March 6, 2022
Covid, masks, remote learning, no extracurricular activities, all things that our children have had to endure over the recent past. But over the past three nights something magical happened at East Hampton High School. After countless hours of practice and under expert guidance, the school presented to the community, the musical, “Footloose.” For those in attendance it was phenomenal, funny, sad, and so full of energy. For those not in attendance, boy did you miss out. The cast were always with smiles on their faces. The choreography was professional and reflected the time and energy that went into the performance.
Thank you to all the students who participated. Thank you to the directors and choreographers who helped. And thank you to all the support staff who helped to make this production a rousing success!
KENNETH R. DODGE
John Drew Theater
March 7, 2022
In the late, great Enez Whipple’s book, “Guild Hall Of East Hampton, An Adventure in the Arts,” we find the actress Katharine Cornell remembering when she visited East Hampton in 1934. She was enchanted by the John Drew Theater — its octagonal shape, its blue-and-white-striped tent-like ceiling, which swept up to a chandelier of multicolored glass balloons, its diamond-patterned walls, its rose-pink seats, and six elegant little boxes at the rear.
For over 90 years this vision has brought actors, actresses, playwrights, producers, and directors to the John Drew Theater. No one came to the theater because of the width of the proscenium, the intricate lighting design, or the clarity of the sound system.
Let’s hope the great Bran Ferren can work his magic and make the necessary renovations to the theater but keep its soul and collection of ghosts who have trod its boards. Where there is a will there is a way.
I am writing this letter not as an East Hampton Village employee, but as a community member who has been fortunate enough to appear on the same stage as so many important and talented actors and actresses have in the past.
HUGH R. KING
Very Bold Design
March 7, 2022
I am writing a letter in support of Guild Hall’s planned renovation and here is my reasoning:
First, the exterior of the building facing Main Street will go virtually unchanged, which keeps the appearance of both the legacy and continuity of Guild Hall’s inspired origins and unbroken contributions to East Hampton preserved.
Second, the interior gallery spaces will be returned to their original shapes and proportions. It will be cleaned up so the elegance and grace of their lines are reasserted and graced with both natural light and unobtrusive LED lighting that recognizes the responsibility of all of us to try to shift toward a more responsible use of our power grids and respect for our planet.
The renovation/redesign of the John Drew Theater is the most ambitious and I’m sure the one that will cause people the most anxiety. It is a very bold design aimed at creating a better use of the audience space, more gracious and comfortable, and, more important, upgrading the performance and theatrical space to address the current theater’s egregious shortcomings. The team they have hired to realize the technical complexity of light and sound is highly skilled, revered in the industry and way beyond my knowledge of these specific matters. Therefore, in this regard, I have to trust that they can do what they say can be done.
It was very much the same for the Sag Harbor Cinema when they were rebuilding and redesigning the theater spaces. The board was faced with a choice between a smaller screen and less-expensive sound system and with much back-and-forth, thank God they opted to go bigger and with an incomparable sound system that has been awing the audiences since it reopened.
This leads me to my third point. What we have seen in Sag Harbor, with the rebuilding of the cinema and the renovation of the church into an art center, is the healing power that the arts play in the community by giving us a place to come together, to take in and experience what one person generously shares with another through acts of creative imaginings. The creative centers of any city, town, or village have proven to fuel economic and social health and sustainability over the long run, whereas towns that only have factories and shops have shorter lives of prosperity.
To close, let me add that what Guild Hall’s vision not only represents but embodies is a belief in the future. We have been going through very hard times that have at different moments felt overwhelming, frightening, and apocalyptic. The message that Guild Hall is sending and standing for is that there is always a beginning and that we all can be a part of it.
Must Be Fixed
March 7, 2022
To the Editor:
What a mess! East Hampton Village redid all the brickwork around the trees on the sidewalks on Main Street and Newtown Lane. On one side of Newtown Lane (the side where Cittanuova is) the Belgian blocks extend flush with the edging of the street. When one parks in these spots next to the trees (there are 10 of them), the passenger cannot easily exit the car. One has to step onto the edge of the narrow tops of the stones or step onto the dirt around the tree. Several elderly people have tripped. And it is very difficult to stand there and get children out of the back seat. This must be fixed!
And while the village is fixing that, it should create a walkway to the swings. It should be perpendicular to the sidewalk behind the bus stop. Because so many people, kids, parents, strollers, etc., use this area to enter the park, it is always muddy, messy, and no grass can grow. The village created a walkway close by to the police, why not make one to the swings?
March 6, 2022
I believe that issues between neighbors should be handled privately. However, the developer behind the outrageous subdivision on Handy Lane in Amagansett, Salty Development, is not acting like our neighbor. Even worse, the Town of East Hampton doesn’t seem to care. The town must act now if it hopes to retain the trust of residents.
A suspicious approval process has allowed an unknown development team to push the limits of approved site use, ignoring the history and integrity of the neighborhood. The contractor has a total disregard for the rules and well-being of the neighborhood to the north, a year-round community on Handy Lane, and to the south on Skimhampton Road. Credible third parties have presented evidence of noise and clearance violations to the Building Department, only to be ignored.
The Building Department doesn’t care that people are breaking the law and violating building regulations. These are the very reasons the Building Department exists. Are they even paying attention?
The residents of the surrounding neighborhood are honest people from all walks of life, including writers, doctors, teachers, landscapers, and nonprofit leaders. They are the town. It’s time the town did something for them and rein in this out-of-control development.
HAROLD S. KOPLEWICZ
March 7, 2022
Dear Mr. Rattray,
I’m finding it difficult writing about local matters at a time when so much news from elsewhere is filling almost every thought and emotion: the horror of an unprovoked war, the death and suffering, the monumental acts of courage and heroism, the outpouring of compassion and aid. It’s overwhelming.
So this, regarding the recommendations for new airport restrictions, will be brief. From what I’ve read of the recommendations from the town’s “consultants,” they are woefully inadequate in terms of addressing the issues that have been front and center in this discussion for nearly a full year (plus the previous two decades). Limiting airport operating hours to between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. almost feels like a misprint. That’s a full working day and a half and still intrudes on family time in the daylight hours. Limiting the size and weight of jets that can land and take off in East Hampton? They’re jets — they’re loud, doesn’t matter whether they hold 12 passengers or 300. And, yes, helicopters will still be allowed to enter our airspace, disrupting the “quiet enjoyment” residents are supposed to be able to enjoy in our town — and beyond.
These so-called restrictions are supposed to be able to give the town benchmark data on how effective the new rules have been in terms of satisfying the complaints of residents. Realistically, far more serious restrictions would need to be put in place to determine the impact on traffic to other airports, air and ground pollution, and the reduction of noise pollution affecting thousands of residents in our and neighboring towns.
I hope the town will look carefully at the initial restrictions they intend to put in place. A hell of a lot easier to cut back than add more later.
Piece of Advice
March 7, 2022
I just wanted to leave this friendly piece of advice for all low-class, wannabe smash-and-grab thieves from Jersey: Next time dial up Blade and take a helicopter. It’s what the most successful thieves do.
Three Packs a Day
March 7, 2022
To the Editor,
I am very disappointed in the proposed airport restrictions. The consultants are using the current astronomical level of total operations as a baseline. Total operations should never have gotten to the current levels. It’s like using a three-packs-a-day smoking habit as a baseline. They are proposing a 40 percent reduction on a three-packs-a-day habit. That is still a pack and a half-plus, which most would agree is a problem.
The East Hampton Town Board must frame the issue much more honestly. How many stress-inducing, conversation-stopping, life-shortening, window-rattling, wall-buzzing, property value-lowering, air and water-polluting flybys would they want per day in their neighborhood? I’m guessing a much smaller number than what a 40-percent reduction would yield.
No significant decision is ever easy. The East Hampton Town Board must do the right thing for the 99 percent negatively impacted by air taxis between new York City and the East End. Far more stringent restrictions must be implemented to achieve the “meaningful reduction” in aviation-related problems we have been repeatedly promised.
On the Hook
March 7, 2022
Elections have consequences, and last year’s election was no different, from the local level up to and including the federal level.
Despite my best hopes for his success, Joe Biden is a colossal failure by every standard. In fact, Joe Biden is on track to be the worst president in United States history. On the state level, corrupt Governor Cuomo’s failed policies have led to thousands of Covid deaths, soaring crime, and his resignation because of his sexual harassment of female employees.
On the local level, the East Hampton Town Board has mishandled the airport, Wainscott, and Truck Beach, to name a few, to the point where the town residents will be on the hook for millions of dollars in legal fees for years to come.
One has only to read the news accounts of the recent trial over Truck Beach to see how inadequate and incapable the town board is to govern. The recent letter from the Federal Aviation Administration exposed the incompetence of the town board. Wainscott already tried to incorporate to get out from under East Hampton Town rule, and Montauk is not far behind.
On the county level, Suffolk County was so mismanaged that the county would have defaulted had it not been for a federal Covid bailout. In response, last year, county residents elected a new district attorney and flipped the County Legislature. The Republican majority in the Legislature is working hard to financially right the ship. District Attorney Ray Tierney is finally bringing common sense back to the D.A. office to address crazy state laws that have unleashed a wave of crime unseen in years and prioritize criminals over victims.
This election statewide, we have a chance to change the direction of our state. We must elect Lee Zeldin governor, Allison Esposito lieutenant governor, Peter Ganley assemblyman, re-elect Tony Palumbo State Senate, and the entire list of Republican candidates for state and county officials.
If you want to make a difference to move East Hampton forward for all its residents instead of the chosen few. Now is the time to join us to help make the town, county, and state government responsible and responsive. If you are interested in a better East Hampton regardless of your political party affiliation, contact me at 631-324-0528.
The East Hampton Republican Committee is the local party dedicated to working families, a living wage, environmental conservation, equality, diversity, and economic development for all. We believe in bipartisan solutions regardless of financial status or political party affiliation. Access to the town government should not be based on what you can afford or how much you donate to a national or local political party. Town government should be fair, equitable, open, and transparent to all.
Come and check us out at our next monthly meeting. We will not judge or demand that you follow a national, state, or New York City political doctrine. Let us work together for a better East Hampton for all.
East Hampton Town Republican Committee
March 7, 2022
To the Editor,
I can’t watch the news anymore. I feel helpless and scared. Today, I saw an image of a Ukrainian father holding his lifeless 18-month-old son killed in a shelling. His mother walking behind looking lifeless herself, holding just one suitcase. This is something you cannot unsee. I think to myself, “How this can be happening? What human can do this to other humans? It can’t be. It is too atrocious.” This is how I know Putin is an animal who feeds on the souls of people.
Today is day 11 of this war. Too long. I am no longer the same. I am deeply sad. I am an empath, very sensitive to others and the world around me. I pick up energy and it affects me. It no longer feels safe to watch TV. The depression is enveloping me. I look at my daughter, the same age as that lifeless boy. I see her; I see the boy.
I give my daughter a bath. She plays with her plastic octopus. She splashes herself with water and giggles. I can barely smile watching her. I see myself; I see a mother who can’t bathe her child.
My daughter is eating unaware of how fortunate she is. She is innocent. Just a baby, she doesn’t know war. She has her strawberry for breakfast like everything is normal. But it is not normal. I feel the anguish of a mother with no food to feed her child. I watch her eating; I see a child with nothing to eat today.
I start to fantasize about a Ukrainian mother and child living with me. I search on Facebook and Google. I find no path, and it feels hopeless. I think about creating a social media post asking for help connecting me with a refugee mother and child. I wonder if my family will think I am losing my mind. I am paralyzed. I have room. I have a bath. I have food. I want to help; I don’t know how.
The other day I bought a beautiful coat from a boutique in town. I try to wear it, but I can’t. I put it on. I take it off. I feel guilty for treating myself to anything. Today I plan to return it. I will go buy supplies instead and drop them off at one of the local collection sites. Diapers, Neosporin, socks, baby formula, blankets, the list goes on and on. I do not know how to choose or where to start. They need so much. They need everything. Even if they get everything, it is not enough. The animal is taking their lives, their homes, separating their families, and causing so much pain and anguish. Even if their heart is still beating, they are no longer living. He is relentless, as if each soul lost or battered somehow feeds his. The animal has even come across the world to slowly gnaw away at mine in my safe Hamptons town. We must pray for them and for us.
Glory to Ukraine,
It Was Putin
March 6, 2022
Like most Americans, I was pretty certain that it was Vladimir Putin who had ordered the Russian invasion of Ukraine — so I was rather astounded to read that some of your readers are blaming President Biden. I can only assume that these readers are unaware of the best-bro relationship between their cult leader, Donald Trump, and President Putin.
Say what you will about Biden, three things are clear: He never praised Putin for being “shrewd” and “a genius.” Biden is not (unlike Trump) an existential threat to civil rights, democracy, law and order, and loyalty to his country. Finally, Biden is not a moral degenerate who would ever permit two Russian Sloppy Tunas to lubricate his tummy.
For God, country, and Ukraine,
Still Need Oil
March 6, 2022
Say this with me: “Energy independence is national security.” Now say it again, go ahead, “Energy independence is national security.” It sounds good, doesn’t it? Pretty straightforward and simple. So simple you would even think a dementia-riddled old fool living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue could understand it, or at least his handlers and caretakers could understand it for him. So why is the United States still importing Russian oil? Jesus, why was he begging Putin to pump more oil six months ago?
Yes, even as Putin marches across Ukraine bombing nuke plants, cities, and kids, Joe Biden will not stop the importation of Russian oil into the United States. We are bringing in about 200,000 barrels a day and at $125 dollars a barrel multiplied by 365, so we are sending Russia $25 million a day, or $9.1 billion dollars a year. Wow, I bet you didn’t know how many bombs you were buying to drop on little kids, did you? Why yes, you, even as you read this, the bombs Putin is dropping on the heads of little kids and grandmothers were paid for in part by you.
“But, but, but the sanctions!” you sputter as you sip on your soy latte. Oh silly, useful idiots, Old Joe left loopholes in those sanctions so Putin can keep selling his oil here, keep funding his war machine there, and try to keep the price of gas down so Old Joe doesn’t get shellacked in the midterms. You know, Democrats have their priorities, wink-wink, nod-nod. You can dump out your Russian vodka, turn away the caviar, but, oh, don’t come between that blood oil and preachy leftist hypocrites and their Priuses.
“This is why we need the Green New Deal!” Ha, this is where you need to get a frickin’ clue, princess. Let’s just say this right now, a real-world adult to an occupant of left-wing fantasy land, windmills and solar panels are not going to power this country into the 21st century. Sorry to burst your naive, feel-good, little bubble, but if you want to be serious about power you need to be talking about nuclear power. A huge majority of our energy needs could be addressed with the power of the atom, and, yes, you will still need oil, you still need natural gas, and you still need coal.
Oil, natural gas, and coal are abundant resources we have here. Because of our environmental laws we collect these resources better and cleaner than anywhere else on the planet here. Nuclear power plants will stay on day and night here and you can cut back on oil, gas, and coal responsibly. You want your wind turbines? Fine, build them here. You want your solar panels? Fine, mine the rare-earth metals needed here. Consider them supplemental energy sources that will further extend our natural resources into the future. We need to stop exporting our wealth to our enemies and importing dependence on dictators.
Joe Biden has waged a war on our energy sector from day one of his White House residency. His incompetence and stupidity have put this country at a disadvantage on the world stage, left it weak and unprepared to deal with Putin’s aggression in Europe while our other enemy, China, watches from the shadows. He’s refused to stop Russian oil for political reasons while stifling our own ability to take care of America’s needs. He invites dependence on foreign powers, even going so far as to allow Iranian oil into the country, more money to the coffers of the number-one state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Energy independence is national security and anyone not on board with that probably licks Russian or Chinese boots.
MICHAEL D. BOUKER
A Madman Loose
March 7, 2022
There is a madman loose in Russia, another Hitler. What’s being done to stop him? Sanctions are not working, and why are we, the United States of America, buying oil from that country?
It has been nine days that the Ukraine has been invaded, bombed, and totally torn apart. This madness should have been stopped before day one.
We all know what Putin is about, and I hope you’re all learning what Joe Biden’s all about: weakling, stubborn, and arrogant.
God bless the Ukrainians, they’re holding on and standing up for their country.
If you swallowed Biden’s State of the Union speech, I pity you. Putin has stepped on Biden, knocked him out of the way and laughed at his sanctions. All of this can be reversed by reactivating the Keystone pipeline. He also needs to send arms and ammunition. This should have been done before day one of the invasion.
Putin will rot in hell for his actions, and China is standing by watching all.
In God and country,
A Calculated Decision
March 7, 2022
It is one week into the Russian invasion of Ukraine and there is no doubt that Ukraine will eventually fall. All of the sanctions imposed will certainly bruise, and possibly incapacitate, the Russian economy, but they will not stop the destruction. Ukraine will be sacrificed as part of the calculus to maintaining the existing world order. Is the sacrifice worth it and does it make any sense?
From the beginning, going back several months, it was clear what the Russians were planning to do. Our intelligence seemed to be spot-on. Our decision-making seemed faulty but may, in truth, have been a calculated decision to let Ukraine go down.
What we’ve learned from history is that certain leaders of similar character don’t play by the normal rules and are not affected unless threatened by actions, which they clearly understand. Putin was always going to attack Ukraine and destroy the country. Nothing would stop him short of military intervention. We were absolutely unprepared to intervene militarily. We and our allies made the decision that sacrificing Ukraine was a viable option.
Dealing with a megalomaniacal lunatic was never going to be about reason or logic. With no logical reason for invading Ukraine there was not going to be a logical basis for not moving forward. Threats of extreme sanctions were not going to deter him. It was like we were talking in a foreign language that he didn’t understand. We had one real option and we didn’t want to take it.
We had no military option in place despite years of watching Russia build up its military and its belligerent actions in Crimea and Chechnya. Watching the Russian military perform in Ukraine leaves little doubt that stopping the invasion would have been successful. The obvious question, given Putin’s instability, was the potential for a nuclear confrontation.
The attacks on Ukraine’s nuclear power plants could change the entire equation. Is the potential damage from a nuclear plant screw-up not as dangerous as a limited nuclear device? Isn’t what we feared most from an expansion of the conflict already happening?
It is difficult to believe that there is no direct Russia connection among Trump, Pompeo, Manafort, and Flynn, the efforts to destabilize NATO, the Ukraine impeachment fiasco, and the current war.
Is Ukraine being sacrificed for a cause that doesn’t exist? We need a plan, a vision for the future. Biden needs all the help he can get and he’s smart enough to know that he’s not smart enough to go it alone.