I don’t believe age actually sneaks up on anyone. Actually, age sends me a reminder every day. Take for example the day I was giddy to read about a scientific study that suggests the attractiveness of crow’s feet (an unflattering term for those fan-like wrinkles at the outside of our eyes). Other signs? Aching knees and authentically saying, “Whew,” at the top of the staircase…and then there’s our Ten Teens to Watch story, which slowly rolls into view each year. Nothing to do but face this one head on. For this piece, I have the pleasure of meeting ten teens who are extraordinary. They’re composing music, winning academic awards, interviewing sports celebs—and more. The “and more” part goes without saying—of course, there’s more. These teens are diverse in their talents and interests. Looking at them, I recall mid-life’s tagline: “Woulda, coulda, shoulda.” Let me explain. During the photo shoot, I fell into conversation with Tessa Green, who casually explained how she won a fellowship and is pursing a patent for a brilliant idea for storing energy. My understanding of energy begins and ends with a light switch. The teens we profile in these pages share that admirable dedication to curiousity […]
What began as a home-based support group in New CANAAN is Now one of the most influential advocacy organizations for the 9/11 community worldwide
America’s Reaction and Changes Following September 11
You sure told us! we polled you, our readers, about the essentials of the Gold Coast: food, fun, fashion, family, fitness, and even pamperings that we wouldn’t give up without a fight. And you spoke up—way up! You turned in a massive number of votes for our feature: The Best of the Connecticut Gold Coast. Inside you’ll find the results of our tallies. Take a look to see who grabbed the top spots. If you haven’t heard of them or flat-out disagree, you might want to give them a chance anyway. Your friends and neighbors are cheering about something, and you just might discover new faves. Putting “best” in front of anything is simply begging for a disagreement—our “Best Of” issue challenges tried-and-true ways and places. Yet, I truly enjoy the unexpected wins—it’s fun to disagree and then immediately go check it out. In this issue, you’ll also read about a man who challenges the status quo daily yet for something far more serious—how we treat animals and what we can learn about ourselves. His name is Buck Brannaman; also known as the horse whisperer. When local film director Cindy Meehl met Buck, she was so impressed, she made a […]
As a Functional Designer, Westporter Bob Brannigan Quietly Polishes the Theater Experience
Working at the magazine, I hear about many local nonprofits. Some are just getting off the ground with a single event, others have gone global, rushing in to help people in places like Haiti and Japan. And while I’ve become familiar with what these organizations do, what their events are like, and who benefits from their work, it dawned on me that I didn’t always know how they started. More specifically, for whom. This happened when I was doing routine fact-checking on a nonprofit called Mikey’s Way. Searching its website for contact information, I was suddenly struck by this sixteen-year-old’s story. Perhaps because it was told so simply or maybe it was just something about that day, but I heard it in a way that made it sink in. We write about Michael Friedman in this issue, so I don’t want to give away too much here, but he made a wish not for himself but for other children and teens also being treated for critical health conditions. It was a deeply moving decision that revealed to me what he was going through. I started thinking about other local nonprofits founded by families to protect their own children as well […]
Local families faced with heartbreaking health crises reach out for support, to demand change, and to protect other young lives
Our state of real estate issue is one I look forward to each year. We check our perspective of the market by taking a step back and looking at the big picture. This year is a little different. Along with checking in on the residential market, we asked writer C. J. Hughes to take the temperature of the commercial market as well. With all of the changes on Westport’s Main Street, Post Road and down in Saugatuck, this story was long past due. Inside, you’ll find C. J.’s report, complete with viewpoints and fact-and-figures from the pros. As we approach the all-important spring market, the timing for both reflection and planning couldn’t be better. Alongside that piece, we have a story on one very special house in Westport. It belongs to Project Return, an organization that nurtures teenage girls in crisis. The residence is a safe place, with special programs and caring staff to help the teens transition into a better place. Project Return is celebrating twenty-five years in operation, and shares the support of numerous individuals in town and beyond. One of the organization’s best-known fundraisers is coming up (April 1). Perhaps you’ve seen the birdhouses around town? If […]
Westport’s nurturing home for teenage girls in crisis
There’s only one reason to do a story on Jared Cohen: He’s fascinating. I’m a paper devotee. If you e-mail me a message, I’m going to print it out. If you want me to edit something, put a pencil in my hand. At the moment, like most moments, I am surrounded by paper—stacked, posted, filed, splayed. I am of Generation X—as in an X-shaped support beam under the high-speed bridge between the baby boomers, who transformed and dominated American culture (think The Beatles, political street protests, and mocha lattes), and Generation Y, the group born of the boomers, who, like nouveau revolutionaries, are racing headlong across a digital global terrain of unprecedented citizen empowerment held in their palms. So it was a dismal evening when I heard Jared Cohen lecture at Fairfield University. Not only did he engage a huge audience at the raw age of twenty-eight, he also quite freely said that if the older generation (e.g., me) can’t keep up with all the wonders of Facebook, Twitter, Google, and all manner of cellphones, then just get out of the way. Harsh.…yet true. I recall shoving my simpleton flip-phone deeper in my coat pocket. He spoke that night about […]
Back in 2006 I drove the long and winding road to Weston’s Wildlife in Crisis. On my way, I got lost more than once and had to turn my car around, one time on a bend in the road (probably not a smart move). When I finally arrived, a sign indicated that visitors should park at the bottom of the cul-de-sac and walk up the driveway. Of course, I was wearing heels, and the long, curving steep hill quickly seemed like an endless trek. A couple of times, a car drove down, requiring me to shove over into the bushes. It was touch and go with my more altruistic nature. Of course, and I should have known, what did any of that matter when I arrived at the animal rescue center? At the top, in a small clearing of a densely wooded area, I saw a row of outdoor pens and a rustic animal care center. Inside, I found raccoons, owls, and all types of woodland creatures on the mend. If they couldn’t be healed and returned to the wild, I learned, the injured animals would find a new home at the center. I also shook hands with the hard-working […]
photographs by david labianca Harold Levine, a longtime Westport resident and champion of public schools and the arts, has community activism in his blood. His support for the Music and Arts Center for Humanity (MACH) is just one small expression of it, but it’s an important one. The multifaceted program, which is in the process of changing its name to Neighborhood Studios, is a local treasure, having enriched the lives of thousands of disadvantaged and disabled children and adults over the past three decades. In its year-round arts program and four summer camps, MACH offers instruction in painting, sculpture, theater, dance, and professional skills, and, ultimately, it gives its underserved participants something even more valuable: self-esteem. Levine’s activism was forged when he was a youngster, growing up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side during the 1930s. The octogenarian recalls lively conversations around the Friday night dinner table about Hitler, European Jewry, Southern blacks and other politically charged issues. His older brother mentored him in these issues. His uncle, a prominent rabbi who ran the Institutional Synagogue in Harlem, served as a role model for fostering a sense of community involvement. And his Orthodox grandmother always had a tzedakah, or charity, box […]
photographs by david bravo The pews are packed with parishioners trying to conserve room by leaving their heavy coats on. The aisles are lined with men, women, and drooping children, from the back doors of the church, all the way down to the altar, which is resplendent in red poinsettias. True, the overflow, in part, can be attributed to the errant Catholics who turn up for Christmas Mass. But many of these worshippers came to hear José Feliciano, arguably music’s first Latin crossover star, an eight-time Grammy winner who was playing famous concert venues when J-Lo, Mark Anthony, and Gloria Estefan were just children. His distinctive phrasing of the “parrrrrum-pah-pum-pums” makes his “Little Drummer Boy” like no other version of the song. With the exception of a few restless toddlers or hungry swaddled infants, the congregation is silent, rapt. For those unaware of Feliciano’s Christmas Eve ritual of singing in his church, there are few whispers of “You mean that’s the José Feliciano?” But those who have sought out this Mass know they’ll also be treated to an acoustic “Silent Night” as the Eucharist is distributed, and, in a nod to the era in which he came of age, Peter, […]
photographs by william taufic hair and makeup by warren-tricomi, greenwich: piret aava, edita evon, gina marie matta, susan monahan, monica robinson, gennaro tevolino, joni tussing and nina velez for the past three years we have set out to honor the unsung heroes of our towns —those people who offer a wealth of wisdom, skills and energy in order to better the lives of others. On the following pages we celebrate the honorees that you, our readers, nominated. They quietly and steadfastly model patience and perseverance. They make the world a better and more humane place, from empowering women through education to easing the pain of hospice patients. We congratulate them for all they’ve done, and also honor you, for singling out the warm, bright beams among us. Lifetime Achievement Sally Schenk Sally Schenk won’t settle for the status quo, not when she has the power to help facilitate change. Since she started volunteering thirteen years ago for Family ReEntry—an agency devoted to helping people in the criminal justice system avoid the revolving-door cycle of crime—she has been steadfast in her determination to stop the pattern in poor pockets of Connecticut, while keeping an especially close eye on the neighborhoods in […]
Profiles By Brooke Springer Photographs By Bob Capazzo Finding the right attorney to serve your personal and professional needs can be a challenging process, but a necessary decision to make when you need a lawyer on your side. With that in mind, we decided to provide you with a list of the most respected legal counsel in Fairfield County. To get it done, we invited the peer-review experts at LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, the legal network with a database of more than one million lawyers from 160 countries, to identify the local attorneys who have reached the highest levels of ethical standards and professional excellence. This list is based on confidential surveys conducted by Martindale-Hubbell asking lawyers and members of the judiciary to rate the work of peers whose work they know well, using knowledge of the law and experience as criteria. The list that follows includes attorneys who have been rated “AV Preeminent,” the highest peer review available. For more information about Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings, please visit martindale.com/ratings. Jonathan B. Mills Cummings & Lockwood Stamford As chairman of the firm, Jonathan Mills splits his time between managing its five offices and 200 employees and practicing in his area of specialty, […]
For entertaining season, we cooked up a fall menu with the personal
guidance of six inspiring area chefs with new cookbooks. Grab an apron, a pan, and fresh ingredients—it’s time to turn up the heat in the kitchen.
When one works on a cover story like Ten Teens to Watch, one becomes acutely aware that the upcoming generation is politely, if unknowingly, nudging the rest of us along. Determining who to feature in the story requires a series of difficult choices among a plethora of admirable personal qualities and intimidating talents. I even found myself wondering if one of these bright stars might be my boss someday.Will this talkative teen be a senator? Will that one with the “professional” smile take center stage at Carnegie Hall while I settle into a comfy seat? Will this other one, patiently trying to explain the DNA double helix to me, discover a life-saving medical treatment? As humbling as it is, these are possibilities—and not all that unlikely. Preparing to yield to these teens is eased by spending time with them. Each has that youthful blend of optimism and innocence—but to back up all that warm and fuzzy, each also has an impressive academic record and is, in every way, preparing to plough headlong into the future. They only need to figure out what matters most to them and to define for themselves how best to live in this world. This issue […]
As another school year starts, we read about ten teens who prove that hard work is worth the effort.
As the highly respected CEO of Xerox, Anne Mulcahy was credited with saving
the once-troubled global giant. Now as chairman of the board of trustees at Save the Children, she helps the world’s most vulnerable—this time, it’s personal
Announcing: Best of the Gold Coast winners!
Finding the right dentist can be a difficult decision, whether one needs a routine cleaning or more specialized care. Who better to ask for a recommendation than the dentists themselves? So we turned to topDentists™, a data research firm that compiles credential information about dental professionals around the country, to help us find the leading practitioners in our area. To compile this list, the company surveyed dentists in Fairfield County who are listed with the American Dental Association. Each one was asked, “If you had a patient in need of a dentist, which dentist would you refer them to?” All dentists and specialists were asked to evaluate peers, taking into careful consideration years of experience, professional background, continuing education, patient manner, use of new techniques and physical results. Those surveyed could nominate dentists deemed worthy of consideration and were asked to set aside personal or political bias and base decisions only on knowledge of a colleague’s work. Final selections are made after careful vetting of credentials with state dental boards.“Of course, there are many fine dentists who are not included in this representative list,” says managing partner Mark Barkley, of topDentists™. “It is intended as a sampling of the great […]
There aren’t many things that can whip the Moffly Media office up into a frenzy. Over the years, we have gotten used to busily preparing for a big event or rushing to meet an editorial deadline. But there’s something uniquely energizing about our annual “Best of the Gold Coast Connecticut” issue. I suspect it has to do with that word “best.” Those four little letters immediately trigger skepticism in anyone who sees them, quickly followed by an unqualified, arms-folded-across-the-chest: “Prove it.” As the voting results for the Best Of section flowed in, we weren’t surprised to find ourselves alternatingly nodding and shaking our heads. For the magazines, it has as much drama and fixed loyality as the NBA Playoffs—though my uniform includes white jeans and Tory Burch flats. Mostly, we were happy to applaud for the shops and services that you, our readers, collectively hoisted to the tippy top of the list. When we were disappointed that a long-held favorite—a “must have”—didn’t make it, we did our best to muffle an admonishing, “Bah!” Of course, I’m just kidding. I think this guide is truly remarkable, and I’m delighted and proud to present our readers’ votes. As you peruse the section, […]
For this year’s annual garden issue we picked a garden that was a major transformation—a reclaiming achieved by the family and a top-notch landscape design professional. We decided to feature this property not only because it is exceptionally beautiful but also because its transformation encourages would-be gardeners of all ages to dig in. Enjoy the fun—yet, being a Connecticut native, I have learned to be cautious when working in the garden or playing on the lawn with my children. The threat of ticks and Lyme disease is real—and last year it hit home. Despite being vigilant, I found a tick on my young son after a hike in Fairfield. Sure enough, in a couple of days, a bull’s-eye rash appeared and he experienced headaches that left him in tears. He was immediately diagnosed with Lyme and started antibiotics. Of course I still enthusiastically encourage lots of warm sunshine, fresh air, and messy dirt—essential ingredients for childhood and not so bad for the rest of us. I still have to make my plea from the top of my well-worn soapbox: Careful! One local resource for information is Time for Lyme (timeforlyme.org)—a Fairfield County nonprofit dedicated to research, education, and advocacy. It […]
Meet the go-getters who are
friendly alternatives to our towns.
Westport’s annual Photo Contest for amateur photographers was a great success.
Local charities are needed now more than ever. But in these challenging times
donations have hit an all-time low
Clea Newman Soderlund with family and friends on generosity, humility and
A Celebration of Giving
Genetic research, managing stock portfolios, saving the environment…plus homework.
Theater is the art of transformation — turns out, it’s savvy business, too.
A Fairfield property is transformed to meet the needs of its growing, active family.
The feud between preservationists and developers has been raging in our community for years — does the economy have the last word?
A fateful discovery leads a Westporter to relive an artistic and passionate youth.
When Westport Magazine saw these beautiful photos of Westport taken decades ago by the artist and writer Hardie Gramatky, we knew we had treasures to share. Enjoy a few prize selections from his photo album. Do you recognize the locations?
Our favorite neighbor is remembered around the world for his generosity, charm and good looks. Westport also remembers his influence on this town.
Does anyone remember this summer when the hail storms hit — nuggets of ice fell in 80-degree heat? Then there were a slew of days when formidable black clouds tumbled across the sky like waves yet were followed briskly by a kindly blue sky and sunshine. Mother Nature was in turmoil and would not be ignored. Maybe I’ve read too many novels, but it seemed more meaningful than just dramatic summer weather — there had to be something to it. It was like a message: Wake up! Most sadly, it dawned on me what the message might have been when, at that time, we heard about Paul Newman’s health crisis. Since his passing, a large part of this community has been hurting. We adore him and his family. To have them mourning and to lose him and all that he did for so many people and our town — it’s our turmoil. A long and distinguished career as an actor and his commitments to the Playhouse, the Dressing Room, Newman’s Own, land preservation, Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, race car driving — he lived his life propping up and protecting the good things: meaningful films and theater; healthful food; […]
Time to celebrate the good works being done in our community. Here, we honor the volunteers our readers nominated for recognition.
The presidential election isn’t the only big run for office. Chris Shays and Jim Himes sound off on the issues
closest to home.
Twenty years have passed since Westporter Paul Newman had a great idea to create a retreat for children facing cancer and other serious illnesses. See how it has grown.
When out of towners drive down the Post Road, do you suppose they somehow sense that this community is anything but indifferent? That it is fueled by people who share what they have and help where and when they can? Perhaps that is asking too much. After all, so much individual good work is purposely unheralded. That’s not to say that we don’t have many fund-raising events in Westport, Weston, Wilton and Fairfield. We do. But those events support the charities, not the people who make it all happen. The people who make it happen are often found only behind the scenes. Still, sometimes at the publication, we are so moved by what volunteers and workers at nonprofits do, that we want to cheer, “Thank you!” It is nearly impossible to celebrate these talented individuals, though; most of them go about their efforts with a genuine lack of interest in personal accolades; they shun attention, unless, of course, their names or status help the bigger cause. Amazed by their dedication, creativity and ability to get things done, we offer in this issue respectful recognition for their good works (see page 65). We asked you, our readers, to nominate local unsung […]
Twenty years have passed since Westporter Paul Newman had a great idea to create a retreat for children facing cancer and other serious illnesses. See how it has grown.
Need a nanny, but not sure where to start? Here, how to select and keep the best one for your family.
One would think putting a magazine together is like driving down one of our scenic back roads. Surely there must be equivalents to stop signs and yield signs, bright green go signals and, of course, a yellow line, straight down the center to show you the path ahead. Don’t stories and photos just flow into place? Well, that would be nice. I would love to say things worked like that. But I can tell you this issue was nothing like a drive in the country. Yes, there were the quiet reflective moments, and lots of great stories were shared, but this is our Ten-Year Anniversary Collector’s Edition — and we were on a mission to cover a decade of one of the most exciting communities in the country. We took this responsibility to heart, which, to us, meant thoughtful reminiscing, but also pushing ourselves ambitiously to break new ground. You’ll see this most clearly in our Town Trivia Quiz (page 62) — the first time we’ve done something like this. Over the years, we’ve covered so many of this community’s celebrities, civic and business leaders, accomplished artists and writers as well as social issues, landmarks and historic moments, that we […]
When we started Westport Magazine in 1998, we knew we had a community that was endlessly interesting and ever-evolving. To grow a business here, we also recognized that we would have to be guided by two unwavering core principles: integrity and authenticity. We not only work here, we also live here. What we produce matters as much as how we produce it, and because of your support, We have been the voice of these towns through the years. We know that you have high standards from a publication that represents you. We are proud to honor that, not only in our editorial features, but also in how we approach our business. We understand that being part of the community means giving back by volunteering our time, sponsoring charitable events and evolving our products to move with the needs of those we serve. For example, since founding Westport Magazine, we started New Canaan• Darien Magazine; a shelter publication called atHome; the food section inGoodTaste; inFashion and Fairfield County Weddings. We also launched a website and created lots of community events, from fashion shows to our popular Best of the Gold Coast Connecticut party. Through it all, at heart we remain a […]
Westport without Mitchells? Inconceivable. Time to celebrate their huge milestone — a golden anniversary.