Tag Archives: Westport train station

Pic Of The Day #4

Westport train station. (Photo copyright John Videler)

Crazy Donut Idea

Forget CNN. Who needs “Good Morning America”? And don’t even think about Channel 12 News.

At Donut Crazy — the new and very popular breakfast place on the eastbound side of the Westport railroad station — the TV is turned to a static shot of the Greens Farms station.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

It’s not as random as you think.

As soon as you see your train pull into Greens Farms, you’ve got 3 minutes to get up, scurry through the tunnel, and board your ride to New York.

It’s a genius idea.

Right up there with strawberry cheesecake, cookies & cream and nutella donuts.

Time To Make The Donuts

Crazy about donuts?

Donut Crazy is here!

The 4th store in the small chain — replacing Steam on the eastbound side of the train station — was expected to open October 1. Finally, the big day has arrived.

Ribbon-cutting is set for 11 a.m. tomorrow. Right now, there’s a soft opening.

As in glazed, powdered, coconut, Bavarian creme…

A young customer is one of the first to enjoy Donut Crazy. (Photo/John Karrel)

 

Not Time To Make The Donuts?

Donut Crazy was supposed to open on the eastbound side of the Westport train station on October 1.

The small chain — with locations already in Shelton, Stratford and Bridgeport — will replace Steam, the former coffee shop concessionaire.

So far though, nothing.

Maybe they couldn’t raise the dough?

This is what you'll see when Donut Crazy finally opens.

This is what you’ll see when Donut Crazy finally opens.

 

Mind The Gap!

The William Cribari (aka Bridge Street) Bridge is not the only local span that occasionally opens, to accommodate Saugatuck River traffic.

This was the scene earlier today, at the Westport train station:

train-tracks-raised-for-vessel-frederic-chiu

Alert “06880” reader Frederic Chiu — who captured the scene — notes, “I sometimes forget Westport is a functioning river town.”

(Though “functioning” is debatable. His train was delayed due to “drawbridge failure.”)

Railroad Parking: Less Is More

The other day, an alert “06880” reader asked if the recent renovation of the train station’s westbound parking lot (#1) resulted in the loss of any spaces. (He was pretty sure it did.)

I did not know the answer. But I knew who would.

Foti Koskinas — who as Westport’s police chief is also responsible for railroad parking — responded (as usual) almost immediately.

He said: Yes. The original plan would have meant 6 fewer spaces. When another exit was added, an additional 2 were lost.

During the project however, realignment of spaces and crosswalks added 2 back. So the 1st number stands: There are now 6 fewer spaces than before.

The reason for the loss, Foti noted, is that the old lot was non-conforming to current regulations. Spaces were too narrow, resulting in many dented doors.

Pre-renovation: an aerial view of train station parking lot 1 (center).

Pre-renovation: an aerial view of train station parking lot 1 (center).

But Foti added lots (ho ho) more information. And it’s all good.

Throughout the summer, the Police Department examined every parking area. New spaces will appear, sometime before the holidays:

  • 12-14 additional parking spots in Lot #2 (the smaller westbound lot, just up the hill from Lot #1 and Luciano Park)
  • 8 new spots on Park Street (coming down the slight hill from Exit 17, opposite the old Blu Parrot/Jasmine/Arrow restaurant)
  • 15-17 more spots on one side of Franklin Street, under I-95
  • 54-60 additional spots in Lot #7, off Franklin Street (due to leases the town took over from the state — not easy, but they got it done!).

But wait! There’s more!

The department has contacted the next 150 commuters on the wait list. They’re in the process of getting their permits.

And more permits may come, once the projects in the bullet list above are completed.

Now, if only Metro-North could respond as quickly and efficiently as the Westport Police…

Click on or hover over to enlarge this railroad station parking map.

Click on or hover over to enlarge this railroad station parking map.

Commuter Spots Available — But Watch Those Signs!

An alert, ticketed — and ticked-off — “06880” reader writes:

I’ve been a railroad parking permit holder for 20 years. Today I got a ticket because I couldn’t find a spot in a permit lot.

The town has changed the lot by Exit 17 from being permit-only to daily parking only.

I don’t get it. I pay for my permit, yet when I catch a later train (9 a.m. today), I get stuck with a daily fee ticket?

When I went to the police station, I was told that having a permit does not mean you get a space. It strikes me that the town is forcing permit holders who come later in the morning to pay twice to park: once for the permit, then for the daily fee. Do I have this right?

Not exactly. I contacted Foti Koskinas, Westport’s police chief who also administers railroad parking.

train station parking

He says that the police monitor parking spots every day. There has never been “no parking” for permit holders. In fact, he says, Lot 3 — on the south side of the tracks — has 75 to 100 spaces open every day.

What the department has done is change some of the parking distribution. After taking surveys and watching traffic patters, they realized that the limited number of $5 daily parking spots in each lot caused daily parkers to drive from lot to lot, searching for them.

Now, 2 lots — #4 and #8, one on each side of the tracks — are dedicated solely to $5 daily parking.

By parking in one of those lots — when permit places were available elsewhere — the “06880” reader took a spot away from a daily parker. That’s why he got a ticket, Foti says.

“Just because you have a permit, that doesn’t mean you can park anywhere,” he emphasizes. “We have 6,000 to 8,000 commuters a day. There’s a real science to this.”

In other railroad parking news, new lights will be installed Friday.

Commuter parking, circa 1949.

Commuter parking, circa 1949.

Two True Tales

An alert “06880” reader writes:

A man at the Westport railroad station told me: “I left my wallet in my son’s apartment in New York. I just got off here to go back to the city to get it. I hope the conductor lets me on.”

He said he was on his way to New Haven, to help his daughter move into a new apartment. He used to work for an ad agency. He looked like an aging hippie — with shoulder-length hair, a backpack and shorts — but he seemed credible.

I gave him $20. We all depend on the kindness of others, I thought. He asked for my name and address, so he could send me the money. He bought a ticket, and boarded the train.

Train station drop shadow

Of course, I never received the money. It made me a little uncomfortable, as I’d given him my name and address. But I soon forgot about it.

Until yesterday. I saw the same man, again at the station.

He also saw me. He headed to the other end of the platform, and quickly put on sunglasses (though he wore the same distinctive clothes).

A young man give him money, as he got on the train. When I asked, the young man said he’d only given him $6, and “it probably means more to him than to me.”

I hope “06880” is a good venue to let naive people like me know they should be careful — and that some local con artists are pretty convincing.


On the other hand, Molly Alger writes:

I’m recovering from significant shoulder surgery. This afternoon, to regain my strength, I went for a walk. My right arm and shoulder were encased in a sling and wide brace.

As I headed down Roseville Road to the Post Road, a bright candy apple-red convertible, top down — driven by a handsome young man — pulled over.

I figured he wanted directions.

Instead, he asked if I needed a ride.

It’s been many years since a good-looking young man has tried to pick me up. How way beyond nice is that?!

Abandoned Bike Perplexes Train Riders

The mystery kept bugging Jonathan Whitbourne.

Finally he posted on Facebook:

There’s an abandoned bicycle at the Westport train station — and I’m absolutely obsessed with it.

The bike is hitched to a lone U-style bike rack on the New York-bound side of the station. Its appearance is forlorn: sagging tires, rusted chain, tattered seat. I first noticed the bike 2 years ago, but I’m guessing it’s been deserted even longer.

Train station bike 2

Equally puzzling, the bike is locked to the rack, suggesting the owner viewed it as an object of value, something he or she would no doubt return for. But he/she hasn’t. Why?

Who owns the bike? Where is this person? And why did he or she lock up the bike one day and never come back for it? I’m hoping there are some amateur detectives on this page who may have answers to this quirky little mystery. So who’s up for some sleuthing?

No one has come up with the answer yet on Facebook.

So let’s ratchet this up to the next level: “06880.”

Surely one of our readers knows the story behind this story — or can find someone who does.

If you’ve got any intel about the abandoned bike, click “Comments” below.

Fun fact: It took Jonathan several months to realize the bike was abandoned. He rides every day to the station, and because the bike was always there when arrived in the morning, and then rode at night, Jonathan thought the owner worked a lot harder than he. It took a snowstorm — burying the bike in a drift — to make Jonathan realize he’s not actually a slacker.

(Hat tip: Nancy Greenspan Wilson)

Vanishing Steam

Steam — the coffee vendor at the Westport railroad station — has brewed its last joe there.

The town of Westport made several attempts to help Steam stay open, says Foti Koskinas, deputy police chief who oversees railroad operations.

However, he says, the Saugatuck location is now vacant. The town is initiating eviction proceedings at Green’s Farms. Termination of the current lease will follow.

Steam's interior, at the Saugatuck station. (Photo/Lee Scharfstein)

Steam’s interior, at the Saugatuck station. (Photo/Lee Scharfstein)

The Green’s Farms building will stay open though, with coffee and baked goods. It’s a different situation than at the Westport station — where there are restrooms on the other (westbound) side, and several coffee shops.

The town will advertise soon for a new vendor.

The Steam sign -- shown here in 2014 -- is now gone.

The Steam sign — shown here soon after it opened in January 2014 — is now gone.

(Hat tip: Lee Scharfstein)