Let’s see how long it will take for the Parks and Wreck dept. to fix the storm damage at the popular tennis courts at Binney Park. Here are photos of the damage this morning on Day 5 since the storm. Meanwhile, not a word about it on the town web site.
Ran into Lisa Eisenman this morning at Greenwich Point. Lisa is one of the most popular people in the OG/Riverside area among locals. She told me she is opening a flower shop in one third of the space formerly occupied by the late “Fred” boutique store and previously Kerr’s Pharmacy on Sound Beach Avenue. The other two thirds will be occupied by a new bakery opening this fall. Smart to divide that big space into two businesses.
Lisa operates the flower shop inside Porricelli’s market. Her move adds fuel to the rumors of a soon-to-be Porricelli closing. Lisa is planning to open her flower shop in September. A friend suggested that Trader Joe’s would be perfect replacement for Porricelli’s. I agree. Look for news in the Greenwich Time for any development in this regard.
The new stores will be a pleasant addition to Downtown OG, since the closing of “Beyond Bread,” Old Greenwich Florist and Crucitti’s florist on the Post Road. However, the bakery will offer competition for the morning coffee business and further calls into question the wisdom of the new Dunkin’ Donuts, which, every time I look, does not seem very busy, when across the street the bagel shop is still drawing lines out the door on Sunday mornings.
Lisa is one of the most creative people in the area. Her work is dazzling. If she can keep her prices reasonable, she will be a big success. Good Luck Lisa!
Speaking of Greenwich Point, the tents went up yesterday for the annual Greenwich Point Conservancy Beach Ball, which is tonight. How do I manage to miss this great event every year?
Four years ago, when Porricelli’s closed its store in Cos Cob, I wondered how long it would be before Old Greenwich met the same fate. The shifting winds in retail, exacerbated by internet sales, have not been kind to local “mom and pop” operators.
Just this week, another store, “The Funhouse” at 236 Sound Beach Avenue,” put up a closing sign. Generations of OG/Riverside kids purchased Lego sets, games and laser light sabers from the Funhouse.
Which begs the question: What would you like to see in the Porricelli space if it’s just a matter of time before that store closes. My top vote goes to Whole Foods, although the store is probably too small. Dean & Delucca? Zabar’s? Balducci’s?
It’s hard to keep up with the changes in downtown OG. It seems like every time I drive through town, there is another empty store or a new store opening. The two-story building project next to Feinsods seems to have stalled, but there is some activity in the space formerly occupied by “Fred.”
We now have five dry cleaners! The newest one next to the unfortunate Dunkin’ Donuts appears to be just a drop-off storefront. Nonetheless, are we really such slobs in OG/Riverside?
Lastly, I was told by the owner of Arcadia Cafe that he is planning to start construction of the new restaurant – with its beer and wine license – in late July. The cafe will be closed through Labor Day. That probably means it won’t open until Thanksgiving.
It didn’t surprise me to read about Reggie Jackson’s public dissing of ARod and other baseball notables last week.
This was the Reggie I knew.
Okay. Okay. I’m no intimate friend of Reggie’s, but in 1997, I spent an entire hour talking to Reggie Jackson on a Delta shuttle flight from Boston to New York.
I was working for the Boston Globe then, and along with several colleagues from Boston, was making our monthly (dreaded) pilgrimage to the home office (AKA New York Times), the unfortunate parent company and overlord.
I was late for my flight and at the counter to re-confirm my seat, I turned to my left and there was REGGIE JACKSON getting on the same flight. I offered to carry one of his bags, and he reciprocated by asking the attendant to print another copy of his boarding pass so he could sign it for me (see above scanned image).
The flight was reasonably empty and Reggie and I ended up splitting a three-seat row with no one in the middle. He clearly was appreciative of my assistance, and I was sitting and talking to Reggie Jackson!!! He told me he was in Boston to do a guest appearance on ESPN. The Yankees had been in town for a series which had more meaning in those days because the two teams did not play each other 80 times a summer.
The next hour was an animated conversation full of baseball lore and wisdom from the great man.
Marianna Rivera? “His pitch explodes on you. That’s his secret.”
George Steinbrenner? “He’s a sick, sick, sick, sick man.”
Derek Jeter? “The kid is for real.”
Is that your world series ring? “No. It’s my Hall of Fame ring.”
What are you doing these days? “I’m a glad hander for a technology company. I open doors and set up meetings.” He gave me a card which had his email address as “Mroctober@Vikingmem.com.” Oh, and he was still on the Yankees payroll as a “consultant.”
I had to admit, there was an unexpected charm to this false humility and self-deprecation.
But halfway through the flight, I saw the dark side. A woman came up to Reggie and asked him if he would sign an autograph for her son. Instead of just signing, Reggie said, “Can’t you see that I am sitting here having a conversation with my friend Lincoln? Why would you interrupt us? Why do you feel you can just come up and disrupt our privacy? How would you feel if someone came up to you and barged in on one of your conversations.” He continued to berate her. And she just stood there stunned.
He never signed the autograph. The woman was humiliated and went back to her seat.
I was witness to the ruinous impact of ego and the corrupt privilege of talent. I also saw the mercurial side of a man beyond his prime clinging to the past, abusing the present and eager to destroy anything which threatens a corrosive view of his own personal standing.
Years later, I would note the date of the flight – Sept. 11. I am certain there was no more meaning than that a man with a massive, uncontrollable view of the world sat next to me on a flight from Boston to New York.
As a recovering Greenwich parent, I should sport a bumper sticker that says, “I survived a GHS concert.”
At least that’s what the supporters of the $37 million project to build a fancy concert hall at the high school would have you believe: the current auditorium is so inadequate that forcing our children to perform there is akin to child abuse. Just read the self-referential letter to the editor today from the solipsistic choir director at GHS. OMG, you would think the holding cells at Guantanamo Bay are better.
C’mon people! Thirty-seven million dollars is a lot a money. It’s roughly $4,000 per student in the district. How about we buy each student a laptop, an iPad and give them $2,000 each in cash for private music lessons? (Oh, and BTW, if you believe that the final cost is $37 million, I have some great stock in a company called Enron to sell you.)
Given Greenwich’s penchant for capping capital spending (we’re just cheap, folks), the money for MISA will mean that we won’t be able to invest in some truly deserving projects in the future. Only in Greenwich would we consider spending that kind of money on a high school auditorium while the restrooms in our parks are in Third-World condition and we can’t even take care of our ponds and rivers properly.
The RTM exists as a body to say no to spending hogs like the MISA insurgents. I hope RTM members do their jobs.
Generations of children performed well in that auditorium. They went on to become perfectly well-adjusted adults.
I’m not so sure about their parents.
Saturday was ominously overcast – not the perfect day for commissioning a yacht club. But the rain held off. And OGYC commodore Kim Crocco declared the 2012 boating season open, the 69th season for OGYC. Interesting note: Kim is the third female commodore at OGYC out of the last five. She was a great choice.
It was a beautiful day Sunday. So I went for a walk in my favorite Greenwich park.
As I made the turn into the inner part of Binney Park pond, I was taken aback by its disgraceful condition. As the town considers whether to spend $50 million or more on a fancy auditorium for the high school (anyone claiming they know the true cost of this project has no credibility), treasured assets such as Binney Park are allowed to atrophy and wither.
So I took some photos with my cell phone:
The Greenwich Time spent a great deal of its pages Sunday reporting on the four-year project soon to come to re-build the rail bridges in Old Greenwich. It raises the specter of tremendous traffic problems in the village.
But there are simple things the town can do to improve OG traffic … like cracking down on the UPS and Fed Ex delivery trucks which park anywhere they please at any time, often in full sight of the Greenwich police.
Here are photos that capture the violations, including one UPS truck that stopped right on West End avenue to deliver his packages with full impunity and total disregard of our traffic rules:
Last may, my car while parked was hit by a Fed Ex truck in front of Arcadia Cafe in Old Greenwich. I had two witnesses. A nice Greenwich officer named Michael Vangrowski attempted to track down the hit and run truck driver. But Fed Ex has a remarkably effective system to complicate such an investigation, They have many divisions – Fed Ex Air, Fed Ex Express, Fed Ex Ground. And they all point fingers at each other. Suffice it to say, the drivers was never found and I had to eat the deductible.
With Dunkin Donuts coming and with the bridge project looming, can’t we do ourselves a favor and crack down on the Fed Ex and UPS thugs?