Tag Archive | "East Hampton"

East Hampton Farm Museum to Revive the Past

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The Selah Lester House at the corner of North Main and Cedar streets in East Hampton will open next week as a town farm museum, focusing on life at the dawn of the 20th century. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

In 1900, on the cusp of the 20th century, East Hampton was still a sleepy, farming and fishing community, with a growing summer colony, whose residents lived a life apart from the town’s year-round inhabitants. Modern conveniences, like electricity and indoor plumbing, were a luxury reserved for the well off. Other inventions, so common today, like the automobile, were still a novelty, rarely, if ever seen on local streets.

Within two decades, the United States had emerged from World War I, the women’s suffrage movement had been a success, and radios and telephones were in most houses. The modern world as we know it was in full swing.

A major goal of the East Hampton Town Historical Farm Museum, which opens on Saturday, October 11, in the Selah Lester House at the corner of North Main and Cedar streets in East Hampton, is to present a snap shot of what life was like in East Hampton during that period of transition.

“That’s why we picked 1900. It was a time of great change,” said Prudence Carabine, the chairwoman of the museum committee, who offered a preview tour to members of the press on Thursday, September 25.

“I also looked at all the other museums that are within a visitor’s driving distance, and none of them were focusing on this period,” she added. “I wanted to pick a timeframe that has never been explored.”

The three-acre property is owned by East Hampton Town, which also invested about $200,000 into renovating the 18th century farmhouse, which was moved to the site by sled from Amagansett in the late 1800s when Selah Lester bought the property.

Today, the two-bedroom cottage is freshly painted, with finished floors, including wide pine planks on the second floor. A collection of furnishings, kitchen utensils and other common farmhouse tools continues to grow, as Ms. Carabine and other volunteers plan ways to display it in a way that will allow school children the opportunity to handle objects, while protecting them from damage and possible theft.

“We want kids—and adults—to turn off their phones, turn off their gadgets,” said Ms. Carabine, “to see that things were different.”

A wood-burning stove—modern in that it was convertible to natural gas—that was salvaged from the Tillinghast house on Woods Lane sits in the kitchen. Nearby sits a wash tub with a handheld agitator that looks like a metal drain plunger, is in another corner. An old icebox sits in a side room, reminding the visitor that a cold beer was not always easy to come by.

Items ranging from old eyeglasses, tintype photos and hand tools rest on a table in a side room. In a dining room/parlor, dishes and silverware (from Sag Harbor’s Alvin Silver Company) are on the table, and a melodeon, a small pump organ, is on display.

Another side room is furnished with benches and a wide screen television. Rotating exhibits will be displayed on the walls, and a loop of videos, showing old East Hampton residents talking about the good old days, will be shown on the television.

On the second floor, two bedrooms are well furnished with beds typical of the era, bed clothing, and quilts and furnishings.

The museum committee is still in seeking donations of period clothing, toys and other artifacts that can be displayed at the site.

Ms. Carabine said the museum plans to have 50 to 70 docents trained, so it can be open at least one day a week with two on hand at all times. That way, volunteers would only have to work a day a year she said.

The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. At its grand opening, Gaynel Stone, the noted archaeologist, will oversee the start of a dig, which hopes to uncover the foundation of an old Dominy mill, which had been used as a wind-powered saw mill. Alex Balsam of Balsam Farms will lead volunteers in planting garlic, which Ms. Carabine hopes will deter deer from foraging in the period garden she hopes to plant behind the house. East Hampton native and teacher David Cataletto will sing songs from the era, and there will be cider and donuts.

In the coming weeks, she plans to hold a pumpkin-pie eating contest on the grounds as well as sponsor talks on a variety of topics, including one by Diane McNally, the clerk of the East Hampton Town Trustees, who, Ms. Carabine points out, would not have been eligible to vote in 1900.

“What we have is a gem, it really is,” she said of the Lester house.  “We are hoping to share it.”

“Judy Gold: 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother” Comes to Bay Street Theater

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Judy Gold; Leslie E. Bohm photo.

Judy Gold; Leslie E. Bohm photo.

By Annette Hinkle

As a stand-up comedian, Judy Gold has gotten a lot of mileage out of Jewish mothers — particularly her own.

“I’m pretty sure I’m a comedian because of her contribution,” admits Ms. Gold. “I didn’t get a lot of affection, but she’s really funny, my mother, and says things that are so outrageous I’d be a fetal position if I didn’t laugh about it.”

Yes, the image of the neurotic, overprotective, self-sacrificing Jewish mother may be fertile ground for good humor, but Ms. Gold — A Jewish mother herself to sons Henry, 18, and Ben, 13 — wondered if there might be more to the matter beyond the punch line.

That part of the story is told in “Judy Gold: 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother,” Ms. Gold’s one woman show which she brings to the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor on Saturday, October 11.

“It’s the story of me becoming a mother,” explains Ms. Gold, an actress and writer who took home two Emmy Awards for writing and producing “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.” “Initially, I wanted to see how I fit into that stereotypical Jewish mother role. I was always criticized by the Jewish press for promoting a stereotype. But it’s not exactly a stereotype if it’s coming out of my mother’s mouth.”

So Ms. Gold and playwright Kate Moira Ryan hit the road in an effort to meet with a cross-section of Jewish mothers to see if their philosophies, motivations and relationships were similar to her own. Over the course of five years, they traversed the country talking to 50 Jewish women about their lives and experiences as spouses and mothers.

“We interviewed women all over and they were so not like each other,” says Ms. Gold. “It was an incredible journey, I can’t even tell you.”

Ms. Gold and Ms. Ryan turned those interviews into a book titled “25 Questions for a Jewish Mother.” Ms. Gold’s monologue, based on the book, premiered Off-Broadway in 2006 at the Ars Nova Theater in New York City. In it, Ms. Gold assumes the identity of many of the women she interviewed. The show won the 2007 GLAAD award for Outstanding New York Theater and while she is well-known for her comedic abilities, Ms. Gold notes there are some seriously poignant moments in this piece.

“It’s funny, but it’s also intense,” she explains.

Among the Jewish mothers Ms. Gold and Ms. Ryan met in their travels was a group of ultra Orthodox women living in Queens. Ms. Gold recalls that the husband of one of the women stood by the stairwell all evening listening to their discussion.

“When we were leaving, he said ‘I’ve known most of these women for over 40 years, and I feel like I now know them for the first time,’” says Ms. Gold.

The reason for that was simply because no one had thought to ask them the questions before.

“I feel it wasn’t like an interview to psychoan1alyze them, but an opportunity for them to tell their side of the story,” says Ms. Gold. “I felt like for the first time in a long time, if ever, these women were being asked about their lives instead of their kids or their husbands’ lives.”

One Orthodox woman shared a story about her daughter who was dating a man she didn’t approve of.

“She was so mean to the guy they broke up,” says Ms. Gold. “From the mother’s point of view this was the best thing she could do for the daughter.”

But when Ms. Gold interviewed the daughter, she told her that she never forgave her mother for driving the man away.

Mothers insinuating themselves in their children’s relationships came up more than once in her travels, and Ms. Gold tells another story of a mother who virtually disowned her son after he married and had children with a non-Jewish woman.

“She cut it off and sat Shiva as if they were dead,” says Ms. Gold. “A few years later, the mother was waiting in a doctor’s office with another woman who had little kids with her. She commented on how well behaved the kids were. The doctor came out and yelled for Mrs. Hoffman, and they both got up.”

“She realized those were here grandkids and that woman was her daughter-in-law,” adds Ms. Gold. “She never went to that doctor again.”

And she never talked to her son and daughter-in-law or saw her grandchildren again.

While the women all had very unique and personal stories to share, Ms. Gold found there was one common denominator among them all.

“When we did the interview at a home, they always had food,” says Ms. Gold who adds that the show also includes extremely moving stories shared by Holocaust survivors and their children.

It’s hardly the sort of material one would expect from a stand-up comedian, but Ms. Gold stresses that this monologue offers audiences a much different experience.

“I love doing standup, but I have more dimensions than just telling jokes,” says Ms. Gold. “In a comedy club you have to keep them laughing every 30 seconds. But when you go in a theater, people are sitting and ready to listen.”

And with “25 Questions For A Jewish Mother,” audiences will get an earful. While the show offers an in-depth look at one very specific demographic, Ms. Gold is pleased to report that it has universal appeal.

“So many people come up to me and say ‘I’m not Jewish, but I have the same mother,” says Ms. Gold. “It doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s a story many people can relate to.”

“Judy Gold: 25 Questions For A Jewish Mother” is Saturday, October 11 at 8 p.m. at Bay Street Theater, Long Wharf, Sag Harbor. Tickets are $59 to $89. Call 724-9500 to reserve or visit baystreet.org.

Glackens & Barnes at The Parrish Art Museum

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William Glackens (American, 1870–1938) The Little Pier, 1914 Oil on canvas 25 x 30 inches The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia and Merion, PA; BF497

William Glackens (American, 1870–1938) The Little Pier, 1914 Oil on canvas 25 x 30 inches The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia and Merion, PA; BF497

The Parrish Art Museum’s “Curator’s View” series will present an illustrated lecture about the lifelong friendship between artist William Glackens and the collector Albert C. Barnes by Judith Dolkart, The Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, on Saturday, October 4 at 11 a.m.

Ms. Dolkart served at The Barnes Foundation as Gund Family Chief Curator and Deputy Director of Art and Archival Collections prior to her appointment at the Addison. In the talk, presented in conjunction with the Museum’s current special exhibition, “William Glackens,” Dolkart will share her unique perspective on the relationship between the American artist and Mr. Barnes.

Born in 1870 in Philadelphia, Mr. Glackens met Mr. Barnes when the two attended Philadelphia’s Central High School. Years later, Mr. Barnes, who amassed great wealth in chemical ventures, would send Mr. Glackens to Paris with $20,000 to purchase art by Pierre Auguste Renior and Alfred Sisley. Mr. Glackens returned with 33 paintings, prints and watercolors including work by Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Maurice Denis, Pablo Picasso, and Camille Pissarro. This began the alliance that would create one of the most important collections of modern art in America.

The lecture compliments The Parrish Art Museums exhibition of Mr. Glacken’s own artwork, the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s work since 1966. That exhibition will be on view through October 13.

For more information, visit parrishart.org.

“Still Alice” Will Close Hamptons International Film Festival

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Kristen Stewart and Julianne Moore in "Still Alice."

Kristen Stewart and Julianne Moore in “Still Alice.”

The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF), October 9 through October 13, announced this week the festival will close with the U.S. premiere of “Still Alice,” on Monday, October 13 at Guild Hall in East Hampton. The film stars Julianne Moore as Alice Howard, a happily married linguistics professor who is idsgnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. The film also stars Kristen Stewart and Alec Baldwin.

“St. Vincent” will open the festival at Guild Hall on Thursday, October 9. Starring Melissa McCarthy as Maggie, the film centers on a single moves into a new home in Brooklyn, leaving her 12 year-old son in the care of a new neighbor, Vincent, played by Bill Murray. The film is directed by Theodore Melfi and also stars Naomi Watts.

“We are really looking forward to opening our 22nd edition with Theodore Melfi’s charming “St. Vincent” starring Bill Murray in a role he was born to play. Closing our festival with the US premiere of “Still Alice” featuring a mesmerizing performance from one of the great actors of our generation, Julianne Moore, is sure to be a moving end to five days of films from around the world,” said HIFF Artistic Director David Nugent.

For more information, visit hamptonsfilmfest.org.

 

Blowouts and Workouts

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Elements Fitness Studio at 66 Newtown Lane in East Hampton Village and BLOW Hampton at 59 the Circle, also in the village, are teaming up for “Beauty to the Barre” on Friday, October 3.

Elements is the East End’s newest barre fitness studio and BLOW is the area’s first blowout bar.

BLOW Hampton will offer complimentary hair fluffs with either a blow dryer or curling iron, and buns and braids for attendees of the 5:45 p.m. barre class. Attendees who provide their email address will be entered in a raffle to win a free blowout at the BLOW Hampton salon and will receive a 20 percent discount for future use at the salon.

Elements Fitness Studio will be offering fall fitness specials for purchase at the event, including $150 off its unlimited class card and the off-season discount package of 20 percent off five and 10-class cards purchased by Saturday, October 4.

For more information, contact Elements (631) 604-5445 or elementsfitnessstudio.com.

Bagging Plastic

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PIC DAVID CRUMP.TESCO PLASTIC BAGS

The Southampton Town Board will schedule a public hearing on a proposed plastic bag ban during the first week of December, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst announced at a Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee meeting on Monday.

Dieter von Lehsten, the co-chair of the Southampton Town Sustainability Committee, gave a presentation to the CAC about the proposed ban. Southampton Town uses 23 million plastic bags every year, he said, and he estimates the town only recycles about 3 million of them.

“That still leaves 20 million bags that are somewhere,” he said. Plastic bags never disintegrate entirely, he explained, but instead break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Research has shown that fish eat the tiny plastic particles, which are now a part of the food chain.

Mr. von Lehsten also said the latest research has shown there is now more plastic in the ocean than plankton.

“It is a movement which is better to do from the bottom up,” he said, adding “the politicians depend on us because we are the electorate.” In California, 78 municipalities banned the bags, he said, which has resulted in a state-wide ban.

“We want to force the issue,” he said. Mr. von Lehsten and the sustainability committee have started a letter campaign to the town board to tell it to ban the bags.

Ms. Throne-Holst said the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association are on board with a regional ban. “I think it has a lot of value if it’s done regionally,” she said of the ban.

The East Hampton Town Board has not yet set a date for an informational meeting on a potential plastic bag ban but it will be in the next few months, Supervisor Larry Cantwell said on Tuesday.

According to Ms. Throne-Holst, the plan is to have the implementation date be Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22, 2015.

Thiele, LaValle Go After PCP on Utility Poles

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Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and State Senator Kenneth LaValle have introduced legislation that would prohibit the future use of utility poles treated with pentachlorophenol (PCP) and calls for the posting of warnings to inform people about the dangers of contact with PCP on existing poles.

PCP was once commonly used, but it is now a restricted use pesticide and no longer available to the general public because of a number of health-related issues.

“The federal government has made it clear that PCP is a dangerous chemical and has outlawed its use by the general public,” Mr. Thiele said in a release. “It is to be used only for industrial use away from the general population.  Yet, this chemical has been used to treat utility poles for transmission lines in places like East Hampton that are only a few feet from residential dwellings, exposing children and families to this dangerous substance. Further, at a time when we are all focused on the degradation of our water, it is inconceivable that wood treated with this substance would be permitted to leach into the groundwater on Long Island. There are better options and those options should be implemented now.”

“This is a critical public health and safety matter.  People need to be made aware of the presence of PCP, so they can protect themselves, their children and their pets from the potential dangers posed by this chemical,” added Mr. LaValle. “This type of coating to preserve utility poles needs to be discontinued for public health reasons as soon as possible.”

Solar Developer Chosen

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The East Hampton Town Board on Thursday, September 18, authorized options for the lease of three town properties for solar array development to a California-based company. SunEdison, which has offices all over the world, responded to the town’s request for proposals to lease town-owned land for renewable energy facilities.

SunEdison have proposed to lease sites on Accabonac Highway, Bull Path and Northwest Road and Springs-Fireplace Road. The company will be required to pay rent to the town and sell electricity it produces to PSEG Long Island.

After a 90-day period, SunEdison will begin paying the town lease option payments based on the proposed mega-wattage that will be produced by each of the sites. The company is expected to pay the town up to $80,900 per year.

SunEdison will now proceed to site-plan review with the planning board and “other approvals as may be necessary for each specific project.”

During the approval process and while the company “otherwise determines the feasibility of proceeding with each project,” SunEdison will pay lease option payments to the town for up to three years. After that point, the leases will be for 20-year periods.

In other sunny news, a sales person from Green Logic addressed the town board on Thursday about a new East Hampton Building Department policy the solar company worries will deter potential panel-installers.

Lifelong East Hampton resident Sara Topping, who works for Green Logic, said the Building Department recently informed the company it must obtain new surveys upon the completion of solar panel installations. The new surveys, she said, are designed to prevent over-clearing, which “is obviously a goal and environmental issue we support,” she said.

“It really just transfers into an additional fee for the homeowner,” she said. Supervisor Larry Cantwell said he would discuss the issue with the building inspector and have an answer for Ms. Topping next week.

Taking Aim at Airport Noise

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The East Hampton Town Board unanimously adopted a resolution on Thursday, September 18, to put in regulations at East Hampton Airport in order to curtail an ongoing and increasing noise problem.

The resolution, sponsored by Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, was read aloud and discussed at a work session on Tuesday, September 16.

Without naming any specific regulations, the town board resolved to identify and adopt regulations that would address noise disturbances from the airport. Henk Houtenbos, a local pilot, spoke during the public portion of Thursday’s meeting.  He brought up a resolution passed by the previous town board on August 2012, which “announced its intent to pursue use restrictions on operations at the airport.”

“What I noticed as well is that there were two members of this council who actually voted against that resolution. It was Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc and Councilwoman Sylvia Overby,” Mr. Houtenbos said.

He asked how those two members of the board planned on voting on Thursday, and what, if anything has changed.

Mr. Van Scoyoc told him to “stay tuned.” All four of the board members present voted for the resolution. Councilwoman Burke-Gonzalez, who was absent from Thursday’s meeting, said last week the board hopes to have proposed aircraft regulations drafted by Christmas.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the board unanimously voted to send Peter Boody, senior airport attendant, to a free workshop in Washington, D.C., this month sponsored by Whereas Exelis, Inc. The company provides aircraft tracking services at the town airport.

Meet the Candidates Night Becomes One-Man Show

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U.S. Representative Tim Bishop listened to Sag Harbor resident Bob Malafronte at an evening sponsored by the Noyac Civic Council. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

What was supposed to be a meet the candidates night with U.S. Representative Tim Bishop and his Republican challenger, Lee Zeldin, sponsored by the Noyac Civic Council Tuesday night, instead turned out to be a one-man show featuring Mr. Bishop.

Citing a scheduling conflict, Mr. Zeldin first tried to cancel his appearance Tuesday afternoon, before agreeing to arrive at 9 p.m., two hours after his scheduled slot, to informally meet voters.

The Republicans sent Southampton Town Trustee Ed Warner as a stand-in, who deferred most questions of national issues to Mr. Zeldin.

Noyac Civic Council president Elena Loreto on Tuesday said that Mr. Zeldin’s camp had informed her its candidate would not be able to attend the event at 2 p.m. that day, citing another scheduled appearance upisland and despite confirming on Friday that he would appear.

Mr. Bishop said at his previous appearances before the council, helicopter noise was the chief concern. This time none of the two dozen people attending asked about that, instead peppering him with questions about everything from budgets to energy policy.

In his opening statement, Mr. Bishop said he was proud of his record of constituent service and cited his role as one of four sponsors of federal waterways legislation, which he described as one of only 26 pieces of “substantive legislation” passed by the current Congress. The bill successful, he said, because its sponsors engaged in the lost art of compromise, which, he said, has become a “four-letter word” in Washington.

Mr. Bishop said he was particularly proud of his role in helping reform the federal student loan program, which he said, ended $61 billion in bank subsidies and resulted in an additional $26 billion being funneled to Pell Grants to aid the neediest students.

“I ran for Congress because I wanted to be a voice for the middle class,” Mr. Bishop said, recounting how his father used to work an average of  80 hours a week for the phone company to put five children through college. “I used to hate the phone company because I couldn’t understand how they could make this guy who had five kids work every Christmas.” It was only when he was in college, he said, that he learned that his father had put in for the overtime.

Audience members had some tough questions. Reg Cornelia of Springs, said Democrats had prevented inquiries into many scandals.

“What bugs me the most is this IRS scandal,” Mr. Cornelia said. “You and your colleagues have done everything to thwart this investigation.”

“Your characterization is simply not accurate,” Mr. Bishop responded, pointing out that the Internal Revenue Service’s inspector general, a nonpartisan investigator, had determined that the IRS had simply not targeted Tea Party organizations in its efforts to determine whether political groups qualified for tax exempt status, but had also investigated liberal organizations.

Carole Campolo, another East Hampton resident, said the country has been brought to the precipice of financial calamity annually and asked why the federal government has failed to pass a budget since 2009.

Mr. Bishop said that while the budget itself may be an “overrated document” in that Congress achieves the same ends by passing appropriations bills, he said it was a “bipartisan failure,” said that both President Bush and President Obama had sent annual budget proposals to Congress.

Stu Jones, another East Hampton resident, said it was his understanding that no more soldiers were being sent to Afghanistan, but said his son had just received his third posting there. Mr. Bishop thanked Mr. Jones for his son’s service, but explained his being sent back to Afghanistan had to do with troop rotations, not a clandestine increase in force levels.

“If it was up to me I would have been out of Afghanistan a long time ago, and if was up to me I have never gone into Iraq,” Mr. Bishop said. “I think that was the single greatest foreign policy mistake this nation has ever made.’

James Sanford of Sag Harbor wanted to know why New Yorkers pay more for natural gas, a problem he said was caused by a shortage of pipelines and storage capability. He also wanted to know Mr. Bishop’s position on fracking.

The congressman responded that most pipelines are privately owned said he saw no “federal impediment” to more lines being built. As to fracking, Mr. Bishop said he supported Governor Andrew Cuomo’s cautious approach, saying a national policy has to be formulated for dealing with wastewater.

Gene  Polito of Noyac pressed Mr. Bishop on his support of natural gas as a source of energy, saying “global warming is for real” and carbon dioxide levels had to be reduced. “We ignore its implications at its own peril,” he said.

Janet Verneuille of Sag Harbor wanted to know what Mr. Bishop’s stance on the practice of corporations moving their headquarters offshore to save on taxes and asked if he favored lowering the American corporate tax rate.

“I think it is an obscenity that corporations are more interested in the bottom line than in the country that has allowed them to be successful,” Mr. Bishop said, pointing out that they had benefited from a publicly educated workforce and publicly provided infrastructure.

He added, though, that while the American corporate tax rate is one of the highest in the world the actual amount collected as a percentage of gross domestic product is the lowest. He said he favored reforming the corporate tax structure.

Nada Barry of Sag Harbor asked about the prospects for meaningful immigration reform. Mr. Bishop said he was not optimistic and said when the Senate passed a decent bill, House Speaker John Boehner announced it “dead on arrival.”