Enthusiasm Abounds for Reopening of Greenwich Ave, One Block at a Time

At the close of the first day Connecticut restaurants were allowed to open with outdoor seating, Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo said national news media outlets including Associated Press and CBS had interviewed him as he walked down Greenwich Avenue.

Camillo said he explained that residents were being encouraged to patronize local businesses.

“It wasn’t a lot of people,” he said. “I think people are still a little cautious. But they seemed to be smiling. They beeped their horns and did a thumbs up.”

Signage reminds patrons the rule for social distancing. May 20, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

“It’s a partial reopening, and it won’t be as it was before, but it’s a great start,” he said. “Versailles (Bistro V) had taped everything out 6 ft apart, and noted where the chairs should go. They really did their homework. It was great to see.”

At 5:00pm, Marc Penvenne, owner Bistro V, said the exodus of New Yorkers reminded him of 9-11. “Americans are optimistic,” he said. “New York will rebound, but for now many are coming here.”

Camillo said he was happy to announce that the town’s plan is to close Greenwich Avenue in the evenings this summer, starting with the bottom two blocks (south of the intersection with Havemeyer and Arch).

“At the same time we’re working on a plan for the other blocks. They do present problems. We will address every concern. We’ll start out with those two blocks in a fairly reasonable time so that every block can take advantage of this,” he said.

Marc Penvenne at Bistro V where there are reminders about social distancing and plentiful hand sanitizer. May 20, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

“This is the beginning of something different. Hopefully this will be transformative for Greenwich Ave in particular,” Camillo continued. “This is something we heard about since I was a little boy. We heard about the days when there was a trolley that went down the middle of the Ave.”

Camillo added that the closing of portions of Greenwich Avenue coincided with the plan to develop the waterfront on Greenwich Harbor and connect it to Greenwich Avenue.

He said the RFP to redesign Greenwich Harbor to make it more pedestrian friendly is still active.

“For now we’ll focus on the two blocks from Starbucks to the bottom of the Ave,” he said. “It’ll come before the Board of Selectmen – about the redirection of traffic.”

The Selectmen will meet on May 28.

Other announcements:

Greenwich Town Hall will reopen June 1. The building will be reopened to visitors on an appointment-only basis. Appointments – available from 8:00am to 3:30pm – must be made in advance with individual Departments. Walk-ins will not be permitted.

Visitors will be greeted at the front door by the individual with whom they have an appointment. Visitors must wear face masks to gain entry to the building.

As operations begin to resume at Town Hall, residents are encouraged to continue to conduct business online or via telephone.

Employees will receive training in sanitizing work stations, proper social distancing and safety protocols, as well as cloth face masks, next Wednesday through Friday, May 27 to May 29.

Town Hall meeting and conference rooms will remain closed for meetings. Town Boards and Commissions will continue to conduct meetings virtually until further notice.

Skate Park

The Greenwich Skate Park will reopen Saturday, May 23, weather permitting.

The park will be open Monday through Friday, 3:30pm to 7:00pm and 12:30 to 7:00pm on weekends.

To ensure social distancing, face masks will be required and a maximum of eight skateboarders will be allowed at one time. Tickets may be purchased online. Details on admission and operating procedures can be found here.

The Griff

Also, effective Wednesday, hours of play at The Griff are expanded to 7:00am to 6:00pm.

The pro shop is now open to allow customers inside the facility.

There is a maximum limit of eight people, including staff. Details on playing at The Griff can be found here.

Outdoor seating at Joey B's in Cos Cob. May 20, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Outdoor seating at Joey B’s in Cos Cob. May 20, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

See also:

Outdoor Dining in Greenwich Begins to Take Shape