Tag Archives: Parker Harding Plaza

Harder Parking

It’s 10 a.m., on a weekday.

Hoping to get an early start on shopping, you head downtown. You pull into the Parker Harding lot — but it’s already nearly full.

A great sign of Westport’s booming retail economy?

No. A distressing sign that employees are taking advantage of free all-day parking.

The decision during COVID to lift limits seemed wise. Many stores were closed, or on reduced hours. Why not make things easier on the folks we needed?

Now though — as the holiday season nears — parking needs have changed.

Parker Harding Plaza

A longtime (and very frustrated) Westporter writes: “All day long, the cars just sit there. There’s no room for anyone except the employees. Why can’t they park in other lots and walk a couple of blocks, like they used to?”

Why can’t shoppers do the same? you may ask.

The answer is: Because we’re supposed to make shopping attractive and easy.

The nickname for Parker Harder is “Harder Parking.” Seems like downtown employees — and their employers — make it even more so.

Photo Challenge #342

Like the blind men and the elephant, everyone had a different way of describing last week’s Photo Challenge.

Was it a pedestrian walkway? A viewing pier? A boardwalk?

Was it near Parker Harding Plaza or Gorham Island? Or over the Saugatuck River?

It was actually all of those things. Larry Untermeyer’s image showed the wooden structure that juts out from Parker Harding Plaza — near Gorham Island — offering pedestrians a great view of the river (including wildlife like nesting swans, and their cygnets).

It’s right next to the star sculpture that Howard Munce once designed — as a fundraiser for the STAR organization — behind what was then Oscar’s (now Rye Ridge Deli. Click here to see.

Elaine Marino, Fred Cantor, Hallie Cirino, Rich Stein, Andrew Colabella, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Michael Calise and Tom Risch all knew that — however you describe it — it’s one of Westport’s downtown gems.

Readers may have different ways of describing this week’s Photo Challenge, too. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Breno Donatti)


Drones, Sludge: An Environmental Report

A pair of environmentally conscious readers have asked “06880” to convey some important messages. I’m happy to give them both the talking stick today.

Nature lover J.C. Martin noted in a recent Roundup that oystercatchers frantically attack drones — thinking they’re predators.

American oystercatchers — and many other birds — will do anything to protect their young. (Photo/Tina Green)

He unearthed some fascinating facts. For example, The Spruce says:

When drones are flown too close to rookeries or bird nests, the noise and unfamiliar presence of a drone could drive adult birds away. This can lead to neglect or abandonment of vulnerable eggs and chicks, reducing the breeding success of sensitive bird populations.

Some birds, particularly raptors, are very territorial about their nesting areas, and if drones are perceived to be a threat, the birds may attack the remote vehicles. This diverts the parent birds from caring for their hatchlings, foraging or otherwise tending to their own survival needs. Birds that attack drones could also be injured by moving blades or other parts of the equipment.

Birds that congregate on leks for courtship displays can be particularly sensitive to disturbances, and if a drone appears to be a flying predator, the birds may scatter prematurely. This can drastically impact their ability to find suitable mates, and if the lek is not revisited, it may take generations for birds to find and begin using another suitable site with the same success.

If a drone disturbs a foraging bird, the bird may abandon a good food source and be forced to seek less abundant or nutritious resources. This type of disruption can have a catastrophic impact on overall bird populations, as malnourished birds do not breed as successfully or raise as many healthy chicks.

Hold that drone!

Drones are banned from Connecticut Audubon Society sanctuaries. Click here for details.

If you see a drone flying over a protected area, call local police. If the protected area is on state property, call the Connecticut Environmental Conservation Police: 860-424-3333.

And if you don’t care about birds, consider your drone. Large predators are more than capable of destroying it!


Meanwhile, longtime Westporter Elaine Marino worries about the Saugatuck River “sludge” she sees lapping at the corner of Parker Harding Plaza, near the pedestrian bridge and “Starfish” sculpture behind Rye Ridge Deli.

Elaine says: “It appears to be composed of plant material (algae,  grasses, reeds), oils of some type and some trash. I am concerned because I saw ducks swimming near the sludge.”

Parker Harding “sludge” (Photo/Elaine Marino)

“I would be happy to use a pool leaf skimmer net and try to remove as much as I can, if that is advisable. Do ‘06880’ readers have any thoughts? I want to make sure I do the right thing.”

If you’ve got ideas for Elaine, click “Comments” below. If the answer is “go for it,” she will!

Pic Of The Day #1484

Downtown reflections (Photo/Wendy Levy)

JC Martin’s Westport

As spring’s wonders linger in Westport, JC Martin grabbed his camera.

The talented photographer documented this gorgeous season — its natural beauty, and some of the folks enjoying it. 

Here are his images, from the past few days.

Parker Harding Plaza blossoms.

Parker Harding, by the Saugatuck River.

Another view of downtown.

Musicians at Don Memo …

… and in front of the restaurant.

Last summer, Homes with Hope youngsters painted this mural on Compo Road South.

The vest pocket park, on the walking path to Compo Cove.

Al fresco at Arezzo. (Photos/JC Martin)


Pic Of The Day #1440

Serene scene downtown, just north of Parker Harding Plaza (Photo/Barbara Stewart)

Roundup: Downtown Tree, Dead Fish, More

The Main Street Christmas tree is starting to look a lot more Christmas-y.

Annette Norton — the owner of Savvy + Grace, whose front door is just steps away — is personalizing ornaments for the handsome tree. (Knowing Annette, I guarantee: They’re beautiful.)

But there’s more to this story than ornaments on a tree. Annette is working with the Ralphola Taylor Charity, a YMCA community center that serves low-income Bridgeport children. They earn points for good behavior during after-school activities — and then redeem those points at the center’s Holiday Store by buying presents for their families.

In return for purchasing a gift for the Ralphola Taylor Charity, Annette will personalize a white dove ornament with the donor’s name, and hang it on the tree.

Gifts can be bought 3 ways:

  • At Savvy + Grace (next to the former Tavern on Main restaurant)
  • Online (at checkout, just choose free delivery to the charity)
  • Purchase something from any other local store, then drop it off at Savvy + Grace. What a great way to support all Westport merchants, and kids in Bridgeport.

Donations are accepted now through December 7. Let’s fill that tree — and the Ralphola Taylor Charity Holiday Shop! shelves!

Main Street Christmas tree.

It’s a common — and natural — occurrence, though not often so late in the season.

When bunker form large schools they deprive themselves of oxygen, and suffocate.

Dozens of dead fish have been spotted recently, at Compo Beach and Grace Salmon Park. Here was the scene yesterday, at Parker Harding Plaza:

(Photo/Arlene Yolles)

And finally … the Grand Ole Opry debuted on this date in 1925, as a “barn dance” broadcast on WSM. 95 years later, it’s the longest running radio broadcast in American history. 

Uncle Jimmy Thompson was the first performer on that first show. He was 77 years old — so the recording below shows someone born 13 years before the Civil War began. Talk about American Roots music!

Pics Of The Day #1304

“06880” photographer J.C. Martin cruised around town yesterday. Here’s what he saw:

Flags on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge

“Tunnel Vision,” in the walkway between Main Street and Parker Harding Plaza

Sorelle Art Gallery, Bedford Square

Anthropologie prepares for the holidays (All photos/J.C. Martin)

Photo Challenge #301

Last week’s Photo Challenge was fun.

For decades, Howard Munce’s whimsical “star sculpture” has entertained downtown shoppers, strollers and picnickers — yes, they exist — on the eastern bank of the Saugatuck River. (Click here to see.)

It’s part of the Parker Harding Plaza sidewalk, near the footbridge over the marsh. It’s not far from Rye Ridge Deli — Oscar’s, when the sculpture was created — so the picnic table nearby is welcome.

Stephanie Ehrman, Seth Schachter, Pat Saviano, Elaine Marino, Joan Nevin, Amy Schneider, Lynn Untermeyer Miller and Tammy Barry all recognized the artwork with ease.

This week’s Photo Challenge is fun too — and probably tougher. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

And if you know what the numbers represent, let me know. I have no idea!

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

Pic Of The Day #1111

Parker Harding clouds (Photo/Penny Pearlman)