Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor"

ARB Guidelines

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The Sag Harbor Village Board at its August 12 meeting amended the code to give the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review more leeway in adopting guidelines for the applications before it.

In the past, those guidelines have been listed in the code, but concerns have been raised in recent months that the ARB’s hands have been tied by restrictions from which it cannot waiver.

“There is too much specificity in the code,” said village attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr., who said that “minutiae” such as the type of windows should be a policy decision of the board. He told the board the change would leave the general standards in the code and delegate some authority to the ARB to set policy.

Only Trustee Robby Stein voted against the measure,  saying he was concerned about giving too much authority to the board.

When the ARB met last Thursday, assistant village attorney Denise Schoen said the board’s action was an attempt to allow the ARB to follow “a living document” of recommendations.

“That was a pretty monumental thing to do for the board,” she said, adding that the ARB members “should take that as a huge compliment to you because the board is relying on you to put guidelines in place. I don’t don’t think that exists in many communities.”

She agreed with Mr. Thiele’s assessment that the codified guidelines were too restrictive, saying they “hog-tied” the board and referred to the visit earlier this year by Julian Adams of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, who argued that the board should use some leeway in its determination.

As if on cue, the first applicant to appear before the ARB was David Brogna, an owner of In Home on Main Street, who had sought to replace windows in his building and had been delayed while the board tried to determine whether it had the authority to approve aluminum-clad windows, and after a brief discussion, it gave Mr. Brogna the go-ahead

ZBA Says It Will Approve Sotheby’s Office

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The space on Main Street formerly occupied by the Sag Harbor Express. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

The space on Main Street formerly occupied by the Sag Harbor Express. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

The Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals, in a straw vote on Tuesday, August 19, said it would approve the application of Sotheby’s International Realty to lease the former offices of The Sag Harbor Express at 35 Main Street.

In contrast to a hearing last month, at which several opponents spoke out against the plan, including two other local real estate brokers, and where the board left some doubt as to where it stood on the matter, Tuesday’s discussion was brief and to the point. Board members Tim McGuire, Scott Baker, and Jennifer Ponzini said they were in favor of approving the change of use request, with chairman Anton Hagen ultimately saying he would vote against it.

Board member Brendan Skislock, who was the most supportive of the request at a July 21 hearing, was absent, prompting Dennis Downes, the attorney representing Sotheby’s, to first request a month adjournment before changing his mind after hearing a majority of the board express support for the application.

“I’m conflicted on this,” admitted Mr. Hagen, who said there has been a concern about “the proliferation of real estate offices on Main Street.” He said he does not want to see “another wall of photographs of properties on Main Street. I don’t think that’s desirable.”

But he also expressed concern about the alternative. ”We don’t want a store that closes for six months a year, that could be worse,” he said.

But when polled by assistant village attorney Denise Schoen, Mr. Hagen said he would vote against the application.

“I don’t think it’s for this board to decide what kind of business” the space can be occupied by, said Mr. McGuire.

The application drew controversy when it was heard last month, with opponents saying they did not want to see another real estate office open on Main Street and arguing that in a 2009 code change that froze the number of office spaces on Main Street, the village board had agreed with their position.

But Mr. Downes, Ms. Schoen, and Richard Warren, the village’s planning consultant, told the ZBA the village board had expressly protected the rights of property owners with office uses by guaranteeing their right to switch from one type of an office to another when it adopted the code change. Former Mayor Greg Ferraris, who was in office at the time of the code change, submitted a letter to the file that said that was, in fact, the board’s intent.

But their opinions did not sit well with a number of speakers at last month’s hearing, including Scott Strough and Simon Harrison, real estate brokers who already have offices on Main Street or nearby. They argued that the village board had expressly sought to limit the number of real estate offices in the shopping district, with Mr. Strough going so far as to say he had a pay a premium to rent his own space.

“Obviously they don’t want any more real estate offices in town because it is more competition,” said Mr. Downes.

The board will issue a formal determination on the application at its September 23 meeting.

The Express moved to second floor offices in the rear of its building, which have an entrance at 22 Division Street, in the spring.

Shattering Artistic Boundaries in Sag Harbor

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“Barrister Triptych”, by Phillip Thomas, will be on display in “Shattered Boundaries,” at the Richard J. Demato Gallery.

By Mara Certic 

Post-post-colonial Jamaica, the pollution crisis in China, and the inked up working class of Ohio seem like unusual choices for an art show, and that’s the point.

A search for the unconventional has been a success, as the Richard J. Demato Gallery prepares for its last show of the summer, “Shattered Boundaries.” The desire to find something edgy has left curator Eve Gianni and gallery owner Mr. Demato with a multifaceted show in the small, two-story Main Street space.

Phillip Thomas, who will be in Sag Harbor for the show’s opening reception on Saturday, August 23, is a 33-year-old artist from Kingston, Jamaica. Mr. Demato was introduced to the young artist by local painter Eric Fischl.

Mr. Thomas received his bachelor of fine arts degree from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica, and then, after receiving a grant, traveled to the New York Academy of Art to work toward his master’s degree. Mr. Thomas graduated top of his class and was awarded a fellowship.

"Camouflage," by Phillip Thomas.

“Camouflage,” by Phillip Thomas.

It was during that fellowship that Mr. Thomas began using his art to discuss and comment on the real issues and problems in his native Jamaica. “Jamaica has been marketed to the world as paradise, a place of bliss and sheer exotic splendor,” he wrote in an e-mail on Friday. “This bliss is no doubt an exotic gaze, the cast of the non-Jamaican looking in and having very strict expectations of the culture.” According to Mr. Thomas, this has resulted in the inability to see the person before the citizen, the habits before the culture.

This has inspired him over the years, and continues to in his most recent works. Many of his paintings show empty suits—headless, handless bodies in suits, stripping down a national “catch-phrase,” presenting civility intertwined with sociopolitical violence.

Mr. Thomas has used images of matadors to represent the dualism of beauty and violence that is so rife in his home country. His work, he said, often references English and Spanish cultures “through a kind of reversal.”

“Bullfighting, then, is used only as a metaphor to talk about a kind of ‘orchestrated violence,’” he continued. “This glorified iconic ‘death dance’ presents itself in Jamaica in various ways.” The Caribbean island is known for its pristine beaches and beautiful flora, but also for its gang violence and drug warfare.

Even his media represent the chasm between the reality and perceived image of his home. “In painting, the material has been so entrenched in the history of art that its material has developed a kind of iconic presence regardless of the type of image it executes,” he wrote. Mr. Thomas has used oil paints as a signifier, he said, but the combination of that with other media has resulted in “a kind of network of idiosyncrasies.”

Ohio artist Frank Oriti’s oil portrait series also shows a network of idiosyncrasies, but in a very different way. When he found himself working at a Cleveland steel mill after receiving his bachelor of fine arts degree, Mr. Oriti was inspired to create something real.

Clarity by Frank Oriti

Frank Oriti paints the often forgotten working class in his native Ohio seen in “Clarity,” above.

“Frank’s work is also very much shattering boundaries of what we perceive as beauty,” Ms. Gianni said. “Most people think beautiful people in beautiful circumstances—he’s painting middle America.” Mr. Oriti often uses the quasi-destitute as subjects for his portraits, embracing and detailing tattoos, facial hair and looks of despair.

Mr. Oriti’s portraits will also be on display at a show supported by the Richard J. Demato gallery in Jacksonville, Florida, next month. The tatted-up figures which punctuate the gray, washed-out backgrounds of the paintings will be on show in an exhibition titled “Get Real: New American Painting.”

“Years from now, when you look back, this is really what our society looks like,” Ms. Gianni said. “And in addition to it looking like this, it also feels like this. There are a lot of people who are kind of challenged right now,” she said. “And that, in another way, kind of shatters some boundaries.”

An opening reception for “Shattered Boundaries” will be held on Saturday, August 23, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The Richard J. Demato Gallery is located at 90 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information call (631) 725-1161.

 

 

 

 

Talkhouse and Tooker: Remembering the East End’s 19th Century Legends

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William Wallace Tooker’s 1867 photograph of Stephen Talkhouse now resides in the National Anthropological Archives at the Smithsonian Institution.

By Tessa Raebeck

William Wallace Tooker was 5 years old when he found his first Algonquian flints while roaming the meadows near Conkling’s Point in Sag Harbor. When he was 18, Montaukett Indian and local legend Stephen “Talkhouse” Pharaoh gave him an arrowhead and by the time he was 20, Mr. Tooker was photographing his friend for the iconic portrait that now resides in the National Anthropological Archives of the Smithsonian Institution.

Growing up in Montauk, Kevin McCann was also interested in historic artifacts. He began collecting historical photographs in the early ’70s and in 1976, he started “The Tooker Project” after he was given the William Wallace Tooker Photographic Collection.

A rare collection consisting of the curious ethnographer’s body of work completed between 1880 and 1900 on what Mr. McCann calls “one of the great birthing areas of American culture,” the East End of Long Island, the Tooker Collection includes 84 glass plates in three different sizes. The negative sleeves of the plates, the development tool of early photography, date from October 1883 to November 1898.

Mr. McCann has been researching his collection—and the many individuals and events it captures—since it was first turned over to him nearly 40 years ago. He hopes to finish the project this year in celebration of the 175th anniversary of the birth of photography and the life of Stephen Talkhouse, who died 135 years ago on August 30, 1879, in Montauk.

Mr. Tooker, who spent his whole life in Sag Harbor, was born in 1848, the son of a merchant in the village and the great-grandson Long Island’s first newspaper publisher.

After apprenticing for many years at the pharmacy on Main Street, which some 20 owners and 150 years later remains the Sag Harbor Pharmacy, Mr. Tooker bought the store in 1875. He retired in 1897 to focus on his real passions: anthropology, ethnography and the rich history of Long Island’s indigenous cultures.

“Tooker was what they call an Algonquianist,” Mr. McCann said. “He was very involved in Indian culture… he knew many of the Montauks and the Shinnecocks.”

Over the course of his life, Mr. Tooker amassed over 1,200 Algonquian artifacts, which he sold to what is now the Brooklyn Museum of Art in order to support his wife, Lillia, and himself while he wrote his book, “Indian Place Names on Long Island,” published in 1911. Mrs. Russell Sage, Sag Harbor’s celebrated benefactor, also helped fund his pursuits.

While he found many of those artifacts, like that first flint, on his own, he also enlisted the help of his friends.

“He had a lot of people looking for Indian artifacts through the whole East End,” said Mr. McCann, adding there is documented evidence “Talkhouse gave Tooker an arrowhead from Montauk as early as 1865.”

Like Mr. Tooker, Mr. Talkhouse had a lot of friends. Stephen “Talkhouse” Pharaoh, son of Sylvester Pharaoh, was a noted figure around the East End and a Forrest Gump-like presence at some of the mid-19th century’s biggest historical events; He served on a whaling ship out of Sag Harbor, went to work in the California gold rush in 1849, fought with the Union Army in the Civil War and was billed by P.T. Barnum as the “Last King of the Montauks” while touring with the Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Around town, however, Mr. Talkhouse was known predominantly for walking. Very tall like most Montauketts, he would do a loop of 25 to 50 miles on a daily basis, often traveling from Montauk to Amagansett, East Hampton and Sag Harbor.

“He used to carry mail for people… Everyone knew him,” said Mr. McCann, adding, “He was a friend of Tooker’s, but Tooker was a friend of all the tribes.”

The young Mr. Tooker took his friend’s photo in August 1867, right around the time of Mr. Talkhouse’s 46th birthday.

The portrait, Mr. McCann writes, “is the most monumentally significant photograph that clearly documents the South Fork’s evolution as it transitions within the American experience. Sitting stoically, emanating a regal air, his ancient face representing thousands of years of lineage of his indigenous culture, he wears a handsome frock coat complete with a tie of the Western European.”

The portrait and one of his father, Sylvester Pharaoh, taken by Mr. Tooker that same day, were included in the 1869 Shindler Catalogue compiled by the Smithsonian Institution, the country’s first photographic exhibit.

“Most of the photographs from the Shindler collection are all of Indians from the West,” explained Mr. McCann, who added the photographs include both the tribes on their land out West and the chiefs and delegations that visited Washington, D.C., to try to make deals as white moved onto their homeland.

“There are no other East Coast Indians,” said Mr. McCann. “There’s no Iroquois, Algonquians, none of them from Virginia, from the South, from the North—it’s only these two from Montauk.”

Piece by piece, Mr. McCann is figuring out how Stephen and Sylvester came to be the only non-Western Indians in America’s first photographic exhibit.

“We don’t know the real story yet and there’s lots of questions,” he said.

Mr. McCann has been intent on answering those questions since he acquired the collection 38 years ago, through a combination of luck and aptitude. When Mr. Tooker was ill in the last years of his life, he bequeathed many of his manuscripts to Sag Harbor’s John Jermain Memorial Library, but others, including the glass plates preserving his photographs, went to his caretaker, a young girl named Mildred Overton.

“She essentially kept them in a cardboard box for 60-some years before I acquired them,” said Mr. McCann. “She didn’t want to give them away, she and [her husband] John. They were fairly ill when I was meeting with them, but they wanted to make sure that Tooker was going to receive recognition for his work—they were very proud of him.”

Leaving the plates with Mr. McCann has turned out to be a certain way to ensure Mr. Tooker received that recognition.

In addition to honoring the anniversaries of Mr. Talkhouse’s death and the invention of photography, Mr. McCann hopes completing the Tooker Project will “show how when you do things like this, when you look at a photograph, the image always tells the story…It’s like pulling phantoms out of time to look at a photograph.”

“History and photography are just married for life, you can’t get away with not looking at history in a photograph,” he added.

To view Mr. McCann’s work and many of Mr. Tooker’s photographs of the East End, visit the William Wallace Tooker Photographic Collection at tookerphotocollection.com.

Whether Legal or Criminal, Street Art Brings Art to the People

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"Structures of Thought II," 2013, unique handcut stencil and spray enamel on canvas, by Chris Stain. Courtesy Karyn Mannix Contemporary.

Chris Stain, “Structures of Thought II,” 2013, unique hand cut stencil and spray enamel on canvas. Courtesy Karyn Mannix Contemporary.

By Tessa Raebeck

An image by Los Angeles street artist becca in Sag Harbor Village. Photo by Michael Heller.

An image by Los Angeles street artist becca in Sag Harbor Village. Photo by Michael Heller.

A few years ago, Chris Stain was arrested for spray painting graffiti in a public space. While on probation for the crime, he was commissioned $60,000 to paint a mural, also in a public space. As the line between “graffiti” and “mural” gets thinner, the public is beginning to catch up in understanding the common thread—art.

Mr. Stain is one of 13 street artists featured in East Hampton art dealer and curator Karyn Mannix’s new show, “For the People: Beat of the Street.” Years in the making, the opening reception for the pop up art show will be held at the Atlantic Terrace Motel on Saturday, August 23.

Long miscategorized as the work of vandals and heathen teenagers, street art seems to finally be earning recognition for what it is: bringing beauty to public spaces and art to those with no private collections or museum memberships to speak of. In New York City, Baltimore and London, streets without galleries and apartment buildings with bare hallways are being decorated and enlivened with giant murals and powerful stencils of social commentary created neither for profit nor recognition, but for the culture of the people.

The show’s artists include: Mr. Stain; Andre Woolery of New York City and Jamaica; becca of Los Angeles, who has stencils on walls around Sag Harbor Village; Billy Mode of Baltimore; DOM from the United Kingdom; Brooklyn’s gilf!; Jason Poremba of Southampton; Karen Bystedt of Los Angeles; Leon Reid IV of Brooklyn; Harlem’s Ruben Natal-San Miguel; and T.Wat, also from the United Kingdom. Peter Tunney and Rolland Berry also collaborated.

The latest way these public artists show their work is through an “art drop,” in which an artist takes a painted canvas and leaves it without any publicity or fanfare in a public space.

Mr. Poremba has been doing art drops around the East End one or twice a week for the past few months, his most recent drop was last Friday in East Hampton.

Most of the pieces included in the show, which the artists prefer to keep affordable, were originally done on the street.

For Mr. Stain, an urban kid who started painting graffiti when he was 11 years old growing up in Baltimore, decorating the street was the natural artistic development.

There were no subways to speak of in Baltimore in the early 80s, but the book “Subway Art” by Martha Cooper, which documents the paintings being done during the graffiti movement of the 80s in the New York City subway systems, nonetheless inspired the young artist.

“They were being made by kids, for the most part, and when I saw the book and when I found out that it was kids making the artwork, I got really excited,” Mr. Stain said. “Because I was already into art, a little bit, but that really piqued my interest and art became a way of self-expression for me.”

He took a class on printmaking and learned to make stencils in high school and, around 1998, Mr. Stain’s art evolved from graffiti lettering to more figurative work “because I wanted to tell more of the story of the person and what was going on around me and my life and my neighborhood—the people I knew.”

"Corporate Greed" by T.Wat. Courtesy Karyn Mannix Contemporary.

“Corporate Mugging” by T.Wat. Courtesy Karyn Mannix Contemporary.

When he moved to the city in 2006, “I just transferred my putting stuff on the streets in Baltimore to putting stuff on the streets in New York.”

“I want to tell the story of common people and by putting the work on the street, everyone gets to see it, it’s not just those people who go into galleries,” Mr. Stain said, before being interrupted by a question from “one of the kids in the neighborhood.”

Mr. Stain’s commitment to depicting the “struggles of the unrecognized and underrepresented individuals of society” has garnered him classification as an American Social-Realist.

Started in the 30s and 40s during the time of the depression and Roosevelt’s New Deal, social realism is an international art movement comprised of artists of various mediums united in their desire to draw attention to the conditions and everyday struggles of the common people, painting narratives of the lives of the working class and the poor. Naturally, it takes on political and social criticisms of the social structures and powers that be that keep those conditions in place.

Those included in “Beat of the Street” vary widely; The line-up includes sculptors and photographers, street art pioneers and those new on the scene, and paintings of Hollywood Stars by Mr. Poremba next to “Corporate Mugging,” an image of Mickey Mouse brandishing a broken Coca-Cola bottle by T. Wat.

The only common ground is that their art is, first and foremost, for the people. As Ms. Mannix explained, “Their work goes out on the streets, that’s the only thread between them all.”

Often an illegal art form, subversion is inherent to street art. Political commentary is a natural extension of a means of expression that often lands the artist in jail.

“You do the crime, you gotta do the time,” said Mr. Stain. “The first time I was arrested I was 11—and it didn’t really stop me.”

Mr. Stain was arrested again as a teenager and a third time as an adult, each time with different fines and implications. His most recent imprisonment was when he would leave meetings with his probation officer to work on the large-scale—and legal—public mural for which the artist was commissioned.

“It’s pretty funny, it’s pretty ironic,” he said, adding, “It’s kind of ridiculous.”

The opening reception of “For the People: Beat of the Street” is Saturday, August 23, at the Atlantic Terrace Motel, located at 21 Oceanview Terrace in Montauk. From 5 to 6 p.m. a special preview for ticket holders and collectors will offer a first glance at the work, which Ms. Mannix expects to be sold out quickly. The gallery is open to the public from 6 to 10 p.m. and will be on view through September 7 by appointment only. For more information, visit karynmannixcontemporary.com.

Sag Harbor School Board Appoints New Member

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Sag Harbor school board members and new School Business Administrator Jennifer Buscemi watch as new board member Thomas J. Schiavoni is sworn in by District Clerk Mary Adamczyk Monday in the Pierson Middle/High School library. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

Thomas J. Schiavoni was sworn in as the Sag Harbor School District's newest board member by District Clerk Mary Adamczyk on Monday, August 18. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Thomas J. Schiavoni was sworn in as the Sag Harbor School District’s newest board member by District Clerk Mary Adamczyk on Monday, August 18. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

The Sag Harbor Board of Education appointed Thomas J. Schiavoni of North Haven as its newest member on Monday, following the resignation of Daniel Hartnett mid-term last month.

Mr. Schiavoni, who teaches middle and high school social studies in the Center Moriches School District, is active in volunteer and civil service groups throughout town. He is also the newest village trustee in North Haven Village, having been elected June 17. He is a former member of the village Zoning Board of Appeals, past president and treasurer of the Bay Haven Association and an active member of the Sag Harbor Fire Department.

A lifetime resident of the village known around town as Tommy John, Mr. Schiavoni is married to Southampton Town and Sag Harbor Village Justice Andrea Schiavoni. The couple has two children in the district, Anna and Thomas Jr.

After Mr. Hartnett, was required to leave the board due to residency issues, the board had several options on how to move forward.

At its July 28 meeting, the board, citing the advice of its attorney, Thomas Volz, outlined its options as follows: Holding a full interim election to allow the community to vote for the candidate; not filling the empty seat, which could allow the New York State Education Commissioner Roger King to fill the position for the board if he chose to do so; and screening applicants to choose a candidate who would serve until the next election, on May 18, 2015.

Following the precedent of similar situations in the past, both in Sag Harbor and at neighboring districts like East Hampton, the board chose to solicit the community for interested parties, screen applicants and appoint its newest member.

In a press release issued on July 30, the board announced it would accept applications and appoint a community member to fill the position. The deadline for applications was Monday, August 11, with the goal of presenting a candidate at the next scheduled meeting August 18, a deadline that was met today.

The school board said Monday that, after screening four interested candidates, its decision to appoint Mr. Schiavoni was unanimous.

“It was an unwelcome task to have to fill the vacancy of Dan Hartnett, whose insight and input was universally valued by this body and the community at large,” board member David Diskin, who was not in attendance, said in a statement read aloud by Theresa Samot, president of the board. “However, because of legal advice we were obligated to fill this spot.”

“Tommy John Schiavoni,” he continued, “is a man of character and integrity and has relevant and valuable experience for our school district. I am sure the board will be well-served by his presence as a trustee.”

Mr. Diskin added he is hopeful Mr. Schiavoni will seek re-election to a standard three-year term in the annual community-wide elections in May 2015.

Diana Kolhoff, a new board member who also did not attend Monday’s meeting, said in a statement she was pleased with the candidates who came forward. She said she hopes the candidates, who all “have a lot to offer to the school and to the board,” will be willing to serve on committees and find other ways to be involved.

Ms. Kolhoff added she is in “total agreement” with her fellow board members and that Mr. Schiavoni’s commitment to education is clear.

“We were very fortunate to have four people in the community that were so qualified to step up,” added Chris Tice, vice president of the board, who also reiterated Ms. Kolhoff’s sentiments on how she hoped the candidates who were not selected would seek other ways to be involved.

“I am delighted that you are going to be joining the board,” Ms. Tice told Mr. Schiavoni. She said the board really valued Mr. Hartnett’s participation as a colleague due to his experience working in the East Hampton School District and that she is “very confident that Tommy John will continue to help us with that as well.”

“It’s an honor to have you serve with us,” added board member Sandi Kruel, “to have you serve with us, to bring what you’re going to bring to the table—which is definitely an educational piece, which is what Dan [brought]. Those are really big shoes to fill, but I don’t think for one minute you’re going to have any problem filling those shoes.”

After the board unanimously passed the resolution to appoint Mr. Schiavoni, District Clerk Mary Adamczyk swore in the new trustee, who took his seat at the table behind a shiny new name plaque.

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do August 15 to 17

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"Pont de Tournelle" by Stephen Wilkes is on view at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor.

“Pont de Tournelle” by Stephen Wilkes is on view at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

Art, films, and alternative energy; there’s plenty to do on the East End this weekend:

 

“Water 2014″ opens at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor on Saturday, August 16, with an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m.

The annual exhibition features contemporary and classic photography “depicting life in and around the most powerful force of nature,” said the gallery. Dan Jones, Karine Laval, Herb Friedman, John Magarites, Blair Seagram, Tulla Booth, Anne Gabriele and Jay Hoops will show their work at the gallery, which is located at 66 Main Street in Sag Harbor.

 

Furthering on your water weekend, visit the Parrish Art Museum for the Maritime Film Festival, a 70-minute screening of short film selections, on Friday, August 15, at 7 p.m.

The program includes a brief talk by artist Duke Riley, a live musical performance and a special sampling of Sag Harbor Rum.

The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call (631) 283-2118.

 

Hosted by Alec Baldwin, the Hamptons International Film Festival presents “Last Days in Vietnam,” on Saturday, August 16, at 7:30 p.m.

The documentary, produced and directed by Rory Kennedy,  follows United States soldiers during the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, when the North Vietnamese Army was closing in on Saigon as the South Vietnamese resistance crumbled.

A question and answer session will follow the screening, which will be held at Guild Hall, located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call the box office at (631) 324-4050.

 

The East End Climate Action Network will host its first annual Sustainability and Renewable Energy Fair on Saturday, August 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the grounds of Miss Amelia’s Cottage in Amagansett Village.

The event features exhibitions from leading companies in the sustainability and renewable energy fields, as well as informal lectures from energy and environment experts, local food and fun games and other activities for kids. Local artists will perform at the end of the day.

Tony award-winning John Glover will read "The Tempest" at two outdoor performances for the new Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative.

Tony award-winning John Glover will read “The Tempest” at two outdoor performances for the new Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative.

There will also be opportunities to get involved in local sustainability and climate change efforts, including solar energy consultations, beach clean-ups and membership sign-ups for local environmental groups. For more information, visit Renewable Energy Long Island.

 

Celebrating the launch of The Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative, Bay Street Theater will present two outdoor staged readings of The Tempest starring Tony award-winner John Glover as Prospero, on August 16 and 17.

On Saturday, the first performance is a VIP benefit held on a private waterfront estate on Shelter Island. The evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails followed by a 7 p.m. reading, includes a reception with the cast.

Sunday’s reading, which is open to the community free of charge, also starts at 7 p.m. at a thus far undisclosed location. There will be bleacher seating, although guests are encouraged to bring chairs, picnics and blankets. The reading will take place as the sun sets, with the stars coming out as Mr. Glover reads Shakespeare’s most beloved plays.

For more information, call the Bay Street box office at (631) 725-9500.

UPDATE: Armed Suspect of Violent Bridgehampton Home Invasion Sought

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By Tessa Raebeck

Southampton Town Police, in pursuit of an armed suspect from an earlier home invasion, sealed off the Huntington Crossway and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike on Tuesday evening at about 7:30 p.m., according to multiple reports from witnesses.

Sag Harbor Village Police Clerk Gigi Oberlander confirmed Wednesday that the Southampton Town Police Department had called Sag Harbor police to the scene as backup, asking them to maintain the perimeter because a suspect was at large.

Sag Harbor police assisted in searching several properties, but the suspect could not be found, and the investigation remains with the Southampton Town Police, who declined to comment Wednesday.

Tuesday evening, a Bridgehampton resident told the Sag Harbor Express that police officers were on the Huntington Crossway armed with automatic weapons. Several minutes later, another passerby told the Express they were driving by the scene and saw cops with shotguns. A police helicopter arrived shortly thereafter, other residents said.

Another Bridgehampton resident was notified by a friend in the police department that police were searching for a male suspect armed with a firearm in the neighborhood.

A Sag Harbor police officer, speaking anonymously, said Southampton Town Police were called to a home invasion by an armed man on the Huntington Crossway on Tuesday afternoon. Police could not find the man at that time but were called back several hours later after receiving word that the suspect had returned to the neighborhood.

UPDATE: In a press release issued late Wednesday, Southampton Town Police confirmed they had received a call of a “burglary in progress” at a residence on Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton on Tuesday at approximately 11:31 a.m. Upon arrival, officers were told there was a 26-year-old male upstairs who was a victim of violence. Once the scene was secured, the man was transported by ambulance to Southampton Hospital, where he was treated for non life-threatening injuries.

An initial investigation of the site revealed to police that a man possessing a handgun had forced entry into the residence by violently shoving a 51-year-old woman when she answered the door. After entering the house, the armed man went upstairs and demanded that the 26-year-old victim give him money. The robber then hit the man repeatedly with the handgun and stole multiple electronic devices from the home, before fleeing on foot.

With the assistance of Sag Harbor Village Police and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit, Southampton Town Police searched the area but were unable to find the armed man. The Southampton Town Police Detective Unit is undergoing an investigation into the incident. They have ascertained that the residence was not selected randomly, but targeted for the crime.

Arbitration Panel Awards 2.5-Percent Raise to Sag Harbor Cops

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SHPD

By Stephen J. Kotz

A three-member arbitration panel this week has ordered that Sag Harbor Village police officers receive retroactive 2.5-percent raises, covering the period from June 2011 to June 2013, but also required that any new hires to the department be required to contribute 15 percent toward their health insurance costs.

In their final offers before going to arbitration, the PBA had sought raises of 4.5 percent for 2011 and 2012, while the village had requested a wage freeze in 2011, a 1-percent raise for 2012, and a 2-percent raise for 2013.

The village had also requested that newly hired officers be required to contribute 25 percent of their health insurance costs and that in the future all members of the department share in the burden of paying for rising health insurance costs by contributing half toward premium increases after May 31, 2012.

“I think it is fair for both sides,” said Mayor Brian Gilbride, who said he had yet to read the arbitration panel’s complete ruling and deferred additional comments to Vincent Toomey, the village’s labor lawyer, who represented it on the arbitration panel. Mr. Toomey could not be reached for comment by this edition’s deadline on Wednesday.

Although Mayor Gilbride said the village sought a lower pay hike, he said the panel’s ruling marked the first time in New York State that arbitrators had required police officers be required to contribute to their insurance costs.

Officer Pat Milazzo, the president of the Sag Harbor Police Benevolent Association, could not be reached for comment by this paper’s deadline on Wednesday.

State law limits an arbitration panel’s rulings to two years, said Fred W. Thiele Jr., the village attorney, so the deal will only cover the two-year period ending June 30, 2013, which means both sides are back to square one.

“We will continue to negotiate,” said Mr. Gilbride. “The process starts again.”

The mayor has had a stormy relationship with the department in the past, over staffing levels and even threatened at one time to disband the department, citing its rising costs.

Although relations between the police and the mayor have been testy in recent years, Mr. Thiele said he thought the arbitration panel’s ruling gave both sides an opportunity to turn the page.

“This is an opportunity for a reset between the PBA and the village,” he said. “Now that you have an award from an arbitrator with a finding on health insurance and a modest increase in wages, both sides have a better idea of what a future arbitration would result in and may be more likely to reach a negotiated settlement in the future. It gives both sides an idea of what the trend is.”

Mr. Thiele agreed with the mayor that it was “to my knowledge the first binding arbitration where a health insurance premium has been awarded to a municipality.”

Mr. Thiele added that such contributions have been negotiated in the past, most prominently in Suffolk County, but in that deal, the county gave up hefty wage increases, he said.

The panel also provided an increase in longevity pay for police officers. For 2011, an officer with five to seven years of experience will receive an additional $2,475; an officer with eight to nine years of experience will be due $2,825; those with 10 to 14 years will receive an additional $3,925; those with 15 to 19 years of service will receive $4,425, and those with 20 or more years of experience will receive $5,075. For 2012, those amounts will be boosted to $2,600 on the lower end and to $5,300 on the higher end.

Officers will also be allowed to carry over up to 25 days of vacation from year to year or for future pay.

Homeless in the Hamptons: An Invisible Community Struggles to Survive

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Bill watches as two women kayak by at Lazy Point in Amagansett on Tuesday, August 12. He recently lost his six-figure job, wife and home due largely to his struggle with bipolar disorder, and now lives and works where he can across the East End. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Bill, 56, watches as two women kayak by at Lazy Point in Amagansett on Tuesday, August 12. He recently lost his six-figure job, wife and home due largely to his struggle with bipolar disorder, and now lives and works where he can across the East End. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

To Bill, the two most important things are his feet and his socks, followed closely by matches and plastic bags. The matches keep him warm, the plastic bags keep his things dry, and the feet and socks keep him going.

Bill, 56, has a college degree in economics and a minor in business administration from SUNY Oswego. He is kind, articulate and witty. Like thousands of people across the East End, he is also homeless.

Ten years ago, the Suffolk County Department of Social Services counted 435 homeless families and 222 homeless singles countywide. Those figures—which increased drastically in the economic downturn since—only account for those who meet the official criteria and choose to apply for help. In reality, the numbers are much higher.

It is no secret to locals that the image much of the world conjures up of “The Hamptons” is far from the realities of daily life on the East End, but for the countless homeless residents of these hamlets, that image is a blatant farce.

“How can you miss us?” Bill asked, staring out at the sailboats docked at Lazy Point in Amagansett as two women in a kayak paddled by. Scores of homeless people live here, but, in part due to their own security concerns, they remain largely invisible.

If you look closely, however, you can see the faint paths used by homeless people off wooded trails, under bridges and sometimes right in town. A man who lives behind a popular business in Montauk leaves before dawn each morning, but his footprints have worn down a path to his campsite. Born and raised in Sag Harbor, Andy, a friend of Bill’s, lives hidden in the center of the village. An expert on Southampton history, a man called Mahoney holds fort at a park in the village, regularly entertaining tourists who have no idea he lives where they stand.

At a clearing off Route 27 in Wainscott, local homeowners leave food for the homeless people who camp in the woods nearby. If neighbors buy a sandwich and only end up eating half of it, they’ll leave the rest on one of the lids of two garbage cans stationed at the clearing in an unspoken act of charity.

According to a 2013 report compiled by the federal government, New York State, with 13 percent of the nation’s documented homeless population, is one of only three states in which homeless people account for more than 6 percent of the population (the others being Florida and California). With over 77,000 reported cases in 2013, the number of documented instances of homelessness in New York jumped by nearly 8,000 people between 2012 and 2013. New York’s homeless population has increased by 24 percent since 2007, the largest increase by far in the country—and the numbers are far from the actual figures.

On a single night in January 2013, an estimated 610,042 people were homeless in the United States. Over one-third of those people, about 215,000 of them, live in unsheltered locations, such as under bridges, in cars or in abandoned buildings.

To Bill, living in a car does not make you homeless; there’s a roof over your head and a place you can count on.

Born in Jamaica, Queens, and a graduate of Hauppauge High School, Bill has suffered from bi-polar disorder his whole life, but was not diagnosed till he “was old.” He came to the East End when he was 17 because he was drawn to the service industry.

“I like the whole premise of restaurant business: Helping people, service, making people happy, learning to deal with difficult people,” he said. “I thought—and I still think—I’m good at it.”

The “extracurricular” affairs of the restaurant industry—namely, drugs and drinking—became too much for Bill, who, like many who suffer from bipolar disorder, also struggled with addiction. After years of drinking to excess, Bill is now a recovering alcoholic who said he hasn’t had a drink since the early 90’s when his son was three.

“I think in extremes, everything…you’re either super happy or ready to commit suicide,” he explained.

Struggling with his condition and unable to find balance between complete bliss and extreme grief, Bill lost his six-figure job and his wife left him. He briefly lived up-island with family, but returned to East Hampton, where he has spent the past year searching for shelter, food and friendly faces.

He takes “top half of body” showers in public restrooms and jumps in the ocean to stay clean, a feat that, like most conditions of homelessness, becomes much harder in the cold winter months.

Although Bill doesn’t like to ask for help, when he’s especially down on his luck he goes to Maureen’s Haven in Riverhead.

Funded solely through donations, grants and funding from all the eastern townships, Maureen’s Haven offers shelter, support and “compassionate services” to homeless adults on the East End. There is a crisis hotline and a day center that provides opportunities like AA meetings, ESL and GED classes to help people find work and permanent housing.

From November 1 to April 1, the center transports homeless people from the North and South Forks and takes them to one of 18 host houses of worship between Greenport and Montauk. They are given a hot dinner and a bed to sleep in and are taken back to where they were picked up, be it a bus stop or a side-of-the-road clearing, at 7 a.m.

Since its 2002 inception, Maureen’s Haven has sheltered over 2,500 individuals. In the 2013-14 winter season, the program served 337 adults and was able to secure employment for 40 percent and place 52 percent in permanent housing.

Although a lot of homelessness “has to do with disability, incarceration, drug use, alcohol abuse and job loss,” Program Development Director Tara Murphy said, there are “a number of different issues and each case is different.”

One woman, Mary, arrived at Maureen’s Haven “terrified and desperate,” the center said, after fleeing an abusive relationship. She began the healing process at the center and is now living independently with support from a local domestic violence agency.

A 77-year-old man suffering from dementia with no family nor support system, James had been living disoriented on the streets. The center secured supportive housing for him in a program specializing in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s not about homelessness, it’s not about tough times, it’s not about addictions,” Bill said of the stigmatization of the homeless. “We all wear the same clothes…what I’m saying is, if we have two different socks on, who cares?”

To volunteer at Maureen’s Haven, call (631) 727-6836, email info@maureenshaven.org or visit their website.