Letters to the Editor - 06.30.11

Gaudy Bright
    East Hampton
    June 22, 2011
To the Editor:
    East Hampton Village was once vigilant about signs. Along Main Street and Newtown Lane, each store had to be similar in lettering, coloring, and size to the other nearby stores. By requiring approval of signs, the village maintained a consistency and a serenity; it never looked tacky, random, or gaudy. When did the village stop caring?
    One striking example is Big Drop: New York City on Newtown Lane. Matching nothing, using gaudy bright colors, the sign is loud, offensive, tasteless, and ugly. If every store were to follow suit, could neon and electronic signs be far behind?

Natural Wonder

    New York City
    June 27, 2011
To the Editor,
    The title of your front page article “Hostility Greets Dream of Restoring View” is both accurate and inaccurate. Restoration is the goal of some of us, but hostility isn’t anyone’s approach. There is a difference of opinion and perspective with all sides using available channels to voice their ideas and expectations. It is not meanspirited, threatening, or hostile.
    I have lived in and loved, for more than 20 years, a historic summer cottage on Bluff Road. It is a house my husband purchased four decades ago. We are strident keepers of this piece of history, taking our duty to the house, our neighbors, and the community very seriously.
    Bob Silverstone is not correct when he states my motivation is so that I can see the ocean from my windows. I can see the ocean just fine. It’s not the point.    Rona Klopman’s concern for the use of all too few town dollars is fiscally responsible but assumes the only source of money would be the town.
    According to the East Hampton Town Board Bluff Road Historic District Guidelines Manual’s Overview, what makes the East End of Long Island unique to almost anywhere else in the world are the verdant lawns and gardens abutting the dunes and ocean. The document continues by specifically mentioning “the relationship of these summer cottages to each other and to the Atlantic Ocean is a defining feature of the historic district.”
    After years of neglect, nonindigenous vegetation and trees have been allowed to grow — uncontrolled — in the dunes. The public’s view is all but blocked.
    I invite everyone to visit the back area of the Marine Museum or, better yet, the classic-boatbuilding facility, to see just how spectacular the view can be and how invasive the growth has become.
    Easier still is to sit on one the benches west of these public buildings. What can you see — acres of invasion. When the first bench was placed you could view the ocean. Now, even if you stand on the seat, you can’t see past the plants. Strollers, beachgoers, and area residents can no longer take in the water as they walk along the path that was built not only for their safety but their enjoyment. Left to her own devices Mother Nature will take more of the dunes pushed by plant life never meant for the area.
    The town has many responsibilities to its citizens and the land. There are few more historically and ecologically important places in the Town of East Hampton than the Bluff Road Historic District. How can we say we are maintaining the integrity of the area if we allow our greatest natural wonder to be invaded?
    Nancy Nagle Kelley, a woman I respect and admire for her intelligence and dedication, appears to be offering a first step, a good test, when she suggests the grassy areas be addressed.
    I ask all concerned to support her recommendation and consider my perspective.
    Yours truly,

Catch a Glimpse
    June 25, 2011
Dear David,
    It is hard for me to understand how anyone can greet the good news that some citizens of our town dream of opening up, “restoring,” some views in and around East Hampton that have too long been obstructed by hideous jungles of no beauty whatsoever, in addition to being the home of invasive species that are a blight on the landscape and a danger to our native species.
    I’ve been complaining for years now about the mess that sits directly across from my house, and have been told, somewhat self-righteously, that it’s really a nature preserve, home to all sorts of wildlife.
    Rats are about all I can imagine inhabiting that dreadful place — rats and some of our youth, choosing to build fires there, drink beer, and engage in sexual pursuits. The signs of all this wildlife are everywhere — or were, the last time I dared go in there to investigate.
    When last summer’s tornado-like storm raced through Springs, hitting my beautiful old maples hard, killing one and crippling another, it went on to cross the street into the wilderness, adding a bunch of fallen limbs and trees to the already ugly view. Summer or winter, there’s nothing lovely about this patch. I know there are other spots like that, and I can’t for the life of me see how anyone can cherish them and want to protect them.
    And it wasn’t always like that. Once upon a time, the area around Pussy’s Pond was meadow, beautiful meadow, itself a home to various kinds of wild creatures. I have a photo taken at a time when there was already color film that shows my house as seen from School Street, clear as can be, taken by Kelly King from his house. It gladdens my heart every time I look at it, for I know I could probably catch a glimpse of Accabonac Harbor, if there were still meadow around Pussy’s Pond. Certainly I could see the open heart of Springs: Ashawagh Hall and the Presbyterian Church, the pond, of course, the library, and the General Store, which was once Dan Miller’s store in the time of Jackson Pollock.
    I would give anything to be able to see all that every time I go out the front door, to pick up the mail or retrieve the paper, and am thrilled to think that — thanks in part to Councilman Dominick Stanzione — I might yet be able to do it. Just don’t be too long about it, because I won’t live forever, and I’m getting there, day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year.
    The iconic views we have of East Hampton, as portrayed by countless artists, all manage to show our shingled houses nestled in a landscape that lets the sun and the wind and the beautiful light off the sea penetrate the grand — even as it is homely — place where we live. Of course there are trees. (I think of my grand maples and other copses and small woods, shading a small cemetery perhaps, or a pond.) We’d see the harbor again as we traveled along Fireplace Road and come face to face with a past that serves to be recalled.

Deer Fence
    East Hampton
    June 27, 2011
Dear David,
    As full-time residents of the area located at Roberts Lane and Cedar Street, we strongly oppose the Town of East Hampton’s leasing the acreage to the people who want to start a vineyard and put up a deer fence. (“Grass or Grapes,” June 23).  My fellow residents and I will be much happier if the town follows the Purchasing Department’s proposal to rent the acreage to Aidan Furlong. It sounds like Mr. Furlong will make fine use of the land and will not need to fence in the property, nor will he infect the land with awful herbicides and pesticides.
    If Theresa Quigley wants to help the vineyard industry grow in East Hampton, surely there are other places where tall fences will not be a problem and where the deer population is not the nuisance that the neighbors in this immediate area feel it is.
    We suggest the town board members park their cars for a few hours on Roberts Lane near Cedar Street and observe the frequent comings and goings of the deer.  If forced off this land, deer will be roaming more than usual onto neighboring properties (which includes jumping over four-foot-plus fences to find some grub — tasty hostas, hydrangeas, geraniums, impatiens, among other goodies). Many more deer will also be darting into the roads and intersections, unsafe at most times in this area because of careless and/or drunken drivers. Young and old, our deer will be dead meat.    
    Have a heart, Ms. Quigley and town board. Go with Hamptons Grass and Bamboo.
    BAMBI and the GANG
    (As Told to Eileen Obser)

Denied Access
    East Hampton
    June 26, 2011
To the Editor,
    Is it really reasonable that I must renew the lease on my car simply to have a back window on which to affix that parking sticker? I had always believed that as a resident of East Hampton, I was entitled to park at the town beaches. Not so, says the clerk at Town Hall.
    I have been using Mint Car (a competitor to Zip car). I rent as needed, by the hour, and no longer need to pay for insurance, gas, maintenance, or a garage. For me, it’s a much better solution than owning and keeping a car in the city.
    However, in the infinite wisdom of small-thinking government, I was refused a beach parking pass. They explained that a pass needs to be registered to a specific vehicle. When I told them I secured the same vehicle every weekend, they countered with, “The car gets returned at the end of each weekend and, until you pick it up the next Thursday, someone may rent the car during the week, drive out and park at the beach.”
    This is absurd.
    I am the resident, not the car. As an East Hampton homeowner, I should be entitled to a beach parking permit. It should not be contingent on whether or not I own a car! I should be able to address my own transportation to and from the beach — whether I rent, borrow my dad’s car, or invite my friend Robert for the weekend and use his car. I, me, the homeowner and resident, should have the right to park at the beach in whoever’s car I choose. I own. I pay taxes. That should be enough!
    This hourly car rental service is a major shift in how urban people address their transportation needs. It lowers their expenses significantly and aligns with their eco or green values — and is expected to grow by 15 to 25 percent over the next five years. There is no reason that residents who exploit this service should be penalized and denied access to beach parking.
    This car rental concept needs to be addressed by the town board. There needs to be a reassessment of the criteria that qualify one for a beach pass — and one without a double standard (little secret here: Even though the passes are “nontransferable,” hotels in town are permitted to let guests use them temporarily).
    Thankfully, for me, I was able to speak to Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, who was able to secure me a pass. The condition? I must stick the pass to my window, scrape it off after every weekend then bring the pieces back to Town Hall each and every week to get a new one. Really?