Everybody wants to get to the eastern end of Long Island. Last Friday at 1 a.m., a man drove his car off the Cross Sound Ferry from New London, Connecticut, and crashed it into the big wooden sign there that says WELCOME TO NEW YORK, ANDREW CUOMO, GOVERNOR. He’d arrived.
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In Westhampton Beach late on a Saturday night, three young men stole the sign off the roof of Magic’s Pub. The next day, websites that follow the news reported the theft from the police blotter, but also noted that a surveillance camera had caught the entire incident, so arrests would soon follow. The following night, the sign was back where it had been before. Although the identity of the robbers was known, the owner of Magic’s declined to press charges.
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At the Round Swamp Farm market on Three Mile Harbor Road, a woman came over to the owner of the place, Carolyn Snyder, to ask about how to prepare the live lobsters she had bought at Stuart’s Seafood Market a half hour earlier.
“I’m not going to cook them until tomorrow afternoon,” she asked, “but my question is: between now and then do I have to feed them?”
The correct answer, by the way, is no.
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Officialdom in the Hamptons has always had an uneasy relationship with the “groupers,” i.e., all those people who can’t afford to stay in fancy hotels and bed and breakfasts, but do pay for shares in big weekend houses. In theory, this is illegal. But if it’s discreet, people can get away with it. Usually, it just depends on the neighbors and what they have to say.
Last Wednesday, police invaded a six-bedroom mansion on Fithian Lane in East Hampton, not so much because it had about 24 people living in it, but because of what the renters wanted to do there. They’d put ads in newspapers announcing they’d be having lots going on in their house and, for a fee, you could come over and join in. And no, these were not big drunken parties. These were cultural events.
On August 14, you could come sit at the table and pay $125 to have a sushi dinner prepared for you by the executive chef of Nobu in Manhattan, Nobu Matsuhisa.
Then, on Friday, August 19, for another $175 you could have a three-course dinner at the house prepared by chef Michael White of the restaurant Marea in Manhattan. After dinner, for the same $175, you’d get free access to the Stoli Late Night Lounge in the house and guest access to The Surf Lodge nightspot in Montauk.
The next night, August 20, you could join a “yogathon” class led by hip-hop impresario and yogi Russell Simmons. Or, if you were not into yoga, the other thing you could do that night was get a “riding the waves” experience with Billy Joel’s ex-wife Katie Lee reading from her new surfing novel Groundswell, which would be followed by a picnic from Mexicue, followed by a screening of the surfing movie Blue Crush. Another $175.
Then on August 21, at brunch time, The Surf Lodge in Montauk would come to you. Surf Lodge “Top Chef” finalist Sam Talbot is going to whip up brunch for you and the other guests.
Other entertainments you can enjoy at this house, sponsored by luxury website “Gilt City,” are lectures by Fox TV’s Rosanna Scotto and Food Network’s Sandra Lee.
The people who have rented this house for the summer (it’s a corporation) may or may not understand what they had gotten themselves into. The house sits on a residential street. Neighbors had, upon seeing the ads for the events, complained. Now the cops arrived and sent everybody back to New York.
But wait—we haven’t done anything wrong. We’ll be making donations to the Food Pantry. And we’ve got the permits—or at least we’ve applied for them, so it’s all done and approved.
Oh yes, they had. Lots of them. There was a whole stack of permit applications on the desk of Larry Cantwell, the Village Manager, about a week earlier. He’d looked at the first one. It was about the event where the chef of Nobu prepares the sushi. Money raised would be going to the Food Pantry. It was at a house on Fithian Lane. He’d get to them later. Didn’t seem to be a problem. Oh yes it was. The newspapers with the ads in them came out the next day.
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Overheard talking on a cellphone on the bench in front of Restoration Hardware on Main Street, East Hampton, a very determined woman, articulating each word slowly: “This is the end of this conversation. If we were married, these would be grounds for divorce.”
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A man named Myron Levine, who 19 years ago built a tall, ugly 205-foot communications tower on a ridge in Noyac, has applied to the town board of Southampton to take it down and replace it with a classier looking shorter one. He will do this at his own expense.
The existing tower has three legs, all sorts of things sticking out of it and lots of guide wires into stakes into the ground on either side.
The new one, which will replace the one he’s offering to tear down, will stand on another hill about 500 yards away, a single tall steel pole, like a flagpole, that will also rise way up, but just to 195 feet. It will look nicer. You could put an American flag on it.
Levine not only built the original tower as a private money making enterprise—it houses equipment for wireless companies AT&T and —but he also has a house on the land he owns near it. Early on, he liked looking up at his money making venture, but recently he has come to agree with the neighbors that it is really very ugly.
The town is delighted, and will, I imagine, sign the permits to make this happen just as fast as they can draw them up.
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Police dicovered that Andrew Taiami, 47, had a crudely forged beach sticker on the side window of his Range Rover parked at Two Mile Hollow Beach in East Hampton. Whether he did it himself or had someone else do it is not known, but it wasn’t good enough to pass muster when it came to the cops.
Andrew Taiami is in all sorts of trouble for having done this. (He saved the $325 annual parking sticker fee.) Doing this is a felony. Forging or creating fraudulent public documents can land you in jail for years. The law may have been intended for counterfeiters, but the authorities make no distinction.
Taiami is from Blauvelt, New York. The Land Rover is in the Town impound area.
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To enter the East Hampton parking lot behind the stores on Main Street, you pull up to a little vending machine, press a button, and it spits out a free parking ticket good for two hours. You put it on your dashboard with the time marking on it facing up. By the way, if you forget to get the ticket, you have to go around again, because one of the car tires has to be on the metal plate in the road that activates the machine.
Last week, a wealthy woman in a Bentley came into the lot, parked, and then was approached by a traffic policeman who advised her she did not have the little ticket that gets spit out on her dashboard. She’d forgotten to get it. She’d have to go around again.
She got out of the car, turned around, stood up tall, and shouted out to whoever could hear, “could somebody get me one of those parking tickets?”
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Anton and Christine Hagen, who live on Ferry Road (Route 114) in North Haven, put a flag of Norway on their front gate the day a right wing zealot killed 83 people at a children’s camp on a Norwegian island and in an office building in Oslo. The flag was to indicate solidarity with that country, where the Hagens had once lived for four years. The next day, they found that someone had set a match to the flag and about half of it had burned up.
Anton called the police to report the vandalism. He subsequently told reporters, “I have no idea who did this, but I think what it could point to is an individual who doesn’t understand that that’s a Norwegian flag and just sees another flag and has hostility toward anything foreign.”
The flag does, in some ways, resemble the Nazi flag flown by the German Navy during World War II. The Norwegians had their flag. The Nazis liked the look of it so they made something like it for the Kriegsmarine.
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Overheard in Waldbaum’s on a busy Saturday afternoon, spoken by a well-dressed woman nodding toward what appeared to be local people loading up their carts: “Couldn’t they have done their shopping during the week?”