Captain’s Cove Creator has Interplanetary Plans

By Bob Fredericks

Kaye WilliamsThe visionary who turned a run-down, city-owned dock in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, CT into the sprawling marina, restaurant and entertainment complex known as Captain’s Cove Seaport wants to launch a new location — a fish & chips shack on Mars.

Kaye Williams displays the deed to five acres of prime Martian real estate on which he plans to open the planet’s first fish & chips shack.     © Bob Fredericks

“If P.T. Barnum were alive, he’d have Mars all wrapped up,” said Kaye Williams, referring to Bridgeport’s famed circus showman and one-time mayor.

“I figured why the hell not? So I called my lawyer and said, ‘Let’s make a claim on Mars.’ We’re ready to open soon as we can get up there. We got a great spot!” he explained. His lawyer, Larry Merly of Bridgeport, thought he was going soft in the head, Kaye added, but was happy to comply.

“This document certifies that the individual/individuals listed below are now registered as the absolute Real Estate Owner/Owners of this extraterrestrial land located on Planet Mars,” the deed proclaims. “This deed is duly recorded in the Lunar Land registry and shall be transmitted to the International Association of Human Planetary Exploration.”

The proposed fish shack will be located on five acres — plenty of room for parking your Mars rover — in the desirable Arabia Terra neighborhood. The heavily cratered region sits in the north of Mars, south of the scenic Olympus Mons, a towering volcano that’s more than 13 miles high — two-and-a-half times as tall as Mount Everest.

To promote the new venture, which doesn’t have a name yet — Captain’s Crusty Crater? — Kaye had a batch of small blue tokens made up that entitle the bearer to a free order of fish & chips. Attorney Merly said a few minor details still need to be worked out. “He’s still working on the transportation, that may take a little time, like until the end of the century,” he said. “Fresh fish could also be a problem.”

Merly also proposed making it an international effort. “He should get Russia to weigh in. Maybe that could speed things up,” said Merly, an avid fisherman himself who’s ready to grab his tackle and rocket to Earth’s planetary neighbor.

The effort may also get a boost from an unlikely source — President Donald Trump. When he announced plans to relaunch America’s exploration of the moon last December, he added that the effort would pave the way for humans to visit the red planet. “It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use,” the president said then. “This time we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint — we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and perhaps someday to many worlds beyond.” And once they get there, they’ll need a place to relax and enjoy a bite to eat.

Williams and his seafaring family believe they have the know-how to make the venture a go. They opened Captain’s Cove in the 1980s and it has developed into one of Connecticut’s most popular warm-weather tourist destinations. What was once a dilapidated dock run by a crony of then-Mayor John Mandanici is now a sprawling marina, bar and restaurant complex at the northern end of Black Rock Harbor, a short sail or cruise from Long Island Sound.

The Cove, as everyone calls it, hosts historic tall ships, serves up tasty food and beverages and is jam-packed on summer weekends, with bands playing on an outdoor stage and people young and old kicking up their heels and grooving to the sounds.

The Cove also hosts the annual Saint Vincent’s Hospital SWIM Across the Sound, a charitable event in which teams of swimmers plow through 15 miles of waves from Port Jefferson on Long Island to Black Rock Harbor, winding up to cheers from the throngs gathered at the Cove.

The SWIM, which takes place this year on August 4, raises much-needed money for cancer education, screening, and prevention programs at low- or no-cost for the underinsured and uninsured. In addition, the SWIM helps cancer patients with specific needs, such as paying for wigs and prostheses, medication, free transportation to treatments and appointments, day-care scholarships and support groups.

Williams, meanwhile, said his Mars adventure will at least get people talking.

“They may think I’m crazy, but why not have some fun?” he said from his office, overlooking his docks and decorated with a lifetime’s worth of nautical memorabilia.

Bob Fredericks is a Senior Writer with the New York Post. He lives in Black Rock, CT.