Wynken and Blynken. But Why?

In many ways, the Village of Sag Harbor is worth emulating. It has retained much of its character through a fortuitous real estate market and strict rules about historic buildings. Regulations about what can be put where might vex property owners, but the result has been an enduring charm — one that property owners have been willing to pay dearly for. That message apparently did not penetrate the minds of the village’s fire wardens, a group who oversee the Fire Department, who voted in May to install a garish illuminated sign in front of the firehouse, on Brick Kiln Road. 

In a well-reported story in The Sag Harbor Express, several neighbors said they did not mind its flashing tawdriness, reasoning that because the volunteers do such good work they should be able to do whatever they please on the roadside. Others were annoyed, wondering why the Fire Department did not adhere to local standards. The firehouse is, after all, on village property.

The Sag Harbor Board of Fire Wardens is hardly the only official body to thumb its nose at the rules everyone else has to live by with regard to signs and commercial announcements. The Bridgehampton Fire Department has its own message board, which draws attention from the road and away from the old Community House. The East Hampton School District has long had lunatic scrolling and blinking signs that serve no obvious purpose except to draw maximum attention, with one mysteriously on a road that has very limited traffic. 

East Hampton Town from time to time has dumped ground-up road rubble on beaches as a protective measure. It continues to snub its own law by allowing the Army Corps of Engineers to indefinitely sandbag the Montauk ocean shoreline. And, to our knowledge, none of our local municipalities follows official recycling dictates in their own waste collection. Even among relatively trivial matters, it is a dangerous mind-set when officials believe that the rules do not apply to them. 

In any event, these illuminated signs are an unnecessary trend. One could not be faulted for wondering if there might be other, more important violations of municipal codes not so obvious to the naked eye.