Month: April 2016

May 19, 2016 — Belmont Park
With seats in the Club House,
Serving lunch all day

Belmont ParkEnjoy an exciting afternoon watching all the horses racing on the track.

American Pharaoh winning the Belmont Stakes

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lunch: A delicious array of food at the full-service, trackside Garden Terrace Restaurant.

Cost: $ 75.00 per person

Departure location: DCA

Board: 10:30 am

Return: 5:30 pm

Contact: Denny Devere 203.353.1758

Belmont Park is a major Thoroughbred horse-racing facility located in Elmont, New York, just outside the New York City limits.

It first opened on May 4, 1905. It is typically open for racing throughout May and June and into late July, and again from late September through late October.

It is world famous as the home of the Belmont Stakes, known as the “Test of the Champion”, the third leg of the Triple Crown.

Speaker — May 18, 2016
Evonne Klein
Affordable Housing in the 21st Century: Myths, Reality, and Progress

Evonne Klein

Evonne Klein

Ms. Klein is a graduate of Fairfield University, receiving a Masters degree in Corporate and Political Communications as well as her Bachelor’s degree. She also completed course work in Economics and Comparative Government at Oxford University, the London School of Economics, and the University of London.

A resident of Darien, she entered public service on the Darien Board of Selectmen, serving from 2001 to 2009 including three terms as First Selectman.

In 2013 recently-elected CT Gov. Dannel Malloy consolidated existing housing activities into the Department of Housing, and appointed Ms. Klein as its Commissioner in 2013, where she still serves.

Click here for expanded bio.

Speaker — May 11, 2016
Senator Bob Duff
Connecticut Senate Majority Leader

Senator Bob Duff

Senator Bob Duff

Senator Duff represents the 25th Senatorial District, which includes Norwalk and a part of Darien.

A State Senator since 2004, he was a member of the State General Assembly from 2001 to 2004. Reelected to the Senate in 2014, he was chosen by his Senate colleagues in 2015 as Majority Leader. He is also Chair of the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee and Vice Chair of the Legislative Management Committee.

Senator Duff will discuss the recent legislative session with a focus on the State budget and transportation projects and issues.

Hike the Mianus River Gorge
April 21, 2016

Mianus River Gorge

Mianus River Gorge

On Thursday, April 21, we will return to the Mianus River Gorge. The Gorge is a 750-acre preserve of old-growth forest that was established sixty years ago as the first land project of The Nature Conservancy.

The trails roughly parallel the river at a higher elevation. Among the interesting features is an abandoned quarry where mica, quartz, and feldspar were mined in the 19th century. For more details see

The Mianus River Gorge is located nearby in Bedford, NY, not far from the Stamford border. To reach it:
• Take Exit 34 from the Merritt Parkway.
• Drive North on Route 104 (Long Ridge Road) towards Bedford for 7.5 miles.
• Turn left onto Miller’s Mill Road. If you hit Route 172 and the Mobil gas station, you’ve gone too far.
• Left on Mianus River Road after crossing the bridge.
• Drive about ½ mile on dirt road. Entrance to the parking lot is on the left–just across the street from 167 Mianus River Road.

Be cautious! It is easy to miss Miller’s Mill Road. Check your odometer when you exit the Merritt so you will know when you have traveled 7.5 miles. A helpful landmark on the right is Twin Lakes Drive, which comes just before Miller’s Mill Road.

The hike is about 4 miles, and will take us 2½ – 3 hours. Those who wish to hike at a slower pace will have a 3-mile option. As always, wives are welcome.

We will meet at the Gorge parking lot at 9:50 a.m. and begin the hike at 10:00 a.m. Afterwards there will be an optional lunch.

For more information contact Scott Hutchason at 203-322-5025 or


Speaker — May 4, 2016
David Genovese
Real Estate Developer

David GenoveseDavid will present an overview of the project that he and Penny Glassmeyer have proposed for the redevelopment of the approximately 6 acre area across from the Darien Playhouse.

Working with Robert A.M. Stern, the Dean of the School of Architecture at Yale University, and one of the leading architects in the United States, David and Penny have created a plan to transform the downtown of Darien into a more pedestrian friendly place, one where people can comfortably live, work and play. This large scale project will incorporate a mix of luxury housing, retail, office space, public parking and a “town green”.

Information about the project can be found at .

R. David Genovese founded Baywater Properties in 2001, following a 12-year career in real estate investment banking in New York and London.

Prior to founding Baywater, David served as Co-Head of Real Estate Investment Banking for Credit Suisse First Boston. Previously, David served as a Managing Director in Bankers Trust Company’s Real Estate Investment Banking Group. Through the course of his career in investment banking, David was responsible for a variety of transactions valued in excess of $15.0 billion, including mergers and acquisitions, equity offerings, bond offerings, securitized financings, bank loans, and principal investments.

David is an honors graduate of Colby College and The London School of Economics and Political Science. David also received an MBA from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.

David is currently a member of the Board of Directors of The Human Services Council of Norwalk, The Darien Athletic Foundation and The Real Estate Finance Association of Connecticut. David has served as a member of the Board of Overseers of Colby College, and as a board member of the Darien Technology and Community Foundation, the Darien YMCA, the Darien Historical Society, and Darien Revitalization, Inc. In 2007, David was named as one of the “40 under 40” business leaders in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Information about Baywater Properties can be found on

Speaker — April 27, 2016
Stuart Gibson
Kurdistan and Its Elusive Quest for Nationhood

Stuart Gibson is an international consultant with over 20 years’ experience working with cultural organizations and governments undergoing economic and political transition and post-conflict development.

Gibson has worked extensively in the countries of the former Soviet Union, Eastern and Central Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East. He is a UN senior international expert on museum management and organization, cultural policy, and the financing of culture.

He is currently Secretary to the International Advisory Board of the State Hermitage Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), a UNESCO advisor to the Uzbekistan Ministry of Culture and Sport on the development of museums and tourism, and advisor to the Kurdish Regional Government (Iraq) on museums and archaeology. Gibson is a frequent speaker and lecturer on cultural and management issues.

The talk will explore Kurdistan and its quest for independence. The events of the past couple of years have changed the Iraqi landscape possibly forever. These events have simultaneously brought into question many geopolitical assumptions not only about Iraq but the Middle East and beyond. One crucial element in this unfolding drama is the autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq – its role in combating ISIS, its turbulent relationship with the Baghdad government, its evolving relationship with Iran, Syria, and Turkey, and its longstanding aspirations for independence.

Kurdistan, which has been an unflinching ally of the United States for over 20 years, is a pluralistic society embracing Kurds, Armenians, Turkmen, Yazidis, and Christians. Its capital Irbil is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world dating back to 6,000 BCE. Despite suffering horribly under the Saddam regime, it nevertheless remained steadfast in its resistance to that repressive rule. Since the end of the first Gulf war it is been unwavering in reclaiming its heritage and cultural identity and erecting a viable political and economic social order as an independent region in Iraq. Since the emergence of ISIS, it has been transformed into a haven for those persecuted and disowned throughout the region and has also emerged as a key player in confronting the ISIS threat.