Recent Stories: Columnists

Jack Graves
February 23, 2017
Asked by a colleague, with whom I share a birthday, how I’d spent mine, I said, “On the tarmac, in Houston — they couldn’t get us to a gate for the better part of an hour and kept thanking us for our patience.”

Asked by a colleague, with whom I share a birthday, how I’d spent mine, I said, “On the tarmac, in Houston — they couldn’t get us to a gate for the better part of an hour and kept thanking us for our patience.”

Christopher Walsh
February 23, 2017
The name Dita Von Teese meant nothing to me, so I thought of nothing as M. and I neared the marquee at the Gramercy Theatre, where the burlesque dancer would soon take the stage and command the gathered crowd.

The name Dita Von Teese meant nothing to me, so I thought of nothing as M. and I neared the marquee at the Gramercy Theatre, where the burlesque dancer would soon take the stage and command the gathered crowd. 

David E. Rattray
February 23, 2017
Late on Sunday afternoon, only a few people were left on the trail down to Amsterdam Beach.

Late on Sunday afternoon, only a few people were left on the trail down to Amsterdam Beach. 

It had been unusually warm on the East End, with the air temperature getting close to 60, even near the water. I had a photograph to take for the news section, and, as the shadows of the day got long, I pulled into the parking lot off Montauk Highway.

Helen S. Rattray
February 16, 2017
What do you do when you get up in the morning? Many people — provided they don’t, say, have proverbial buses to meet or children to stuff into snowsuits and send out the door to school — turn to the news of the outside world. My husband picks up his cellphone and checks out The New York Times right after waking, even though I remind him that the daily print edition is waiting just outside the door.

What do you do when you get up in the morning? Many people — provided they don’t, say, have proverbial buses to meet or children to stuff into snowsuits and send out the door to school — turn to the news of the outside world.

Jack Graves
February 16, 2017
“So,” said Perry Silver, my dentist, looking at the chart. “You’re 76.”

“So,” said Perry Silver, my dentist, looking at the chart. “You’re 76.”

“Almost 77.”

“And so how do you feel compared to when you were 66?”

“Uh . . . better.”

Mark Segal
February 16, 2017
On August 1981, Judge Shepard Frood married Christa and me under the big oak tree in front of East Hampton’s Town Hall. We moved to Los Angeles two months later to break into the movie business.

On August 1981, Judge Shepard Frood married Christa and me under the big oak tree in front of East Hampton’s Town Hall. We moved to Los Angeles two months later to break into the movie business. 

David E. Rattray
February 16, 2017
The Rev. Samuel Buell never made clear exactly what kind of sin he was talking about in his account of an outpouring of Christian faith he observed in East Hampton in the winter of 1764.

The Rev. Samuel Buell never made clear exactly what kind of sin he was talking about in his account of an outpouring of Christian faith he observed in East Hampton in the winter of 1764. 

Helen S. Rattray
February 9, 2017
“In Aleppo Once” is a 1969 memoir by Taqui Altounyan, who spent most of her young life in the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo, where her Armenian father and grandfather were doctors and her grandfather was revered because he established its only hospital after World War I. He had studied medicine in New York, coming to the United States with the help of American missionaries he had met during the Armenian genocide. Altounyan’s mother was an Englishwoman.

“In Aleppo Once” is a 1969 memoir by Taqui Altounyan, who spent most of her young life in the ancient Syrian city of Aleppo, where her Armenian father and grandfather were doctors and her grandfather was revered because he established its only hospital after World War I.

Jack Graves
February 9, 2017
I want to begin by thanking our granddaughter Ella, who’s 8, for having turned my wife’s Ping-Pong game around, for having raised her Ping-Pong self-esteem (the fiery competitive spirit she’s always had) so that Mary and I are now on an even keel Ping-Pong-wise.

I want to begin by thanking our granddaughter Ella, who’s 8, for having turned my wife’s Ping-Pong game around, for having raised her Ping-Pong self-esteem (the fiery competitive spirit she’s always had) so that Mary and I are now on an even keel Ping-Pong-wise.

Durell Godfrey
February 9, 2017
The day after the election, I was so freaked out that I moved all of my furniture around. I get it: the need to make myself feel safe, nesting in a time of crisis, etc. Well, it worked out, but not completely.

The day after the election, I was so freaked out that I moved all of my furniture around. I get it: the need to make myself feel safe, nesting in a time of crisis, etc. Well, it worked out, but not completely. 

David E. Rattray
February 9, 2017
This week’s snow notwithstanding, this winter has been a letdown, at least as far as ice goes. For skating the only option has been to pay for time on one of the local rinks. Likewise, the chance that there will be iceboating this year declines every day that we get closer to March.

This week’s snow notwithstanding, this winter has been a letdown, at least as far as ice goes. For skating the only option has been to pay for time on one of the local rinks. Likewise, the chance that there will be iceboating this year declines every day that we get closer to March.

Helen S. Rattray
February 2, 2017
On a cold and slippery afternoon this week, I found myself immersed in conversation about an idyllic summer house. And this time I could understand — or, I should say, almost understand — why some people who have tons of money would pay unbelievable sums for a summer rental. It really was gorgeous, with a long history, miles of lawn, and miles of white oceanfront sand.

On a cold and slippery afternoon this week, I found myself immersed in conversation about an idyllic summer house. And this time I could understand — or, I should say, almost understand — why some people who have tons of money would pay unbelievable sums for a summer rental. It really was gorgeous, with a long history, miles of lawn, and miles of white oceanfront sand.

Jack Graves
February 2, 2017
Well, it is true. I am a liberal and I sleep in. But so did my father, who was a Vermont Republican. As in politics, so in dress. I still have his black linen tie, which he often wore with a white shirt and a dark jacket, to such an extent that a woman once said he “shrieked of conservatism.”

Well, it is true. I am a liberal and I sleep in. But so did my father, who was a Vermont Republican. As in politics, so in dress. I still have his black linen tie, which he often wore with a white shirt and a dark jacket, to such an extent that a woman once said he “shrieked of conservatism.”

David E. Rattray
February 2, 2017
Time was that people here bent small oaks to mark property lines. They were called lop fences, and more than a few remain visible on roadsides if you know where to look. Or not look; what seems to be a lop fence can be found at the edge my house lot in Amagansett on a plot of land that has been in the family since the 19th century.

Time was that people here bent small oaks to mark property lines. They were called lop fences, and more than a few remain visible on roadsides if you know where to look. Or not look; what seems to be a lop fence can be found at the edge my house lot in Amagansett on a plot of land that has been in the family since the 19th century.

Helen S. Rattray
January 26, 2017
Jay I. Meltzer, a revered nephrologist and retired professor at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, used to warn his patients, and I dare say still does warn anyone who will listen, about the urgency of having an ongoing relationship with a doctor. You need to know your doctor well, he always says, and your doctor needs to know you, especially when you become ill.

Jay I. Meltzer, a revered nephrologist and retired professor at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, used to warn his patients, and I dare say still does warn anyone who will listen, about the urgency of having an ongoing relationship with a doctor.

Jack Graves
January 26, 2017
The media had it all wrong. Don’t tell me the Steelers didn’t win that A.F.C. championship game with the Patriots. It just goes to show you to what lengths the lackeys of the press will go to distort the truth.

The media had it all wrong. Don’t tell me the Steelers didn’t win that A.F.C. championship game with the Patriots. It just goes to show you to what lengths the lackeys of the press will go to distort the truth. 

David E. Rattray
January 26, 2017
Sprinting down the asphalt path at Lowenstein Court in Montauk late Monday afternoon to get a look at the ocean before the light faded, I had a passing thought about how excited many of us who live on the East End get about a good northeaster.

Sprinting down the asphalt path at Lowenstein Court in Montauk late Monday afternoon to get a look at the ocean before the light faded, I had a passing thought about how excited many of us who live on the East End get about a good northeaster.

Helen S. Rattray
January 19, 2017
By the time Bernie Sanders swept the New Hampshire Democratic primary and urged voters to go to Bernie Sanders.com to make online contributions to his campaign, Barack Obama had long since revolutionized presidential fund-raising by using the internet in the 2008 race to seek donations and to gather information and organize the ranks. (Time and Twitter moved on.)

By the time Bernie Sanders swept the New Hampshire Democratic primary and urged voters to go to Bernie Sanders.com to make online contributions to his campaign, Barack Obama had long since revolutionized presidential fund-raising by using the internet in the 2008 race to seek donations and to gather information and organize the ranks. (Time and Twitter moved on.)

Jack Graves
January 19, 2017
Mary was reading the other day about “inemuri,” the Japanese tradition of napping on the job.

Mary was reading the other day about “inemuri,” the Japanese tradition of napping on the job.

“You’d be highly respected there,” she said.

“Well, I’ve never entirely gone to sleep on the job,” I said. “I’ve always jerked myself awake.”

“So you think.”

Joanne Pilgrim
January 19, 2017
I have a love-hate relationship with winter. Every so often I mull about moving to an always-temperate place, someplace where momentum doesn’t get lost for half a year, where my outward self, the one that flings open the door and steps outside barely awake, stays active all year and the half-outside life I adopt during the season — and the swimming — never ends.

I have a love-hate relationship with winter. Every so often I mull about moving to an always-temperate place, someplace where momentum doesn’t get lost for half a year, where my outward self, the one that flings open the door and steps outside barely awake, stays active all year and the half-outside life I adopt during the season — and the swimming — never ends. 

David E. Rattray
January 19, 2017
A new house is going up across the street from mine. It is large, with separate two-story sections joined by a steel-framed atrium or what might be a barn-like social space or indoor swimming pool. It’s hard to say.

A new house is going up across the street from mine. It is large, with separate two-story sections joined by a steel-framed atrium or what might be a barn-like social space or indoor swimming pool. It’s hard to say. 

Helen S. Rattray
January 12, 2017
For all that I love my old house, and show it off when I can, it’s a burden that sometimes feels like it is getting away from me.

For all that I love my old house, and show it off when I can, it’s a burden that sometimes feels like it is getting away from me. 

Jack Graves
January 12, 2017
Mary’s great-grandmother, a star of stage and the early screen, reportedly said — or so the family story has it — on passing by the open casket of a woman who had in life borne the burden of her severe lameness with good humor, “She never suffered as I have.”

Mary’s great-grandmother, a star of stage and the early screen, reportedly said — or so the family story has it — on passing by the open casket of a woman who had in life borne the burden of her severe lameness with good humor, “She never suffered as I have.”

David E. Rattray
January 12, 2017
Waiting for the traffic signal to change to green at Wainscott Northwest Road on Monday, a dark bird soaring far above drew my eye against the gray and empty sky. From its size and broad and fingered wings, it seemed a bald eagle, likely a first-year juvenile, according to illustrations in the Sibley guide I looked at later on.

Waiting for the traffic signal to change to green at Wainscott Northwest Road on Monday, a dark bird soaring far above drew my eye against the gray and empty sky. From its size and broad and fingered wings, it seemed a bald eagle, likely a first-year juvenile, according to illustrations in the Sibley guide I looked at later on.