Greenwich, Connecticut is pretty special. There’s no doubt about it.
Nestled along Long Island Sound, it is a (relatively) short drive or train trip from New York City. Home to 60,000 people (give or take a few) the Town of Greenwich is composed of several distinct neighborhoods — including Greenwich itself, Old Greenwich, Cos Cob and Riverside. Within Greenwich itself, there are several colorful enclaves including Belle Haven, Bruce Park, Byram, Pemberwick, and Glenville (to name a few).
While its economic and cultural diversity is surprising to some, Greenwich nevertheless ranks among the wealthiest communities in the country. With its share of yacht clubs, golf clubs, restaurants and shops, it’s the perfect playground for movie stars, TV stars, Broadway stars, professional athletes, New York power brokers and their trophy wives (or girlfriends).
Speaking of shopping, Greenwich Avenue — a huge hill situated in the middle of the central business district — is home to some of the best. It is also has another unique feature that sometimes results in an interesting (but somewhat predictable) brand of lawlessness.
You see, Greenwich Avenue is one of the few remaining places in the country where police officers direct vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Yes, instead of traffic lights or stop signs at the intersections of Greenwich Avenue and its side streets, you will find real, live police officers. At least, that’s the case most of the time.
Through the dead of winter and dog days of summer, Greenwich police officers assigned to “The Avenue” man their posts six days per week. Without them, who knows what kind of mayhem would ensue? People probably wouldn’t be able to figure out that you can’t drive up Greenwich Avenue. They’d also be risking their lives while trying to cross the street — but then again, they do that now.
Yes, the scofflaws had a field day at the Greenwich Sidewalk Sales last weekend. With their sense of entitlement on full display and their cell phones in hand, oblivious pedestrians strolled through the intersections as if the cops weren’t even there. Needless to say, the cops — who were working even though it was 90 degrees with at least 40 percent humidity — weren’t exactly happy about being ignored.
“Really,” one said as a few pedestrians strolled into the path of oncoming traffic.
Some of his colleagues were more vocal than that.
Eventually, even I’d had enough.
“Hello,” I said to one group of jaywalkers. “The police officer is here for a reason. He is not standing in the middle of the road for his health. How about paying attention next time?”
The crowd ignored me. The cop smiled. And if nothing else, I got the last word.