Progress Is Optional - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2009129

Progress Is Optional

I came to Southampton in December 1972 to take over a gas station on County Road 39 that had been boarded up. My new wife and I had to rent an apartment in Riverhead.

I got my first gas delivery near the end of December. Soon after, the first gas embargo started. This was not a good thing (for anybody).

I was very fortunate to have been accepted into the community, as I had been told by several people that I would never be considered a “native” (those “natives” had landed at Conscience Point, from Lynn, Massachusetts).

One of my first contacts with a local was a fellow from Essay Oil. I needed the oil burner serviced, and Essay’s sticker was on the unit. His name was Joe Gilmartin. When he found out I was of Italian descent, he promptly called himself Joe Gilmartino. Joe was the salt of the earth type and became a good friend. He told me that the locals liked to keep the money in the local economy. Truer words were never spoken. I learned that lesson well.

I am writing because, after reading the newspaper on August 4, I saw the unending efforts to change the East End. So I am including a quote from the internet:

You came from there

Because you didn’t like it there,

And now you want

To change here to be like there.

You are welcome here,

Only don’t try to make here like

There. If you want to make

Here like there, you shouldn’t

Have left there in the first place.

Some of the things that have changed:

The Bridgehampton Racetrack, a world-renowned road racing course, gone, because the folks who bought properties around the track area deemed it too noisy. They probably got good deals on those properties due to the existence of the racetrack. When there were enough owners, they protested the track and it was gone, only to become a golf course known as The Bridge. Well, at least they have some restrictions on what they can fertilize the grass with — or do they?

Now we have “affordable housing” proposals — but Bay Street Theater couldn’t build on the same ground. Lo and behold! The ground is too contaminated for a theater but okay for housing?

Things are changing in Southampton, too: the affordable housing proposed for County Road 39, behind a church. Well, the trade parade shouldn’t be affected by that — it doesn’t move that fast anyway. A sports something-or-other pool off Tuckahoe Lane, on Community Preservation Fund-purchased land. Traffic? No problem, it shouldn’t affect the trade parade either.

I like it here and wouldn’t change it. But, change is inevitable — and progress is optional.

John Piazza