Tag Archives: Lou Weinberg

Roundup: Long Lots Preserve, Lyman Video, Marigny Chocolate …

Long Lots Preserve — the perimeter around the the Westport Community Gardens adjacent to the elementary school — is halfway to its 4-phase, 2-year goal of ecologically restoring the once-neglected town property.

Results are spectacular. Invasive plants are being removed; native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses are planted in their place.

Needed next: dead tree trunks, to cover the forest floor.

Decomposing tree trunks promote the growth of bug populations. They in turn supply local and migrating bird populations with an important source of food, especially in the spring when they feed their young.

Long Lots Preserve team director Lou Weinberg asks for donations of anyone with tree trunks they want to get rid of. Any condition is fine. Tree services or individuals can drop off tree truck logs at the site.

For details, email longlotspreserve@gmail.com . You can also click here for the website, or follow on Instagram: @longlotspreserve. (Hat tip: Dick Lowenstein)

Earlier work at the Long Lots Preserve.


Westport’s drive to raise $250,000 to help our new Ukrainian sister city of Lyman has neared the $200,000 mark. To be exact: $196,200.

That’s a remarkable outpouring of support from Westport residents (and their friends and relatives elsewhere, and former Westporters scattered around the world).

Whether you’ve already contributed, or just thought about it: Take a few minutes to check out this video.

Brian Mayer (the Westporter who co-founded Ukraine Aid International) and Liz Olegov (co-founder of the Alex21 aid group) filmed conditions on the ground in Lyman. It describes better than words ever could the harrowing situation in our sister city, and the need for help.

(Video editing by Clyde and Katya Wauchope)

Meanwhile, our friends in our other sister city — Marigny, France — are ready to join Westport in our efforts to help Lyman.

Next month — in his New Year’s address to the town — Marigny’s mayor will announce our partnership, and ask residents there to pitch in.

Meanwhile, the Christmas Day delivery of 400 fresh holiday meals, and gifts to 491 children — thanks in part to Westporters’ donations, and our partners on the ground, Ukraine Aid International and Alex21 — jogged the memories of some long-time Marigny citizens.

In 1966, 2 Westporters — David Salfati and his wife — were interviewed by Ouest-France News.

They described how in 1947, a Westport chocolate maker sent 400 kilograms of chocolate — about 800 pounds — of chocolate to Marigny. Residents in the Normandy town were still recovering from World War II.

The chocolatier — whose name has been lost to history — chose that amount because there were 400 children living in Marigny.

Right now, 491 youngsters remain in Lyman.

Seventy-five years later, almost the exact number of children need help, in another war-torn nation. Westport and Marigny are proud to work together, as 2 sister cities aiding a third.

To help, click here for a credit card “Donate” button. Click “I want to support”; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” You can also scroll down on that page for other donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo.) Or you can donate directly, via Stripe (click here). 

The 1966 news story about Westport’s aid to Marigny — including 400 kg of chocolate.


The last Jazz at the Post show of the year features Kenny Wessel on guitar.

Known for his “adventurous solo voice, unrelenting swing and sensitive accompaniment skills,” and his “rare blend of tradition and fiery innovation,” he’s a Westport favorite.

Wessel has played with saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall since the early 1990s.

Dave Richards joins on bass, with Steve Johns on drums.

There are 2 shows this Thursday (December 29): 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. Dinner service begins at 7. There’s a $15 cover. Reservations are strongly recommended: JazzatthePost@gmail.com.


Morton Silverberg died Christmas day, from heart disease. He was 92.

After graduating from MIT in 1953, he worked as an engineer at Remington Rand, RCA, Xerox and Pitney Bowes. He has over 100 patents in his name, ranging from copier technology to “the perfect paper clip.”

When he and his wife Phyllis moved to Westport in 1985, they began “the best years of their lives.” He sailed, played tennis and became an active participant in the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston. He said he “never had so many friends” in his life.

Mort is survived by his daughters, Judy Ross and Lynn McDonald, and  grandchildren Ben and Tyler Ross, and Amy McDonald. His wife Phyllis died last month.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.

Mort Silverberg


“Do they know it’s Christmas?”

“Nobody here but us chickens.”

What’s your caption for today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo?

(If you’re wondering: This coop is on Hillspoint Road, just south of I-95.)

(Photo/Matt Murray)


And finally … you knew this was coming, right?

(Don’t be chicken! Please click here to support “06880.” Thank you!)

Long Lots Preserve: Legacy Project Enhances Gardens’ Lure

Discussions have begun on the future of Long Lots Elementary School. Renovate on its present location? Construct a new building on the athletic fields north of the current site?

Debate will likely be loud and long.

A few yards south though, peace and quiet prevail.

The Community Gardens — 2-plus acres with 100 plots where people of all ages grow fruit, vegetables, flowers, herbs and grasses; gather in a common space with a pergola, picnic table, grape vines, bocce court and Adirondack chairs, and enjoy birds, butterflies and pollinating bees — are one of Westport’s hidden-in-plain-sight jewels.

Taking a social break at the Westport Community Gardens.

Now, they’re getting even more gorgeous.

And more environmentally sustainable.

Before work began, invasive vines choked trees.

A 4-phase project just beyond the gardens will create a new preserve. It will turn unmaintained, forested open space — once the Jaeger family greenhouses, now inundated with aggressive invasive plants and shrubs, and tree-destroying vines — into a haven for native species.

The Long Lots Preserve will curve around the Westport Community Gardens. Hyde Lane is at top right; Long Lots School is at left, with parking top center.

Work began in April. Robbie Guimond bulldozed — at no charge — an area filled with mugwort.

Also at no cost, A.J. Penna & Son dug holes for 11 new trees.

AJ Penna workers digging holes for new trees.

Doug Williams of Bartlett Tree Experts took out 4 tree of heavens, a particularly invasive species with “absolutely no wildlife value,” according to Lou Weinberg.

A Bartlett crew removes an invasive tree of heaven.

He’s dedicated 18 years to the Community Gardens. Now its chair, Weinberg is the driving force behind the Long Lots Preserve. He’s getting help from environmentalists like Charlie Stebbins of the Smith Richardson Preserve, and Community Gardener Frank Rosen.

A 15-person team is overseeing the project. Many contribute countless hours of volunteer labor.

Community Gardens member Joe Wiles works on the Long Lots Preserve.

Phase 1 will involve planting native trees like river birch, pin oak, serviceberry, white pine, tupelo, white spruce and tulip poplar. Then come shrubs like viburnum, elderberry and northern bayberry.

The weed suppression team (from left0: Lou Weinberg, Darryle Kowalsky, Frank Rosen, Julie O’Grady, Andrew Coleman.

Phase 2, set for this fall, consists of a 180 by 50-yard area on the south side, where mugwort, Japanese stiltgrass and wineberry have taken over. As with Phase 1, native species like oak and sycamore will replace invasives. Aspetuck Land Trust and the Audubon Society will help guide the effort.

Next spring’s Phase 3 — way back, in the wet southwest corner — will involve swamp oaks. Phase 4 follows in the fall of 2023, along the western side of the gardens.

Click here for more details on each phase.

It won’t take long for these new trees to grow.

Long Lots Preserve will be a rich ecological oasis, providing food and habitat for pollinators, local and migrating birds, and other wildlife. Along the way, it will become a model for suburban open space rehabilitation.

Like the invasive plants that have taken over the garden’s perimeter, the benefits keep growing. They include: adding to the Aspetuck Land Trust’s Green Corridor; contributing to the national Pollinator Pathway; providing educational opportunities to students; raising property values; supporting the Westport Tree Board and Sustainable Westport’s missions — and of course enhancing the beauty of the area.

“This is a legacy project,” Weinberg says with pride. “It will benefit the town for generations to come.”

Long Lots Preserve is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Click here for more information, and to contribute.

(“06880 relies on donations from readers like you. Please click here to help.)

Back To The Garden

Joni Mitchell was right. After a long winter — and 2 long years of COVID — we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.

And there’s no better place than the Westport Community Gardens.

There — just a few hoe-lengths away from Long Lots Elementary School — 100 or so gardeners grow fruit, vegetables, flowers, herbs and grasses, in a wonderful array of designs and configurations.

Some are families with young children. Some are folks in their 80s. Some are experienced gardeners; others know little, but learn from them. All form a helpful, happy — and very well-fed — community.

Gardens plots are available to town residents and town employees. A few remain to be allocated this year.

The gardens are deer-proof. Water is available.

Grow the tomatoes you’ve dreamed of — or any other fruits, vegetables and flowers you’ve wanted to try.

Families find a home at the Community Gardens. Supervised children are  welcome — and encouraged.

There’s even a bocce court.

Click here for more information; scroll down to “Join the Community.”

Hey: You are stardust. You are golden. You’ve got to get yourself back to the garden.

(Photos/Lou Weinberg)

Roundup: Real Estate, Trash, YMCA …


July’s real estate numbers are in.

According to Brown Harris Stevens, while the total number of closed homes declined from 96 to 69 from last year’s frothy July numbers — still the 2nd-highest number of closings for  the month since 2001 — the average closing price rose 19%, from $1,627,253 to $1,929, 908. That’s the highest for July since 2008.

Houses sold, on average, for 101% of the list price. That’s the 5th straight month the figure has surpassed 100%.

As of July 31, there were also 103 pending sales. Another 178 were listed as “active inventory.”

As for condos: 31 closed in July 2021, up from 22 the previous July. The average closing price for condos in the first 7 months of 2021 was $628,002, a rise of 34$ since the comparable period a year ago.

The total volume of house house and condo closings since January 1 is $644,692,685. That’s up a whopping 45% since the first 7 months of 2020. (Hat tip: Chuck Greenlee)

This 4-acre property on Beachside Avenue — once part of the JC Penney estate — is listed for $6,495,000. One drawback: It is not actually on the water.


Lou Weinberg is best known as the chair of Westport’s Community Gardens.

But the Westporter’s stewardship of the earth extends to the water. He writes:

“A recent walk along Burying Hill Beach yielded an astronomical amount of garbage. The bag on the right was what my wife and I picked up. The garbage on the left was left by a generous donor or donors.

(Photo/Lou Weinberg)

“As I’m sure you can guess, there were plenty of single-use plastic bottles, bottle caps, aluminum cans, balloons, fishing line, food wrappers, etc. On this walk, we even saw a used diaper and the leftovers from somebody’s lunches.

“What one can do: The Burying Hill lifeguards gave us the bag. Perhaps others who are taking a stroll along the beach and beyond could bring their own bags, or get one from the guards. Any effort to bag the garbage may result in one less piece of plastic ingested by wildlife, and a cleaner environment. Nature deserves better.”


Several years ago, the Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club ordered a historical plaque, commemorating its Westport Historic District Commission Preservation Award of 2018 for the heritage of its building.

Delivery problems delayed the ceremony until this week. Westport Museum of History & Culture house historian Bob Weingarten — who made the presentation to former commodore Paul Rosenblatt — provides the backstory:

The SHYC clubhouse was originally a stable. It was built circa 1887 by Henry C. Eno, as part of his Queen Ann seaside summer estate.

The SHYC was established 1959 by J. Anthony Probst. He remodeled the stable into a clubhouse, with the help of landscape architect Evan Harding. During the 2018 presentation, the HDC noted that underwater marsh land was dredged to create a harbor. It was the first of its kind on the eastern seaboard to feature an underwater bubble system, allowing boats to remain moored year-round.

Former commodore Paul Rosenblatt, the Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club plaque, and the historic clubhouse.


As I walked out of the Y yesterday, a man approached.

“Is this the YMCA?” he asked.

Duh! I thought. What else would it be?

Then I looked around. There is virtually no signage anywhere.

There’s nothing on Wilton Road, or Merritt Parkway Exit 41 — the only 2 ways to enter the parking lot — that say “Welcome to the Westport Weston Family YMCA!”

The sign above the entrance reads “Bedford Family Center.” Who — including most members — knows that’s the name of the Y building.

High above the entrance — where no one looks, and besides, it’s very hard to make out — is the “Y” logo. But that’s it. It doesn’t even say “YMCA.”

I guess there really is no such thing as a dumb question.

Can you see the “Y” above the “Bedford Family Center” sign? (Photo/Dan Woog)


No one likes to see a police cruiser in their rear view mirror.

But everyone should support the Westport Police Benevolent Association’s 3rd annual Car Cruise. It’s tomorrow (Saturday, August 21, 4 to 8 p.m., Saugatuck train station parking lot #1).

Cars of all years, makes and models are welcome. It’s a family-friendly event, with music, food trucks and a raffle.

The fee to enter and display a car is $20, with the funds earmarked for causes like the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, Special Olympics, and Veterans & Families of Fallen Officers.

The first 100 cars receive a gift bag. Trophies will be awarded too.

A previous Westport PBA car rally


In 2017, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke a story about Westporter Harvey Weinstein in The New York Times. The smoldering #MeToo movement suddenly caught fire.

The 2 journalists will speak at the Westport Library’s inaugural fundraising event, “The Exchange: Conversations About The Issues of Our Time.” The October 5 (10 a.m.) event will be moderated by Westport corporate executive Joan Gillman,

Click here for more information, and tickets.

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.


The other day, “Westport … Naturally” featured a snowy egret enjoying a meal. Today, we show one in flight.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


To purchase tickets or a table for this special event go to

And finally … speaking of the YMCA (as we were above): Maybe we need these guys as greeters in front.

Visitors Interrupt Compo Wedding Ceremony

One of the joys of Westport is a wedding on the beach.

Many of us have been thrilled, at random moments, to see a couple sharing vows on the shore. We have no idea who they are, but it makes our day.

One of the joys of Lou Weinberg’s wedding on the beach yesterday was an unexpected visitor.

The wedding party, on a Compo Beach jetty.

Lou was married there yesterday. As assistant town attorney (and justice of the peace) Eileen Lavigne Flug performed the ceremony, she noticed the sand moving.

Eileen Lavigne Flug, flanked by the newlyweds.

Turtles were hatching.

Suddenly, 7 little ones — diamondback terrapins, Lou thinks — emerged.

5 of the 7 baby turtles.

“It was perfect,” Lou says, “I’m a nature boy.” (In his spare time, Lou volunteers as chair of the Westport Community Gardens.)

Lou then went one step further. Right after the wedding, he called Dan DeVito at the Parks & Recreation Department. Quickly, Dan called down to the beach. Within moments, an employee strung caution tape around the area.

Lou thought this would make a nice story. He also hopes it warns people that turtles are hatching at Compo.

“This is incredibly rare, valuable and important,” Lou says. “People need to be aware, and stay away.”

A tiny diamondback terrapin.

Lou calls last night’s hatching “a fortuitous start to our married life together.”

It is a great story. I’m honored to pass it along.

But in the interest of journalism, I emailed Lou back. I wanted to include his new wife’s name too.

I haven’t heard back yet.

Hopefully, he’s on his honeymoon.

Or else he’s saving even more wildlife somewhere out there too.

UPDATE: The bride’s name is Marjorie Donalds!

Congratulations, to Lou and Marjorie!