It was not surprising that at last Friday’s New Year’s Day open house, the annual floating party hosted by the Coalition of Neighborhoods for the Preservation of Sag Harbor, that much of the conversation was about the weather.
In particular, many of the several hundred guests that floated through the homes of Jacqueline Rea and Bob Weinstein and Eric Hensley, glasses of wine and wings of fried chicken in hand, spoke abut the blanket of snow which had recently fallen on the village, the blizzard that had blown through a week before, and the predictions of white stuff still expected to come.
And for some, all that slippery snow is a real problem, and when asked what issues should be addressed in the coming year, it was right at the top of the list.
“Keeping the streets safe by shoveling; it’s awful,” said village resident Martha Siegler, who added her walk downtown is hampered by those who do not clear their sidewalks.
“The biggest offenders are the Whaling Museum, the Custom House and the historical society,” claimed Siegler, who argued the walks in front of the Main Street organizations were not cleared following the last storm.
“It’s difficult to get around, it’s nonsense,” she said.
Siegler observed there was a village law requiring people to clear the sidewalks in front of their homes or businesses, and suggested the village enforce those laws.
When one guest suggested the village using snow blowers, Jean Holabird chimed in “snowblowers and leaf blowers are awful.”
For others, though, the issues ahead were less weather related.
“It’s got to be housing,” opined Duncan Haile. “Trying to find affordable places for people to live.”
“I’d say it’s Bulova; it’s terrible that it just sits there like that,” said Felix McGibbon. “Maybe the village could find some way of making it easier for them. And maybe find some way to encourage the developer to use local workers, who are currently struggling to find work, to be part of the project.”
For Miriam Dougenis, the price of living here is something that needs to be addressed.
“I think we have to find ways of keeping costs down,” she said, noting when she and her late husband first moved to Sag Harbor decades ago it was not the high-end place it has become. “The cost of living here has become very expensive.”
“Then, of course, there’s also Ferry Road,” said Dougenis, who has been leading an effort to urge the Village of Sag Harbor to purchase the piece of property at the foot of the bridge known as 1 Ferry Road. The current owner, developer Michael Maidan, hopes to build a condominium complex at the site, but Dougenis and others would like to see it preserved for public use.
“It’s the last piece of village-owned beach, and it would be nice to preserve that view,” observed Dougenis.
“Groups like CONPOSH and Save Sag Harbor, we’ve been trying to keep Sag Harbor the same,” said Dougenis. “But,” she conceded, “I suppose it has to change a little.”