I’ve long marveled at the front counter at Rye Ridge Deli.
Filled with fascinating food — chocolate-covered pretzels! red velvet cake! M&M confections! – it is no place for dieters.
It is a great place though for a colorful photo like the one in last week’s Photo Challenge. (Click here to see.)
And although I’ve never seen anyone actually order anything from the tempting front counter, plenty of readers knew exactly where it was. (For readers of a certain age: Rye Ridge replaced Oscar’s Deli several years ago, after Lee Papageorge died.)
Congratulations to Kelly Konstanty, Mark Heilshorn, Randy Herbertson, Jeannie Pearl, Lisa Price, Dennis Jackson, Todd Ehrlich, Andrew Colabella, Tammy Barry, William Gibson, Sandy Nathan, Diane Silfen, Rachel Halperin Zobelman, Susan Yules, Martin Gitlin, Seth Braunstein, Jennifer Zorek-Pressman, Wendy Schaefer, Lisa Hayes and Bobbi Essagof.
You win last week’s Photo Challenge. First prize could be one of those 10-pound Hershey Kisses that sit in front of the counter.
Except I know this is the New Year, and you all resolved to eat healthy this year.
Today’s Photo Challenge is here. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.
Want to give Mom something different for Mothers Day weekend? (Psssst…it’s Sunday!)
Take her to join Anthony Zemba at Earthplace on Saturday (May 7, 8 to 10 a.m.). The avid birder/environmental analyst/soil scientist/certified ecologist will lead a group along the trails of the nature and wildlife sanctuary.
Anthony recently joined LandTech, the civil engineering and environmental science firm that’s underwriting the bird walk.
Among the probable wildlife: scarlet tanagers; wood thrush; pileated, red- bellied, hairy and downy woodpeckers; indigo buntings, goldfinch and orioles.
Spots are limited. Click here to register, and for more information.
Calling all bird watchers: See the pileated woodpecker!
Staples was ranked #5 nationally (large schools division), in this year’s 100 Best Wise (Working In Support of Education) High Schools Teaching Personal Finance. It was the top finish for any Connecticut school.
The list and ceremony honor excellence in personal finance education. Congratulations to teachers Lenny Klein and Sarah White — and of course their very “wise” students.
Westporters know that the Memorial Day parade is one of the best community events of the year. Those who stay afterward, for the ceremony on Veterans Green across from Town Hall, know that it is a moving and important way to honor those who gave their lives for our country.
That is the idea of the holiday, after all.
There’s another chance to pay tribute too. That morning (May 30, 7:45 a.m.), the Fire Department honors all who died in service to our nation, and the Westport firefighters who died in the line of duty.
All are welcome at fire headquarters on the Post Road.
Former Westporter Diane (Prezkop) Reed died in November, after a brief illness. She was 71.
Diane graduated from Staples High School in 1968. She participated in intermural sports, and wrote for the school newspaper Inklings and yearbook. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BA in English and a master’s in Counseling and Higher Education.
In 1972, Diane married Steven Reed. She began a career at UConn as a research associate, then became assistant director of research and data acquisition for the Institute of Social Inquiry at Storrs.
The couple’s careers took them to Ohio, where Diane worked as an analyst, project director, manager of research operations and operations manager. A final move took them to Michigan, where she worked as marketing group director and director of teleservices. She loved being a mentor and coach to her staff, and enjoyed social and golf activities at Indianwood Golf Club.
After her divorce= Diane created a consulting practice, developing and editing training curricula and coaching management teams. In 2005 Diane returned to Westport to enjoy her family, and pursue her writing.
Friends and family describe Diane as “sweet, witty, compassionate, generous and kind.” She loved literature, science, spectator sports, music and humanity as a whole. She was an avid collector and supporter of local artisans and craftsmen. She was passionate about her family, lifelong learning, and creative writing.
Diane’s siblings were Edward of Seattle, Raymond of Westport, Carole Prescott of Madison, and the late Thomas Prezkop of Newburyport, Massachusetts. She is survived by many nieces, nephews, cousins, great-nieces and great-nephews.
A memorial service to celebrate the lives of Diane and her brother Thomas Prezkop will be held June 29 at Waters Edge in Westbrook. Donations in her name may be made to the Westport Library.
Former Westporter Thomas Prezkop, of Newburyport, Massachusetts, died earlier this year, after a battle with pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer. He was 73.
Tom was raised, and taught himself to sail, here. That started a lifelong love for all things aquatic. He graduated from Staples High School in 1966.
In early 1971 he headed to St. Maarten. There he co-owned and restored a 108-foot ketch, which he chartered. He also managed restaurants, started an omelet café, and captained other boats.
In 1978, Tom settled in Massachusetts. He married his first wife, Linn Anderson, and had a son, Andrew
Tom’s second career was in mechanical design engineering. He worked for medical device companies before founding Andover Medical Development Group, to do component manufacturing. He operated AMDG for 35 years, fulfilling contracts with NASA, Boston Scientific and others.
Tom was a passionate sailor. He was an expert angler, certified scuba diver, licensed pilot and professional cook. He also enjoyed snow skiing, surfing, water skiing barefoot, and golf. He could build and fix anything
Tom passed his patience, creativity and playfulness on to Andrew, in whom he fostered lifelong passions as a musician, athlete, craftsman, outdoorsman, adventurer and father. He was overjoyed to be a grandfather to Avery and Luke.
In 1995, Tom and a friend rescued a fellow boater who had fallen overboard in Gloucester and been seriously injured by the propeller. Tom received a congressional commendation.
In addition to his wife, son, daughter-in-law Geneva Brion and grandchildren, he is survived by his sister Carole Prescott of Madison, and brothers Edward of Seattle and Raymond of Westport, as well as nieces, nephews and cousins. He was pre-deceased by his sister Diane Reed of Westport.
There will be a celebration of life at Water’s Edge in Westbrook on June 29.
Many sports camps are closed this summer. So are science camps, space camps — most camps, period.
But the Westport Library’s new Camp Explore is open. And open to all children, everywhere.
It’s a weekly, virtual (and free) program. Kids can experience it any time. They can watch it alone, or share with friends. There’s something for everyone.
The program kicks off on July 9 with Jennie Lynn Finch. The softball pitcher led the US to a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, and a silver 4 years later.
Also in July, deep sea explorer Dr. Robert Ballard returns to the library. The discoverer of wrecks like Titanic and the Bismarck, he’ll show campers what life is like on his ship the Nautilus.
Shark lovers will enjoy Emmy-winning writer and cinematographer Kevin Bachar. He spent 10 years as a National Geographic producer, and wrote specials for “Shark Week.”
Kids will also appreciate Emily Calandrelli. The MIT engineer-turned-TV host was a featured correspondent on “Bill Nye Saves the World,” host of “Xploration Outer Space,” and wrote the children’s book series “Ada Lace Adventures.”
New York Knicks star Charles Smith will share his story, from his career as an athlete to his accomplishments as a corporate executive.
Camp Explore also features Jerry Craft, author of the novel “New Kid” and comic strip “Mama’s Boyz.”
The program ends with R.L. Stine. The “Goosebumps” author will do a (virtual) reading around a campfire.
The Library will provide a “Keep Exploring Kit” to accompany each presentation, with suggested books to read, films to view, and fun activities. Separate kits are geared for children entering grades 4-5, and 6-8.
Click here for more details, and registration information.
Everyone’s talking about the skills young people need to navigate today’s world. We’re all concerned about civic virtues. Of course, everyone wants to develop creative thinkers.
Westport Continuing Education is sponsoring an online course — “The Art of Innovation: Cultivating Qualities for the Emerging Future” — for students entering grade 10 through college.
Set for July 13 to 17 (10 a.m. to noon), it will focus on skills like critical thinking, collaboration and global perspectives.
Click here to register. For more information, including scholarships, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 203-341-1209.
There may not be fireworks. But Pauli’s Deli will celebrate July 4.
The Norwalk-based bagels-and-breakfast place replaces Bagel Maven that day.
Last night, Chris Fanning snapped a shot of the preparations:
One more reopening sign: MoCA Westport has announced a concert with the renowned American String Quartet.
It’s July 31. And it’s a real one. Not virtual, Zoom, Facebook Live or anywhere else in cyberspace.
The performance is outdoors at the museum, with groups spread 6 feet apart and masked. Concert-goers should bring their own chairs and snacks, though drinks and food are available for purchase before the concert.
MoCA Westport concert series curator (and Staples High School graduate) Alexander Platt will provide commentary. He knows the American String Quartet through his work over the last 18 years in Woodstock.
“Back then they were the gold standard in American string quartets — and they still are now,” Platt says.
“I can’t wait to hear their beautiful music again — now, more than ever. Their program — sublime Mozart, bracing Shostakovich and appropriately, Dvorak’s ‘American’ string quartet — will be the perfect musical tonic, after all we’ve been through.”
Click here for tickets, or call 203-222-7070. The maximum number of tickets will be limited by state guidelines.
Two organizations at opposite ends of the age spectrum — Toquet Hall and the Westport Senior Center — are partnering to present a free livestream concert tomorrow (Friday, June 26, 12 p.m.).
It features the funk band Mojo, with noted local musicians Drew Angus, Eric Lindahl and Spencer Inch. Click here to watch via Zoom (and note the password: 3qgZ4L).
The new planters on Main Street are drawing plenty of attention.
But there are colorful flowers beyond Elm Street. For example, Rye Ridge Deli is doing all it can to make the outdoor experience special too.
And finally … as Westport, Connecticut prepares for jUNe Day this weekend (virtually, of course), let’s celebrate Westport, Ireland with Stuart Moyles.
PS: When the Levitt Pavilion opens next summer, we really need this lad as a headliner!
Since 1975, the Westport Woman’s Club has partnered with the Department of Human Services on a year-round, emergency food distribution program, the Food Closet.
When the club gets a call members fill bags of groceries, add Stop & Shop gift cards that the WWC purchases, and deliver the food to Town Hall, or directly to the recipient (whose name remains anonymous).
During the pandemic, requests for food have risen dramatically. In addition to increased demand, a traditional May food drive with the US Postal Service has been canceled.
Non-perishables are desperately needed. Canned goods can be dropped off at the Woman’s Club (44 Imperial Avenue) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, between 9 a.m. and noon. (If the door is locked, call 203-227-4240.)
Checks are also welcome. Click here to donate online. They can also be made out to “Westport Woman’s Club,” and sent to 44 Imperial Avenue, Westport CT 06880.
Last year, Westport Woman’s Club members Wendy McKeon, Catherine Smith and Kim Reichert helped out with the Food Closet drive.
Two women-owned local businesses — Bungalow and Private Portraits — have teamed up to capture casual, candid glimpses of women at home, while raising money for female entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19.
“Sophisticated boudoir photographer” Jen Goldberg takes sunrise, socially distanced front porch sessions — as early as 5:30 a.m. — capturing moms in the moments just before their house awakens.
A portion of the proceeds benefits Sara Blakely’s The Red Backpack Fund. The nationwide effort will make at least 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to women whose businesses have been impacted during the pandemic.
For $100 (additional donations welcome), you’ll receive a 5 x 7 print and a $25 gift card to Bungalow, the Sconset Square boutique. For more information, email email@example.com.
HINT: Mother’s Day is Sunday!
Rye Ridge Deli originally stayed open, with curbside and delivery service. Business was slow though, so they closed. Now they’re back open, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Click here to order online.
Also now open, after an initial closure: Five Guys (11 a.m. to 10 p.m.). Click here for curbside pickup and delivery.
“Essential businesses” in Westport with 50 employees or fewer are are eligible for free masks, under a state plan. Click this link, but hurry: The application deadline is early afternoon tomorrow (Thursday, May 7).
In addition, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe advises residents about the proper use of cloth face masks. According to the CDC, they should:
fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
be secured with ties or ear loops
include multiple layers of fabric
allow for breathing without restriction
be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
Do not put your hands on the front of mask when putting it on or taking it off. Use the loops or attached ties to secure or remove. Click here for more instructions on cloth mask use.
Homes With Hope hosts a non-perishable food drive this Saturday (May 9), from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Gillespie Center behind Restoration Hardware. Items needed include canned chicken, salmon, Spam, tuna, fruit, applesauce, soups, stews and vegetables; pasta sauce; peanut butter and jelly; mac and cheese; Chef Boyardee, and cereal.
The Sunny Daes cow has the right idea. (Photo/Lily Bloomingdale)
And finally … this underrated gem, from Sir Elton John:
I thought last week’s Photo Challenge might be too tough for any “06880” reader.
I did not reckon on Mary Papageorge and Lynn Untermeyer Miller.
Both knew that Amy Schneider’s image of a painted smiling face is located on the back side of the large star sculpture that Howard Munce created years ago. It sits on the bank of the Saugatuck River, in Parker Harding Plaza directly behind Rye Ridge Deli.
The fisherman — that’s what the face is — faces the river. It’s not easy to see — and not too many people actually stroll by there (though it is a nice, beautiful spot).
Mary no doubt knows it because the Papageorge family owned Oscar’s — the long-time, beloved predecessor to Rye Ridge.
Lynn knows it because — well, she sees and knows everything.
Can Mary, Lynn and/or you figure out this week’s Photo Challenge? If you think you know, click “Comments” below.
This morning’s post –showing garbage where the dumpster once sat in Parker Harding Plaza, just a few yards away from the finally-working compactor — drew plenty of comments from readers.
And this email from Scott Martin:
I own the Rye Ridge Deli. Someone sent me the pic of the garbage by the compactors.
That is a mix of garbage from various tenants there. A couple of those boxes are ours: the bacon, avocados and Rockland bakery.
I just spoke to a number of my employees who take garbage out at night and during the day. Last night, the compactors were completely filled and overflowing. Everything was stuffed in them to the top. They would not compact any more.
The mess this morning. The dumpster — across from the compactors — is no longer there.
Maybe they were a day late picking up due to the holiday. We are not sure. But when they come to remove the compactors it seems they cannot drive away with them overflowing so they knock it out, and when they return from the dump or wherever they take the trash they fill it back with what was knocked out.
There have been many occasions since the compactors have been installed with them not functioning at all. I guess the kinks are being worked out back there.
Going forward my guys have been instructed to let myself or a manager know when there is this sort of mess back there. Rather then leaving it for someone else to find, we can call City Carting to address it or figure out a better way rather than leaving that mess.
Those compactors are great, better than regular dumpsters, as long as they work (which is not always the case). I have been dealing with them for years in my other locations.
I just got off the phone with Scott. He apologizes for his guys leaving a mess. Nice to know he contacted “06880” to take responsibility.
As he notes though, only a small portion of the garbage is his. The hunt continues.
The death of Lee Papageorge more than a year ago left a hole in the heart of downtown.
He’d closed Oscar’s — the deli he owned for more than 40 years — just a week earlier.
The end of Oscar’s meant more than the loss of a place with great pastrami and pickles. There was now no place on Main Street for a meal with friends — a spot where regulars always sat at the same table, and everyone (or at least the counter guys) knew your name.
Rye Ridge — the popular Stamford and Rye Brook kosher-style deli — signed a lease. It’s taken many months to renovate the site. But the good news is: They’re opening in a couple of weeks.
Rye Ridge renovations are nearly done.
The better news is: Some of Oscar’s old employees may be back.
And here’s the icing on the cake lox on the bagel: The owner of the new deli arranged with the Papageorge family to hang the iconic Oscar’s mural in the same spot it had been since 1982.
The Oscar’s mural — back at Rye Ridge Deli. (Photos/David Waldman)
Many regulars depicted on the wall are gone. So of course is Lee — the guy with the beard and red apron, all the way on the left.
Now he’s back, standing proudly with his friends and customers.
Rye Ridge’s reverence for the past is important. Here’s wishing them a run as long and successful as Oscar’s — and Lee’s.
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