‘It’s Something We Need To Look At’: Commissioner Seeks Weigh-In on Proposed Flagstone Terrace at God’s Acre

A member of the town commission charged with overseeing New Canaan’s Historic District said this month that the group should discuss further a proposed flagstone patio planned for the top of God’s Acre. The Historic District Commission in February approved the concept of a 18-by-36-foot terrace to be located directly across Park Street from the entrance to the Congregational Church, designed to serve as a public gathering space year-round and a place where the Town Band could set up each Dec. 24 for Christmas Eve caroling. 

Members of a volunteer committee that proposed the terrace have said organizers in the past have paid about $2,225 annually to erect a wooden bandstand for the Town Band. A permanent structure there would be both cost-effective and a year-round benefit to the wider community, the committee said. New Canaan’s funding bodies in September approved a $50,000 special appropriation for the project, to be paid with private donations raised by the committee. 

The Historic District Commission had called for more details and visuals of the proposal, in part to determine just how the new structure would look from different points of view around God’s Acre.

‘It Is Truly Blind’: New Pedestrian-Activated Flashing Signs Installed at God’s Acre Crosswalk

A new flashing sign now is visible to drivers traveling up God’s Acre, alerting motorists approaching from both Park Street and the Wayside Cross that a pedestrian has entered the intersection at the crest of the hill. Installed recently, the “LED pedestrian crossing signs” use wireless, solar-powered push-button technology to trigger a roadside warning for drivers as they approach the difficult, busy crosswalk near St. John’s Place. “It’s just such a unique area because the hill being as it is, it is truly blind,” First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said. The equipment cost about $11,000 and was installed two Thursdays ago by the Department of Public Works, according to Tiger Mann, assistant director of DPW.

‘A Sacred and Treasured New Canaan Tradition’: A History of Christmas Caroling at God’s Acre

Caroling at God’s Acre for Christmas is one of New Canaan’s most cherished events of the year, a nostalgic, Rockwellian gathering that brings the community together unlike any other celebration. New Canaan First Selectman Rob Mallozzi called it a “sacred and treasured New Canaan tradition.” “It’s something that distinguishes New Canaan and its citizens above all the other towns around us,” he told NewCanaanite.com. Held on the plot of land above which the Congregational Church was built—the institution upon which the town was founded, the caroling sees scores of New Canaanites descend each year on what literally is hallowed ground, as it is believed many of New Canaan’s settlers are still buried at God’s Acre. But how did it start, and when?

The Lighting of New Canaan’s Menorah, a God’s Acre Tradition

At 6 p.m. Sunday a New Canaan tradition will continue, as families of all denominations as well as town dignitaries and clergy from the area will gather to celebrate Hanukkah atop God’s Acre with the annual lighting of the menorah. The first light of the menorah will shine Sunday evening to signify the start of the holiday, with another light to shine each night until the eighth light, representing the miracle of Hanukkah in which a small amount of oil burned for eight days and nights, helping a small band of Jews defeat the oppression of the Syrian Greeks in Israel. “Hanukkah is in many ways a celebration of religious freedom,” Rabbi Levi Mendelow of Chabad New Canaan said. “I think that here in America and in New Canaan, celebrating Hanukkah is an incredible thing because it is a place of incredible religious freedom. And the fact that the Jewish people are able to celebrate openly and happily in a community that welcomes it is really a very special thing and very meaningful.”