LETTER: With wider eyes, nice is everywhere in Greenwich

Letter-to-the-EditorNEWTo the Editor:

Not a week goes by when I don’t hear from a fellow mom or neighbor how nice the good ol’ days were in Greenwich.

The nice days when the Avenue sported Woolworths and there was so little traffic on Putnam Avenue, when there were only 2 stop lights and one nice policeman who stood in a booth at the top of the Avenue.

They tell me, “Because you are from California, you are laid back, you are nice.” I get a lot of compliments about my nice husband too.

He is from The Bronx, a very small city in New York City (at least that’s how I felt when I moved there as a young bride). He has the same neighbors on the block where he grew up–all nice. In this neighborhood everyone attends everyone’s funeral, no ifs-ands-or- butts-about it. Everyone sees everyone on Sunday afternoons, mingling. His childhood friends give flowers to random mothers they run into on the street if its Mother’s Day or sometimes, even, when its not.

I am here to tell you that Nice does exist in Greenwich. I have made it my personal quest to find it so it wouldn’t be such a shock to our family’s nervous system when we relocated here six years ago.

Greenwich Baptist Church is filled with nice folks. They are so nice they host an annual BBQ for the residents of Wilbur Peck Housing as well as the other housing residents in Greenwich. They are so nice they invite single mothers and others who can benefit from clothing, furniture, housewares and supplies to come to their church on Saturdays, free-of-charge, no questions asked, no ticket or referral necessary. But, they don’t just stop there. They end up folding–literally with a hug–these individuals into their congregation and bask in the pride of watching them rise and flourish. This church is so nice it doesn’t stop with just this giving. Just a few years ago it saw the need for a compassionate, friendly, affordable and loving preschool for middle class Greenwich families and opened wide its doors, literally painting rooms with a handful of congregants, scouring gently used school furniture, hiring the best preschool director in Town and spreading the gospel of nice to the families that are privileged to be a part of its amazing and welcoming mission.

Gehan at Stop and Shop is nice. She knows every detail about every child in one’s family, including grandparents, in-laws, everyone’s health status and each child’s plans for summer. A single mom herself she pours out love to the shoppers of Greenwich’s nicest grocery store.

The Greenwich Racquet Club is nice and oh, so professional. The father son duo who own this club along with an outdoor location in Stamford literally watch over your children like they are their favorite nieces and nephews. They have scoured the tennis world for the friendliest and most patient yet most challenging coaches possible. Coach Nano is so nice he literally cries a tear of happiness as your child’s serve gets stronger with each passing clinic. Nancy at the front desk, Bethanne, they care about every element of your day and become your friends as you watch your child’s afterschool tennis lessons.

The Bookstore at Christ Church is nice with a literary bent. Samantha Lusher of the YMCA is nice in a way that is award winning. Chabad of Greenwich is the kind of nice one experiences from being totally adored by a beloved and favorite Grandparent. They are so nice that you want to become nicer, no matter how jaded you might be about the lack of nice around you, one dose of their niceness converts you to this vision of the universe. Rabbi Feldman is Greenwich’s legendary nice Rabbi. So nice and humble once you meet him your capacity for niceness must be released because of his first move in being kind to you, like the Moon in the sky.

Sam Bridge Nursery is nice like you have died and gone to heaven. The staff at Audubon of Greenwich, Alyssa in the amazing gift job that is even open on Sunday mornings, is so nice you know you have literally gone to heaven in this divine intersection of nature, meaning and call to stewardship. The place is so nice you never want to leave there. You look around and say, I do believe in God, I do. Their summer camp is so nice your children behave like angels when they come home after a day outdoor in God’s world. They have been listened to, they have been nourished on the deepest of levels and they are so nice now your smile is bigger than a rainbow.

As I write this I see my list getting so long: Joe at Sundown Saloon; Brenda, Abby and Edward at Whole Foods; Raj at the Mobil in Cos Cob; Anthony at the Knights of Columbus Bar on Putnam Avenue; of course Tony at Gabriels; Robert at the front desk of the YMCA; Mr. C at the US Post Office on Amogerone; Ms. Novak at the Garden Education Center of Greenwich; Audrey Appleby of Magic Dance Toddler; Michelle Strauss and Alice and Sarah and Asa at Temple Sholom in Greenwich; Randi Weiner at Greenwich Time, Jane Hentemann at the Greenwich Alliance for Education. These are all four letter people, NICE.

Yes, with wider eyes, nice is everywhere in Greenwich, where we eat, where we worship, where we send our children off to play, where we grocery shop.

So, if you are ever in any of these nice spots and see one of these nice folks, say Jodi told me just how nice you are. Then, feeling buoyed by their kindness go off and be nice yourself.

You will soon see Greenwich as I do.

One of the nicest towns on earth.

Jodi L. Weisz is the managing partner of Weisz & Arens a boutique public relations firm. To reach Weisz email her at: [email protected]

If you are ever in need of a dose of nice, she recommends you talk to any of these people.

Jodi L. Weisz

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