Bridgehampton's Main Street was the site last Thursday of an impassioned protest that drew some 40 people protesting the possibility of a CVS pharmacy and convenience store at the intersection of Main Street and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike. Calling themselves Save Bridgehampton Main Street, the group expressed contempt in no uncertain terms for the planned two-story building, which is to have 9,000 square feet of retail space and a 4,400-square-foot basement.
Those who turned out seemed to be largely year-round residents hoping to get seasonal residents to join the fight. Many said they did not have anything against CVS per se, but thought such a large store in that location would exacerbate traffic and detract from Bridgehampton Main Street's charm.
Four roads, Lumber Lane and Ocean Road in addition to Main Street and the turnpike, converge at the intersection, as does an access road for the building that houses Starbucks.
"I live down that road and it takes me three traffic lights to get through this intersection. And to have a huge chain-store open from 8 a.m. to 11 at night! I like CVS and their anti-cigarette campaign, but they were turned down from Sag, and I don't see why we should be stuck with them," said Carey Millard, an organizer of the demonstration.
The Topping Rose House, an upscale restaurant and hotel in a historic building, the 1840 Nathaniel Rogers House, which is being restored, and Almond restaurant, in another one of Main Street's oldest buildings, are on three of the corners of the intersection.
"We're a charming hamlet that doesn't need an oversized store that is way out of proportion to the town", said Julia Douglas, who had just waved a "HONK!" sign at a large truck, which did do so.
"Bridgehampton should have a nice entrance to town like East Hampton. We are working hard to get the town to buy it and make a park out of it. This is a historic street; it's just not appropriate, we have a shopping mall already," Peter Sughrue said, manning one end of a long sign reading "CHAINSTORE HERE?"
Saying the new building would be "a terrible eyesore," Otis Pearsall, who has lived in Bridgehampton all his life, asked "Did you know that this used to be the site of a historical tavern, Wick's Tavern? They knocked it down in the '40s, but it stood here in my childhood."