Tag Archives: Spencer Platt

Roundup: Mystic Market, Spencer Platt, James Madison …

Mystic Market — the successor to the Arrow, Jasmine and Blu Parrot restaurants  — is “regretfully” closing its Saugatuck location on May 27.

“The rent is 3 times what we pay for our other properties. And lease for the second term is even more,” says David Griswold. He’s senior vice president of The Coastal Gourmet Group, which owns 3 similar properties in eastern Connecticut.

The company is searching for a new location. A property in Wilton did not work out, because it was not zoned for a food establishment.

Mystic Market opened in the winter of 2019 on Charles Street, near I-95 Exit 17 and the Westport train station. It offers a variety of sandwiches, prepared foods, pastries, coffee and more.


Two weeks ago, Spencer Platt won a Pulitzer Prize for Photography.

Next Wednesday (May 25, 7 p.m., Westport Library), the Staples High School graduate returns to town. He’ll talk about his career, his most recent award (for coverage of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol), and how and where it all began.

Platt has covered conflicts and news stories in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe. In 2006 he won World Press Photo of the Year honors for an image taken during fighting in Lebanon. In 2021 he was a Pulitzer finalist for coverage of the COVID epidemic.

Spencer lives in Brooklyn with his wife — fellow Staples grad Erica Sashin — and daughter,

To register for a seat in the Trefz Forum, click here. For a livestream link, click here.

Spencer Platt at work, in 2006.


Social studies teachers Drew Coyne and Suzanne Kammerman are 2 of Staples High School’s most celebrated educators.

Her “We the People” team competes regularly at the national level. She has won awards from American Lawyer and Civics First. He is a Connecticut Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year and University of Chicago Outstanding Educator.

But you don’t have to be a teenager to learn from them.

On June 8 (7 p.m., Westport Library), adults can enjoy the same “Community Case Discussion” they’re known for. Coyne and Kammerman will moderate a discussion on the role of the federal government in relation to the states — from the perspective of a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention. (Think: James Madison.)

But you can’t just stroll into class. Participants must click here to register, and receive case study materials from the Library.

The good news: There are no grades.

James Madison


David McCormick — former CEO of Westport-based Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund — remained locked in a tight race this morning for the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania senator.

With more than 90% of the vote counted, just 2,000 votes separated him from his closest challenger, Dr. Mehmet Oz. McCormick had 31.3% of the vote; the celebrity doctor had 31.1.%. Thousands of mail-in ballots remained to be counted.

McCormick joined Bridgewater in 2009 as president. He was named co-CEO in 2017, and sole CEO 2 years later. He resigned in 2021 to run for retiring senator Pat Toomey’s seat, in his native state.

David McCormick


“A Taste of Westport” — the bring-your-appetite-all-you-can-eat-and-drink fundraiser for CLASP Homes — has announced the restaurants and vendors for the June 15 event (6 p.m., Inn at Longshore).

The mouth-watering list includes:

  • Artisan
  • BE Chocolat
  • Black Bear Wines & Spirits
  • Boathouse Restaurant at Saugatuck Rowing Club
  • Cylinder Vodka
  • Evarito’s
  • Gabriele’s Italian Steakhouse
  • Gloria Ferrer Sparkling Wine
  • La Plage
  • Lindsay’s Handmade
  • Little Dumpling House
  • Little Pub
  • Mrs. London’s Artisan Bakery
  • NewSylum Brewing Company
  • Nordic Fish
  • Post Oak Barbecue Company
  • Rive Bistro
  • Rizzuto’s
  • Romanacci
  • The Spread
  • SoNo 1420
  • Tablao
  • Tarantion
  • Walrus Alley.

Click here for tickets and more information.


Calling all teenagers!

The “Teens of MoCA” organization invites all of their peers to a free Spring Arts Festival this Sunday (May 22, 4 to 7 p.m., MoCA Westport, 19 Newtown Turnpike).

There’s a food truck (of course), live music by teen bands, and products for sale from local teen-run art businesses. Follow @teensatMoCAWestport to learn more.


Shopping for nice things may seem to have little connection with human trafficking.

But Westporters Michelle Pollack, Sandra Rose, Becca Zipkin and Alex Cohen have just launched a new organization: Concierge with Conscience.

The inaugural event is June 3 (10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.), in Westport. Brand partners include The Westside, Ever After, Freedom Moses, Metta10, LeSuperCool and more. 15% of all proceeds go to Partnership to End Human Trafficking.There’s a raffle too, with 100% of the proceeds going to PEHT.

Click here for more details (including complimentary piercing, with the purchase of an earring). RSVP at info@conciergewithconscience.com. Shoppers will receive an email, with information about the location.


Lauri Weiser sent today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo with this simple note: “Mother Nature is amazing.” She’s absolutely right!

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)


And finally … the great opera singer Ezio Pinza was born today in 1892. He died in 1957 — after (among other notable achievements) more than 750 performances of 50 operas, during 22 seasons at the Metropolitan Opera.

Plus this:

Spencer Platt Wins Pulitzer Prize

Westport has another Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer.

And it’s not Lynsey Addario or Tyler Hicks.

Spencer Platt — like those two New York Times journalists, a Staples High School graduate — was one of 5 Getty Images photographers who earned their industry’s highest honor today.

The 5 were awarded Pulitzers for Breaking News Photography, for their coverage of the January 6 assault on the US Capitol.

January 6, at the US Capitol (Photo/Spencer Platt for Getty Images)

Platt and Hicks both started their professional careers not in Westport, but at the small Troy (Ohio) Daily News. 

Platt has worked with Getty Images for many years.  He photographed the Israel-Lebanon conflict of 2006 (and won the World Press Photo of the Year award for his shot of grinning Lebanese girls in front of a devastated building).  He also worked in Iraq, Liberia, Congo and Indonesia.

One view of the upheaval in Egypt. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

He is perhaps best known for his iconic photo of the World Trade Center, engulfed in a fireball moments after it was struck by a plane.

(Photo/Spencer Platt for Getty Images)

Amazingly, Platt is not the only one of the 5 Getty Images Pulitzer winners today with a Westport connection. His colleague Win McNamee is the brother of Julia McNamee, for many years an English teacher at Staples High School.

Spencer Platt at work, in 2006.


Pic Of The Day #672

The Westport Arts Center is hosting an exhibition of photos by famed Staples graduate Spencer Platt. It runs through March 2. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Spencer Platt’s Eye On Egypt

Cairo is one of the most beautiful cities Spencer Platt has ever seen.

The stunning architecture and lovely light — combined with layers of ancient history — make it “sublime,” the 1989 Staples graduate says.

A staff photographer for Getty Images, he loved capturing images of ordinary Egyptians going about their daily lives.

Spencer Platt at work, in 2006.

Spencer Platt at work, in 2006.

But he was there, a couple of weeks ago, to cover the political upheaval. Between the demands of providing dramatic shots of riots and strife, and the suspicions and tensions of the people he met, Cairo was an extremely difficult assignment.

Then again, Spencer is used to that. It’s his job.

One of 3 world-renowned photographers who graduated from Staples, and are now good friends — the others are Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario — Spencer has seen most of the world’s hot spots.

He photographed the Israel-Lebanon conflict of 2006 (and won the World Press Photo of the Year award for his shot of grinning Lebanese girls in front of a devastated building).  He also worked in Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Congo and Indonesia.

On September 11, 2001, Spencer was an eyewitness to the World Trade Center attacks. His harrowing photo of smoke and flames billowing from south tower seconds after the 2nd plane hit is one of the iconic images of that day.

“9/11 changed everything,” Spencer says. “It was such an awful event, but it led to a huge resurgence in my profession. We went from news organizations pulling back on coverage, to being dispatched all over the world.”

Three weeks ago, he arrived in Beirut to cover the flood of Syrian refugees. He had barely settled in when his editor called. The Egyptian government had announced a 48-hour deadline to the Muslim Brotherhood. Spencer took the 1st plane to Cairo.

One view of the upheaval in Egypt. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

One view of the upheaval in Egypt. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Despite the city’s beauty, he says, the assignment was “not rewarding.” As he walked around the city he felt mistrust, tension and hostility.

“I try to show not just fighting, but daily life,” he says. “But it was incredibly difficult to shoot that. I got threats. I got in arguments. People kept asking me for my camera.”

Pro-Morsi people thought he — one of the few Westerners there — was a spy.

The temperature was 110 in the shade. Cairo, he says, was “really combustible.”

Calm amid the chaos. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images0

Calm amid the chaos. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images0

Spencer did not feel that his life was in danger. But he was involved in physical altercations. And at the end of each day, he says, “it was tough to feel upbeat.”

Democracy is “not alive and well” in Egypt, Spencer says. “I don’t see good things there.”

That saddens him. “The people are very, very good. They’re beautiful, with a lot to offer.”

He is proud of photos like those he took of an African family. He showed their hesitation and fear, as they watched protests from afar.

A family holds Egyptian flags on the edge of Tahrir Square.

A family holds Egyptian flags on the edge of Tahrir Square.

Working in a tense situation like Egypt is always a challenge, and not just because of danger. Spencer files a couple of times a day — 30 or 40 images — and editors want “headline” shots of protests. At the same time, Spencer tries to “go beyond that. I want to show the lives behind the demonstrations.”

And, he admits, “I’m just parachuting in. I have a rudimentary knowledge of Egyptian history and politics.”

Riding to the airport at dawn, for a 7 a.m. flight home, he watched with fascination as Cairo awoke.

“It was very poetic,” Spencer says. “The families, the light, the architecture — it’s the most beautiful city I’ve seen in the Middle East and North Africa. Despite the garbage and decay, it’s very picturesque.”

So what’s after Egypt?

“I just covered Anthony Weiner and the mayoral race,” Spencer laughs. “No comment.”

But whatever he shoots, his passport and satellite phone are always near.

“That’s the way I like it,” he says. “My specialty is breaking news. I’m sure something else will emerge — unfortunately — in the near future.”

Lynsey Addario In Afghanistan

Westport is justly proud of our trio of world-famous photojournalists:  Lynsey Addario, Tyler Hicks and Spencer Platt.  All are Staples graduates from the 1980s.

Last week, both Lynsey (the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and a 2009 Pulitzer Prize) and Tyler (who shared that 2009 Pulitzer for International Reporting) have had gripping photos in the New York Times, from Afghanistan and Haiti.

Now check out the February 21 edition of Time magazine.  Lynsey has contributed an insightful photo-essay on medical evaluation units in Afghanistan.

In the 1950s and ’60s, Famous Photographers School made Westport proud.  Five decades later, 3 home-grown photojournalists are doing the same.

Lynsey Addario captures the urgency of a medical evacuation. (Photo courtesy of Time magazine)

“Letters Home”

Veteran’s Day is a holiday that Westport hardly celebrates.  More like “hurriedly observes” — if that.

Next Wednesday, things change.

This Veteran’s Day, the Westport Country Playhouse and Westport Arts Center team up to honor our vets.  Noted actor Brian Dennehy hosts a Playhouse presentation of “Letters Home” — a dramatic production of actual letters written by US troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the Playhouse lobby, the WAC will install an exhibition.  “Daily Exchanges:  US Soldiers in Iraq — The Ordinary in Images” features photographs and videos depicting the everyday life of troops serving in war.

Staples grad Spencer Platt — a world-renowned photojournalist – will be represented in the exhibit.

A reception and guided tour of the art exhibit begins at 6 p.m. next Wednesday, followed by “Letters Home” at 7.

A panel discussion follows the play.  Afterward, curator Terri Smith and artist/veteran Paul Kaiser will comment on the exhibition.

(Tickets to “Letters Home” are $15 for the general public, $10 for veterans.  Call 203-227-4177, or click here.  For more information on the exhibition, call 203-222-7070, or click here.  The art exhibition will also be on display in the Playhouse lobby on Thurs., Nov. 12 from 1-6 p.m., and Fri., Nov. 13 from noon-6 p.m.)

Paul Kaiser's photograph

Paul Kaiser's photograph will be on exhibit at the Westport Country Playhouse's Veterans Day salute.

Three Shots

Westport — long known as an artists’ colony — has been home to photographers too.  For a few years, we were even the site of the Famous Photographers’ School.

Today, though, is our true photographic heyday.  Three of the top photojournalists in the world hail from Westport.  All attended Staples  in the 1980s.

American Photo Magazine’s current issue includes — in a story on small-town newspapers — this amazing trio:  Tyler Hicks, Spencer Platt and Lynsey Addario.

Tyler Hicks was there in Baghdad during the early days of the Iraq war. (Photo courtesy of the New York Times)

Tyler Hicks was in Baghdad during the early days of the Iraq war. (Photo courtesy of the New York Times)

Hicks and Platt both started their professional careers not in Westport, but at the small Troy (Ohio) Daily News. Hicks moved quickly to the New York Times, where since 2001 he has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Platt now works for Getty Images.  He photographed the Israel-Lebanon conflict of 2006 (and won the World Press Photo of the Year award for his shot of grinning Lebanese girls in front of a devastated building).  He also worked in Iraq, Liberia, Congo and Indonesia.

Lynsey Addario took these striking images of Darfur.  (Photo courtesy of Lynsey Addario)

Lynsey Addario took these striking images of Darfur. (Photo courtesy of Lynsey Addario)

Addario — another prize-winner — is a noted Times photographer herself.

The American Photo Magazine piece examines the role small-town newspapers play in a photographer’s career — and what those photos mean to a community.  In the internet age, photographers lament the loss of a reliable, professional outlet for their work.

Platt says of his early days:  “We awoke each morning excitedly going through the paper to see how big our images appeared.  Front page, a photo spread, a bad crop, 6 columns, color, black and white.  We were either mortified or euphoric.”

He recalls covering his 1st tragedy:  a car accident outside of Troy.  He photographed a grieving mother.

In the years since, he says, he has covered wars and disasters throughout the world.  But the 1 person he will never forget is “that young man spread out in the field under a beautiful blue sky.  It was my introduction to the news.”