The East End, or at least the South Fork half of it, is like a sponge filling up with more and more people and events every year. Sometime in the almost forgotten long ago, the sponge would begin expanding on Memorial Day and shrink again come Labor Day. Nowadays, the sponge gets heavier and heavier earlier and earlier in the season and, while it does begin to slim down in September, it doesn’t really resume its normal shape until after Thanksgiving.
They say children are overscheduled in this day and age, but what about us?
In early May — for example, the weekend of May 9 to 11 — there were so many things possible in this “best of all possible worlds” (to quote from “Candide”) that deciding what to do became a matter of ruthlessly sorting priorities. This is a perfect time of year for lingering and browsing outdoors, and if you were so inclined on Saturday, there was a community yard sale and a community flea market. On the way, you could have stopped at a couple of plant sales or a free family day at one of East Hampton’s showplaces.
If you were interested in picking up a real neighborhood bargain or two, the classifieds in The Star’s Thursday edition and on its website were enticing: Some 14 private-residence yard, tag, and estate sales were advertised, with goods from vintage designer clothing to carpenter’s tools, as well as the usual cast-off kitchen gadgets, toys, and patio furniture. Fiestaware, anyone? Frette linens?
Jack Graves’s weekly lineup noted eight local sporting events you could watch or take part in, starting on Friday night — from tennis tournaments to paddleboard races — and that didn’t even include the more low-key neighborhood games and the physical programs at the Montauk Playhouse.
Not being particularly drawn to bargain-hunting or athletics myself, I narrowed down my choices by focusing on the arts. Nevertheless, I had to pass up some events I would have really liked to attend; there were just too many possibilities. My dance card contained opera live from the Met in HD at Guild Hall; a panel celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Fridays at Five series of book lectures at the Hampton Library; an evening of readings by the poets Grace Schulman and Toi Derricotte; Richard Barons’s talk on local quilts at Clinton Academy, and the final program in the Parlor Jazz series, with the acclaimed Houston Person on sax.
I didn’t even consider going to Southampton or Shelter Island for two other concerts, or to a number of intriguing lectures at other museums. Forget the art gallery openings that beckoned. Never mind the nature walks and outings with grandkids.
How many guided walks, recitals, marathons, open houses, live broadcasts, puppet shows, charitable teas, craft fairs, kiddie carnivals, book signings, eco-symposiums, club breakfasts, lectures, lessons, tutorials, sing-alongs, and potato-sack races can we absorb?
Clearly, our population has boomed and boomed again if there are enough customers and partiers around to support all of this. I am sure I am not the only one who pines for the days when you went to an art opening or music night and waved hello to three-quarters of the people in the room.