — when, clearly, it’s not, even if the entire East Coast is reeling from one meteorological catastrophe or another.
Today was different.
Alert “06880” reader John Hartwell reports:
It’s just after 10 a.m. I’m taking the train to New Haven to avoid I-95. The platforms are clean and snow-free, and the trains are running on time. We all like to complain about Metro-North, but I’m glad it wasn’t my job to be up early this morning shoveling snow!
When it comes to naming a new business, it doesn’t get better than “Steam.”
That’s the coffee shop that opened last Friday at the Saugatuck train station (eastbound side).
Steam conjures up images of frothing milk. Locomotives that chugged through decades ago.
And, says co-owner Briana Pennell, it’s got the word “tea” smack in the middle.
The name came to her as soon as she saw the town’s Request For Proposal a few months ago. Westport officials needed someone to run the concession at one or both stations.
Briana — who worked at Great Cakes while a student at Weston High, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (concentrating on baking and pastries), and went on to top restaurants like Rebeccas in Greenwich — had wanted her own place for years.
She and her step-brother, Chris Barrett, won the bid. Working in restaurants paid his way through the University of Connecticut (business major). He moved on to the Melting Pot in Darien, Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, and other noted spots.
“He’s great with people,” Briana says. At the Green’s Farms station — where Steam opened last July — “he remembers everyone’s name. It’s crazy from 5 a.m. to 9, but he’s on top of everything.”
The Green’s Farms Steam has earned a reputation for great coffee, and top customer service. If you’re running for the train — hey, pay us tomorrow!
Yesterday, Briana and her boyfriend — musician Dkey Oster — talked about their new venture. Briana loves the big kitchen, where she bakes sugar-free muffins, and other gluten-free and vegan “power foods.” She uses olive oil and grapeseed oil, and organic sugar.
She’s brought in local vendors like Doc’s Maple Syrup, Wave Hill Bread and Grassroots organic food.
She, Dkey and Chris are in the process of finding out what Westport commuters want. Sandwiches and soups are high on the list.
Right now, Steam is open from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The hours might be extended — previous concessionaire Lili served dinners to go, a great idea. Briana also heard about Lili’s croissants, so she did a blind tasting to figure out which ones to serve. Wave Hill won, hands down.
The town — led by deputy police chief and head of railroad operations Foti Koskinas, and chief Dale Call — deserve a huge hand for their loving restoration of the 1890 building. Restorer Bill Dohme used as much original wood as possible. There’s a 19th century-style wood floor, while Chris himself restored the tables.
But this is the 21st century. Thanks to Steve Smith and Leo Cirnio, the entire building is solar-powered — from the coffee pots to the cell phone chargers — and parking spots outside are reserved for electric vehicles. (Parking is an issue — welcome to Westport. Three spots are reserved for Steam customers, and parallel parking lines may be painted soon in front.)
Oh, yeah. A flat-screen TV shows the Green’s Farms station, so customers can know when a train is coming. And the Wi-Fi is free.
Briana, Chris and Dkey want to make the space available after hours, for art exhibits, music shows, whatever. The Electric Car Club has already held a meeting there.
Briana is excited about every part of Steam — even the grotty tunnel to the westbound platform. It’s going to be redone, she says, and the Westport Arts Center plans a cool exhibit of Westport now-and-then photos.
She says, proudly, that “since the day we opened, people keep coming in wishing us luck.”
In fact, Westport is lucky to have Briana, Chris, Dkey — and the superbly named Steam — now in 2 great locations.