Inspired by a Place
By Jeralyn Lash-Sands
Pine Neck has been described as a populated place in Suffolk County. However, once the fallen leaves twirl and scatter about, the deer swimming over from North Haven seem to outnumber the loyal residents. Hence, Pine Neck is at times, a sleepy locale.
Noyac(k) is depicted as a hamlet located on the South Fork of Long Island, in the Town of Southampton. The Noyac Civic Society states that Noyac (also spelled Noyack – named from an Indian word meaning a long neck of land – Jessup’s Neck) is a bay, a creek, a road and locality close to Sag Harbor. In regards to the discrepancy in the spelling of the hamlet, I can attest that since my childhood years, it was “Noyac.” Furthermore, when cyberspace and emails originated, I immediately claimed ownership to an ongoing email address that incorporates the name “Noyac.” I guesstimate that it was somewhere around the Yuppie years, that the “k” emerged, much to my chagrin. It reminds me of the days when hurricane-like storms where referred to as “Northeaster’s” and not the swanky “Nor’easter’s” of today. It peeves me, but as they say, different strokes and all that. Regardless, I’ll continue to spell it correctly – Noyac.
Sag Harbor, an incorporated Village in Suffolk County, New York, has sections in both the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton. It’s interesting that the spelling of East Hampton is two words, but not so with Southampton and Westhampton. There must be something about those folks in the East that makes them a wee bit different from the folks in the South and West. But that’s The Hamptons for you.
Minus a direction, the lovely town of Bridgehampton does not assimilate with the formula of East, West and South. And, the small town of Northampton is generally not included. After all, have you ever heard anyone “headed out east” announce that they were going to Northampton?
In the past, everyone that raced to the Hamptons of the East, West and South didn’t stumble upon the real treasure found in the old whaling town of Sag Harbor, until much later on. Thus, Sag has been referred to as the “Un-Hampton.” However, while in town the other night, I was contemplating changing the name to “Found-Hampton,” due to all the traffic, shoppers, diners, debonair dogs and overflowing waffle cones walking about.
Folks like me, who either grew up or summered in Noyac, were often referred to as “local.” Conversely, that too was debatable as Sag Harborites adamantly declared themselves “locals” and considered individuals domiciling in Noyac, “city.” Go figure.
To sum it all up, Pine Neck, the populated place in Suffolk County, is situated in Noyac, the hamlet town on the South Fork of Long Island, which is part of the incorporated Village of Sag Harbor, and has sections in both Towns of East Hampton (one word) and Southampton (two words) all of which are located in New York. Phew, that was a bit long, but I think you get the gist.
Why is any of that important? I’ll tell you…
My parents owned the house that I am currently writing from and it’s been in the family for over 65 years. The front door opens to the water view of Noyac Bay. Gazing out towards North Haven and Shelter Island, the panorama is beyond magnificent.
The memories that this house sustains are sacred. On occasions such as the 4th of July, supervised barn fires on the beach rendered melted marshmallows, chocolate treats, and jovial, sticky faces. There were ample days on the motorboat or sail boat; high tides and frightening, yet electrifying storms at sea. We swam, fished and clammed in the bay; enjoyed digging for steamers and muscles, as well as finding the multitude of tiny scary eyes staring out from fan-shaped scallops.
Catching crabs was always a hit. In the relentless mode of children, we gently coerced mom to handover her nylon stockings which we then wrapped around chicken parts. The encased chicken was subsequently attached to a line secured to a durable garden stick. Next, the line was cast out. If the sought after crustaceans were nearby, waiting was brief before the unlucky crab started walking away with the line. A rather slow pulling-in of the line followed by netting and scooping up the catch guaranteed that mom’s clawed stockings were worth the strife. An exciting and challenging experience, dissecting the unpalatable parts of a blue claw remains to be a lot of work on a famished stomach.
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