Tattoo Parlor Coming, Taxis Rile Citizens

Lola Snow Esperian
Lola Snow Esperian told the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee about her plan to open a tattoo parlor in Montauk. Janis Hewitt

    At the end of a Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on Monday, at which the proliferation of taxi cabs, litter, noise, and parking woes were discussed, members learned that a tattoo parlor is to come to the hamlet. Lola Snow Esperian is wading through the permit process required by the Suffolk County Department of Health and plans to open the parlor in one of the small stores behind the Washout restaurant near the train station. It will be called Lola’s Hot and Flying Tattoos.
    Ms. Snow Esperian told the committee she is 65 years old and an artist. She promised that the police would never be called to the parlor, that she would keep normal hours, and would not work on drunks. “There will be no late nights,” she said.
    According to Ms. Snow Esperian, other tattoo artists are said to be making plans to open in Montauk because of its popularity. Her daughter, Kimberly Esperian, who also attended the meeting, said her mother has been in the body art business for 38 years and has an unblemished record. The committee made no comment.
     Members complained about the number of taxi cabs that did business in Montauk this summer. Not only do cabs gather outside popular night spots and at the train station, they said, but they also filled a majority of the parking spaces on both sides of Main Street near the Montauk Chamber of Commerce office.
   East Hampton Town Clerk Fred Overton said yesterday that 75 taxi businesses had been issued permits this year and 375 cabs are currently operating in the town. No specific numbers are available for each hamlet, however.
    At the meeting, East Hampton Town Police Lt. Chris Hatch, the Montauk precinct commander, said there was no way to limit taxis as long as they display required town permits. He described the requirements and said the town charges $150 per vehicle and $200 for a business permit.
    Police officers, Lieutenant Hatch said, cite those taxis that don’t have the required stickers. But, he said, it’s a slippery slope as livery cabs might drive customers out east and then have to hang around to take them back. “So then they decide to pick up a fare while they’re waiting,” he said.
    Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione, the committee’s town board liaison, noted that the town board had a public hearing to consider refining the legislation on taxis about a year and half ago. “Where were you all then?” he asked. A member yelled out from the sizable crowd that the problem had not been as bad before this summer.
    Others said the requirements should be made stricter, with the drivers required to have a local address, and it was said that taxi companies should be charged up to $5,000 per permit. One person in the audience said cab drivers should be drug-tested.
    As far as litter, members suggested the town add more trash cans and start an awareness program. Mr. Stanzione, however, said a campaign for a clean village was an appropriate project for the Montauk Chamber of Commerce and the Montauk Village Association. “It should be a people’s campaign, and leave the town out of it,” he said. But Lisa Grenci, a member and former chairwoman of the committee, called it the town’s responsibility.
    The committee plans to invite John Jilnicki, the East Hampton Town attorney, to the October meeting to get some  answers on town laws.