Tag Archives: Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge

Pic Of The Day #2337

Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge flags (Photo/Philip Keane)

 

Pics Of The Day #2268

 

Happy 4th, from the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge … (Photo/Lucy Zeko)

… and from Yogi Bear (Photo/Cathy Malkin)

Pic Of The Day #2141

Saugatuck River in downtown fog (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Pic Of The Day #2120

Saugatuck River and Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge last night, from Bartaco (Photo/Jonathan Alloy)

Scenes From A Storm: Part 2

Our 10 a.m. report:

A coastal flood warning remains in effect until 1 p.m. today. Westport Fire and EMS say: “We expect flooding along the shoreline imminently. Please move vehicles now, if they are in vulnerable and low-lying areas.”

Areas to avoid include Morningside Avenue South near Clapboard Hill; Cross Highway between Bayberry Lane and Sturges Highway; Compo Road South near Rockland Place, due to downed trees and wires, and Turkey Hill Road South between Clapboard Hill and Arrowhead Road.

If anyone needs help of any kind, please click “Comments” below. Other readers will do their best to respond.

Saugatuck River, downtown (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Parker Harding Plaza (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

Stores in Parker Harding Plaza (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

Tree down on South Compo, near Ferry Lane East. (Photo/Fred Cantor)

Baker Avenue at Imperial Avenue (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

Burying Hill Beach (Photo/John Karrel)

Compo Beach (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Compo Beach (Photo/Matt Murray)

The scene near Soundview Drive. (Photo/Matt Murray)

Compo jetty (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Schlaet’s Point, on Hillspoint Road (Photo/Jim Hood)

Another view of Schlaet’s Point. (Photo/Matt Murray)

Old Mill Beach near Compo Cove (Photo/Fred Cantor)

No one watched the waves this morning. (Photo/Matt Murray)

Russian Flag No Longer Flies Downtown

Today is United Nations Day. It celebrates the signing of the official charter on October 24, 1945.

For decades, Westport has honored UN Day by flying flags of the member nations on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge downtown.

That’s fitting: A longtime resident (and Juilliard-trained pianist), she was a staunch advocate for the United Nations and the national and state levels. Locally she helped originate jUNe Day, which for over 50 years has brought UN officials and their families to Westport, for a summer day of hospitality and fun.

Flags of dozens of nations were placed on the bridge this weekend, for today’s UN Day. (Not all are flown — there is not enough room for all 193 member countries.) Passersby often try to identify as many as they can.

Part of the 2021 UN Day display. (Photo/Tracy Porosoff)

But this year’s display drew the ire of one Westporter. David Halpert writes:

“On Saturday, I was appalled to find the Russian Federation flag flying on our bridge.

“Would we fly a flag of Nazi Germany in Westport? A flag of a nation that is killing thousands of innocent people in Ukraine has no place in Westport.

“My first reaction was to burn it down. My wife stopped me. We live in a civilized country, and should behave as civilized people.

“So I looked up the organizers of the event [Westport’s International Hospitality Committee], and made a phone call. It was surprising to me the ignorance of the organizers who hang a random selection of flags just to fill the spots.

“I expressed my disgust of hanging a Russian Federation flag in the middle of Westport while the country it represents is blackmailing all freedom-loving nations in the UN with their nuclear bombs, and continue the murder of innocent children in Ukraine.

“Perhaps sitting in our warm multi-million dollar homes we forget that people of Ukraine are being left without electricity and heat for the winter.

“I was promised that the mistake would be corrected in the morning, and was glad to see that the Russian flag is now gone.

“Let us never forget what the word ‘freedom’ means, and that we may never be free as long as countries like that exist.”

I contacted Westport International Hospitality Committee chair Bill Haas. He confirmed the story, and provided important background information.

The flag display is a joint effort of his group and the UN Association of Southwestern Connecticut, with which he is also associated. The UNASC, for example, pays for new or replacement flags.

Haas had concerns from the start about displaying the Russian flag. “This war is reprehensible,” he says. “But they’re a member of the UN. We need to maintain dialogue and communication with them. That’s why the US has diplomatic relations with them too.”

There are not enough stanchions on the bridge for all 193 UN flags, Haas says. So the Hospitality Committee — which places the flags each year, with help from town workers — has discretion as to which ones are flown. (They try to make sure all jUNe Day visitors see their own flags each year.)

“There are a lot of bad actors in the UN,” Haas — a former staffer there — notes. “We work with them behind the scenes, to address things like human rights issues, with no publicity.”

Yet when Halpert made his complaint on Saturday, Haas realized it had validity. A few years ago, someone thought the North Korea flag should be removed. It was.

This time, Haas says, “I thought about it, and recognized my mistake. I was very sympathetic. I realized it had to come down.”

Yesterday at 8 a.m., he removed it.

“I want to maintain positive relations with the town and residents,” he says. “And as an American citizen, I was very sympathetic to the complaint.”

However, he took issue with one part of Halpert’s email.

The United Nations did not exist in the 1930s and early ’40s, so Nazi Germany could not have been part of it. Nor was it part of the League of Nations.

“The UN is important, but it’s not perfect,” Haas says. “It’s a work in progress.”

(“06880” is indeed “Where Westport Meets the World.” Please click here to help support this blog.)

Pic Of The Day #1929

Wesley, early morning on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge (Photo/Maxx Crowley)

“Rally Against Regression” Draws Hundreds To Bridge

For the 3rd time in less than 2 months, hundreds of residents thronged the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge, to show support for reproductive rights.

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

This time, they protested what they only feared twice before. On Friday, the Supreme Court declared Roe v. Wade — for 49 years, settled law affirming a right to abortion — unconstitutional.

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

The rally marked the second time that Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Jim Himes delivered forceful remarks about a woman’s right to choose to a Westport crowd.

Congressman Jim Himes speaks. Senator Richard Blumenthal and rally organizer Darcy Hicks look on. (Photo/Charlie Scott)

Other speakers included Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewiez, Governor Ned Lamont’s wife Annie, State Representative Stephanie Thomas, and DefenDemocracy rally co-organizer Darcy Hicks.

They spoke against a backdrop of flags of 193 nations — part of Westport’s annual jUNe Day celebration yesterday.

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker — who issued a statement yesterday affirming her commitment to protecting women’s rights to choose — was among the large crowd.

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, at today’s rally. (Photo/Charlie Scott)

Protestors included men as well as women, and families with young children.

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

(Photo/David Vita)

They were all ages, too.

(Photo/David Vita)

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

Crowds gather early, on both sides of the bridge. (Drone photo/Charlie Scott)

(Photo/Jerry Kuyper)

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

(Drone photo/Charlie Scott)

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

Many drivers honked in support. This one had their own sign. (Photo/David Vita)

(Photo/Charlie Scott)

Reproductive Rights Advocates Set Rally For Sunday

In the wake of today’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, local reproductive rights activists organized.

DefenDemocracy of CT announced a “Rally Against Regression” for this Sunday (June 26). It’s set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge over the Post Road in downtown Westport.

Westporters March For Lives

Across America today, hundreds of thousands of Americans joined hundreds of “March For Our Lives” rallies. They protested gun violence, and pleaded, shouted and demanded stricter laws.

Westport was one of those communities. The rallying point was the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge downtown.

People lined one side of the span 3 deep; the other side was filled too. For an hour or so, men, women and children joined the crowd. Drivers passing by honked frequently in support. A few had their own signs.

(All photos/Bobbi Essagof)