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Gristmill: Where the Sidewalk Ends

Wed, 12/06/2023 - 16:43
The Old Noyac Cemetery is roughly where the Noyac Road sidewalk dies, as you head from Brick Kiln Road. Extending it is a must.
Julie Greene

Noyac. It’s like North Sea without the dirt roads.

Actually, there is a dirt road a stone’s throw to the east of our humble abode here in Sag Harbor’s suburb, just past the abandoned house with the knocked-out windows and the deer skeleton in the otherwise empty garage and the abandoned pool with dangerous, mosquito-friendly standing water. (I’d give the authorities the high about that trash-strewn hole but there’s turtle life in there so I dare not.)

That dirt road is a dead end off the most reviled and notorious thoroughfare this side of County Road 39 — Noyac Road, the little shoulderless two-lane that could . . . not stop rushing. It’s like L.A.’s legendarily all-hours I-5 writ small — it needs a wildlife bridge to stanch the squirrel, deer, and possum carnage, to say nothing of avoiding an inevitable human toll, which you might note C.R. 39 has already exacted.

Now another newspaper reports a movement afoot for a sidewalk that would stretch from Trout Pond to the lifeline hub that is Cromer’s Market, jump the approximate area where Colonel Meigs and his merry band of patriots alighted to open an American-made can of whoop-ass on the occupying British regulars, before hanging a left at the Serene Green farm stand to meet up with the existing sidewalk that now peters out this side of the Old Noyac Cemetery. Thus connecting, in other words, to Sag Harbor Village.


Bring on the Caterpillar mini excavators and the cement trucks, because this is long overdue. Not only that, it’s been proposed before, and was shot down before, with misguided calls for protecting the “rural aesthetic,” a tortured oxymoron and anyway something that went out about the time of George Washington’s last visit.

Noyac Road’s aesthetic is speeding, tailgating, texting while driving, hostility to biking, distress for pedestrians, potholes and shoddy repairs, and patches of gray fur and rotting flesh that even the crows won’t pick over.

The only thing that could possibly be better than laying a sidewalk along Noyac Road is if it extended west to the ever-popular Morton National Wildlife Refuge. But I gather that’s a bridge too far.

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