Who Knew: We’re Picking Up What ‘Blackbird’ Is Putting Down

‘Who Knew?’ is sponsored by Walter Stewart’s Market. Concept restaurants are older than you might think. Long before the Polo Bar traded in clubby, manufactured exclusivity, and even before Olive Garden hatched the infinite breadstick, 11th-century Chinese restaurateurs conducted an early prototype of market research. Though it’s unlikely that focus groups were convened behind one-way mirrors, and data-mining for diner insights had yet to be invented, Song dynasty restaurant visionaries noticed that many of their patrons were visitors from other regions and tailored their menus to these specific tastes. Thus, a merchant visiting Hangzhou from Kaifeng might find a familiar bowl of noodle soup, and the buzzy hotspot was born. 

Ten centuries later, a Friday night reservation for four was procured for Blackbird, Z Hospitality Group’s latest restaurant concept.

Who Knew: Time to Try the Donuts!

‘Who Knew?’ is sponsored by Walter Stewart’s Market. Scientists recently suggested that the universe is shaped like a donut, not the pancake shape we all believed it to be for decades. Light waves leftover from the Big Bang, once thought to run parallel, were observed converging. While we wait for further evidence to determine what carb we most closely resemble, we can’t sit idle. If the universe is but a donut, who am I not to chase that shape down a highly caloric, Homer Simpson-style rabbit hole of dough, glaze, and filling?

Who Knew: We See You, Dr. Crolla

‘Who Knew?’ is sponsored by Walter Stewart’s Market. It becomes evident, after enough time, that living in New Canaan is a lot like living in Richard Scarry’s Busytown. While the jobs people have in 2024 may be more deskbound and spreadsheet-y than the anthropomorphized animal metermaids Scarry’s pen brought to life, there’s still a delightfully wholesome level of personal connection in this small-ish town. 

You might have a beer with the librarian, bump into the grocer at a fundraiser, and have in-jokes with your mail carrier. That our cars aren’t apple-shaped (though I wish they were) doesn’t make our existence any less storybook; New Canaan is most assuredly a town with character. And what gives a town character?

Who Knew: The Spookening

‘Who Knew?’ is sponsored by Walter Stewart’s Market. How’s this for paranormal: I’ve sat directly behind the Long Island Medium on a plane not once, but twice. 

And, ok. This may not be bone-chilling campfire fare, more the banal coincidence that two Delta loyalists with vastly different thoughts on acceptable hair height would both fly to a lot of boring American cities for work. Nonetheless, it’s an entertaining spectacle: Theresa Caputo gets hugs, high fives, and selfie requests from nearly every other passenger who boards her flights. She even stands at her seat, a tiny pontiff with a mitre made of bottle blonde, anticipating the adoration of her subjects.

Who Knew: A Beginner’s Guide to Winged New Canaan

‘Who Knew?’ is sponsored by Walter Stewart’s Market. When facing the waning years of your (ahem) forties, you have two choices. You can learn all the Gen Z slang and TikTok dances to cling, Gollum-like, to your waning youth, or you can slide into the sensible, low-heeled comforts of the retiree lifestyle a couple of decades early and start caring about things like warblers, relaxed-fit pants, and the lighthouses of the Eastern Seaboard. Twenty-two-year-old you might not recognize 47-year-old you, and there’s no doubt she’d judge your dorky fleece vest and Investment Binoculars™, but there’s much to be said for shifting yourself into a less chaotic gear and finding moments of actual presence in the natural world. Life begins to look more like a Mary Oliver poem than a Bret Easton Ellis novel, and that’s a-ok with me.