Sunday, March 03, 2024

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Commentary: A Little Bit of Westport Died Today

By Gordon Joseloff

A little bit of Westport died today. Oscar’s was 42.

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The familiar Oscar’s sign will go dark after today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com

Unlike the loss of Klein’s, Max’s, the closing of the movie theaters, the moves of Westport Pizzeria, Liquor Locker, and Achorn’s from Main Street to elsewhere, this one really stung. It will hurt for a long time.

It wasn’t so much a deli. It was more — a place to call home. A survivor. Something that said no matter how much the world changed, this was the heart of our comfort bubble.

But the bubble now has finally burst. Maybe we all knew deep down it was only a matter of time. All good things must come to an end, etc.

Much of Oscar’s success, of course, was due to its beloved owner, Lee Papageorge. And his family.

Not only his blood relations, but his faithful employees and, of course, their customers.

You could sense the loss today in the people who crowded this home away from home for the last time in 42 years.

A last look at the empty barber’s chair. The famed mural on the wall. The last corned beef sandwich. Pastrami. Chicken salad. Bagels. Lox. Pickles. Reubens. Matzo ball and chicken soup. All the familiar comfort food.

It is hard to imagine this all will be no more.

Sure, someone and something will occupy the space. It’s inevitable. But it won’t be the same.

WestportNow.com Image
Customers crowd Oscar’s on its last day. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Goodbye Oscar’s. And fervent best wishes to Lee Papageorge. The always smiling, mild-mannered, unofficial mayor of Wesport. And to his extended family.

You will be sorely missed, more than those too often said words can express.

Oscar’s may be gone. But the memories and nostalgia for what it represented will linger. And be kept alive for generations.

We are all so deeply grateful for having been part of it for so long.

 

One thought on “Commentary: A Little Bit of Westport Died Today

  1. I could not say it better than Mr. Joseloff. I moved to Westport 23 years ago from Los Angeles and my very first meal was at Oscars. Over the years many things in Town changed as happens everywhere. However the one thing that did not change was Oscars, it was the anchor on Main Street that seemed to defy change and embraced the culture of Westport. It was the shelter where people hung up their stress at the front door, walked in and had a friendly meal and good conversation with someone at their table or a neighboring table.
    This institution can’t be duplicated but it will be remembered by all as a cultural phenomenon in the Town of Westport.
    Tom Bloch

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