Tag Archives: Playhouse Square

Who Says You Can’t Have Fun In Westport?

Look what’s coming to Playhouse Square!

(Photo/Dan Woog)

Be Careful Out There!

“06880” has addressed this topic before. But with the holiday season here — and traffic increasing dramatically* — it’s worth mentioning again. A reader writes:

On Saturday afternoon, I thought I made the right call walking to and from Playhouse Square. It’s 10 minutes in nice weather — what could happen?

Unfortunately, the lady in the Mercedes SUV who drove right into me ruined that idea. I had the right of way. She just yelled “I couldn’t see you!” and sped off.

pedestrian-and-car-accidentThankfully I just have a minor scrape. Somehow I wasn’t injured, despite getting intimate with the grill of her car. Not that she stopped to see how I was doing or anything…

I didn’t get her license plate. It all happened in 4 seconds. A friend thinks I should make a statement to the police in case there was a traffic cam (I doubt it).

I strongly feel Westport should take notice of the insane effect of so many tiny parking lots, and people going 75 mph on the Post Road. It’s gotten so bad! I used to feel safe walking this town (or driving). Not anymore.

*Hard to believe, but true.

Friday Flashback: The Follow-Up

Friday’s 1st-ever “Flashback” photo caused quite a bit of commotion, among a subset of “06880” readers.

The image — of the Pine Knoll Inn — led to back-and-forth comments, about whether the once grand home-turned-boardinghouse had ever been moved, from its spot on the Post Road behind the Crest Drive-In to a place further back at what is now Playhouse Square.

Jill Turner Odice just sent this photo, from 1950:

Saugatuck Church moving 1950

It shows the Saugatuck Congregational Church being moved — on logs — down and across the Post Road, from its original site near the current Sunoco gas station, to its present location. (Life Magazine featured the event, in a photo spread.)

You can see the Tydol gas station (more recently Getty, now Quality Service and Towing.) Next to it is Dairy Queen — the forerunner of the Crest.

And there, directly behind the gas station on the far left, you can see a little bit of the Pine Knoll Inn.

Meanwhile, Neil Brickley emailed aerial photos. They don’t reproduce well here, but they do show that between 1934 and 1965, the Pine Knoll definitely moved further back.

The year was probably 1957. Wendy Crowther noted this:

In April of 1957 there was a law suit filed by contractors who were hired to remove topsoil from the Pine Hill Estates property “in the rear of the Dairy Queen stand” during the “relocation of the Pine Knoll Inn, which is owned by Pine Hill Estates.”

The Pine Knoll Inn met its end in the early 1980s. It was torn down to make way for the Playhouse Condominium complex, behind what had already become Playhouse Square.

Friday Flashback #1

If you’ve lived in Westport for more than a day, you know what a visually intriguing place our town is.

If you’ve lived here for a while — or lived here once, before moving away — you know it’s always looked intriguing. And a lot different yesterday than today.

“06880” is excited to announce a new feature: “Friday Flashback.”

Each week, we’ll post a new photo of a place that no longer exists. Some will be old. Others will be very old. A few will be real old.

For a while, folks have been sending me great shots. There are many more floating around on the internet, including some great Facebook pages. (Thanks, Paul Ehrisman!) It’s time to share them with the wide “06880” community.

This week’s Friday Flashback shows the Pine Knoll Inn.

Pine Knoll - now Playhouse condos

For many years a boarding house — and before that, a home owned by the Kemper family (whose tannery and orchard are now the Westport Country Playhouse) — the Pine Knoll was torn down in the early 1980s.

Today it’s the Playhouse Square condos, behind the post office.

“Friday Flashback” needs your help. Please email any great photos — showing any Westport places, buildings, stores, etc. — to dwoog@optonline.net. Thanks!


Click here for “06880+”: The easy way to publicize upcoming events, sell items, find or advertise your service, ask questions, etc. It’s the “06880” community bulletin board!

 

 

Aaaaargh!!! It’s Here!!!

Heard a moment ago at Playhouse Square:

Please, just kill me now.

Stupid Party Tricks From DOT

Last month, “06880” reported on a traffic light at the foot of Kings Highway North. The green arrow suddenly — and erroneously — pointed left instead of right, leading drivers directly into ongoing Post Road West traffic.

Today, the light exiting from Playhouse Square shows red and green simultaneously, instead of green only.

Traffic light

The result, of course, is an even longer backup of traffic in Playhouse Square, as drivers try to figure out what the hell is going on.

We’re on Candid Camera, right?

Que Pasa, Qdoba?

You may not have heard of Qdoba. But your kids probably have.

As reported in “06880” way back in Enero, the Mexican grill — beloved by college students for its (relatively) fresh food and (somewhat) reasonable prices — is coming to our little ciudad.

The sign went up today:

Qdoba

Burritos, quesadillas and 3-cheese nachos can’t be far behind.

Qdoba is located in the free-standing space at the entrance to Playhouse Square. The previous tenant was Pierre Deux. Before that, it was Alphagraphics. Earlier, it was Sam Goody.

Waaaaay before that, the Crest Drive-In.

And yeah — even longer ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth — it was a Dairy Queen.

Dairy Queen, Westport CT 1956

Fortunately, Qdoba has its own parking lot. So traffic in Playhouse Square won’t be adversely affected — well, not too much.

On the Post Road around that light, though — ¡ay, caramba!

Playhouse Square Solves Parking Problems

It took the intervention of a powerful force — Mother Nature — but the beleaguered Playhouse Square shopping center finally solved its crowded parking issues.

At least for today.

Playhouse Square 1

Of course, most stores did not benefit from the open spaces. They were closed.

The new Granola Bar was open — until 2:30. Business was slow. But it was warm inside — so toasty, in fact, that young Ryland romped around in shorts:

Playhouse Square 2 - Ryland

The post office was open too. So now there’s no excuse for not mailing that Valentine’s Day card today.

Unless, that is, you wanted to park right in front…

Westport Post Office

Meanwhile, nearby was a scene that will look all too familiar the rest of today.

And tomorrow. And…

Playhouse Square 4

Not Exactly The Christmas Spirit

A native Westporter returned home for the holidays. The day before Christmas he picked up his girlfriend at the station, then did some errands.

He parked in front of the post office, and went inside. The Nissan Rogue began to roll backward. His girlfriend could not get the car in park, or reach the emergency brake. She jumped out, was clipped by the door and fell. The right front tire rolled over her leg. The car continued backward, before catching on concrete.

Fortunately, damage to the young woman was limited to ligaments. The car is okay too. No one else — and no other vehicles — were damaged.

So what makes this story “06880”-worthy?

Two cars drove through the Playhouse Square lot. Both drivers saw a young woman on the ground, next to a car that clearly did not belong where it should — and continued on their merry way.

The ex-Westporter — a bit disappointed by this tarnished Christmas (or human) tale — does thank the people who stopped to help.

Once you get into Playhouse Square, why stop for someone else?

Once you get into Playhouse Square, why stop for someone else?

Playhouse Square: Parking Paralysis

For years, a pair of shopping centers — Compo (CVS, Gold’s, etc.), and Compo Acres across the street (Trader Joe’s, Silver’s, etc.) — reigned as Westport’s Worst Parking Lots. Parker Harding gave it a valiant effort, but no other place came close.

Suddenly, a challenger has emerged.

Over the past couple of weeks, Playhouse Square roared out of control. A combination of the holiday post office rush, the opening of the very popular Granola Bar, and snow that makes the narrow lanes even more congested, created — well, the perfect storm.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s an email from an exasperated “06880” reader:

Today as I drove east on the Post Road, I noticed an enormous line of cars waiting to enter the Playhouse Square parking lot. I’ve made several visits to the post office in the past couple of weeks, and the situation has gotten progressively worse.

Cars stack up on the Post Road, waiting to enter Playhouse Square. It happens both westbound and eastbound.

Cars stack up on the Post Road, waiting to enter Playhouse Square. It happens both westbound and eastbound.

There are not enough spaces, and when you park near the entrance, it is difficult to exit from your space due to the line of cars entering the lot. But today was the first time that I saw a line on the Post Road itself.

Once they enter the lot, drivers face a long -- often unmoving -- line of cars. This photo shows at least 7.

Once they enter the lot, drivers face a long — often unmoving — line of cars. This photo shows at least 7.

This is a traffic hazard for everyone, and the police should be concerned too. I thought about ways to avoid this problem but even if I found a parking spot somewhat nearby and walked, there are no snow-cleared sidewalks, nor is there a reasonably close crosswalk for the Post Road in the vicinity.

They can't move because the cars in front of them are waiting for spots. And there are no spots, because drivers can't back out because cars can't move!

They can’t move because the cars in front of them are waiting for spots. And there are no spots, because drivers can’t back out because cars can’t move!

I am not sure where to direct a complaint, so I hope our selectmen will take notice. How long does the post office lease last? This is not a good location for a post office. At least the old one was surrounded by many lots, and one could walk there easily.

Sometimes, 2 exit lanes work. Often, they don't.

Sometimes, 2 exit lanes work. Often, they don’t.

This location has only one access point, in a very busy area in the best of times. When you add snow to the holiday season, it is abysmal. Is it not possible for the postal service to open a satellite location like we used to have near exit 17?

There are 2 answers. One is to use the Green’s Farms post office — but that’s way out of the way, for anyone not in the neighborhood.

The other is to use the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot. At least for now, the gate is open to Playhouse Square. But leaving via the narrow Playhouse driveway is no picnic either — because there is no traffic light, and cars may be lined up in front of you waiting to enter, yes, Playhouse Square.

Meanwhile, there are more problems in the "upper" lot. These 2 drivers parked illegally by the left curb, creating even narrower driving lanes -- and more chaos.

Meanwhile, there are more problems in the “upper” lot. These 2 drivers parked illegally by the left curb, creating even narrower driving lanes — and more chaos.

Should I even mention the dozens of Dattco buses, spewing smoke as they stack up outside the tiny entrance to their yard across the street?

Nah.

And, past the post office, the sidewalk juts unnecessarily into the lot, near the flagpole. That funnels drivers into yet another bottleneck.

And, past the post office, the sidewalk juts unnecessarily into the lot, near the flagpole. That funnels drivers into yet another bottleneck.