Tag Archives: Noya Fine Jewelry

Roundup: Lyman Delivery, Sherwood Island Plantings, Psychic Show …

It’s much colder in Lyman, Ukraine than Westport, Connecticut.

But hearts in our sister city have been warmed by gifts this winter. The latest delivery is good news for hundreds of freezing bodies.

A 20-ton truck headed out yesterday to the town in the Donbas. It was filled with construction material, to shore up 6 apartment blocks devastated during 5 months of Russian occupation.

Residents have been living in basements. Soon, the rebuilding of those apartments can begin.

Ukraine Aid International and Alex21 — Westport’s partners on the ground — also delivered armored vests for utility workers. That will enable them to work more safely, restoring power in areas still under attack by the invaders.

The construction material and armored vests were paid for by Westporters. During the holiday season, our town raised $252,000 to aid our sister city. More projects are in the works.

Click below for a video showing delivery of the building materials and armored gear.

Tax-deductible donations can still be made to Lyman through Ukraine Aid International — the non-profit co-founded by Westporters Brian and Marshall Mayer. Please click here. Click the “I want to support” box; then select “Support for the City of Lyman.” Scroll down on that page for other tax-deductible donation options (mail, wire transfer and Venmo). You can also donate directly, via Stripe (click here). 

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Tomorrow (Thursday, February 23) is Fairfield County Giving Day.

Friends of Sherwood Island State Park is raising funds for their garden team. They’ll plant natives in their Pollinator Garden, and the East Beach dunes. Among them: seaside goldenrod, switchgrass, rose mallow, maritime marsh elder, Virginia rose, blue-flowered spiderwort, yarrow, white heath aster, pink-flowered showy tick-trefoil (pea family), thin-leaved sunflower, boneset, New England blazing star and marsh fleabane.

The dune restoration will be extended with 150 feet of American beach grass, 12 feet wide. They’ll add 12 red maple, white oak and pitch pine trees in the picnic area.

The goal is $1,700. To donate, click here, or send a check to: Friends of Sherwood Island State Park, PO Box 544, Westport, CT 06881. Memo line: “Giving Day 0- Garden Team.”

Westporters Orna Stern and Debbie Ritter — members of the Friends of Sherwood Island State Park garden team — planting a red maple tree. It will one day shade East Beach picnic areas.

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This event happens on April Fools’ Day.

But I am not making this up. I’m just paraphrasing (and quoting) a press release.

“Celebrity psychic medium Karyn Reece” comes to Child’s Pose Yoga (8 Church Street, April 1 7:30 p.m.) for “the most coveted event this spring that has everyone talking.”

During the “intimate VIP evening (guests will) be given the opportunity to connect with their past loved ones and hear about their future through live audience-style readings with Reece. She will allow ‘the other side’ to guide her around the room as she gives inspiring and specifically detailed personalized messages of healing and hope to some lucky winners in attendance.”

But wait! There’s more! Attendees will enjoy “exceptional food and spirits” (ho ho), “delectable desserts,” and gift bags too.

Reece “has been featured on TLC, Discovery, Lifetime, The CW, FYI, Travel Channel and A&E. She is also the go-to psychic medium for celebrities on BravoShe has worked with some of the world’s most A-list celebrities and brands including Deux Moi, Reebok, Kyle Richards, Leah Remini, Margaret Josephs, entrepreneurs, and media who featured her as one of the most accurate psychics with over 98% accuracy per reading (average psychics being only 50%).”

Tickets are just $200 per person (non-refundable or transferable). For reservations, call 716-580-2520 or email karyn@karynreece.com.

The press release concludes: “Reece is ready, spirit is ready, but the real question is, are you ready for a spring night like none other?”

No foolin’!

Karyn Reece

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Noya — the fine jewelry design store on Riverside Avenue, just off Post Road West — is helping victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria.

100% of proceeds of their “friendship bracelet” will aid those devastated by the disaster. Click here to purchase, and for more information.

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If you’ve never been to an Artists Collective of Westport pop-up exhibit: What a shame.

If you have, you’ll know to mark March 1 (6 to 8 p.m., Westport Country Playhouse barn) for hors d’oeuvres, wine, great conversation, and of course a diverse array of art by talented Collective members.

Then on March 5 (5 p.m.), several artists will talk about their process and answer questions about their work and careers.

The show runs March 2-5 (2 to 6 p.m.). Artists exhibiting include Nina Bentley, Suzanne Benton, Eric Chiang, Lynne Knobel, Joanie Landau, Susan Murray, Dale Najarian, Judy Noel, Julie O’Connor, Eileen Panepinto, Gay Schempp, Renee Santhouse, Joan Wheeler and Marc Zaref.

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Choral Chameleon’s previous 2 appearances at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Westport were great success.

The New York-based group returns this Saturday (February 25, 7:30 p.m.). Their “Music for Chameleons” concert — part of their 15th anniversary tour — is a “thought-provoking narrative on the ever-changing landscape for the world, and the power of human beings to have meaningful discourse and invoke transformation.”

They’ll include music by di Lasso, Pulenc, Nobuaki, Rimmer, Trmbore, Jamiroquai and Janet Jackson, plus premiers from Choral Chameleon Institute composers inspired by a Truman Capote short story.

Tickets are available online and at the door ($20 each). To learn more about Choral Chameleon, click here.

Choral Chameleons

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Dr. Arthur Brovender, a longtime Westporter, died peacefully at his Boca Raton, Florida home on Saturday. He was 92 years old.

The Bronx native earned a BA with Phi Beta Kappa honors from New York University in 1952. He received a medical degree with distinction from L’Université Libre de Bruxelles 6 years later.

He completed his internship in general surgery at Norwalk Hospital. Arthur then specialized in orthopedic surgery, finishing his surgical residency in New York.

In 1962, during his children’s surgical residency at The House of St. Giles the Cripple in Brooklyn, he met his future wife, Paula on a blind date. They were married for 59 years.

Throughout his medical career, he held many memberships as a Fellow in medical societies (International College of Surgeons, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, New York Academy of Medicine, American College of Surgeons and the American Geriatrics Society) and was a Charter Member of the Eastern Orthopaedic Association. He was a regent in the State of Connecticut International College of Surgeons, and president of the Norwalk Medical Society. He taught at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and the Police and Fire Departments in Westport and Norwalk.

In 1963 Arthur opened a private practice and joined the medical staff at Norwalk Hospital. At the same time proudly served in the Army Reserves, rising to captain. He served as the chief of orthopaedics at Norwalk Hospital from 1981-1985.

He enjoyed playing golf and tennis, skiing, hunting and fishing. He was an avid photographer and history buff, and enjoyed traveling with family and friends. Arthur took classes throughout his life.

His religious observance was important. Heserved as president of Temple Shalom in Norwalk from 1976-1979.

After retiring from his private practice of 37 years in 2000, he continued to provide medical service to the Social Security Administration as an independent medical expert on orthopedic cases throughout the United States.

For the last 20 years he enjoyed retirement at Boca West Country Club, where he served on the Board of Governors and numerous committees. He made many wonderful new friends in Florida.

Arthur was predeceased by his brother, Dr. Stanley (Patricia) Brovender. In addition to his wife, Arthur is survived by his children Leslie Serena and Lisa (Arthur) Hayes; grandchildren and step-grandchildren Max, Malisia, Rebecca, Olivia, William and James; niece, Dana Parillo, and nephews Matthew and David Brovender.

Funeral services will be held this Friday (February 24, 1 p.m., Temple Shalom, Norwalk). Burial will follow at the Temple Israel Cemetery behind Beth Israel Cemetery in Norwalk. The family will sit shiva on Saturday (6 to 8 p.m.) and Sunday (1 to 4 p.m.)

Donations in Arthur’s name can be made to Temple Shalom or the Anti-Defamation League.

Dr. Arthur Brovender

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A flock of turkeys lives in the woods behind St Vincent’s Behavioral Health Services on Long Lots Road.

They’re a relatively new addition to local wildlife — and an interesting subject for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)

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And finally … in honor of celebrity medium Karyn Reece’s April 1 appearance here:

(You don’t need a crystal ball to know that a non-profit like “06880” relies on support from readers. Please click here to help us continue our work. Thank you!)

Noya’s Windows Offer Joy And Hope

Jerri Graham is a noted Westport photographer. She hasn’t felt the holiday spirit for a while. Recently, she was especially Grinchy. But, she writes …:

While around us the world spins, there are those going the extra mile to make the holidays a bit more magical. They decorate with a level of flair that should be appreciated.

Noya Jewelry Design (18 Riverside Avenue) has upped their game this year with a “Nutcracker”-inspired window display that spills over into the interior decor.

Owner Natalie Tortay started talking about decorating for Christmas back in September. I never suspected my Israeli Jewish landlord and mentor would be a Mrs. Claus in disguise. 

But, she says, “I lived in Europe for many years. Christmas decorating is taken seriously. You don’t just string lights.”

I thought she was kidding about “doing it up” for Christmas, until she asked for the name of a set designer. I knew Alicia D’Anna builds exhibits for the Westport Museum for History & Culture, and has bad-ass ways with a table saw. She’s also worked for years on sets for Staples Players.

The women met, along with Alicia’s partner in design, Broadway’s Jordan Janota. Together hey flushed out Natalie’s vision.

From left: Jordan Janota, Natalie Tortay, Alicia D’Anna. (Photo/Jerri Graham)

I asked Natalie why she went through the expense of decorating her windows and store for the holidays, while we’re all experiencing trying times.

“It’s because we are in these times that I have to do it,” she said. “It makes me happy, it looks beautiful for people passing by, and it gives artists work. I’m happy.”

Alicia worked in her converted Westport workshop with Jordan. They brought to life the storyboard they’d presented just a week before. With techniques they’d used on the stage here and in New York, they carved out a bit of theatrics.

Jordan Janota, at work in Noya.(Photo/Jerri Graham)

“Natalie is giving the town joy! She isn’t just decorating her store for the holidays; she’s giving our community an experience,” Alicia said as she painted a foam scoop of ice cream bright pink.

The designers created quite a scene in 2 windows. Ballet slippers suggest an invisible foot dance beneath a tutu, surrounded by snow-covered trees and glittery packages.

One of Noya’s windows, with ballet shoes and a tutu. (Photo/Jerri Graham)

At night I’ve smiled as I see little girls with their faces pressed to the window. A jewelry designer turned her store into a studio, where artists created a set for minds to dance.

Though we live in dark times with the shine of the season dimmed, the windows of Noya offers a little glimmer of hope we can all use.

(Noya Jewelry Design is on the west bank of the Saugatuck River, just over the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.)

A little girl looks in Noya’s window. (Photo/Kami Evans)

COVID Roundup: Retail Reopening; World Bee Day; College Admissions; More


Tomorrow is a red-letter retail day. Natalie Toraty — owner of Noya Fine Jewelry on Riverside Avenue — writes:

“Tomorrow morning, many small privately-owned businesses will reopen their doors. We all do it with great relief, and heavy heart since the unknown is greater than the known. Some of us won’t survive this crisis. The next few weeks will determine if we can keep going.

“Most of the stores reopening throughout Westport are privately owned local businesses. Hopefully that will bring people out, and might fill the gap we all have of interactions, conversations, shopping and going out.

“Now more than ever, supporting small local businesses is crucial — for the town, for the businesses, and for everyone’s real estate investment.

“We can all shop international brands all over. But what our local boutiques offer is different: a different experience, unique service and personal taste. We cater to the local shopper, our customers. We all have a niche.

“We all have guidelines, and we must comply. Our shoppers need to follow guidelines as well (wearing masks, social distancing, etc.). Many of us have stricter rules than were asked for. Please support us!


Among the many Westport businesses reopening tomorrow (Wednesday, May 20): Savannah Bee.

Bee-lieve it or not, that’s also World Bee Day!

The popular Bedford Square shop will open Monday through Saturday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), and Sunday (12 to 6 p.m).

Curbside pickup is available for those who want it. Just call 203-557-6878 or email julie@savannahbee.com

Through Bee Day, Savannah Bee will provide:

  • Honeybee information packets and “Adopt-a-Bee” through their “Bee Cause” charity (over 600 free, educational observation beehives throughout the US and Canada).
  • Info on Westport’s Pollinator Pathway information, and emblems.
  • Free honey straws, temporary tattoos, and fun activity packets for youngsters to learn everything they can do to save bees.
  • Families can learn about healthy and safe ways to treat lawns and gardens without pesticides.

“We want to stay open in Westport,” says store manager Julie Cook. “We truly appreciate all the support you continue to provide us over the past 3 years. Westport needs Savannah Bee and we need you.”

She signs it, “All my bee-est.”


No one knows what college will look like going forward. But a group of experts has some ideas.

They’ll share them next Tuesday (May 26, 7 to 8:30 p.m.).

Steinbrecher & Partners — the Main Street educational consultants — present a live webinar. Topics include the college admissions process going forward, the relevance and future of testing, and college expectations for the Class of 2021 and beyond.

Panelists include admissions deans and directors at Boston University, Union College and Rhodes College, and the founder and CEO of Carnegie Prep. Moderator Richard Avitabile of Steinbrecher, who for over a decade oversaw admissions for 7 New York University schools.

For free registration, click here.


One more sign the world is slowly returning to normal: Stop & Shop’s shelves, early this morning:

(Photo/Molly Alger)


But here’s another “sign of the times” photo. We’ve all seen plenty of “Westport Strong” and “We’re all in this together!” signs. This one off South Compo was a tad less optimistic:

(Photo/Tracy Porosoff)


And finally … “Don’t breathe too deep/Don’t think all day.” That — as any “Rent” fan knows — it what it’s like when you’re “Living in America/At the end of the millennium.”

Or the middle of a pandemic.

Noya: Fine Jewelry Meets Fine Art

Noya Fine Jewelry is one of those hidden Westport gems. (Pun intended.)

The Riverside Avenue boutique offers a stunning selection of rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets (and much more).

Jewelry is a form of art, of course, and owner Renee Serfaty takes that “artist” role to heart. She and her business partner Natalie Toraty try to bring the worlds of jewelry and art together, by hosting events with local businesses and artists.

Natalie Toraty and Renee Serfaty.

“We’re constantly amazed how many of our customers are artists, in one form or another,” Renee says. “And we’re amazed by their talent. Fortunately, our store is the perfect space for displaying art.”

So now — and running through June — Noya offers a monthly local artist series.

The initial exhibit — featuring young Westport artists — runs through February 1. Leah, Leora, Millie and Tessa Chapman; Cristian Montoulieu; Benjamin Serfaty, and Raphael and Roberto Toraty display their photography, ink drawings, sculptures and paintings.

The adult showcase kicks off February 5, featuring artist Daniela Balzano. Future artists include Sarah Chapman, Angelika Buettner and Debra Condren.

Perhaps Noya will have to add “Fine Art” to its “Fine Jewelry & Accessories” name.

(Noya Fine Jewelry & Accessories invites the public to an open house on Friday, February 1 from 4-7 p.m.)

“Meditative Painting,” by Sarah Chapman.

West Side Of Westport Welcomes The Holidays

Over the years, downtown holiday decorations have ranged from dazzling to meh.

But that still beats across the river. The west bank of the Saugatuck has had no Christmas presence whatsoever.

The potential — with locally owned small shops, boutiques, restaurants, a high-end tailor, art gallery, the only toy store left in town, plus all that waterfront — is there. The execution has been missing.

For the past 2 years, Natalie Toraty — owner of Noya Fine Jewelry — has been discouraged by the lack of holiday festivities just a few steps over the bridge from Main Street.

This year, she and her neighboring businesses are doing something about it.

They’re collaborating to bring holiday joy — and customers — to what Natalie calls “this amazing part of town.”

Noya’s holiday window.

Businesses have organized a “Shop and Stroll” event every Wednesday and Saturday, through Christmas. Shops will be open until 8 p.m., with special promotions, food, drinks and entertainment. The first one is today — and Natalie is offering a designer trunk show.

The west side of the river has long played 2nd fiddle — or 3rd? — to downtown and Saugatuck. It doesn’t even have an official name.

But this holiday season, the folks who have invested their dreams — and money — there will bring lights, fun — and joy — to the area.

It’s their gift to all of us.

A few lights go a long way.

From Noya To Syria, With Love

Natalie Toraty is a Jewish Israeli, of Iranian descent.

She came to the US in 2004, to work as a diamond buyer. A single mom with 2 kids, she moved to Westport 5 years ago. “It’s a beautiful town,” Natalie says.

noya-logoFollowing the American Dream, she wanted to be her own boss. She quit her job, used most of her savings, and last September opened Noya Fine Jewelry at 18 Riverside Avenue. It’s a fine place, but like any local business it’s had its struggles.

But that hasn’t stopped Natalie from giving back.

In the aftermath of President Trump’s ban on Muslims from 7 countries, she and a few employees were talking.

They remarked that this is Valentine’s season. But they did not see any love.

So they came up with a lovely idea. Noya Fine Jewelry will contribute a percentage of proceeds generated from its Valentine’s Day Kabana trunk show  — and throughout the entire month — to Amaliah. The Israeli-American organization provides medical care and relief to Syrian refugee families, and supports projects creating safe, secure zones in that war-torn land.

Natalie Toraty and her partner Renee Serfaty.

Natalie Toraty (left) and her business partner Renee Serfaty.

The refugee crisis is very personal. The mother and sister of a designer who works closely with Natalie have been stuck in Damascus for a long time.

Natalie and her team have changed Noya’s tagline — “Just for You” — into the deeper, more substantive “Just for Them.” The window displays that message in 4 languages.

It’s a call, Natalie says, for the community to come together, share love, and support refugees.

Reaction has been powerful. Customers have appreciated what Noya is doing.

A special “Share the Love” event takes place this Saturday (February 11, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) at Noya Fine Jewelry, 18 Riverside Avenue. But you can stop in any time all month long, to help Amaliah.

Part of the Kabana collection.

Part of the Kabana collection.