Going to the Beach at Greenwich Point Park? Don't Expect a Warm Welcome
With those words a clerk at the Old Greenwich Civic Center summed up the attitude of Greenwich officials, and probably a lot of residents too, toward out-of-towners who have the audacity to want to use Greenwich’s Long Island Sound beaches.
Rick Green, a columnist for the Hartford Courant, decided to follow in the bike tracks of Greenwich’s royal-pain-in-chief (aka Paul Kempner, of Stamford) and ride his bicycle into Greenwich Point Park. His plan was to pedaL past the entrance booth without paying the $10 daily fee, as Kempner has made a point of doing in protest. But when he got to the booth, he chickened out – which was smart. My recollection of working for a newspaper is that editors do not love it when you tangle with the law. But it was smart for another reason too. When Green tried to pay, the booth attendant declined to take his sawbuck.
"You have to go to the civic center, in town," she said. That's a couple of miles back into Old Greenwich to an obscure building where they sell the one-day access passes. How convenient.
His column, published today, continues:
I rode back into town and eventually found the "civic center." A young clerk explained reality to me.
"They used to not let you in if you didn't live here. But then they got sued," she said as I forked over $10 for a small red ticket. No charge for the bike, she said, but it will cost another $20 for a car.
"They don't really want you here," she said, kindly.
Just as Green followed Kempner, Kempner is following Brenden Leydon, the Stamford resident whose lawsuit forced the town to let outsiders in (albeit for a fee paid at an inconvenient location). Kempner has gone to court to get the entrance fee for bicyclists and pedestrians abolished.