August 13, 2022
Thank you for featuring a picture of me taken while I was painting a picture of the Wainscott Chapel. Your photographer caught me in that period of indecision about whether or not the color I was mixing was the right one. The painting like the photo came out well and I attached a copy of it to this letter.
Being part of the Wednesday Group of Plein Air painters, we chose Wainscott that week. We choose a different location for our mob to descend upon every week and simultaneously render scenes of local interest and compelling beauty. We range from Montauk to Noyac and exhibit our work at Ashawagh Hall, Gardiner Mill Cottage Museum and Gallery, Watermill Museum, and have a show coming up in September at the Lucore Gallery in Montauk. I invite your readers to join us there.
The Porch People
August 15, 2022
I visited David Diamond Parsons again, 211-year-old original owner of the Springs General Store. He resides 300 yards south of the store in the Parsons’s cemetery. “I heard people say Kristi is the Queen of Springs. I guess she has rightfully earned that title. That’s what a lot of people say.”
“Mr. Parsons, how are the new owners going to get community acceptance?”
“If they’re smart, it’s easy-peasy! Historical district. Got to keep the facade, the porch, and gas pumps. If you got to keep the porch, you might as well keep the ‘porch people.’ ”
“In order for this to work, we need more letters from the porch people. A lot of the porch people are locals but a lot are summer people who can afford high-end eats, which is the venue expressed by the new owners. Since they need to keep the porch, use it! What is important in the restaurant business is having a following, very important!”
“Compromise! Coffee and things April through September could save their backsides, and the coffee business is quite profitable. You get acceptance from the local folk and dinner business from the city folk. Also it’s good for business if your store always looks busy.”
“How did you get so smart, Mr. Parsons?”
“I read The Star.”
August 10, 2022
To the Editor,
We love our home, our community, the schools, beaches, and amenities. While one can argue the mass influx from Covid boosted our economy and helped several restaurants and shops stay open year round, the strain on our roads and infrastructure is more pronounced than ever. Fortunately, two easy adjustments offer a huge solution:
Require all property rental listings from Memorial Day to Labor Day to have a minimum stay of one week and a maximum capacity of 12 people. Also, double the number of trains at peak times. These two simple measures leverage existing infrastructure and would significantly alleviate traffic and congestion.
Current Hamptons rental ordinances are so convoluted that compliance is impossible. There are arcane clauses, such as requiring that guests be a single family that “cooks together under one roof” — does this mean empty nesters can’t visit their grandkids? Requiring two-week minimum stays promotes noncompliance when everyone takes one-week vacations. By being over-restrictive, our towns essentially dare homeowners to break the rules. Furthermore, there are loopholes, such as East Hampton’s allowing for two shorter-term rentals every six months, hindering enforcement and attracting the sort of short-term partiers we all want to avoid.
Simplifying the ordinance and making it realistic will promote compliance and facilitate simple enforcement while helping reduce congestion without hurting local businesses. Those who rent for one week tend to be quality, family visitors, who benefit our economy. Therefore, all listings should have a one-week minimum from Memorial Day to Labor Day. No exceptions, no excuses. All homeowners will be on a straightforward and level playing field. A 12-person maximum is also realistic, easy to track, and not over-restrictive such as to foster noncompliance.
Outside of the summer months, the minimum stay is removed to ensure visitors come in slower months who help support our restaurants and shops. Let’s face it, anyone with a weeklong vacation in the winter isn’t coming to the Hamptons, yet deep down we all know we need visitors if we want our restaurants and shops to stay open past Labor Day.
Many summer destinations have successfully followed this playbook for years, including Cape Cod, Ocean City, the Outer Banks, Figure 8 Island, Kiawah Island, Sea Island, and many others that offer one-week minimums.
Combining the one-week summer minimum with more trains will meaningfully reduce traffic jams. Only two trains are offered from 5 to 8 p.m. on a summer Friday from the largest city in the country to Montauk — just two. Neither is express, and one even requires a changeover. Countless complaints over the years have documented dangerous overcrowding. Anyone who has visited a friend or relative in New York City, as we did last week, knows the Long Island Rail Road is unbearable.
Two-way tracks already exist adjacent to the stations in Amagansett, East Hampton, Bridgehampton, Southampton, etc. where trains safely pass one another. The infrastructure already exists, and more trains would make an immediate and substantial reduction to vehicular traffic. Not to mention the environmental benefit of taking hundreds of idling cars off our roads.
Requiring a one-week minimum stay in the summer, 12 guests maximum, and doubling the number of trains at peak times would jump-start compliance, reduce pressure on homeowners, facilitate enforcement, improve the quality of our summer visitors, and alleviate congestion, all while further supporting our local community and economy.
I hope all the town councils on the East End will synchronize and simplify the rental ordinances to a one-week minimum summer stay and increase our rail traffic for everyone’s benefit.
August 14, 2022
We need safety billboards for the Benz, ‘Beemer, and Rover Nascar wannabees. First, the red octagonal signs mean, “Step Toe On Pedal,” not ignore, roll through. That lever to the left of the steering wheel, is a turn-signal device, not a hanger for your Covid mask. Try using it!
Yellow double lines mean do not cross. The cars we drive are obeying the traffic laws, interfering with the citiots’ “I am in a hurry” mantra.
Diagonally painted barriers are not meant as private passing lanes. Solid white lines, designating the bicycle lanes or shoulders, are not okay for passing on the right. Tailgating is rampant. Since the average reaction time is 2.5 seconds, at 20 miles per hour, 29.33 feet; 30 m.p.h., 153.4 feet, (telephone poles are 100 feet apart), maybe they are proctologists in training? Wet roads, stopping distance is doubled. But, of course, the luxury cars stop faster? Consider, Montauk Point is only 22 miles away before one drives off the edge of the Earth like Columbus to save a few measly minutes.
Then we have the tailgaters who think that in heavy traffic you will pull over to let them gain one car length. No wonder the rear-end accidents are so frequent — or they are proctologists in training?
Then we have the Dupuytren’s contracture (bent middle finger) pandemic replace Covid, and they display the lack of civility and manners in their DNA.
Don’t let the door hit you when you leave!
August 15, 2022
To the Editor:
Last spring, the town board was finally on the cusp of meeting the challenge presented by the use of hundreds of acres of town property for an airport. We were filled with hope.
The airport and the 30,000 flights per year that it attracts not only pollute our air and water but generate ear-shattering noise, undermining the peace and tranquility that attracted us to East Hampton, threatening our physical and mental health, and eroding the value of our homes.
Then we heard that a judge, at the behest of Blade and others, had issued a temporary restraining order stopping progress temporarily. Now, as the months pass by and the summer rolls toward Labor Day, we fear that the “temporary“ restraint is becoming permanent through silence and acquiescence.
Throughout May, June, July, and, now, August, some 50 planes and helicopters a day routinely flew over our homes — yesterday more than 69 thundered overhead. This miserable business is unacceptable. If I were to blast my neighbors’ homes with a bull horn dozens of times a day, I assume the police would come to stop me.
The citizens of East Hampton are entitled to be told what the town board and its lawyers are planning to do. Our elected officials should not just sit and wait while irreparable harm is being done to our health, our happiness, and our homes.
August 15, 2022
Dear Mr. Rattray:
I don’t believe it’s just me, but I am really tired of these weekly one-page ads trashing our elected officials because they, perhaps unwisely, tried too hard to accommodate the selfish and self-entitled who see their convenience as far more important than the quality of life of the great majority of town residents who are largely indifferent to, or actual victims of, the airport.
It should be clear by now that it was a tremendous mistake to attempt to placate the tiny minority of our populace that uses aircraft to commute, or object to the airport closure because they are making money from its operations and concessions; flight enthusiasts, private airplane owners, or those making their living by actively annoying the rest of us with helicopters, seaplanes for lunch rides, etc.
Having been to the meetings (frankly, another waste of time and town money like the hamlet study folderol), I was hoping that a compromise could have been reached that would allow local small-plane pilots, especially, to continue their activities within reasonable hours despite the real issues with leaded gas air pollution. But that was clearly not to be.
Instead, for instance, of a townwide referendum of local voters to get a real sense of the community at large, we are mired in lawsuits and snarky advertisements from the uberwealthy business owners and some locals whose otherwise philanthropic activities are admirable, but who see the rest of us as inconvenient complainers. Their deep-pocketed strategy is to convince voters that the folks who we elected are at fault because they’re defending the town against their lawsuits.
There is no legitimate reason to not intelligently repurpose and clean the polluted acreage of the airport. I am certain the great majority of the town’s residents would love to have the area for all the real benefits it could provide as a solar farm, work force housing, some other forms of passive recreation, etc. The spurious and self-serving argument that seeks to minimize the wholly legitimate complaints of adjacent homeowners that “you bought near an airport” is, in modern times, comparing a cherry to a watermelon in terms of size and presence and the number of pits. Do we really need heavy-jet runways and area-wide noise issues for the entire East End on both forks?
Our elected officials were overwhelmingly chosen by our voters. Every one of those ads is aimed at discrediting their efforts, blaming the victims for the abuse heaped upon us all, and really driving a wedge between hamlets, haves, have-nots — and who cares?
It should be clear now to everyone that Blade, et al., will not accept any reasonable compromise, nor will the lawsuits of the callous and deep-pocketed end amicably. We’ve thus far lost the use of a beloved town beach, and now, without some real spine, we are in danger of ceding our skies.
Not a Valid Reason
August 13, 2022
To the Editor,
I don’t know much, but I have been a pilot for almost 50 years. In an article by Christine Sampson she states that banner planes are prohibited from flying in class-D airspace, according to Barry Frankel. I am fairly certain that that is absolutely inaccurate. He is either misinformed or being misleading. There is no such prohibition. The only requirement for entering class-D airspace is a transponder and making radio contact with the tower. The tower may, under some rare circumstances, tell a pilot to stay out, but there needs to be a valid reason. Towing a banner is not a valid reason and would not usually be denied.
Fifth, the Fifth
August 14, 2022
To the Editor,
Then (2016 candidate Trump): “I could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and I wouldn’t lose any voters!”
Now (Donald “Same Answer” Trump, paraphrased by me): “I will not shoot my big, fat mouth off to testify on my own behalf; instead I will cowardly and disgracefully (Yes, my very own word) take the Fifth Amendment 440 times, so as not to incriminate myself by admitting the unethical-if-not-illegal things I have done in my business dealings as well as during my presidency.”
Weaponizing the F.B.I.
August 14, 2022
Just days after a report came out that Chinese officials visited Joe Biden in the Oval Office when he was the vice president. Guns blazer on Trump’s residence in Florida while Donald Trump and family were in New York. Thirty or so armed agents raided the residence. Warrant in hand, they refused to allow Trump’s lawyers to enter any room that they were in.
Note: Hillary whitewashed her private server after a subpoena was issued. She destroyed documents, had her people hammer Blackberries. Hillary has top secret folders on her personal server — no invasion in her home. She was not president; she had no right to hold onto these top secret documents.
There’s an obsession on Trump running for president. Liberals want to tell you should run, deny the American public, let’s see the affidavit that goes with the warrant; let’s see the evidence. What’s the reason for the raid on the ex-president’s house in lieu of a subpoena? Liberals have created a banana republic mentality. The party of power wants to prevent Trump from running for the presidency in 2024.
Everyone in this country should be concerned when the Department of Justice has weaponized against American citizens, in this case by the Biden administration against its political opponents. Eighty-seven thousand new I.R.S. agents will be weaponized against conservatives, just like when Obama did it. Be concerned about the abuse of power when one political party occupies the executive branch and they have everyone in their cabinet under their supervision. They’re responsible to all American citizens when they take these agencies of government and use them to go after their political opponents, it becomes just like a banana republic. That’s not America. This is weaponizing the F.B.I.
Hillary should be in jail for her antics, but no warrant, no raid, nada, nothing.
Hunter Biden is under investigation, plenty of proof for his moneymaking deals with China, which include the big guy, Joe Biden, but for now, with the midterms so close, it’s been put on the back burner and espionage charges are being investigated against ex-president Donald Trump.
In God and country,
August 15, 2022
When the F.B.I. searched Trump’s home for classified documents that he had purportedly turned over, there was a great public (some part of it) outcry against the bureau. My first thoughts were about Al Capone, a criminal killer in the extreme, who engendered enormous popular appeal when the F.B.I. was trying to take him down. Like Trump, everyone knew he was a crook without morals or conscience, but they were intrigued by his efforts to fight the big-government bureaucracy.
The criminal-to-victim scam is usually a function of clever criminals and really dumb people. It’s not what he did that matters. Not why the government is after him that’s important. It’s like poor Al, a vicious killing machine, being abused for killing and robbing at will.
Capone would never have been elected president. Americans were less gullible and braindead in the 1930s, and he had no political support, but he kept the government at bay until they finally got him on some tax issues.
Of course, one can’t reasonably compare Capone as a criminal killer, or even Clinton with his zipper down, to Trump and his relentless adoration for Vladimir Putin and his criminal possession of highly classified documents. Trump, a lifelong predator and proud of it, now cast as a victim.
Morons of the world, come to America and sell us your dirty underwear, your toxic waste, and your Latin bibles. We are buyers of bullshit, garbage, freedom, used condoms, etc., etc. We don’t discriminate, and are registered and certified U.S.D.A.-approved. Cash only.