Welcome to Arnie's Place - Where
the History is almost as Entertaining as the Games!
If you lived in Fairfield County
between 1981 and 1983, you probably remember Arnie's Place more for
the battle to open the arcade than for the arcade
itself. Built at 1365 Post Road East, in Westport,
Arnie's Place became the premier arcade of Fairfield County,
but not before a long battle with the Town of
Westport that escalated to the Supreme Court of Connecticut multiple times.
This history is very incomplete, but gives you
a taste of Arnie Kaye, the Town of Westport and the background
behind one of Arnie's most famous publicity stunts.
October 20, 1981 - The initial proposal for Arnie's
Place rejected by Westport's Planning & Zoning Commission citing
insufficicient tree plantings, lack of parking and insufficient
buffer space between a commercial area and a residential area.
(I've you've ever driven along Post Road in Westport, you'll be hard
pressed to find any residences.) Arnie Kaye appealed to the
Connecticut Supreme Court challenging the Zoning Commission for
failing to give propoer advance notice for the
meeting. Meanwhile, Arnie submitted a scaled down plan
that would shrink Arnie's Place from 50 video games and 20 pool
tables to just 40 video games and 8 pool tables.
The main opposition to Arnie's Place was led by a
community group called Green's Farms Association (GFA). In
November, GFA asked for a public hearing to push for a proposal
that would ban arcades or other amusement centers in Westport.
This hearing was originally scheduled for January 6, and was
rescheduled three times due to the Zoning Commission failing to give
proper advance notice of the meeting. (You would have thought
the Zoning Commission would have learned by now, but apparently
not.) The fourth meeting was scheduled for January 25th, one day
before the P&Z Commission would be voting on Arnie's revised
plan for Arnie's Place
January 22, 1982 - To protest the Planning &
Zoning Commission's effort to approve the GFA ban on arcades before
voting on the revised plans for Arnie's Place, Arnie Kaye chains
himself to Town Hall. Arnie had called the police in advance
so they had him unchained and arrested in about 10 minutes.
June 14, 1982 - Arnie's Place opens!
Three weeks later, a Connecticut Superior Court Judge
orders it closed. One month after that, Arnie's Place opens
permanently with a zoning permit that allows for up to 50
games. Arnie installs 80 games and the battles continue...
There's still lots more for me to put into this
history, including Arnie's legendary offer to the Hell's Angels and
his threat to turn Arnie's Place into a pornographic theater.
September 18, 1994 - Arnie's Place closes.
Help Me Build this page
If you can help me flesh out the history of Arnie's (especially the late 80s-closing period) please email me. I moved out of the area in 1989, so I don't have much knowledge of the later years.