Recent Stories: Opinion

October 15, 2014

Beryle Huntting Stanley inscribed “With Nancy, 1947” on the small black-and-white photo. Her daughter, Carol, and a friend, Nancy Parsons, look back at her, their faces in the afternoon sun. Carol’s slightly pained expression, likely similar to that of many 31/2-year-olds, bears that “Mom, do you have to?” look.

October 8, 2014

“What a great country we have here when it decides to be.” — John Updike
 
“We know now that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt
 
In September 1932, Franklin Roosevelt crossed the country to San Francisco to give a speech that contributed mightily to his landslide election to the presidency six weeks later. I yearn to hear the likes of it today from Hillary Clinton.

October 1, 2014

The East Hampton Town Board recently proposed a rental registration law that has become the topic of much debate. Ostensibly it is designed to address the problem the town has long had in enforcing the existing laws prohibiting group and transit rentals. Unfortunately, the proposed law does not really solve this problem in a meaningful way, although with a few tweaks it could be a lot more effective.

September 24, 2014

In 1961 I was 8 years old and Sandy Koufax was the most dominant pitcher in baseball. He was also my favorite player. It wasn’t common in those days for girls to collect baseball cards, but I did. The only card I did not have was Sandy Koufax.

September 10, 2014

With all of the iPhones, iPads, tablets, laptops, and other devices teens have access to these days, you would think textbooks would be a thing of the past . . . right? Guess again. Carrying around heavy backpacks all day can be very detrimental for growing students, causing stress fractures in the back, inflammation of growth cartilage, and nerve damage in the neck and shoulders. Even with the advancements in technology, the burden of the backpack has not been lifted, in fact it has only increased.

September 3, 2014

I discovered the eminent economist William Vickrey, a 1996 Nobel laureate, in an odd way. Although I’ve written about Wall Street and money for many years, my academic background was not in economics, but in American literature. So when I was looking for a pungent epigraph for “Up From Gold,” my 2012 book on the development of our modern dollar-based economy, I thought of a quip by Gertrude Stein (the doyenne of American writers in 1920s Paris, famous for “a rose is a rose is a rose”). As I remembered it, she said, “Economics is simple.

August 28, 2014

Though the wages are low, man, I don’t get the willies actually starting a new and vastly different career at the overripe age of 66. A part-time summer salesman job in Amagansett, to help out during the busy season.

I came to this decision out of sheer boredom. What to do now that I was doing nothing? So I agreed to sell antiques and tabletop accessories and beach bags and candles and whatnot in a lovely “lifestyle” store, as I adapt to my new lifestyle of retirement-slash-unemployment.

August 20, 2014

“You need to put the sound of a Ferrari, a Porsche, or a McLaren engine in the sound system. When the driver starts the car, he turns a dial and can pick out whatever engine noise he wants that day.” Accosting a board member of a European car maker in a Florida post office, my husband was half-jokingly pitching his brainchild with, atypical for him, enthusiasm.

August 13, 2014

My 11-year-old self is sitting in a chair from Ebbets Field, drinking from a bottle of Pepsi, checking out the charms of the August 1969 Playboy Playmate. I stop staring into Debbie Hooper’s siren eyes when I hear a shout from John F. Murray Jr. — owner of this deck in Wainscott’s Westwoods, forever Brooklyn Dodger fan, supplier of Pepsis and Playboys to hemi-hormoned boys like me, my honorary uncle, and author of the new novel “The Devil Walks on Water,” my current number-one book.

August 6, 2014

Late last fall, I abandoned my signature close-cropped hair for a look that I thought would be less severe and more forgiving to a man of a certain age. Outgrowing the modest tonsorial skills of my partner, David, I retired the home clippers and sought the aid of a professional. And so that is how I found myself in Dustin’s chair.

July 30, 2014

The language of the ocean is vital to anyone who enters. A failure to recognize a rip current or a misreading of the imminent collapse of an approaching large wave can drag any swimmer down in seconds. Comforting thought, I know.

For bodysurfers, timing a wave can make all the difference between a great ride and eating sand the hard way. Before I head into the ocean I take a look around to see how the waves are breaking, and to see if there is a noticeable rip current.

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.