As Russell Drumm reported this week in the fishing news, the fall striped bass run has begun and fanatics from near and far are heading to Montauk Point to get in on the action. At the same time, late summer and fall can produce the best waves of the year, drawing surfers and sightseers as well to the Point, where the town is responsible for a small parking lot reached by a bumpy gravel road, from which one can quickly step onto the beach at Turtle Cove.
By an arrangement worked out some years back, the parking lot is closed during the summer and open when the fishing and waves are good. But like any number of other public beach accesses the Town of East Hampton manages, this one is a bit of a mess — both visually and functionally — and unnecessarily so, although the fix would be simple.
We happened to be there just this past Sunday and watched as a town marine patrol officer reluctantly wrote ticket after ticket for vehicles that, to our eye, were not parked illegally. It turned out that, though the area in terms of space can hold perhaps a dozen vehicles, there were only legal spaces for six; three handicapped spots were clearly marked, but signs denoting the other three were unclear, if they were visible at all. No visitor — or town official for that matter — could fairly have a clue as to what was a legal spot and what was not without a map.
So we asked the officer whose responsibility was it to clarify the confusion to put up more signs and spare well-intentioned people an expensive parking summons. The answer? The East Hampton Town Board, some of the same folks, we thought, who wanted to open up a new ocean bathing beach on Napeague. Oh, yeah. Right. Great idea. And we went about our business.