Please support “06880” — thanks!
SUBSCRIBE TO '06880' BY EMAIL -- IT'S FREE!
Subscribe to ‘06880’ in a reader
SEARCH THE “06880” ARCHIVES
- Unsung Hero #175
- Roundup: School Reopening, Seed Exchange, Leadership, More
- Marc Selverstone: Presidential Scholar Looks Back, And Ahead
- Pic Of The Day #1373
- Roundup: Capuli Restaurant, Suzuki Music, Starbucks, More
- Finding Joy: COVID Edition
- Pic Of The Day #1372
- Roundup: Human Behavior, More
- Bankside Contemporary: The Sequel
Bored? Wander through ‘06880’
- Friday Flashback
- Local business
- Local politics
- Looking back
- Photo Challenge
- Pic of the Day
- Real estate
- Staples HS
- Street Spotlight
- Totally random
- Unsung Heroes
- Westport Country Playhouse
- Westport life
DISCLAIMERThis blog is personal opinion, and is not representative of the views of the Westport School District or Board of Education.
Tag Archives: Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge
“06880” photographer J.C. Martin cruised around town yesterday. Here’s what he saw:
For decades, the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge has been the site of political protests. Every Saturday morning since early summer, a group assembles there. Their message: “Black Lives Matter.” They are greeted more often than not with honks and thumbs-up signs. This was a recent scene.
Last fall, Debra Kandrak had an idea.
She wanted everyone in town to plant daffodils.
“Imagine driving through Westport and seeing thousands of daffodils around mailboxes, on the roadside, in front of stores,” she said. “It would be so pretty. And they can be in honor of loved ones, so they’re even more meaningful.”
She got commercial landlord David Waldman on board. Laurelrock and Northeast Horticulture, which maintain several traffic islands, joined in. So did the Westport Garden Club, town officials, businesses, and plenty of random Westporters.
As she drove around last spring — when the town was laid low by the coronavirus — Debra was heartened to see thousands of new daffodils.
The residents on Soundview Drive had planted hundreds of beautiful flowers along the beach exit road. Project Return planted them in front of their North Compo shelter. They sprouted in front of The Learning Community School on Hillspoint Road, at the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge, and at dozens of other spots, both public and private.
Now, Debra announced the 2nd annual “Paint the Town Yellow” campaign. This year’s theme: Every daffodil represents a stand against bullying.
“Bullying destroys lives,” Debra says. “It chips away at someone’s self-esteem. As you plant flowers with your children, teach them empathy, not excess.
“Our country is in turmoil. Let Westport, show the world that we practice kindness, compassion and empathy. We can do this!”
Debra asks residents, committees, businesses and the town of Westport to plant daffodils “in front of your home, around the mailbox post, by street signs, at your store or office — everywhere!”
She would love to see schools get involved. (Parents can donate daffodils, she suggests).
Last spring, when we desperately needed to be uplifted, daffodils did the trick. No one knows what this spring will bring.
Except many more daffodils.
(To contact Debra directly, email Debra.Kandrak@raveis.com)
This Thursday (July 21, 5 p.m., Zoom session), the Planning & Zoning Commission considers 3 COVID-related items.
Two are text amendments aimed at striking a balance between promoting economic vitality and protecting nearby residents.
One would extend the current temporary outdoor dining regulations through March 31, 2021. The other would allow fitness businesses to use certain outdoor spaces, enabling them to serve clients in a socially distanced way.
In addition, Pierrepont School is seeking to use additional space at 220 Post Road West — across the street from its current home at 1 Sylvan Road North — to provide more social distancing space for its approximately 48 students in grades 7-12, and staff.
The meeting will be livestreamed on www.westportct.gov, and shown on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020. Public comments may be sent by noon on Thursday to PandZ@westportct.gov, and during the meeting as well (PandZcomments@westportct.gov. For full details, click here.
Yesterday’s Roundup featured a photo of the Fresh Market osprey fledglings.
A bird-watching friend writes about other osprey platforms in town. They include:
Two on the exit road from Longshore. One is along Gray’s Creek at the back of the out-of-town parking lot for the marina. The other is along the exit road just past Gloria’s mooring, opposite the 12th green.
Two are at Sherwood Island. One is north of the Nature Center in the salt marsh between the island and Beachside Commons; the second is on the west side of the island, in the marsh alongside Sherwood Mill Pond, north from the end of the second bridge at the tidal gates,
One more is off Beachside Avenue, east of Burying Hill Beach and Harvey Weinstein’s former home.
All 5 are occupied, and have 2 or 3 hatchlings each. They’re practicing flying and fishing prior to their late summer migration to South America for the winter.
Staples High School 2003 graduate Justin Paul has gone on to fame (and many honors) for his off-the-charts songwriting (“Dear Evan Hansen,” “La La Land,” “The Greatest Showman”).
But he has not forgotten his home town. He recently volunteered as a judge for the Norwalk-to-Bridgeport Project Census Throwdown contest, encouraging high school students to write creatively and educationally about the 2020 Census.
Justin was very impressed with the winning rap submission, from Elijah Atkins of Bridgeport’s Bridge Academy. He encouraged Elijah to further explore his gift for lyrical structure and creativity.
Congratulations, Elijah — and thanks, Justin!
A few spots remain for the Earthplace Summer Teen Volunteer Club. Daily activities include animal care, special event preparation, and maintaining the Earthplace private preserve.
Sessions run July 17-August 7, and August 10-21. For information, click here.
The Westport Downtown Merchants Association has decorated the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge downtown with summer-color lights: blue, green and white.
And finally … Happy 72nd birthday, Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam). There are so many songs to pay him tribute. Here are 3. What’s your pick? Click “Comments” below.
For the 2nd straight day, rain clouds gathered over Westport this afternoon …
… and then the rains came …
… followed by (of course) a (double) rainbow!
Had it not been for COVID-19, tomorrow would have been jUNe Day here. Dozens of United Nations guests would have enjoyed a day in Westport — including an impressive display of flags from their native countries on the Post Road bridge.
That’s the same bridge where, earlier this month, hundreds of people massed in support of Black Lives Matter, and to protest the death of George Floyd.
The 2 events are related. The Post Road bridge — with both its flags, and its role as the cherished spot for political demonstrations — is named in honor of Ruth Steinkraus Cohen. A remarkable Westporter (and former secretary to Eleanor Roosevelt), she dedicated her life to social justice, world peace — and music.
With jUNe Day canceled, and political protests fresh in our minds, it’s time to learn a bit more about Ruth Steinkraus Cohen. Staples High School Class of 1981 graduate Laurie Cameron writes:
Back in the day I met a true Westport treasure: my piano teacher, Ruth Steinkraus-Cohen. She would have been 100 on June 8. She was also the grandmother of my friend and classmate Adam Weisman.
Ruth was a generous, warm person who made music and kindness. Learning piano from her was a great education; she made sure I knew Hadyn, Chopin, Brahms and Vivaldi in addition to Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. I learned about Vienna and the Music festival from her.
My brother Byl was the musician in our family. I had no gift for music, but I returned each week for almost 9 years. I was so fascinated by her travels, her art, her bookcase, her antique harpsichord, and hearing about the many jobs she had when she was not being a piano teacher.
My favorite time of the week was the hour that I waited for my brother Andy to finish his piano lesson, when I could stare at the paintings, books and sculptures in Mrs. Cohen’s living room.
Her colorful holiday parties were also our piano recitals. After each student performed, Ruth and her husband Herbert played a duet: she on the piano, he on violin. Their music was rich and melodious, but the joy on their faces was the true lesson for us.
Sometimes when Ruth could see me growing restless at the piano, she took me for a walk in her garden. It had a brick path that looked like the yellow brick road through the woods behind her house. It was so thrilling to me that I sometimes snuck out while waiting for Andy’s lesson to end, and ran down its wooden steps.
During her time running the UN Hospitality Committee, Ruth placed over 50,000 people into American homes for cultural exchanges. My family learned about habits and traditions of people from other cultures from those we hosted, thanks to Ruth. She was a great humanitarian with a desire to bring the world together, and bridge gaps between cultures.
When I came back to Westport after being away for over 15 years, visiting Ruth was an important stop for me. Even in her late 70s she was warm, joyful and busy making the world better for those who needed it.
I feel privileged to have known Ruth and to have learned so much from her. Her knowledge, openness, love of music, energy and patience were great sources of inspiration to me. She would be so proud to know that a bridge bearing her name is used to support people fighting for peace, civil rights and equal justice.
(To learn more about Ruth Steinkraus Cohen, click here for her New York Times obituary.)