Wednesday, April 17, 2024


Special Reports

NY Times: Westport Teardowns Spark “Fascination and Fury”

Sunday’s New York Times, in a story on a real estate company specializing solely in teardowns, reports the firm has opened an office in Westport where “teardowns are a source of fascination and fury” and WestportNow’s “teardown of the day” is a popular feature.

Under the headline “Teardowns Reshape Suburbs, And Selling Strategies,” the newspaper said Xchange Properties was founded in a Chicago suburb four years ago and last November expanded to Westport.

It said the company, which enables sellers to market their properties directly to builders without having to pay a full sales commission or go through the charade of house showings, has plans to open offices in other “teardown hotspots” in Virginia, Florida, California, and New Jersey.

“In Westport, Conn., the site of Xchange’s Fairfield County office, teardowns are a source of fascination and fury,” the Times said.

Memories: The Last Tango in Westport

By Dale Eyerly Colson

In the 1950s and 1960s, Miss Irene Comer was a woman with a mission—to pass along the glamorous and, at the time, socially necessary skills of ballroom dancing to Westport’s reluctant young. Image
A 1957 Westport birthday party for a teenage girl. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Our parents actually paid Miss Comer money to transform their otherwise happily innocent, pubescent seventh and eighth grade children into young ladies and young gentlemen through the magic of formal ballroom dancing classes and a mastery of the social graces.

It should go without saying that we had less than no interest in learning any such thing.

During that era, attending Miss Comer’s was THE socially acceptable thing to do in our parents’ eyes. There was no escape. It was evidently quite a social coup for upwardly mobile parents to have their kicking and screaming young adolescents accepted for classes with the famous Miss Comer.

Personal Perspective: Dan Rather Steps Down from the “CBS Evening News”

By Gordon Joseloff


Today is an historic day at CBS News. Dan Rather steps down as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” after 24 years. And he does so amid much controversy.

I worked with Dan for a number of years at CBS News and, while I have never written about him publicly before, this is as good time as any to add a personal perspective to the event.ratherjoseloff03090501.jpg
Flashback: Gordon Joseloff and Dan Rather in Berlin in 1986. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

I got to know Dan in the mid-70s, first as a radio writer at CBS News in New York, and then as a television writer there. Later, I worked with him—and for him—as a correspondent, producer and bureau chief in Moscow and Tokyo.

I was one of his regular writers when he was White House correspondent and traveled to New York on Saturdays to do the weekend “Evening News.”

2004: WestportNow’s Year in Pictures


From the January swearing in of a new police chief to the Christmas morning fire that almost devastated one of Westport’s landmarks, WestportNow was on the scene throughout 2004, often exclusively.

Dozens of persons contributed photographs to WestportNow throughout the year and we are proud to present a sampling for year-end review.

We are grateful to them and look forward to having them and many others contributing to WestportNow’s coverage in 2005.

It is through their efforts and those of other WestportNow contributors that WestportNow has recorded remarkable growth in 2004 and now is often cited nationally as a trend-setter in Internet citizen journalism.

Best New Year wishes to them and to all WestportNow readers.

Gordon Joseloff

Eartha Kitt: “Range Rover Saved Me from Injury”

Legendary singer-actress Eartha Kitt says the superior construction of her Range Rover is what saved her from being injured in Thursday’s rollover accident in Westport, the New York Post reported today. kittaccident08070401260.jpg
Eartha Kitt describes Thursday’s accident to a Westport police officer. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)  2004

The 77-year-old Weston resident was returning from a jog on the beach when her SUV was “nipped in the derriere” and flipped over at Post Road East and Compo Road North, she told the newspaper.

She and her two toy poodles were shaken up but not seriously injured.

The Post Friday published exclusive photos of the accident from WestportNow.

“Thank God for that car. I don’t think I’ll ever drive another,” Kitt said.

UPDATE: Singer Eartha Kitt Injured in Westport Accident

Legendary singer Eartha Kitt, 77, of Weston, was slightly injured today when her SUV collided with another vehicle at the intersection of Post Road East and Compo Road North in Westport and flipped over. Witnesses said she did not appear to seriously hurt.kittaccident08050401.jpg
Westporter Kitt Shapiro takes charge of poodles belonging to her mother, Eartha Kitt, after the singer was involved in a two-car accident today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) 2004

Kitt, who was alone in her Range Rover with her two toy poodles, was talking animatedly with police, fire and Westport EMS personnel moments after the accident, according to a WestportNow photographer.

She was placed on a stretcher and transported to Norwalk Hospital where she was later released.

The driver of the second vehicle, a 2002 Mercedes, declined medical attention but complained of aches and pains.

Kitt’s toy poodles, Mutzi and Aba, did not appear to be injured. Kitt’s daughter, Westport resident Kitt Shapiro, arrived at the scene shortly after the accident and took custody of the dogs.

Police said the accident was under investigation

Singer Eartha Kitt Injured in Westport Accident

Singer Eartha Kitt, 77, of Weston, was slightly injured today when her SUV rolled over following a collision with another vehicle at Post Road East and Compo Road North. Kitt, who was alone in her vehicle with her two toy poodles, was transported to Norwalk Hospital by Westport EMS and later released. Neither the driver of the second car nor Kitt’s dogs were injured. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)  2004

Essay: The Meaning of Security in a Post 9/11 World

By Jessica Bram

Contributing Editor

Having experienced a whole new level of security screening in airports and New York City building lobbies in the last two years, I thought I already knew what high security means in a post-9/11 world. WNDemCon.jpg

But nothing prepared me for the phalanx of armed guards, screeners, scanners and weaponry that I encountered this week at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. And not just at the Fleet Center, where the actual convention is taking place, but in just about every hotel, subway station, nook and cranny throughout the city.

Serious young men in crew cuts, white shirts and suits with curly wires in their ears survey hotel lobby crowds with piercing eyes. Clusters of MPs in camouflaged combat fatigues with M-16 equivalents patrol street corners. Secret Service agents in tight black tee shirts and bulletproof vests block entrances to chain link checkpoints. Its all a little more than unsettling. 

But what really raises inner alarms is the nearly solid wall of police in full riot gear surrounding the Old State House. With segmented armor of thick black padding strapped onto every inch of their bodies, Darth Vader helmets and high-rise black steel sole boots, they look like a cross between something out of Revenge of the Clones and ungainly, upright black carpenter ants. 

It makes the Boston police officers with ordinary pistols and handcuffs seem positively tame, like Officer Boltons without a whole lot to do.

Essay: Impressions of the Martha Stewart Trial


Courtroom or Classroom, Wall Street or Sesame Street?  

By Randee Mia Berman

Special to

A frigid February day.  40 Centre Street. Home of the Martha Stewart obstruction of justiceӔ trial. As I approached the foreboding Federal Courthouse building, I flash back. I’m dressed all in pink, from my suede hat to my silk scarf and chenille gloves, just as Id been over a decade ago, entering the conference room of the Martha Stewart Living offices in the Time-Life Building.  Special Reports

It’s a Dog’s Life: From Westport to Paris—But Who Am I?

Editors Note: Former Westporter Suzy Gershman is now living in Paris with her dog rescued from the Westport dog pound. The dog is featured on the cover of her new book, “C’est la Vie.” But there’s some background information on the pooch missing, as explained below.


By Samantha Joe Cocker Spaniel

Special to WestportNow

PARIS—Don’t cry for me Argentina.

In fact, don’t cry for me Fairfield County. 

Instead, cheer for me please, shout bravo and tell me, one more time, what a good dog I am.

I used to be a regular Westport bitch, but now I am French.

You may have given me up for glue, but now I am on the cover of a hardback book called “C’est la Vie,” by Suzy Gershman (also from Westport) and published by Viking Press. 

Please buy this book, take a good hard look at me (I do look small on the cover, its true) and get in touch.  No recriminations, no barking, but I have needs too.