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The Mast-Head: Old Buildings

Wed, 03/13/2024 - 17:36

Old buildings have been on my mind a fair bit lately, after the Star office boiler went full Chernobyl last week. A crew from McCoy Miller spent days practicing dark arts in the basement after the smoke literally was cleared, and were able to get the heat back on. The boiler’s miraculous second life will give us a bit of time to shop around for a replacement.

A smell of smoke and oil lingers; the McCoy guys said that bowls of white vinegar placed around would improve the air. That and the 30-mile-per-hour wind with gusts above 40 blowing in the open windows seemed to clear out most of the stink by Monday.

The first bid to replace the boiler was more than I expected, but still less than half the cost of a new Ford F150 Raptor. It costs a lot these days to look like a badass when you’re pulling into a jobsite and don’t want the subcontractors to laugh behind your back.

Our building, completed around 1901 by my great-grandfather, is a relative toddler among others on East Hampton Main Street. The Mulford house across the green on James Lane was already more than 200 years old when 153 Main Street went up. Of only slightly newer vintage than the Mulford house is the Rev. Nathaniel Huntting’s house, now the Huntting Inn and owned by a Texas billionaire who also owns the Houston Rockets and 60 percent of the Golden State Warriors basketball teams and the Golden Nugget casinos.

Why Tilman Fertitta, who also owns the Landry’s restaurant chain and through that the Huntting Inn, feels that the inn simply must have a swimming pool to survive is a mystery to me. But then, who am I to question the ways of the stinkin’ rich? The village zoning board, which is weighing Mr. Fertitta’s request, doesn’t stand a chance.


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