Recent Stories: Opinion

July 23, 2014

I am led by two extracts of wisdom, both acquired while sitting on porches. From Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.” From Charles Baudelaire: “Genius is childhood recovered at will.”

July 16, 2014

I used to own a home in Amagansett. It was a lovely home, with a pool. A block from the ocean! It was a lifetime ago that I bought it, and a year ago that I sold it.

I move on. Or try to.

I rent now. I rented before I owned — that was a couple of lifetimes ago, and also in Amagansett. A half share, a full share, a couple of thousand dollars, if even that.

July 9, 2014

It was 20 years ago, and I had just written “Visiting Mr. Green,” my first play. The title character is an 86-year-old. Someone introduced me to Eli Wallach, 78 at the time, who without seeing the script or knowing me agreed to do a reading of it.

I was thrilled, until I was told that Eli wouldn’t rehearse the play before the reading. I didn’t know whether this was a star trip, or some kind of Method approach to a new play, but I wasn’t happy about it.

July 2, 2014

“The wonderful thing about football,” the actor and satirist John Cleese says in a two-minute monologue on YouTube, “is how creative it is. And this is why it never caught on in America.”

By football, he means the game played with your feet and with a ball. In our parlance, soccer.

“You see,” he continues, referring to American football, “in America the action is deliberately kept short so that the sponsors can get in as many commercials as possible.”

June 25, 2014

As it has for the past 30-odd years, my White Dawn rose has blossomed the third week of June. I call it the Tuna Rose as the bloom coincides with the arrival of giant bluefin tuna into our local waters. Or so it was in the ’80s when I planted this young rose.

June 18, 2014

I get the feeling that some of our prosperous institutions and second-home owners here are engaged in a race to the bottom to see who can be top Scrooge.

A wealthy East End school announces it will cease paying salaried employees for their 30-minute lunch period. This amounts to a 6-percent pay cut. A country club in sound financial condition awards a 2-percent pay raise to its staff, then, pleading poverty, reduces its health insurance contribution by an amount that surpasses the salary increase.

June 11, 2014

Nothing new here. I ride my bike through the streets and it’s all the norm — loud pink taxis swooping up fares, red buses chugging up Sukhumvit Road, growling mobs of motorbikes mustering under traffic lights. I do not see a single soldier, gun, or tank. Everyone seems intent on business as usual.

Wasn’t there a coup d’état here last night? Aren’t we under martial law?

Looking a little closer, however, the evidence is there: The traffic sprawls much farther than usual, and is even more chaotic.

June 4, 2014

As we honor the 70th anniversary of D-Day this week, it is worth noting that the number of surviving veterans of World War II is tiny. Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, only about 16,000 were still alive in 2012, one in 1,000.

At the recent rate of loss, the number of living U.S. veterans from World War II will be down to 8,000 by the end of 2014 — i.e., one survivor for every 2,000 people who served.

May 28, 2014

As a general practitioner on eastern Long Island for 25 years, I have become habituated to tick-borne illnesses. I have had Lyme disease four times. Last summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day, while my office in Wainscott saw 100 cases a week, a tick the size of a poppy seed almost killed me.

May 21, 2014

By Hy Abady

     "There are eight million stories in the Naked City." So closed a black-and-white series on TV when TV was limited to fewer channels than fingers on two hands. And the Internet might have been a brand of hair spray with a penetrating quality.

     There must be many, many more stories now. But the story I want to tell is one of what must be the stories of hundreds of thousands of single women in the city. From 45 to death. Divorced, widowed, alone, and at various stages of unhappiness.

May 14, 2014

    After I dropped off my daughter, Elizabeth, at L.I.U.

May 7, 2014

    Finding the perfect gift for someone can be difficult. It requires knowledge of the recipient, creativity, budget considerations, and expectations of how the gift will be received. This year I got a gift chosen with love.

April 30, 2014

    Ron Fleming lived on Meeting House Lane, Amagansett. His 73rd birthday would have been April 21 of this year, 2014.

    Ron lived in a house built not long after the turn of the last century, its architecture and style from that time, similar to beach houses along Bluff Road, large, gracious, and welcoming. “The house with the red shutters,” when giving directions.

April 23, 2014

    The pictures created the questions, and perseverance revealed the story. A family photograph much like one in possession of the East Hampton Village office shows Jud Banister, who would go on to become village mayor, in military uniform, captain’s bars on his epaulets plainly visible in the village’s photo. The family also has Jud’s framed commission certificate, signed by Gov. Charles S. Whitman and Adjutant General Charles H. Sherrill, from when he became captain of one of the two New York Guard units in East Hampton formed in late 1917.

April 16, 2014

    When I was 8, my artistic parents divorced and my mother married an intelligent lawyer who took us from a small house to a much bigger house. The basement in our new house is where I learned to box.

April 9, 2014

    For me, Loehmann’s in White Plains wasn’t simply a discount department store. It was a rite of passage. My first serious pilgrimage occurred the summer before I left for Emory University. I was 17.

April 2, 2014

    I recently visited the genome exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. A genome is an organism’s total DNA, which includes the genes that provide instructions for the organism’s development and maintenance.

March 26, 2014

    My father, Edwin Courtland Mulford, was born in East Hampton on March 16, 1896. He first saw the light of day in Congress Hall, the Mulford family homestead overlooking the village green, directly across from Home, Sweet Home and what became known later as the Mulford Farm. The land on which Congress Hall stands had been granted to William Mulford in 1650, and had never been out of the family. His parents were David Green Mulford and Elizabeth Osborne Mulford, and he was descended from virtually all of East Hampton’s founding families.

March 19, 2014

    As I make up a lot of beds today, as I smooth the sheets into neat hospital corners, fluff up the down pillows, and erase any suggestion of a crease in the white matelassé bedspreads, I think about my Irish forebears who emigrated to the States and were maids. They made beds just like me. They were Irish just like me. They were all called Brigid, because their employers couldn’t be bothered to remember their real names — Fionnuala, Maeve, Siobhan, and Orla.

March 12, 2014

    I was a spitfire tomboy and only 13 when I made my first exciting escape, sneaking out at 3 o’clock in the morning, shimmying down the side of the house from my second-floor bedroom window. I was a little shaky at such a height, but I had so much adrenaline before my feet touched the ground that I thought I could fly.

March 5, 2014

    The following is a list of upcoming events that, due to unforeseen circumstances, may or may not happen.

This Week
    A benefit for the families of those lost at sea will be held at the New York Yacht Club on Sunday night. The scheduled after-dinner speaker is the actor Alec Baldwin, who has said that he feels a special connection to the charitable organization, Friends of Jonah, which is sponsoring the event, because his great-great-uncle was a waiter on the Titanic.

February 26, 2014

    Background first.

    In the 2000s, we got the fictionalized but authentic “Mad Men” advertising agency: Sterling Cooper. Some say it was meant to mimic Doyle Dane Bernbach — the real, the remarkable originator of the best advertising New York has ever known, from the period “Mad Men” took place, the 1960s. Doyle Dane, as it came to be known, ran an ad in those years for Avis under the very famous “We Try Harder” campaign.

February 19, 2014

    Several of my friends on eastern Long Island have read my new book, “Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards Into Battlegrounds,” and they have asked me to weigh in on your deer wars. So here are a couple of thoughts:

February 12, 2014

    By the summer of 1979, I had lived in New York City for just over a year, toiling away in a lowly position in the public relations office of a dance company. I was 26 years old but still surprisingly starry-eyed for someone that age. I had caught the bug for writing. Not fiction — I can’t make up a story on a dare, has always been my refrain. I saw myself as an opinionator, an essayist, and thought my own name’s resemblance to that of the great E.B. White to be of vague significance.