Amongst the Trees
East Hampton Village
December 9, 2021
Dear David and the people of East Hampton,
As the Town of East Hampton and I have recently ﬁnalized the plan for the Douglas E. Dayton Arboretum, I’d like to tell you a little about the property, the man for whom it is dedicated, and those we can thank for its creation.
The property is 3.2 acres at the end of Muchmore Lane and borders Herrick Park to the east, the long-term parking lot to the south, Pleasant Lane residences to the west and my house and Wittendale’s Florist to the north. It is a delightful oasis right in the heart of the village. Until now, you probably never knew it existed.
Doug Dayton was my father and my best friend. He was an orphan, born in a home for unwed mothers in the State of Vermont back in 1926. Despite the bleak prospects of an orphan at that time, he was adopted by a loving couple from the Village of East Hampton, Ralph and Alexandra Dayton. They brought him home to 21 Muchmore Lane, where he lived the rest of his life.
All Doug’s primary and high school education was in the building which is now the East Hampton Middle School. All grades were in that one building back then. After school and in the summers he worked as an East Hampton Village ocean lifeguard and as a caddy at the Maidstone Club.
Although his family didn’t have much, growing up during the Great Depression, Doug applied himself diligently and received full scholarships to Harvard University and then-Cornell Law School. He practiced with the law ﬁrm of Shearman & Sterling in Manhattan for a few years. Yet, his heart was in East Hampton, where he returned to live the remainder of his life. In addition to having a small law practice he served as village attorney for 25 years and as mayor of the village for 10 years. He followed his heart and created the life he wanted. He began to acquire properties connected to his house lot and converted most of them into gardens, planted trees, raised chickens.
Very early in his career he determined, as a quality of life choice, that he would only work at the office until noon. He’d come home, eat lunch with my mother and then spend the rest of the day in the garden. Horticulture was his passion. When I’d come home from school and wanted to ﬁnd him I’d walk out back and shout, “Dad!” then wait for his reply, “I’m over here!” as he’d pop his head up from the ﬂowers and wave. I’ve never known a happier man.
He died at the age of 77, in 2003. As my mother was preparing lunch he died at the lunch table sitting, looking out over his gardens. I can’t think of any way he’d rather have left this world. Although the gardens have been grassed over, the trees and splendid grounds he cared for remain and will soon be yours to enjoy forever.
As the plan for this arboretum has unfolded I’ve envisioned families enjoying picnics, children playing amongst the trees, lovers walking hand in hand, thinkers contemplating the issues of life, books being read, birders enjoying the peaceful oasis. I hope you all enjoy this arboretum and make your own memories here.
Working with the town and village to create this arboretum and dedicating it to my father has been the single greatest honor of my life, and I know Doug would be honored and delighted that the people of East Hampton will enjoy the grounds he loved so much — in perpetuity. This was something he and I had discussed. How to achieve it was a riddle we didn’t have the answer to. At the time, the community preservation fund didn’t exist. I thank my lucky stars that the C.P.F. was created and that together we were able to preserve this property.
I’d like to thank, ﬁrst and foremost, Scott Wilson of the Land Acquisition Department, who worked diligently over the last few years to make this dream a reality. Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc kept the project from losing momentum in the ﬁnal stage. He and the entire town board supported this as did the town board before them headed by Larry Cantwell. The previous village board deserves much praise for having had the vision to work with me in orchestrating the overall plan. That board was comprised of Mayor Paul Rickenbach, Bruce Siska, Barbara Borsack, Rick Lawler, and Phil O’Connell. And last, but not least, Rose Brown of the current village board is primarily responsible for bringing the ﬁnal phase of the project to fruition through her persistence, communication, and diplomacy during the prior administration. I wholeheartedly thank each one of you.
People of East Hampton, your community preservation fund made this possible. This arboretum will be yours to use as soon as the current village administration sees ﬁt to open it to the public. Although this administration had virtually no involvement with the acquisition of this property, they will now serve as your stewards of this open space. They don’t own it, you do. You, the people, need to hold them accountable in how they use it and care for it. They are your public servants and serve at your grace. You have elected them to safeguard your public property, your interests, and your quality of life.
Please enjoy your new arboretum, and please think of my father when you do.
December 11, 2021
Thank you very much for the extensive and thoughtful coverage in The Star on the local art scene. East Hampton has an extremely active artistic life with numerous and excellent galleries and artists.
Your recent article on the Gardiner Mill Cottage Gallery gives a very good description of the outstanding job that Terry Wallace has done to make the town’s investment in the Gardiner Mill Cottage a worthwhile one.
Before Terry’s involvement, not much was happening in the cottage, and very few people even knew of the town’s preservation efforts.
Now, thanks to his efforts, and his standing in the local arts community, the Gardiner Mill Cottage Gallery has become another vibrant member of the Hamptons’ art community, with excellent exhibits and exciting openings that are very well attended, joining Ashawagh Hall as a publicly owned gallery that plays an important role in presenting the work of our local artists.
Gardiner Mill Gallery
December 12, 2021
Dear Mr. Rattray,
In your article on Dec. 9 about the Gardiner Mill Cottage Gallery, it did not take you very long to make your first misstatement as in the very first line of the article you describe the gallery as a “private gallery” operating in an East Hampton Village museum. I believe the more appropriate term should be “public gallery,” since all art exhibitions that have taken place at the Gardiner Mill Cottage Gallery have been for local, public art organizations. In addition to these art exhibitions for local, living artists, we have continued to display half of the museum with our permanent collection of local historic paintings of East Hampton from 1870-1900.
Your next misstatement several paragraphs later is when you write I “volunteered to help set up an inaugural art exhibit in the Gardiner house” after I closed my art gallery on Park Place in 2021. As you should know, the inaugural art exhibition took place in 2017. This was comprised of 25 historic paintings and etchings of East Hampton that I sold to the East Hampton Historical Society through the Gardiner Foundation for the purpose of display at the Gardiner Mill Cottage Gallery. Another five paintings were purchased from the Wallace Gallery by the Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation and donated to the museum. In addition, my wife, Melissa, and I donated another six works to the museum.
Several paragraphs later, you incorrectly give me credit for “rebranding” the Gardiner property as the Gardiner Mill Cottage Gallery. This was the intended name from the inception because the artist Percy Moran, nephew of Thomas Moran, utilized this property as his studio. In fact, if you look at an article from your own newspaper written by Mark Segal on May 30, 2019 (“Windmill Gallery to Celebrate Old East Hampton”), you will see that the property was “branded” this way at least two years before I inhabited the property.
I would like to add two facts to this letter. First, you are correct when you write in your article, “a historic artist’s studio may be used for cultural activities related to the arts, but not for a carnival.” Based on your own statement, I believe a permitted use for this particular property is art exhibitions, art fairs, and other art-related purposes. After all, if we cannot give something back to the local artist community (most of whom are East Hampton Village or town taxpaying residents) what should we do with this property? Do you think we should leave the building locked up most of the time, opening one or two days a week for three or four hours as was the past history of this property before I arrived here in March?
The last item I would like to clarify appears in the final paragraph of your article. Yes, I do occasionally advertise my personal paintings on social media and sell them. This is my right as a private citizen. There has never been a painting from my personal inventory on the walls of the Gardiner Mill Cottage Gallery for sale to the general public.
A final point I would like to make is that in the past few months the Gardiner Mill Cottage Gallery has displayed almost 200 artworks by local artists. This has resulted in over 1,000 people attending art shows and viewing our permanent collection. In my view, both the taxpayer and general public are benefiting from my actions.
Thank you for your time,
East Hampton Town is the owner of the Gardiner Mill property, having bought it in 2014 with money from the community preservation fund. The 2014 town board resolution authorizing its purchase limited its use to historic preservation, open space, and agriculture. The Village of East Hampton does not have an operating agreement with the town even though one is a legal requirement. Ed.
On the Waters
On the waters
Snow falls to rain.
Close, the cellar of my youth
To split wood in morning dark
With my father.
Come winter in the warming
We have four pheasants to clean
Footsteps crunch in snow
Guns and dog
Ink-blue with orange slash
Sky in coming night.
Old house still in those fields
I went there
I lay on those grasses
My mother’s iris grew
When I was young.
December 7, 2021
To the Editor,
I am writing in response to Kurt Wenzel’s review of the Blend restaurant in the Nov. 24 issue of the Star. The review is fair, but I am a regular and it does not explain why there are so many of us and the description of the food as okay with big portions shows a lack of knowledge of the vast menu that an insider would have.
Diners here in the Hamptons are prisoners with very few exceptions of the good. The food is good, rarely great, largely due to lack of staff, excessive demand in season and the tyranny of Resy, where even good customers are treated indifferently. At the Blend there is no Resy. You call and either Luis, the owner, or his wife, Virginia, answers and when you arrive, you are welcomed, especially if they know you. Now, that is refreshing.
Luis is an understaffed impresario — host, chef, bartender, and owner — whose sole mission is your happiness. Ask any of the regulars who sit at the bar, which is always packed.
Luis is of modest Hispanic origin who worked hard to become an esteemed “Italian” chef and eventually the head of all the Italian restaurants in a chain of international casinos. Casino food is generic, and many dishes that he learned from other casino restaurants that are on his menu like “Colonel Tso’s Shrimp” are also generic.
The menu is immense due in part to Luis’ desire to please. He will leave an item on the menu if only one customer orders it. But what is very good is the beef and all the seafood, which is fresh: the fish, the clams, the oysters and the lobsters. And as per the review, the salads are excellent. And then there are the drinks and the vast wine list (well chosen and reasonably priced) And that is a lot.
The regulars are an eclectic and informal group. But Luis and Virginia have very good judgment. They do not care about their customers’ dress or their decor; they care about making their customers happy and it is palpable. They aim to please — and they do.
To Get Results
December 12, 2021
As you know there is a national movement against the air, chemical, and noise pollution caused by current practices of the gas-powered landscaping industry.
We’d like to see East Hampton as a forward-thinking, progressive leader in smart and effective environmental regulation which protects the community, business, and our natural resources. While town government professes to share the sustainable solutions of electric lawn care equipment, its impact on local practices is hardly noticeable.
At a time when we all ask ourselves what we can do locally to affect global climate change, there is a simple answer: Enforce the existing laws and regulations already on the books such as town code: “No homeowner or tenant performing groundskeeping, or landscaper or other person in control of performing or providing commercial landscaping services shall engage in the following or permit any person who is within their employ or control to: . . . (3) Spill or dump any oil, gasoline or other petroleum products within the Town.”
It’s well established that two-stroke leaf blowers and mowers spill gas by the very nature of their operation. This law is clear and supersedes any convoluted exemptions currently made to accommodate gas-powered leaf blowers and soft-pedal enforcement.
To get real results, town government needs to institute a credible citizen-reporting system to identify violators which provides for stiff fines that make it clear polluters won’t be tolerated in East Hampton. What a perfect opportunity for the new session of our government to walk the talk and improve the quality of life for the people it serves.
STEPHAN VAN DAM
December 8, 2021
I am writing to implore the East Hampton Town Board to amend the town code regarding storage of trailers and R.V.s on residential properties (sec. 229-2). I ask that the board require a setback requirement for R.V.s and trailers that exceed six feet in height. R.V.s and trailers that are left indefinitely directly on property lines effectively become ancillary structures equivalent to pool houses, sheds, etc. The negative impact of these vehicles on neighbors greatly impacts their ability to enjoy their properties as well as the value of their properties.
I speak from personal experience. Over a year ago my neighbor parked a large (11-by-16 feet) R.V. directly next to the fence line. After a myriad of requests to my neighbor to move the R.V. , I reached out to town code enforcement. Unfortunately, at the end of the day there was nothing the town could do given how the existing code was drafted. Further, my neighbor, enraged by my calling the town, has now announced that he will never “move his buddies R.V.”
The only option that is left for people like me is to pay hefty fees to apply for a permit to apply an addition to our fence or spend thousands of dollars on plantings and rip out existing gardens. Further, people are cowed about calling code enforcement since they fear retaliation from their neighbors.
As the year-round community out here grows exponentially these quality-of-life issues will continue to create more and more friction. I know from experience having moved out full time six years ago that the way you use your property seasonally is very different from year-round.
I again implore the East Hampton Town Board to treat any R.V. or trailer that exceeds the permitted fence height of six feet to have a mandatory setback which is in line with the requirements of ancillary buildings.
Thank you for your time,
Our Way of Life
East Hampton Village
December 11, 2021
To the Editor,
As this year closes I am reminded that another air traffic nightmare is about to begin. Look at those numbers on the air traffic updated report: A shocking 40 percent increase in air traffic over this past year despite the outrage of the community.
Please remember your responsibility to our quality of life in our community. It is the reason we moved here to live. It is where we live. You have the opportunity and responsibility to protect our way of life. Every day I am bombarded with advertising on CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC of how “essential to our business community, and or medical services the airport is.” I see irritating signs “Keep the Airport Open,” all funded by the 1 percent of the 2 percent individuals who do not value or respect our way of life. Yet all the independent studies conducted by the town discredit these untruths.
I watched the touching tribute to Senator Robert Dole yesterday and was reminded of what good government and good politicians mean to this country and community.
“We are not enemies we are neighbors and colleagues looking for common ground, It is our job to stand up for what is right for this village. Will defies fear — every day just stand up and do what is right” Slow down and consider what is true and right.
Happy holidays and again thank you for all your time, coverage, and effort toward this situation.
December 12, 2021
On Saturday evening, the East Hampton Democratic Committee held its annual holiday party at the Hedges Inn. The party was well attended and to honor a longtime member, Betty Mazur, who unexpectedly passed away in June. The committee presented a memorial plaque to her children, Danielle, Alex, and Peter. In addition, the committee, to commemorate Betty’s many contributions, established a new, permanent Betty Mazur Award for Distinguished Service to the East Hampton community. It was then announced that Zachary Cohen was the first winner of the Betty Mazur Award. Zach, who passed away in October, was a very active, talented, and involved member of the community who dedicated his life to the arts and public service in East Hampton.
In addition, the committee also presented 2021 Democrat of the Year awards to Christopher Kelley, chairman of the 2021 campaign committee, and Michael Hansen, for his active participation on the committee and in all things Wainscott.
The event celebrated the success of all the Democratic candidates in the November election and the committee looks forward to supporting them as they address the issues that are important to East Hampton, such as affordable housing, the new senior citizens center, the airport, cell service, and the list goes on. Working together, we can all contribute to making East Hampton an even better place.
Best wishes to all for the holiday season and the new year.
East Hampton Democratic Committee
A New Charge
December 11, 2021
To the Editor:
I checked my Chase automatic bill payments this month. I was used to a $205 payment to Cablevision. But a new charge: about $400 to Optimum.
I called, waited through the answering machine ritual, waited a long time to talk to a person.
Problem easily solved. A couple months ago, Optimum acquired Cablevision. I had not realized, so my payments to Cablevision went on, but were credited to what I owed, now, to Optimum.
Well, I would like to lower my monthly payments to Optimum. The voice on the line, whether Bangladeshi, Thai, or Vietnamese, was polite. I could save $25 a month by going with the basic plan rather than the “Select.”
What would I lose? “Just one channel. Just one. One.”
“Oh, jeez, okay. Done.”
The next evening, my wife and I turned on the television. Our favorite channel, 158, with Dr. Pol, no longer was available. The message said: Just to go channel so-and-so and sign up. I sighed. Okay. But my wife kept flipping to her favorite channels. Each one: Gone, gone, gone. Just sign up, pay. Get them back.
It may not be what it seems. Technology and marketing are complex.
But what it seems is that Optimum, with its $100-a-month increase in charges over Cablevision, is readily offering a nice discount to the hordes of people in our community who notice the increase. And with complete data on the channels most dear to us, they say: You lose only one channel! (But we know it is the one you used most, cherish.) Could this be real? Please explain to me.
I believe fervently in capitalism, in free markets. This should be self-correcting.
Or the evil that men do.
December 11, 2021
Even if the seven-letter Omicron variant proves more deadly than the five-letter Delta variant, what scares me even more is the possible next variant — the three-letter OMG!
At Fox News
December 9, 2021
To the Editor,
This past week, the Christmas tree in front of the News Corp. building, the home of Fox News, the New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal, was burnt to the ground by a homeless man with a history of mental issues. For hours on end over numerous days Fox News hosts railed about how horrible this was and what an attack it was on our American “way of life.” From morning till night, all we heard from Fox and Friends, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and the other culture-issue fanatics was how this was an attack on our “quality of life.”
Now let’s dial it back to Jan. 6, where this same news outlet and the same disgraceful hosts made every excuse known to man as to why what happened at our Capitol was an “expression of freedom which got out of hand.” The phrase “journalist integrity” cannot even be considered when we speak about Fox News and their other outlets. I find it totally irresponsible how people who watch this garbage actually feel there is journalistic truth at Fox News.
Think about it: A news organization spends more time on a burning Christmas tree than the attack on our democracy and Capitol by despicable cowards. The sad thing about it is that there are people who actually believe the Fox News propaganda.
December 12, 2021
Since the outright cry for defund the police, here’s some statistics. Crime up in followings cities: Albuquerque, N.M., up 47 percent, Austin, Tex., up 88 percent, Las Vegas up 58 percent, Portland, Ore., up 72 percent.
Watching the New York socialist, Democrat Mayor de Blasio rave about his record that crime in his city is down 11 percent. Would or could there be someone on the face of this Earth, to tell me what city is he talking about? Pick up the newspaper, page after page of assaults, subway mishaps, robberies, etc. Is de Blasio, with his bail-free program, of this Earth?
In God and country,
According the the Federal Bureau of Investigation, crime has fallen in Albuquerque every year since 2017, but homicides in that city are on track to set a record. Austin, Tex., is one of the safest cities in the United States, ranking 27th out of 30 for violent crime; the city is also on pace for a new high in homicides. New York City and Portland, Ore., are also among the 10 safest large cities in the United States. Las Vegas is the second most-dangerous, large U.S. city after Memphis. Ed.
November 30, 2021
I’ve always loved The Star’s policy of printing all letters to the editor. I grew up in Amagansett near Gardiner’s Bay; now I live in Sandy, Ore. I’ve been rather out of touch with Long Island local politics. So I was stunned to learn that New York District One not only voted for Dumpty after twice voting for Obama, but also voted for a G.O.P. House representative (Lee Zeldin) who (as of Sept. 24) does not support a “Citizens United” constitutional amendment designed to keep corporate cash influence out of politics.
Any politician who wants to allow corporate cash to influence politicians’ votes should have his motives severely questioned. Ask why would any honest politician be against the “Citizens United” amendment? For more information on this issue consult Public Citizen: Citizen.org.
PETER GILL WYLIE
December 11, 2021
Lindsey Graham’s new analysis of the Biden Build Back Better program would be a remarkable bag of bull if everything he has already said on the budget weren’t bull. Distorting reality is the new normal. Especially, when every analyst, who isn’t retarded politically, knows that even if Graham’s bull were true the project’s benefits would far outweigh the costs.
Can Americans bend over any farther or are we pretending that standing up straight means walking on all fours?
Exposed the Lies
December 12, 2021
Once again, our resident truth-bender confirms he knows nothing, just a parrot shooting from the lip, like the talking-head media’s distortion of the truth. His regurgitating of the lies from the media was like wetting on someone’s shoes and trying to convince them that they were standing in a typhoon.
Conviction before trial, not by a judge and jury of his peers, based upon evidence presented. Wait until the lawsuits follow and see who is held accountable for the lies.
As the trial unfolded, distortions in the prosecutors’ presentation were contradicted by hard facts. The loss of life, not just collateral damage conducted by some armed interloper racing across state lines to randomly kill innocent protesters. Read the judge’s decisions that were noted. The loss of life is no less tragic.
The evidence presented showed that the two decedents and one wounded were active participants causing mayhem and destruction. Video evidence showed they were the aggressors, trying to inflict serious physical injury. The prosecution knew the identity of the “unknown individual” who fired the errant shot and knew he was a convicted felon in possession of a loaded handgun. Yet they filed no charges?
They knew the rifle was not illegally possessed or brought across state lines, but legally stored in Wisconsin. They knew the mother was not involved. Did not the lone survivor testify under oath that he raised and pointed a loaded handgun at Rittenhouse before he was shot? Is he not also an alleged prior felon? He faced no charges for his lawless behavior.
I certainly do not condone a 17-year-old putting himself in such a dire situation. Read the judge’s rulings; they were based upon law.
The prosecution dishonored themselves by their scorched earth approach. Even jury intimidation attempts were obvious. The jury apparently saw through this and based their deliberations strictly upon evidence presented that didn’t meet the legal requirements. Of course, our resident know-it-all interjects, “Did he ever have to pay for sex?” However, his usual vulgarity was omitted. I suggest he watch the trial video that exposed the lies he salivated over. Our system works!
ARTHUR J. FRENCH
New York City
December 8, 2021
To the Editor,
Come on, admit, fascinating and challenging to live in times when conspicuous events are continuously occurring and erupting. Episodes akin to historical Biblical archival happening.
Now, the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled in Sokoh, Judea. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the in the valley and drew up their battle lines to meet the Philistines. A champion named Goliath came out of the Philistines Camp. His height was six cubits, a bronze helmet on his head, and wore a coat of scaled armor of bronze and an iron spear like a weavers rod with a point weighing six hundred shekels. Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “ m I not a Philistine! And are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man if he is able to fight and kill me we will become your subjects but if I kill him you will become our subjects and serve us.”
On hearing the words Saul and the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. Now, David, the son of Jesse, who was borne in Bethlehem in Judea was the youngest of three brothers who followed Saul. David went back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep in Bethlehem. Now Jesse said to David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain bread and cheese for you brothers and hurry to their camp. See how they are and bring back some assurance from them. They are with Saul and all the men of Israel.”
David reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions shouting the war cry and drawing up their battle lines facing each other. David left his thing with the keeper. Supplies ran to the lines and reached his brothers.
As he was talking with them, Goliath stepped out from the lines and shouted his usual defiance and David heard it. David asked the men standing near him, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account this Philistine. Your servant will go and fight him” Saul replied, “You are only a young boy and he has been worrier from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “When a lion or bear came and carried of sheep from my flock I went after it and rescued the sheep. When it turned on me I killed it. The lord rescued me from me from paws of the lion and the bear and he will rescue me from the hands of this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “Go and the lord be with you.” David than chose five smooth stones from the stream put them in the pouch and with the sling in his hand approached the Philistine. Goliath looked David over and saw that he was more than a little boy glowing with health and handsome and he despised and cursed him. He said to David, “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks and stones? Come here. I will give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals.”
David said, “You come against me with sword and spear but I come against you in the name of the lord almighty whom you have defied.”
As the Philistine moved closer to attack, David ran quickly to meet him, reaching into his bag, taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead and he fell face down on the ground. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead they turned and ran. Fast forward night of Aug. 25, 2020. Sheridan Road, Kenosha, Wisc. Kyle Rittenhouse approaches a police car with his weapon strapped to his chest and his hands up in surrender but officers ordered him to get out of the way and rushed past him to search for the shooter. Apparently it did not enter their minds that the baby-faced white teen could be the culprit At the age of 18 portraying exceptional coming of age after his acquittal during an interview responding to a defamation, “Mr. president, if I may say one thing to you I would urge you to go back and watch the trial and understand the facts before you make a statement.”
According to history, David was anointed to be king by Samuel at the age of 29.
EDWARD A. WAGSCHAL