Letters to the Editor - 06.30.11

Gentle Soul
    June 20, 2011
To the Editor,
    The lights of Main Street appeared dimmer this weekend when the news spread about David Hartstein, a gentle soul who left us all too soon.
    It’s funny how life works. Although David and I worked and lived in the same community, it had been some time since we had seen each other, but about a month ago our paths crossed again and it felt as though time had melted away, as if it had been just a few days since we saw each other. That’s how David made you feel, he was caring and loving and listened when you spoke.
    We caught up on our children, our spouses, and our day-to-day lives. His dedication to Heather and their three children was clear as he spoke of them.
    I am so grateful that for the last month we saw each other, and I was reminded of his wonderful spirit and bright light that will forever shine.
    What a true loss to our community. David’s presence will forever be etched in my memory. Being around him made me want to be a better person. Thank you, David. I will miss you.
    Your friend,

Healing Quality
    Sag Harbor
    June 24, 2011
To the Editor,
    To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, the great cynic: “No matter what a man may accomplish in his life the number of people who turn out for his funeral depends largely upon the weather.”
    Well, Mr. Mencken would have been astonished then by the outpouring of people at the memorial that took place on Thursday in Montauk for David Hartstein — a day the skies opened up with torrential rains, replete with thunder and lightning, as if to mourn along with the 300 to 500 souls who turned out to pay respects to a true healer from our community.
    David brought a healing quality to all the relationships in his life, be they personal or professional. That became so apparent under the tent on Thursday, as the rain played drum rolls, and one, after one, after one, spoke of the beauty that was David. God bless his extended family, and God bless this community.
    I will always keep fast to the gentle friendship we shared, which was both personal and professional. We all lost a good one in David Hartstein, and way too soon.
    May he rest in peace. Shalom.

Loving Memory
    June 27, 2011
Dear David,
    In loving memory of Bertha Gladstone, who died last week early on the summer solstice. She would have turned 99 on our shared birthday in August.
    A dear friend, neighbor, and mentor, we would visit often over bourbon on the rocks or one of her simple, delicious meals.
    She read voraciously and was well known at the Amagansett Library. Until recently, she volunteered for Meals on Wheels and RSVP, calling homebound people once a week. She loved cats and fed many strays. She donated regularly to Elsa’s Ark.
    She is finally at peace with her darling Irving, who died eight years ago.
    Also, loving memory to David Hartstein, who fixed me many times after an accident.

Our Friend
    June 25, 2011
To the Editor,
    We just learned that our friend and neighbor Bertha Gladstone has passed on.
    She was a wonderful woman who reached out and helped a lot of people.
    God bless Bertha. She will be happy because she will be with her beloved husband, Irving.

My Home Port
    June 22, 2011
To the Editor,
    This month the Montauk Chamber of Commerce organized an event honoring my family and the Viking Fleet, for our contributions to the Montauk fishing community.
    A special evening was held at the Montauk Yacht Club, where over 100 people sat together, talked fish tales, and enjoyed a wonderful meal. I was delighted to share stories and reminisce with friends, colleagues, and employees both past and present.
    The Viking Fleet has grown since its inception. Today I am proud to say my son and grandsons are taking the company forward and I am trying to step back and enjoy more fishing time! This year we are celebrating our 75th year in business, and it was really enjoyable to hear how many lives this family business has touched.
    A lot of my time is now spent challenging unfair fishing regulations. This work, though tiresome, is important for the future of recreational fishing. I was moved and indeed honored to have this work and my life’s work acknowledged so publicly.
    As I mentioned on the evening, I have recently begun writing my memoirs. There are many tales to tell! I would be delighted to hear from anyone who has a story to contribute. Any old photographs or documents would also be gratefully received. Please contact my office in the harbor if you would like to participate.
    I am proud that Montauk is my home port. Montauk harbor is dear to my heart and will always be my home. The new Harbor Information Center in town celebrates the boats and businesses of the harbor. The staff of the chamber did a spectacular job putting together this wonderful resource for all of us harbor folk. Thank you.
    The Montauk Chamber does great work on behalf of our town. Thank you to all of the staff and volunteers who make the chamber as strong and successful as it is.
    I would also like to extend my gratitude to Laraine Creegan, the director of the Montauk chamber, and Carl Darenberg, a board member, for organizing the evening in my honor. Laraine and her dedicated staff put a huge amount of work into the evening, and Carl acted as a very gracious master of ceremonies, overseeing all of the festivities. Thank you also to Paul Monte, the president of the chamber board, for his continued work on behalf of us all.
    I hope Montauk enjoys a successful 2011 season.

‘Destry Rides’
    Sag Harbor
    June 25, 2011
Dear David,
    On behalf of Studio Playhouse, the Community Theatre at LTV in Wainscott, the board of directors, LTV Studio, and the entire cast and crew of our most recent production of “Destry Rides Again,” we offer our sincere thanks for your wonderful assistance and support in promoting our first play, which ran to full houses from June 16 through 18.
    By all accounts, this ambitious musical and theatrical endeavor completely supported by tireless volunteers was a success. With the written word and fabulous photos in The Star, we were able to provide evenings of enjoyment to those of the East End, and none of that would have been possible without your support.
    Again, thank you.
    Studio Playhouse

Fine Send-Off
    East Hampton
    June 27, 2011
Dear David,
    I just wanted to take a moment on behalf of all the staff and students at the East Hampton Middle School to thank the middle school PTA and parents for all their support this year.
    The decorations for the class of 2011 graduation were spectacular and it was a fine send-off for our eighth graders.
    The Middle School is a great place to educate a child, and the devotion of the PTA is part of that process.

Material Support
    June 27, 2011
Dear David:
    This past weekend the Bonac Amateur Radio Club, or BARC, held its annual emergency preparedness event at Theodore Roosevelt County Park in Montauk. It was an outstanding success.
    On behalf of all of our members, we would like to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge and thank Jim Grimes and his crew at Fort Pond Native plants for their ongoing logistical and material support given to our club. We are truly grateful for all they have done for us, and look forward to their continued involvement in our future activities. Thank you, Jim!
    Bonac Amateur Radio Club

Of the Boards
    June 25, 2011
To the Editor,
    I don’t know who to thank first, David Rattray and Janis Hewitt, for seeing the potential of the blessing of the boards, or the Lobster Roll. A Wall Street Journal writer, Jo Piazza, happened to read the Blessing of the Boards flier (created by Carey Riege) at the Lobster Roll after biking from New York City to Montauk. Her coverage peaked CNN’s interest. CNN called to ask if it could run a story. I did not see this coming. Thank you.
    Thanks to all this unsolicited press, CNN wants to possibly bring their camera crew next year. Next year it will be a fund-raiser! Several days before the blessing of the boards, a local surfer, David Hartstein, suddenly died. He left behind a widow and three very young children, one of whom has special needs. Dr. Hartstein was only 35 years old.
    Next year the Rev. Mike Reider will bless the boards at the Ditch Plain lifeguard stand located nearest East Deck and the Ditch Witch. Mark your calendars. I am in the process of seeking a mass-gathering permit (not mass in the religious sense but mass as in massive gathering of people) for 7 a.m., the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend 2012.
    Father Mike is willing to be there before St. Therese’s 8:30 Mass, and I wanted it early in the morning so as not to take away beachgoers’ parking spaces. My hope is that local surfers, like Jimmy Buffet, Bill Atkins, etc., will show up next year and that restaurants and shops will sponsor the cause. Solé East is on board to help me make this a reality next year for the Hartstein family. In the meantime, this July 15, Sole East will host a fund-raiser for the Hartsteins.
    Again, everything is in the working stages, and I thank The East Hampton Star, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and the Lobster Roll for making me see its true potential. If anyone is interested in sponsoring and/or helping next year, please feel free to contact me by telephone, 646-734-6035.

Larger Than Life
    New York City
    June 24, 2011
To the Editor:
    For Father’s Day, Bridget LeRoy wrote a poignant ode to her brilliant father — a late Amagansett resident — Warner LeRoy. His many friends also remember Warner’s, literally, larger-than-life personality, size, creativity, and accomplishments.
    In East Hampton’s artistic tradition, Warner created many breakthroughs, i.e., the restaurant as art. The bonhomie of food was enhanced by visual splendor — unique experiences that ranked with seeing great paintings, hearing marvelous music, or enjoying the natural beauty of our seashore.
    Maxwell’s Plum, Tavern on the Green, and the Russian Tea Room were three of Warner’s original and thrilling creations. In his attire, his rose gardens, and the Great Adventure amusement park, his creative fearlessness also created new standards.
    When his neighbor, the Oscar, Tony, and Emmy-winning Peter Stone, and I were enlarging Guild Hall’s Academy of the Arts’ salute to the many literary, visual, and performing artists who are our neighbors, we rarely had to look further than Warner’s salon to find similarly creative forces.
    Thanks, Bridget, for reminding us of Warner on Father’s (or friend’s) Day.

Super Addition
    East Hampton
    June 23, 2011
Dear Mr. Rattray
    I love The East Hampton Star and have had the pleasure of reading it over my 51 years of living here part time.
    I now love it a great deal more thanks to the addition of Bridget LeRoy to your editorial staff. She is fun to read, interesting in her reporting (e.g., the real estate column of June 23, and dear as in the devotion to her father, Warner, whom I was privileged to know.
    Congratulations on the super addition to your staff. The Rattrays indeed have good taste and class.

Seriously Injured
    East Hampton
    June 27, 2011
Dear Editor,
    On June 22, a seriously injured cygnet, which was obviously attacked by snapping turtles that live and prey on our innocent wildlife, was seen at Town Pond. He was severely injured; however, due to numerous concerned citizens he was picked up by the Wildlife Rescue Center out of Hampton Bays and currently is being nursed back to health with surgery planned to repair the damage to save his life.
    Each year we all enjoy the nesting of our beautiful swans, which give birth and raise the young cygnets on our Town Pond, and surely there is a way to eliminate this predator. On June 22, a mallard gave birth to nine tiny ducklings, which are in danger.
    Thank you, and hopefully this will help find a way to protect an important part of our village and heritage.

Fortunate We Are
    East Hampton
    June 21, 2011
Dear Editor,
    One only has to watch the evening news and realize how fortunate we are to live in the Northeast and especially East Hampton.
    Forest fires are going wild across the southern half of the country. Florida has been badly hurt by fires. It is no wonder we see so many Florida plates in town these days — snowbirds fleeing what was the good life there for the good life up here. Texas and Arizona are in a state of emergency with drought conditions feeding enormous forest fires. People are forced to flee, often only to return to homes that are now burned-out shells.
    The Midwest and South have been ravaged by staggering tornadoes and raging rivers. The loss of life and homes is unbelievable. Farmlands have been flooded, washing away precious topsoil. And it is still going on. The human cost is incalculable.
    How fortunate we are.
    Whatever your faith or nonfaith, look up when you get up in the morning and say thank you.