East Hampton Village, 8:30 A.M. — Patricia ‘Pat’ Ryan makes her way down Dayton Lane, gently tugging on the thin red leash of her 14-year-old Cocker Spaniel, Lucy, who trots happily beside her. It’s a bright June morning and she is on her way to pick up a copy of The East Hampton Star, as he has every Thursday for almost fifty years.
When a crowd gathers for the commencement of an event greater than itself, something like magic happens. The relighting of the old Sag Harbor Cinema sign this past Memorial Day weekend was such a moment. So was the clear April day in 2007 when onlookers lined Pantigo Road to watch several 18th-century buildings carried down the road on trucks to become East Hampton’s new Town Hall. These gatherings tend to evoke another era, when commemorations and celebrations were more abundant, from the moon landings to bicentennial parades of tall ships in harbors.
Every Tuesday, hundreds of people snake into the East Hampton Food Pantry’s small building off Pantigo Road to receive their share from tables laden with fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen chopped venison and other meats, milk, and baked goods. This scene is repeated at some nine food pantries from Hampton Bays to Montauk that feed upward of 3,000 people a week.
It took almost six years, but Adam Younes checked every conceivable box on the path to becoming a successful independent aquaculture farmer.
Undergraduate business degree from New York University, check. Graduate degree in marine and atmospheric sciences from Stony Brook, check. Aquaculture classes, check. Firsthand experience working at a shellfish hatchery, check.
Round Swamp Farm has become a mecca, from May to December, for anyone who embraces locally sourced food and loves home cooking (home cooking, that is, with a sophisticated twist). And the successful business has preserved a fishing and farming way of life for a family whose roots have grown here on land and sea for three centuries.
HE WORKS OBSESSIVELY every night, often till the sun comes over his compound: the farthest-out home on Long Island’s South Fork. Hours later, after a restless sleep, Peter Beard walks out to the edge of the bluff, sits on a boulder, and watches the birds wheel and keen over the sea. “I always feel better,” he says, “when I’ve done a bit of this.”
HE HAS ONE of the last great farms in the Hamptons, 33 acres in Wainscott north of old Main Street, and he is, in fact, East Hampton's last bona fide potato farmer. Strong and healthy at 58, Peter Dankowski plans to work those acres —and 400 more that he leases between Mecox and Amagansett —another decade or so. But at some point, he'll have to sell, and when he does, he fears farming here will cease.
Even as EAST observes and celebrates this region as it is today, we are rooted in the past. We intend for EAST to stand out as the magazine for people who feel easternmost Long Island is home - could be your only or your second or third home, but home.