East Hampton Village
September 8, 2022
To the Editor:
Yes, I understand the need for affordable housing. But how about affordable shopping! The Village of East Hampton has turned into a mini-Rodeo Drive. We have Cartier, Chanel, Prada, Balenciaga, Gucci, Valentino. No one I know, especially year-rounders, steps foot inside any of these stores. We are forced to go UpIsland. How sad.
Perhaps the Town and Village of East Hampton have no control over who buys or rents space for stores, but maybe there is a way to create affordable shopping. Anybody have any ideas?
A new nonprofit, the Anchor Society, is working on an answer to this question: theanchorsociety.org. Ed.
Joy of Jazz
September 6, 2022
The soul of our community needs to be fed. The weekly Jam Session, since 2009, and Hamptons Jazz Fest uplift and nourish our entire East End community. In order for the Jam Session Inc. nonprofit organization to continue giving us the exquisite joy of live Jazz music, it needs our financial support: hamptonsjazzfest.org/support. These diverse performances bring together and enhance people of all ages. Let’s make sure they stay vibrant and with us for many years to come.
September 8, 2022
To the Editor,
I want to share a situation I experienced recently at the Recycling Center off Springs-Fireplace Road. During my latest visit, as I was depositing my sorted garbage, which included a stop by the glass receptacle, I carefully dropped a bottle into the container and walked away.
From the nearby “plastic” container, a young teenager threw a large glass bottle into the air toward the glass receptacle where I had been standing just a few moments before. I watched as a big piece of the bottle broke off upon impact and was hurled into the air landing on the walkway where I had just been standing.
Luckily, I was not near this air-bound projectile, nor was anyone else in those few brief moments, as it surely would have injured a person if it had flown into their face or eye. I was stunned, as was another woman who passed me.
This is not the first time I have witnessed people throwing garbage from one container to the next, avoiding the few brief steps to deposit it properly. Luckily on this day injury was averted, but how long before luck runs out?
It is amazing that common-sense rules need to be posted to remind people how to do something as simple as discarding garbage safely. It’s either that or my suggestion to all that you wear body and facial gear when you next visit the Recycling Center, particularly if you have children and elderly with you. Life is full of unexpected surprises — better they be pleasant ones than regrettable ones.
Then Sue Us?
September 10, 2022
Based on the Trumpnoxious full-page advertisements appearing weekly in your newspaper, it appears as though certain folks with more money than manners are unhappy with the current composition of our town board.
Might these be the same outsiders who are polluting our aquifer, come and go in massive jets at all hours of the day and night, fly their helicopters dangerously low a few hundred feet over our homes when visibility is near zero, and then sue us when all we really want is the quiet enjoyment of our homes?
It would appear so.
By the way, who chose the new “JPX” designation for the hazardous waste site formerly known as HTO? Nobody sought my input but here are my suggestions anyway:
TFA: That F**king Airport
SGA: Sikorskys Gone Wild
LMM: Lawyers Making Money
Ducking for cover,
East Hampton Village
September 6, 2022
I am writing in an effort to increase awareness of the very bad, terrible, insane commercial development proposal under consideration by the town planning board for the 80-acre parcel behind Serena and Lily in Wainscott. The proposal asks for 50 one-acre commercial-industrial lots to be developed there. Just for perspective, the result would be twice the size of Bridgehampton Commons. This is not a Wainscott problem. It is a problem for anyone who uses 27. Not to mention the looming threat it poses to the health and well-being of Georgica Pond.
Please take the time to learn more at stopwainscottcommercialcenter.org. Scroll down to the end and fill in your name and address and press send. A letter will be sent to the board.
We need as many voices as possible to prevent this from being approved.
September 12, 2022
I am writing to you from the hamlet of Wainscott in the Town of East Hampton, considered by many to be a lovely place to live, although recently the epicenter of airborne and vehicular traffic. I am addressing the latter.
Anyone driving through our bucolic hamlet has experienced daily traffic backups on Montauk Highway, New York State Route 27. Typically, and prior to the Covid pandemic, this issue was most prevalent in the summer months. However, that is no longer the case with more and more full-time residents. The traffic congestion occurs in early morning hours headed east, with traffic backing up beyond Sayre’s Path and at the later part of the day, westbound, backing up past Stephen Hand’s Path. These traffic tie-ups extend for at least a half-mile in either direction, consisting of every type of vehicle imaginable, from motorcycles and Jitneys to landscaper trucks with trailers and 18-wheelers.
What’s the reason for this congestion? Mainly due to the traffic light located at the intersection of Wainscott Northwest Road, intersecting with Montauk Highway. According to the East Hampton Police Department, this section of Route 27 is where a lot of incidents have been reported (approximately 53 in 2019). Some of the contributing factors include drivers experiencing brake fatigue, distractions with hand-held devices, and/or vehicles entering and exiting the various local businesses, including the Post Office.
Now enter: Wainscott Commercial Center. According to the news and media outlets, there is a site plan proposal at present under review by the planning board of East Hampton. The owners of the land known by local folks as “the Pit” are seeking approval to subdivide 70-plus acres, of which 85 percent is devoid of any structures, into 50 one-acre commercial-industrial-zoned parcels, or lots. Upon review of such plan, egresses and ingresses are proposed to be located around the four corners of the property: Hedges Lane, a private road, on the east, Wainscott-Northwest Road and Bathgate Roads on the west, and Montauk Highway on the southernmost boundary. These entrances and exits will direct vehicles onto quiet residential streets and Route 27.
To add insult to injury, according to the traffic study prepared by the applicants, they stated that approximately 300 more vehicles per hour will converge onto these roadways. One can speculate that figure will increase exponentially if the site is developed.
These 70-plus acres of land may be one of the largest commercially zoned parcels located on the eastern end of Long Island, exceeding the size of the Bridgehampton Commons shopping center.
The significant difference between these properties? The land in Wainscott is situated directly above the sole-source aquifer that enables Suffolk County Water Authority to distribute clean potable water to East Hampton’s hamlets and beyond. Any potential negative impacts or possible contamination of this aquifer can and will increase exponentially in the event 50 commercial industrial lots are developed directly above it.
The applicant indicated that a sewage treatment facility is economically unfeasible to be placed on this site. According to the applicant’s own representatives, it was indicated that it can take well over 10 years to fully develop and build out the 50 one-acre parcels. What happens with the excess materials derived from the construction site being built over a 10-year period? Will those materials end up in an already overburdened East Hampton dump facility or carted off to another landfill UpIsland, all the while leaving debris on the sides of our local roadways?
We all are familiar with the traffic on Montauk Highway and, with more vehicles being added, it will surely become unbearable. There will be many drivers seeking alternative routes via the travel apps. Rest assured, every side street and back road in the hamlet will be under siege by drivers avoiding Route 27. Ultimately, this phenomenon can and will also affect real estate values in neighborhoods in closer proximity to this site.
An equally serious issue will be the water runoff winding up in the tributaries feeding Georgica Pond. I will address such soon in another letter. The planning board will be addressing this application sometime in October, and for those who wish to learn more about this very important agenda, kindly refer to East Hampton Town’s website, or the October schedule on the LTV Studios website, Channel 22.
This site plan application should be on the forefront of all those who love living in Wainscott and other surrounding communities on the East End of Long Island. Thank you for all the good work you do reporting on all the news that’s fit to print and submitting this letter in your fine publication.
BRUCE W. SOLOMON
Won’t Be Ignored
September 7, 2022
To the Editor,
Land for Sale for Highest Bid! Yes, East Hampton is for sale, and the “rights of ownership” to do what zoning allows excludes consideration of residents who make East Hampton their home.
We, the residents, are the backbone of our community, and not developers who aim to exploit the community we created for their own financial gain.
We don’t want minimansions on small properties! We don’t want beach access cut off by property ownership! We don’t want to lose animal habitats to more and more developments! We want clear-cutting of properties to cease! We want to preserve and protect the rural character of our community.
We must make our voices heard. Vote for candidates who support strong zoning laws that protect what we have. Vote for candidates who want serious penalties for violations that won’t be ignored.
Prohibited by Code
September 12, 2022
To the Editor,
If the Town of East Hampton is going to follow Coastal Assessment and Resiliency Plan. We have our doubts, considering two houses have an illegal structure that is prohibited by town code in front of their houses and block a road. For five years, Peter Van Scoyoc has turned a blind eye. After 700 pages, I don’t recall seeing any complete, accurate, or even mention of dredging Napeague Harbor. At this point, rearrange the A. and R.
September 12, 2022
I feel compelled to respond to a letter that appeared in The Star’s Sept. 1 edition written by Bonnie Brady.
I like Bonnie. She’s spirited, passionate and engaged. But, she’s also hyperbolical, misleading, and biased toward her personal interests, which leads her to bend the truth sometimes to justify her position.
In her letter she complained that the town board is “hosing” Montauk once again. This time it was on the airport issue. She said this is a pattern of ignoring Montauk as it has done from time immemorial, and she enumerates examples of “the hamlet plan, Deepwater Wind, along with the latest mega-mansion at Ditch.” She doesn’t tell you that it was because the board acted contrary to her personal minority view on these matters that she concludes the board maltreated Montauk.
In fact, on the hamlet plan, the board listened (mistakenly, in my view) to a cohort of Montauk citizens, Bonnie included, who demanded not to list “managed retreat” as a goal of the plan. On Deepwater Wind, the board fought against a Wainscott Nimby group to have the cable land in Hither Hills. On the huge house being built on Ditch Plain Beach, the town board
took heed of the Montauk citizens who protested the East Deck Motel conversion to a private beach club; it subsequently tried to purchase the land but the gap between market appraisal and the asking price was too great, finally agreeing to rezone it residential.
The mega-mansion that eventually is being built is a town-wide problem of a too-permissive building code, which, incidentally, the board has made attempts to rein in by suggesting code amendments on house size but has been thwarted by developers and the real estate industry. Notwithstanding, in each of these cases the board was deeply committed to the best interests of the Montauk community, albeit not perhaps Bonnie Brady’s, hence her harangue.
This notion that Montauk is treated as a second-class hamlet is really irritating because nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps it might have been true years ago when it was a quiet fishing village, but it’s a whole different world today. Montauk has risen in notoriety, economic value, and it’s become a world-renowned pre-eminent destination. The challenges have also grown in magnitude. It’s just silly that the town board ignores all this. The old trope of Montauk treated as the neglected stepchild is just a simplistic and false knee-jerk reaction people have when things don’t go their way. And Bonnie Brady is milking this canard dry.
The airport issue is the prime example of dredging up this stepchild conceit. Bonnie and, unfortunately, many other Montauk residents, use it as evidence to support the claim that the town board is subordinating Montauk’s needs in favor of Wainscott and East Hampton. Bonnie lays out her proof of this claim by listing all the ways that increasing air traffic at
Montauk Airport would be devastating to Montauk, which in her opinion the town board is disregarding.
However, in her letter she also throws in an obligatory commiserative aside to Wainscott: “I can completely understand the feelings of Wainscott residents who have been bombarded with noise and want it to stop.” (Note to Bonnie: a lot of people in Wainscott are claiming the town board is disregarding their plight and throwing their hamlet under the bus in favor of others by not closing East Hampton Airport.)
I agree with both notions, that Wainscott currently suffers from excessive aircraft noise and traffic and that Montauk could potentially suffer the same. Bonnie says as much. She empathizes with Wainscott’s current predicament and fears Montauk’s succumbing to a similar dilemma.
However, the solution that Bonnie and some Montauk residents propose is to halt any reduction of aircraft traffic into and out of East Hampton Airport. To me, that proposal violates Bonnie’s own principle as she states in her letter, which is “the town board’s solution for solving the problem for one hamlet is to throw another hamlet or two under the bus.”
If the board acquiesced to Bonnie’s demand to not reduce the flights into East Hampton Airport, wouldn’t that throw Wainscott under the bus? Wouldn’t that solve Montauk’s problem by burdening another hamlet? The solution as supervisor Van Scoyoc has repeated thousands of times is to find an arrangement where all East Hampton Town hamlets, including Montauk and Wainscott, are safeguarded from the consequences of aircraft noise and traffic.
It’s very easy, like what Bonnie is doing, to stand back, criticize, and present facile solutions when you’re not on the hot seat and responsible to all constituents of the five hamlets. If you really want to make a genuine contribution to this solomonic conundrum, Bonnie, tell me how to prevent the diversion of helicopter flights to Montauk Airport and relieve the pain of the Wainscott residents for whom you claim such compassionate sympathy. Now, that would be a constructive letter to the editor, rather than the hatchet job you wrote a couple of weeks ago.
Enter the Fray
Winter Park, Fla.
September 8, 2022
Why hasn’t anyone nominated Ditch Plain for a “threatened” listing from the National Trust for Historic Preservation? Why hasn’t anyone nominated Ditch Plain for a National Trust “11 Most Endangered” listing? Why hasn’t anyone caused the Nature Conservancy and the Trust For Public Land to enter the fray and save Ditch Plain from the existential threats it currently faces? Just asking.
Engines at Idle
September 11, 2022
Last week, I wrote The Star in support of its editorial about engines left idling and noted the Long Island Rail Road in Montauk as part of this problem. I would like to amplify that a bit to provide some information on the extraordinary size of the engines.
The L.I.R.R. engines are massive 12-cylinder V diesels with a displacement (the total volume of the power pistons) of 140 liters, or 8,520 cubic inches. To put that in perspective, the average gasoline-powered automobile is about three to four liters, a good-size pickup six liters, a semi tractor-trailer at nine or 10 (and up to 14 liters) for the largest 18-wheeler semi.
Consider that on a daily basis there is one engine at idle in the Montauk station for a few hours each morning. This is about 200 feet from the multi-family Avalon apartments. This is more or less like 10 big semis parked and running in the station lot for hours, or 30 or so cars and pickups left running. That’s a lot of noise and a lot of toxic fumes. And often there is more than one engine left running.
One way to mitigate this environmental degradation could be to put the idling engines to work and run them back and forth along the tracks to all the local East End stations, giving people rides.
Will Get Worse
September 9, 2022
While the political news has been dominated by the Dumpster fire that is Donald Trump, there has been little space to reflect on the ironic self-defeating contradiction of two longstanding Republican Party projects. The two conflicting projects are securing our borders against foreign intrusion and denying climate change.
Why would a family desert its ancestral home, its culture, its language and attempt to move here? The main motivator is hunger. So, when their land is too hot and dry for its agriculture to provide food, they do not squat there and starve. They will do anything necessary to move to another town or state or country. When repeated flooding decimates their home, they flee.
A country is a basket of people attempting to live with limited arable land, water, and other resources within its borders. Climate is shrinking resources even in the United States with the recurring drought and fires in the West, depletion of fisheries, draining of Lake Mead and abandonment of the farms that rely on its water. Our land itself is yielding to encroaching sea from Alaska to Louisiana to Virginia, not to mention Montauk. On almost any day the world news includes a major climate disaster somewhere.
How many marked the plight this week of Pakistan, with one-third of the country inundated by flooding from monsoon rain on steroids? Pakistan is a country of 220 million people. Where will they go? Wherever they go, they will be resented by the locals who are strained already beneath their own burdens, and populist demagogues who promise to dispel them (sound familiar?) will gain power. But the pressure keeps building, like an untended pressure cooker on a jacked-up stove.
Thanks to 40 years of Republican denial in deference to the fossil fuel money that keeps them in power, it will get worse for decades to come as the carbon blanket in our atmosphere traps ever more heat. The cooker will explode in various ways, ultimately in famine, war, genocide. Can you already hear the hissing of that pressure escaping when machine guns are brandished in our statehouses and fascist goons storm the Capitol? Our demagogue and his acolytes call them patriots.
September 12, 2022
We live in a miraculous world. Take the ground we walk on — a cup of healthy soil can contain more organisms than there are humans on Earth. The soil biome makes plant life possible, and, in turn, plants feed the biome. It’s a complex and mutual relationship. We are part of this mutuality. Without it, we wouldn’t be here.
For millions of years, the soil biome performed invaluable ecological services for the planet. It sequestered carbon underground. Along with the native plant communities, it nourished, it promoted biodiversity above and below ground, and it maintained a healthy soil hydrology. We reside in a complex ecosystem that sustains us and makes our lives possible. Biodiversity is the most important measure of how healthy or unhealthy this ecosystem is.
Little by little, we’ve unbalanced this life support system.
This summer we witnessed just some of the consequences: floods, forest fires, droughts, famines. It will get worse. We keep pumping carbon into the atmosphere, heating the planet, eliminating biodiversity, playing with fire. We need to stop.
The Town of East Hampton has had the good sense to declare a “climate emergency” and has implemented energy-saving measures to reduce its carbon footprint. This is a good start, and we need to add sustainable landscaping to our response to the climate emergency.
“Nearly a third of the carbon now in the atmosphere has come from removing the forests and prairies that once covered much of the earth. . . . Soil scientists now tell us that the earth’s soils can sequester up to seven times the total amount of carbon presently in the atmosphere” (From Doug Tallamy’s forward to “Climate-Wise Landscaping”).
Every time we clear-cut land to build a house, a shopping center, a public building, we decrease the biological services provided by nature. We release carbon from the soil, disrupt biodiverse habitat, and leave our watersheds more vulnerable. “Our task is to store more and more of the world’s carbon not in the sky (where it disrupts climate) and not in oceans (which it causes to become acidified and damaged) but in soils and vegetation, where that CO2 is the key to beneficial results” (Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope, “Climate of Hope”).
When we plant native-plant communities — plants that have evolved to work together in a functioning ecosystem — we restore indispensable ecoservices. Sustainable native landscaping should be required policy on all new public building sites. And the rest of us need to kick our lawn habits, give more space to native plants, and get going on native gardens, mixed meadows, and native grassland plantings.
I remember my family’s Victory Garden. It dated from a time when we pulled together as a nation to fight a common enemy. Unless we enlist our residential, municipal, corporate, and recreational landscapes in the fight against climate change, we will fail to fully confront a looming disaster. Energy efficiency is good. Now let’s create sustainable landscapes, too.
Back From the Brink
September 12, 2022
To the Editor,
“The core unit that determines the strength of any society is the family. Therefore, the government should foster and protect its integrity.” These words come from W. Cleon Skousen’s book “A Miracle That Changed The World: The 5,000-Year Leap, Principles of Freedom 101.” The miracle that Mr. Skousen spoke about was the American founding. I believe there are enough people left in this country who want to save her! We will have to give everything we have in order to bring her back from the brink! It always begins with prayer. “Our Father,” “Hail Mary,” and “Glory Be.” God bless America.
Goes Both Ways
September 9, 2022
There are some writers to The Star who believe you should sit back, be quiet, and only agree with them. Then there are writers who crucify Lee Zeldin, and this is okay. Mr. A.C., besides moving forward with truths, prosecution goes both ways. Any and all includes Republicans and Democrats.
The president’s speech last week was a political one, regardless of what the progressives or liberals claim. Now Busy Bea has been collecting info on his speech and listening besides reading as to what Americans are feeling. President gave a national prime-time speech with bright-red lights on a building and two Marines standing at attention, something he promised he would never do. The idea he would give such a massively partisan speech that degraded half of the country in the eyes of the world is uncalled for. It’s as bad as the “deplorables” speech.
The president lecturing on who’s right or wrong, who’s bad or who’s good, this is something in other countries, not in America with dictator language coming out of our president’s mouth; we are a free country.
Sorry you don’t care for my diatribes that are “getting longer and less coherent.” Let me say the only thing that is incoherent is Joe Biden’s speeches. When he goes off the teleprompter he doesn’t even know where he is.
In God and country,
September 12, 2022
Who can forget the impact of Superstorm Sandy? The destruction wreaked upon Lower Manhattan and the loss of power to much of Long Island? Tens of millions of dollars in property damage and lost business? Who can forget the sight of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel flooding or the flooding of the subway tunnel between South Street and Brooklyn? Who ignores that damage and loss? Our lame-duck congressman and wannabe governor, Lee Zeldin.
In the wake of the destruction caused by Sandy, Governor Cuomo, Kathy Hochul, and the State Legislature worked to develop a coastal resiliency plan designed to protect Lower Manhattan from rising sea levels and severe tropical storms. Construction on the South Battery Park City Resiliency Project is scheduled to start in the coming weeks.
Mr. Zeldin reflexively opposes virtually every Democratic initiative, regardless of the protections to citizens such initiatives promise, and the Lower Manhattan resiliency project is no exception to Mr. Zeldin’s radical ideology. Last week, he chose to criticize Governor Hochul for supporting the resiliency plan and the protection it promises for Manhattan. As always, Mr. Zeldin offered no alternatives — it was just a flat opposition to the project. On top of that, he repeatedly expresses an uncaring refusal to acknowledge the coming dangers from climate change, instead embracing the fossil fuel industry and all the damage it promises.
All of us on the East End know that our environment is just as precarious as that of Lower Manhattan. Mr. Zeldin’s uncaring attitude and voting record against environmental initiatives across the nation demonstrate that not only is Mr. Zeldin unfit to be New York’s next governor, he poses an imminent environmental danger to our state. He does not deserve our vote.
September 12, 2022
My uncle Irving Simmons was universally renowned for his brilliance. Everyone called him Simmons. We suffered through endless Seders at his house, which ended with a meal cooked by Aunt Ethel that was barely edible. Cooking was never her thing. But, it was always worth it to spend a few hours listening to Simmons recount his latest experiences in the world of a traveling salesman.
Simmons believed that everyone had a gene that made them gullible and defenseless. Once he figured it out, he could sell them whatever he had to sell.
Once during a crime spree in the neighborhood, Simmons built a security box that he placed in front of his house on the doorstep. It was a scary contraption covered with wires and bells that was rumored not only to call the police but take a photo of the burglars. Within a month the neighborhood proliferated with Simmons’s alarm systems, handmade by the creator.
Simmons’s schemes always got him into trouble, but his guile and charm always kept him unpunished.
When Trump said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it, he was channeling Simmons. He understood criminality and believed that he was impervious to the law. Which he still appears to be.
Steve Bannon, however, an ideologue not a criminal, doesn’t really get it. When he pushed “the Wall” story, he never believed that people were dumb enough to buy it. Never imagined they would be willing to pay for it. So, when millions of dollars rolled in, Bannon, suffering from the delusion of invincibility, took the money for himself. The wall was so dumb an idea that it was never going to be built and no one would believe that he was a crook.
Now in jail, Bannon can’t believe that this is happening to him. He is defenseless. He’s been identified as a crook and, in this case, he is.
Simmons would say that criminals are born with the necessary talents to succeed. Trump has them, plus a powerful father, but Bannon doesn’t.
A cautionary tale for the Republican Party: You may be criminals but it isn’t necessarily your calling.
Simmons was a lifelong Republican.