Ah, the memories evoked by Annette Hinkle’s piece on John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful [“Welcome Back, John Sebastian,” Arts & Living, June 27]!
His comment on why he chose to settle in Sag Harbor in the late 1960s—that it “wasn’t all chic, which was part of its charm”—brought to mind the village of 50 years ago: the factories (five, including Grumman and Bulova), nine bars (Sal & Joe’s and The Argonne among them, but the Black Buoy was king, if you dared enter), the many grocery stores (A&P, Bohack, Schiavoni’s IGA and—farther out—Korsak’s, Cleveland’s and the Cove Deli). There were three banks, two pharmacies, two luncheonettes—the Paradise (world’s best clam chowder and baked custard) and Half-Fast Eddie’s (was that really its name?)—and five (count ’em) gas stations.
Lots of shops lined Main Street: Spitz’s appliances, Christy’s liquors, Barry’s hardware, Ivan’s shoes, Caruthers’ flowers, the Ideal, Marty the barber, Cracker Barrel baby goods, Fil-Net (great for emergency pantyhose), Basile’s work clothes “for men and boys,” the post office tucked in near the IGA. And, of course, the movie theater and the Variety—along with the IGA—still with us, thank goodness. Rocco Liccardi had his antiques shop (a touch of whimsy, heated by a pot-bellied wood stove), and Nada Barry had just opened her new venture, The Wharf Shop. The occasional bookstore would come here to die.
Nothing chic about it. Just useful.
My one brush with John Sebastian: On a winter’s day, my husband and I are chatting with Rocco in his shop, when in jingles a pretty, quite portly hippie woman in fringe, boots, rings and a cloud of patchouli. Her car has broken down. Any chance of a ride to her friend’s house over the bridge?
She seems familiar. It slowly dawns: It’s Mama Cass.
Yes, yes, we’ll drive you! She squeezes impossibly into the back seat of our red VW bug, and we deliver her to John Sebastian’s simple white farmhouse in North Haven. He gives us a cheery thank you wave as she goes in the door.
Thanks for reminding me.
Judith LongSag Harbor
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One fine body…