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Tag Archives: Westport Parks & Recreation Department
Larry Silver is 82 years old. He’s been taking photos since he was a teenager.
His work is warm, evocative and engaging. He is known around the world.
Westport — Silver’s home since 1973 — is an important setting for his work.
Compo Beach is a favorite — particularly the outdoor showers near the concession stand. The parade of people — different ages, shapes and sizes, all set against the brick background — is a photographer’s delight.
In fact, his 1980 “Beach Showers, Westport CT” has become iconic. It hangs in many museums.
But what was fine in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s is not okay today. The world has changed — and Silver’s photography is one of the casualties.
To get the spontaneous shots he likes, Silver keeps his camera largely out of sight. “I don’t want to be obvious,” he says. “I don’t want poses.”
But when he is shooting, he spends time focusing. He’s working on his art.
Passersby see a man with a camera, taking photos of people in showers.
Last year, someone — thinking Silver was doing something illegal — called the police. They asked for identification, and reviewed the images on his camera. They found nothing wrong, and returned his camera to him.
Several people who knew Silver confirmed to the police that he is an esteemed professional photographer.
The next day, Silver went to the Parks and Recreation Department. He showed facility manager Dan DeVito samples of his work, and apologized for creating a problem.
“He’s a nice guy — very reasonable,” Silver says of DeVito. “I understand he’s under pressure. He has to react.”
Silver took some more images, until the end of summer.
There is nothing illegal about taking photos in a public place, Silver notes. “If you’re at a place like the beach, you give up the right of privacy,” he says.
This summer, there were additional complaints. One woman called Silver’s wife Gloria a “pervert” for allowing him to shoot near the showers.
Silver tried to reason with the woman, showing her a published catalog of his works. She refused to even look at it.
The police were again called. Again, Silver spoke to DeVito. Silver showed him his images, and said he would stop his project.
DeVito asked Silver why he didn’t ask subjects for permission to shoot. “That changes the dynamics,” the photographer replied.
Still, he tried asking. “I could not get the kind of pictures I was happy with,” Silver says. “The people I asked were suspicious and distrustful. The people who agreed ended up stiff and posed.”
The other day, Parks & Rec sent Silver a letter. It said that he “created a disturbance,” and caused “alarm and discomfort.” It served as a written warning for “unacceptable behavior.” If Silver continued to take photos, he risked the loss of beach privileges for 2 years.
“I’ve been capturing this town with my eyes since I moved here,” Silver says. “I’ve documented the lifestyle of this community.
“I understand what Parks & Rec is doing, and why they have to,” he continues. “This is just the nature of the world we live in today. Photographers everywhere are being confronted and threatened.”
Silver’s shower series is over. Next summer, he won’t take any photos anywhere near there.
“If this disturbed people, I regret that,” he says. “However, I believe the images I have will some day be part of Westport’s history — especially if we approve an arts museum here.”
He’s got plenty of time to figure out his next subject. But he’s also busy preparing for an upcoming event.
On Friday, October 13, the Westport Historical Society throws a big gala. There’s great food, a Prosecco bar, and music.
There’s a special honoree too. His name: Larry Silver.
With spring just a chip shot away, Westport Parks & Recreation Department has filled 2 big golf course holes.
Director Jen Fava announced today the appointment of Jon Janik as head professional, and Todd Salamone as Longshore golf course superintendent.
Janik played at Longshore as a member of the St. Joseph High School golf team.
Born and raised in Bridgeport, he learned the game at Fairchild Wheeler. He won the 1997 junior club championship there, then 5 years later the men’s club title.
Janik began working in the golf industry while still at Fairfield University. He spent 3 summers at the Ivan Lendl Golf and Tennis Camp. After graduating, he became the assistant pro at Tashua Knolls in Trumbull. A year later, he was named head pro.
In 2007 Janik earned his professional golf management degree, and was elected to PGA membership.
He has won the Connecticut Section PGA Junior Golf Leader Award, and been recognized as a US Kids Golf Top 50 Kids Teacher.
Janik also served as Trumbull High’s boys golf team head coach. In 2014 he was named FCIAC Boys Golf Coach of the Year.
The Queens native majored in turf science at Ohio State University. After graduation he worked at private clubs on Long Island, and volunteered at pro events including the US Open and US Amateur.
Fava said, “We are very excited to welcome our new team to Longshore. We look forward to a great season, and lots of good things to come.
“We hope all of our golfers welcome them when the golf season gets underway.”
Information on course openings will be announced soon.
There are 3 subjects I know will always generate huge “06880” reader reactions:
Parking. Dogs. And trees.
The first 2 are predictable parts of Westport life. The 3rd may be less intuitive.
But as regularly as power goes out when the wind blows, any time I post a tree story we get comments from readers who mourn the loss of every tree. And from others who say hey, easy come, easy go.
Yet — until the other day — I had no idea that both tree huggers and Paul Bunyans could find common purpose.
That’s when alert — and arboreal-minded — reader Johanna Rossi told me about the Friends of Parks & Recreation’s Arbor Program.
Full disclosure: I didn’t even know the Friends group existed, either. They’re a public-private partnership that finances worthwhile projects and services, beyond those paid for by tax dollars.
One of those programs can be found on the Friends’ website under the heading “Trees, Trees, Trees.” Launched last year, it’s a way to honor “the lives and achievements of friends and families.”
Working with Parks and Rec, tree warden Bruce Lindsay identifies locations where he’d like to plant trees. He notes the specimens and species that thrive there.
Donors can choose their location and tree. The price is based on the cost of planting, as well as a fund to support maintenance — fertilizing, watering, pruning, etc. — for 5 years.
Planting takes place in the spring and fall. Photos and biographical info can be displayed alongside the tree.
It’s a “living legacy” for people to celebrate those who, most probably, are no longer living.
There’s even a GPS locator to help identify locations and tree types. Right now, there are 2 sites: Winslow Park and Compo Beach.
So the next time I post a story about tree removal, don’t click “Comments.”
Instead, donate a tree.
It looks like another gorgeous view of the entrance to Longshore:
But look closely next to the stone pillar. See the green trash can?
Before you go all WTF on Parks and Rec, you should know this: It’s only there for the winter. With the golfers’ red trash receptables stowed for the season, this is a way for dog walkers to dispose of the little blue “gift bags” they carry (we hope) while strolling near the beach.
Now that we all know they’re there, there’s no excuse for cleaning up after Fido — then casually dumping his dumpings wherever.
In 1992, a volunteer committee led by the indefatigable Betty Lou Cummings created the Library Riverwalk and Gardens.
A 6-month fundraising campaign drew 5,000 contributors, donating cash as well as services.
Together with a 2nd phase 7 years later, the accomplishments are stunning:
- 11,000 bricks, many of them engraved, in a path 638 feet long
- 57 benches, 3 picnic tables, 23 pole lights and 2 sculptures
- 127 shrubs and bushes, plus 19 trees (and a sprinkler system)
- Stairs from the library to the water, and a boat launch walkway.
After 22 years, the committee has asked the town to take over responsibility for maintanance. They’ve turned over $15,000 in their account to help.
Parks and Rec is happy to accept the responsibility. Over the past several years they’ve taken a more active role in assisting the committee. With the opening of the renovated Levitt Pavilion nearby, the time is ripe for the transfer to happen.
The Riverwalk is one of Westport’s hidden gems.
Okay, it’s not really hidden. Plenty of people enjoy it, at all times of day and throughout the year.
But many others don’t know it exists. And not many know the back story of its creation.
Thanks, Betty Lou and the 5,000 donors who helped make it a reality. More than 2 decades later, your work is greatly appreciated.
And it looks better than ever.