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Southampton Opinion

On The Front Lines

It was less than three months ago when the World Health Organization announced the first case outside of China of a new virus that had originated in Wuhan. A woman traveled from that city to Thailand, and a worldwide pandemic officially got underway. In that...

Hold Fast

By now, you’ve heard your fill about social distancing, symptoms to watch out for, using videoconferencing to stay in touch with friends and family, how to keep your kids busy, the best cleaning products to use, 20 seconds of hand washing … Here’s a message...

We Must Persevere

Who would have thought the whole world could turn upside down in just a few weeks? The rate of change has been staggering, leaving people on the East End, on Long Island, across the country and around the world staggering to keep up with a...

Life During Wartime

An ounce of prevention, the old saying goes, is worth a pound of cure. But what about when there is no cure? What’s it worth then? And is an ounce enough? As the novel coronavirus spreads nationally — and, as an official pandemic, internationally —...

Fostering Responsible Adoptions

Bringing in a new pet carries with it an awesome responsibility for the family opening up its home and hearth. It can be, in many cases, a 10-to-20-year commitment. But even before a new furry friend is brought into the household, potential adopters have an...

From The Sidelines

So often lately, New York taxpayers seem to be pawns in a game of chess: They pay the price so that some larger political score can be settled or advantage gained. New York residents get a cap on SALT deductions, and have their Global Entry...

A Recipe For Disaster

If there’s a lesson to learn this past week, as the novel coronavirus landed in Suffolk County, it’s that a lot of important organizations need to learn to better communicate in a crisis. Aeschylus said that “In war, truth is the first casualty”; that could...

Second-Guessing Steinbeck Park

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen,” said celebrated author John Steinbeck — and it appears that the committee advising Sag Harbor Village on the future of its newest waterfront park...

Hazy Justice

As Robert Weis, a Hampton Bays resident and former Suffolk County Correction officer, was sentenced to serve only five years in prison last week for the horrific years-long pattern of rape and sexual abuse of two teenage boys — at least the two who have...

All That Remains

Momentum is an intriguing thing, as sports fans can attest. When you have it, remarkable things — good things — can happen. And the only way to get it is hard work, and patience. The Shinnecock Nation has invested both, for nearly two decades, and...

Who We Are

The Reverend Karen Campbell of Christ Episcopal Church in Sag Harbor is the latest East End resident to return from the southern border with eyewitness testimony of what’s happening there, despite the politically charged rhetoric that has made conversations about immigration so difficult. But they...

See You In Court

Neither side in the battle over a proposed golf course resort development in East Quogue is likely to find ultimate satisfaction any time soon. The Long Island Pine Barrens Commission is weighing the project, but whichever way it rules this spring, the courts will be...

The Right Thing

Rare is applause at a Sag Harbor Village regulatory board hearing — they are typically dry affairs focused on setbacks and variances, bogged down in code and blueprints. But something truly important happened recently that prompted an acknowledgment at the time, and it deserves to...

One Size Does Not Fit All

The most obvious takeaway from last week’s Press Sessions event in East Hampton, “The Evolving South Fork Rental Market,” is that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to local real estate. Two topics were foremost on the minds of everyone, from panelists to...

An Unfair Penalty

Speaking of his stunning Best Picture-winning film “Parasite,” writer and director Bong Joon Ho has called it “a tragedy without villains.” It’s a shorthand way to describe the disastrous situation involving the Southampton girls basketball team, which will miss the Class B postseason despite a...

A Teachable Moment

Race remains a third rail topic in America, and Black History Month in February presents an opportunity to stride forward purposefully, or to misstep. Sometimes the line between the two isn’t very wide. Witness an exchange between two prominent local historians: Dr. Georgette L. Grier-Key,...

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

It was a quick shift — the moment when smartphones went from a device most commonly found in the hands of working adults, to one that some children expect to receive while still in elementary school. The impact of early access to smartphone technology and...

Keeping History Alive

Members of the Southampton Town Board should be congratulated for their efforts in recent weeks to preserve a piece of the town’s history. The Topping-Raynor House on South Road in Westhampton was built in 1890 for Charles Topping, who sold it to William Clark Raynor...

Room To Grow

If ever there was a project that best demonstrated the vision of Westhampton Beach Village Board members in all the work they’ve accomplished — redesigning the village’s Main Street, and setting up a planned $17 million sewer project ready to be completed next year —...

Equal For All

There has been much clamoring recently about changes enacted last month to the state’s criminal justice system, most notably the elimination of cash bail for many defendants charged with nonviolent offenses. Those opposed to the reforms are quick to point to high-profile cases — Montauk...

What Schools Should Do

Let’s start with a basic point: Medicine is a science. Certainly, there are disagreements within the medical community over its practice from time to time. But it’s generally a good rule of thumb to give credence to doctors and medical researchers when it comes to...

A Day On, Not A Day Off

“Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country” was the message of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address in 1961, less than three years before his assassination in November 1963. And, although they are probably much...

Oversight Is Long Overdue

It would be almost farcical if it weren’t so serious, but the latest news out of the saga that has become the reconstruction of the former Stella Maris Regional School building into the Sag Harbor Learning Center once more proves a point: It is incumbent...

Justice Delayed

Whatever your opinion of the “monument” erected by the Shinnecock Nation along Sunrise Highway — in this space, back in May 2019, it was labeled “ghastly”; today, having lived with it for a time, it largely blends into the background like all other roadside beacons...

An Awesome Legacy

Friday felt like a moment out of time: In a partisan world, there were no political divides large enough that they could not be bridged in service of paying tribute to Kenneth P. LaValle, who will end his 44-year career representing the 1st District in...

Celebrating Our History

As Sag Harbor Village continues to be a regional epicenter for redevelopment, perhaps now, more than ever, understanding the history of the village — a history that has defined its architectural aesthetic and helped preserve its quaint Main Street, as well as the traditions that...

An Uncivil War

Back in October, President Donald Trump retweeted a quote from Robert Jeffress Jr., an American Southern Baptist pastor and a frequent contributor to Fox News Channel, from one of his regular appearances there: “If the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office, I’m...

Candy Canes And Lumps Of Coal

And Lumps Of Coal Periodically, we hand out “Gold Stars and Dunce Caps” in this space. This time of year, it seems more appropriate to make them “Candy Canes and Lumps of Coal”: Lump of Coal: To Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, and other facilities that...

Sound The Retreat

“And so castles made of sand/fall in the sea/eventually.” So wrote Jimi Hendrix, speaking metaphorically — but it’s true of castles built on sand as well. The colossal, imposing structures along the beach might seem impervious, but the sea eventually will take them. It’s only...

Changes Are Needed

It’s to be expected that an omnibus bill, encompassing years’ worth of proposals into one piece of sweeping legislation, would require some tweaking even after it’s passed and been signed into law. The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 is certainly no exception....

A Safer Stretch

In October 2015, when 81-year-old Anna Pump of Sag Harbor, a well-known chef and cookbook author who co-owned the Loaves & Fishes Foodstore in Bridgehampton, was run down by a car in a crosswalk not far from the shop, it was a tragic wakeup call...

Clearing Up

Visiting with the Hampton Bays Civic Association last week, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman was asked about the status of the public water system in the hamlet, and a discussion about whether its woes are enough to justify a takeover by the Suffolk County Water...

Giving Thanks

It’s lovely that Americans set aside a holiday each fall for the simple purpose of taking time to reflect on the things we are thankful for. In this space, we often take the time to appreciate the abundance surrounding us on the South Fork —...

A Welcome Retreat

Organized religion has faced an uphill battle over the last two decades: As the United States has become an increasingly secular society, many houses of worship nationwide ultimately shuttered their doors in the face of dwindling numbers of congregants. As it likes to do, Sag...

A Coach’s Legacy

Carl Johnson is Bridgehampton basketball. It’s quite a statement, considering the school’s long, storied history, which includes nine state championships, second-most in New York history — all the more remarkable, considering the school’s tiny enrollment. But no single man has embodied that history in the...

A Working Board

When the dust settles, the Southampton Town Board of Trustees likely will see its four incumbents who sought reelection all returned to office, and a fifth seat filled by a former longtime Trustee who returns after taking two years away from elected office. But there...

A New Tradition

Thanksgiving is steeped in tradition. It’s a day when most people gather with family and friends, eat to excess, watch football and fall asleep on the couch. It’s also a day when, traditionally, people reflect on, and express gratitude for, the list of gifts they...

Pulling Together

A Press Sessions conversation in Westhampton Beach last Thursday, November 7, revealed a few interesting things about the upheaval going on in the village business district, as Main Street remains closed to traffic through Christmas, and merchants struggle to hang on till then. It was...

Head Games

Last week, The New York Times kicked off a special series on the future of high school football with some startling statistics: Nationally, participation in traditional 11-man football in public schools has dropped 10 percent in the last decade, and it’s down, mostly significantly, in...

The Sum Of Its Parts

There has been a lot of talk over the course of the last five years about how Sag Harbor Village has changed. And it has — from its demographics to some of the shops and restaurants that line its Rockwellian Main Street, and certainly the...

Obstacles Ahead

It’s tempting to cast aspersions at the Southampton Town Planning Board for its 4-3 vote in October approving the preliminary subdivision and site plan applications for a major golf resort in East Quogue. But the truth is that, with a tip of the hat to...

Working Together

It’s more than encouraging that the efforts of the East Hampton Town Trustees, activists and resident volunteers are paying big dividends in Accabonac Harbor, and potentially setting a precedent for an even bigger impact throughout Suffolk County once its successes become unmistakable. The issue is...

Two Sides Of A Coin

There is a fine line between “maverick” and “arrogant,” between “decisive” and “imperious,” between “confident” and “cocky” — you get the picture. Each is a perfectly minted coin, with the only thing separating its two sides being restraint and maturity. It doesn’t take much to...

We Mark Our Ballot

There’s an irony in the fact that the Southampton Town Board of Trustees used to pride itself in being “above politics,” something it stressed every campaign season. (It was a time, it must be said, when the Republican Party reliably held every board seat, which...

A Louder Voice

One voice, one vote. It’s the cornerstone of democracy. Every citizen has a voice and participates fully in choices that set the course for who runs things, and how — from local villages all the way up to the White House.But, for years, the number...

A Guiding Star

A Guiding Star Any project of note or significance almost invariably starts with a single vision. And to turn that concept into reality is usually a team effort, but it almost always requires a solitary figure with the grit and determination to actually make sure...

In This Together

In This TogetherThere is probably no subject talked about more on the East End — or one as divisive — as affordable housing.We all know the familiar refrain: Young people are moving south because they can’t afford to live here; the workforce moves farther and...

Shape Shifting

Shape Shifting The tobacco industry faced a sea change in the last decade or so, as efforts to change attitudes toward smoking, especially among young people, had a powerful effect. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that in 2013, 17.7 percent of middle...

A Big Moment

A Big MomentIt’s an old canard about newspapers and political endorsements: “Who are they to tell me how to vote?” That’s the opposite of what an endorsement is: A newspaper’s opinion page — the label is a tip-off — is where a newspaper draws conclusions...

A Choice To Make

A Choice To MakeIt’s appropriate that the presidential election will take place in 2020, because the decision to be made is very clearly coming into focus — you’d need less than perfect vision not to see it.The impeachment inquiry is just getting underway this week,...

Keeping Families Safe

In 2018, an average of 13 of the 18 beds available at the Stephanie House Residential Shelter — the emergency shelter of The Retreat, located in a secret, and therefore safe, place somewhere on the East End — were occupied every night, with children tucked...

Go Shop There

There’s no argument: Westhampton Beach has courageously taken a step into the future that other villages have contemplated, coveted, debated. But, in the end, it’s just too big to actually begin. The benefits of a new septic system, providing capacity for more commercial growth (and...

Choose A Side

It is not guaranteed to keep you from getting seasonal influenza. That is true. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the flu vaccine is generally 40 to 60 percent effective — so, in a typical flu season, it prevents an estimated 5.3 million...

Let’s Talk

It felt like a bridge being built merely by getting the two men in the same room, and talking.For all the topics discussed — the scourge of “triple net leases” (where merchants are forced to pay taxes and insurance in addition to rent), the promise...

Let The Monarchs Feast

However, the monarchs we spot at this time of year — around the Pine Barrens, and in Montauk, at spots on the Hampton Bays oceanfront and along Long Beach in Noyac, and on Napeague — they are actually local natives, having been born and grown...

Bells And Whistles

Building a new elementary school? Of course you’ll want an au courant architectural feature like a wall that creates a “shadow zone” to block the sight lines of an active shooter. And don’t forget cement block “wings” that both hide and shield students in the...

Fragile Blue Line

But what happens, over time, as the echoes of those tragedies and horrors begin repeating in their minds, wearing them down, making them question the choices they’ve made, their commitment to the job, and, in some truly unfortunate cases, their very existence? So far in...

It Takes a Village

Interestingly enough, HarborFest came on the heels of a renewed debate in the Municipal Building about how to engage local, working families, many who are being forced out of Sag Harbor by the high cost of living, in long-range planning for the village’s future. Despite...

A Conversation With Michael Hoffman

Temper Tantrum

But those flamingos. It shows that the owners of 38-42 Jobs Lane are thumbing their noses at the community, trashing a much-loved spot that was a very public gathering place for 30 years, and taunting those who might be upset by it — all over...

A Matter Of Timing

The recent announcement that the service, starting this week, is adding an evening stop in Westhampton, arriving at 6:01 p.m., was welcome news. So the teacher who stays late sometimes to lead after-school activities can now take the train every day. The hospital worker whose...

Shake The Dust

The action came shortly after a brouhaha in Southampton Village, in which surfers protested the selective enforcement of a village code restricting when and where surfers could practice their sport. That hullabaloo resulted in members of that Village Board altering their decades-old law to make...

Picking Up The Check

There are a couple of key points. One is that the visit by Mr. Trump on August 9 was purely a campaign fundraising visit — two events were held, in Tuckahoe and Bridgehampton, and they were the only scheduled events. Even the landing at Gabreski...

Gold Stars and Dunce Caps

And Dunce CapsGold Star - To Bridgehampton School officials, for letting the Bees buzz one last time in their hive. Look, it’s understandable that there was some concern about fielding a varsity basketball team made up largely of young, inexperienced players who just barely fill...

LLCs On The DL

LLCs On The DLHow does a regulatory board know if the homeowner with business before the board, or a member of the board itself, has a conflict of interest?It would certainly help if the municipality — and the public, and the media charged with holding...

Don’t Think Small

Hats off to former Mayor Sandra Schroeder and Trustee Jim Larocca for their efforts over at least four years to secure, for the Village of Sag Harbor, an open parcel of downtown waterfront land that is set to open next week as a public park....

The Unkindest Cut

Chalk it up as another first for the great State of New York: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last month signed a law making the state the first in the nation to outlaw the declawing of cats, a practice that many veterinarians and animal rights advocates...

Keep Your Distance

So far this year, the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society has responded to the strandings of four kinds of sea turtles: the Atlantic green turtle, which is an endangered species; the loggerhead, considered vulnerable; the leatherback, also vulnerable; and the Kemp’s ridley, which is critically endangered....

Alternate Realities

This is the time of year when politicians of all stripes descend upon the South Fork with hands open and palms prepared to be greased. There are dollars to be gathered, and golf rounds to be played, and cocktails to be hoisted, and shoulders to...

Exploiting Children

What is it in any culture that would allow an adult—from a billionaire jet-setter like Jeffrey Epstein to a predatory Catholic priest, to a creepy relative or acquaintance living locally on the East End, the antagonist in far too many stories in the weekly police...

Turning Point

Even in the numbing parade of seemingly daily outrages since November 8, 2016, there is the occasional outlier—something so spectacularly outrageous, so mortifying, that it still has the capacity to stun.Charlottesville was one. The event was bad enough, but President Donald Trump’s remarks afterward, about...

Gold Stars And Dunce Caps

To the Maurice Amado Foundation and the Southampton School District, for continued efforts to make sure children in the school district don’t start off the day distracted by hunger. The district announced plans this spring to institute a new “Breakfast in the Classroom” program this...

A New Era

How many news organizations last a decade? A quarter century? It’s a fickle industry full of uncertainty, and increasingly so in the days of the internet and social media offering—nay, demanding—instant gratification, and news consumers who have so many outlets to find out what’s going...

Paying The Price

Something needed to be done at the Bel-Aire Cove Motel in Hampton Bays—that much was clear. So in many ways it was a positive step forward when the Town of Southampton agreed to buy the blighted property last month for a little more than $1...

Off The Rails

East End commuters can only hope that the Long Island Rail Road derailment in Speonk on the Saturday before Memorial Day, shutting down rail service on one of the busiest weekends of the year, was not indicative of how the agency will operate in the...

Gold Stars And Dunce Caps

To the State Department of Transportation, for an indefensible example of bureaucracy in action—or inaction. Whatever your opinion of the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s proposed electronic billboards on Sunrise Highway, it’s clear that the tribe’s leaders acted in good faith and attempted to alert state officials...

Good Neighbors

Everyone knows the value of real estate on Eastern Long Island—especially as the season starts to simmer.Ospreys—those magnificent birds of prey that were nearly wiped out but have recently been rebounding—are among those seeking a roost here when each winter ends, building nests in lofty...

Most Read

1
Life During Wartime
2
A Safer Stretch
3
Candy Canes And Lumps Of Coal
4
Sound The Retreat
5
Justice Delayed
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