Tag Archives: Green’s Farms train station

Crazy Donut Idea

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.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

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.

Mighty Oak

Alert “06880” reader Nico Eisenberger was saddened to see another large oak tree cut down earlier this month, near the Greens Farms train station.

(Photo/Nico Eisenberger)

(Photo/Nico Eisenberger)

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?”

Vanishing Steam

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.

Steam's interior, at the Saugatuck station. (Photo/Lee Scharfstein)

Steam’s interior, at the Saugatuck station. (Photo/Lee Scharfstein)

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.

The Steam sign -- shown here in 2014 -- is now gone.

The Steam sign — shown here soon after it opened in January 2014 — is now gone.

(Hat tip: Lee Scharfstein)

Clear The Tracks!

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.

Greens Farms train station 2 - John Hartwell

Greens Farms train station 3 - John Hartwell

Greens Farms train station - John Hartwell

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.

Greens Farms train station - Nico Eisenberger

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.

Good Service!

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!

(Photo/John Hartwell)

(Photo/John Hartwell)

 

Steam Heats Up Saugatuck Station

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.

Steam co-owner Briana to pour a steaming hot coffee.

Steam co-owner Briana pours a steaming hot coffee.

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!

Dkey Oster entertains commuters at Steam.

Dkey Oster entertains commuters at Steam.

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.

A handsome plaque fits perfectly with the restored interior. The plaque includes a reference to the "NYNH&HRR" -- the old New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad.

A handsome plaque fits perfectly with the restored interior. The 2nd line refers to the “NYNH&HRR” — the old New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad.

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.

Steam sign

Steamed At The Green’s Farms Station

For nearly 10 years, George Russo was a welcome presence at the Green’s Farms Railroad Station.

He served coffee, sold newspapers and traded banter with sleepy early morning commuters at the equally sleepy depot.

Last April, George was outbid for the lease. Despite scores of names on a petition to save him, Steam Cafe took over.

Green's Farms train station.

Green’s Farms train station.

This morning, commuters faced a locked door. No coffee. No papers. Not even a bathroom.

A call from “06880” to the Westport Police Department — which oversees the town’s 2 train stations — brought a swift response.

The Steam Cafe concessionaire overslept.

The cops were not happy. “The lease stipulates that if there’s a problem opening, we have to be notified,” a spokesman said. “No one told us. We’ll deal with this.”

And, the spokesman said, Steam Cafe has another issue to deal with:

“They’ve got a lot of apologies to make to their customers.”