Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor"

Car Jumps Curb, Rams Municipal Building Wall



Passersby look over the damage to the Sag Harbor Municipal Building Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

The need to undertake repairs to the Sag Harbor Village Municipal Building grew more pressing Wednesday afternoon when a motorist apparently mistook the gas pedal for the brake on his Jaguar, jumped the curb and slammed into a wall in front of the building.

The wall suffered heavy damage, while the Jaguar suffered some front-end damage and appeared to be leaking coolant.

Village building inspector Tom Preiato was in his second floor office when the crash occurred at about 2 p.m. He said workers were moving desks in his office and he at first thought one had fallen.

An employee in the village office, who would not give her name, said, “if not for that wall, it would have come straight in here.” She said it seemed the driver, an elderly man, was trying to pull into a parking space and accelerated by mistake. He did not appear to be injured.


Sag Harbor Walking Tour App Debuts

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By Stephen J. Kotz

The Sag Harbor Partnership wants to encourage visitors to get their noses out of their cellphones and have a look around the village. But first they need them to stick their noses back into those same phones long enough to download their new Sag Harbor Walking Tour app.

The new app will link users to three village tours—with more to come.

The idea for the mobile app was born, one of its developers, Nick Gazzolo, said this week, when the partnership, a nonprofit that raises funds for local cultural, education and conservation causes, worked with the Sag Harbor Cultural District, a loose affiliation of nine cultural and historic institutions in the village, to produce a good, old-fashioned paper map of their locations. That map, by the way, is ready to go and available at places like the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce’s Long Wharf Windmill.

During a brainstorming session, “I said I wish we could have an audio guide, like a museum, because Sag Harbor is like an outdoor museum,” Mr. Gazzolo said. The answer was “Why not?”

In its initial rollout, the app takes visitors to the sites included in the cultural district, starting with Bay Street Theater and going as far afield as the Eastville Community Historical Society and Canio’s Cultural Center, with stops at the Sag Harbor Historical Society, the Custom House, the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum, the John Jermain Memorial Library, the Old Whalers’ Church and Christ Episcopal Church.

The app also links to the Sag Harbor Historical Society’s own walking tour, which includes stops at more than 40 different historic locations in the village, while a third tour takes users on a similar historic tour put together by the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, the organization which owns the Sag Harbor Custom House.

“It’s a great way of promoting individual tours but of also promoting individual institutions,” aid the artist April Gornik, who also worked on project.

“It often seems that our love of new technology is weakening our connection to the past,” Mr. Gazzolo said in an email. “We want this app to strengthen it by putting as much of Sag Harbor’s cultural and history as we can in the palm of your hand.”

“People don’t walk around the village,” Ms. Gornik added, suggesting that the standard visit to Sag Harbor focuses on shopping or dinner at a restaurant with perhaps a post-meal ice cream cone and stroll up Main Street. “The whole idea is to let people know there is life beyond Main Street, and walking, as we all know it, is the best way to do Sag Harbor.”

Plans are already afoot to expand the offerings, with an architectural tour and a walking tour of the Eastville neighborhood. Other ideas floating about include a tour that focuses on the homes of whaling captains, a literary tour, and a touring of the houses of famous women who have called Sag Harbor home.

For now, the app is available on android phones, although Mr. Gazzolo said approval from iTunes, which will make it available on iPhones and iPads, is imminent.

In the meantime, more fine-tuning is being done. Although the app began with Mr. Gazzolo’s desire to have an audio tour, sound is yet to come, but Emma Walton has agreed to provide the narration.

“If you don’t get things done, even in a slightly imperfect way, they don’t get done,” said Ms. Gornik, who held a fundraiser for the project at her home last week.

“We want this to be as inclusive as possible,” Mr. Gazzolo said, “it’s really to gather and curate all the great content and stories that are out there and get it to more people. If someone thinks this is a great idea, we’ll show them how it is done. The more the merrier.”

The group is also soliciting comments from users. They can be directed to app@sagharborpartnership.org, Mr. Gazzolo said.

Barbara Lobosco & Linley Pennebaker Whelan

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Linley Pennebaker Whelan and Barbara Lobosco are the co-presidents of the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum. They spoke about some events at the museum this summer, and how it’s constantly evolving.

The Whaling Museum has seen quite a few changes in the past few years. Would you say that it has turned into more of an arts center than just a museum?

BL: We started a capital campaign, and got a grant three years ago to restore this building. So one whole room became our capital campaign room—we do a 50/50 with the artist—because the best way to raise those funds here is through the arts, and so that’s why you see that. But the museum has also moved into a very environmental thing as well, and we’re raising awareness about our communities and our oceans. It was whaling back in the 18th century, and now we’re working to save the whales. It’s all related. So it’s still the Whaling Museum, it’s still about the whaling, but it’s about the past and present and the historical significance of this village.

LPW: And of this building. The woman [Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage] that lived here was the richest woman in America, and her history is very interesting. I’m on the park board, and she also gave the park to the village. And the library. And her thinking was so great, she wanted it to be for all of the children of the community. The building itself is such a beauty, and we love that part of it.

BL: And I think we’re kind of trying to continue her legacy here. We’re keeping the history, but trying to move into the present as well.

LPW: And there are new people in the village, and we have to keep up with what they’re looking for and what they want. Our community’s changing a lot, so we have to be really high-end, we have to try. It’s not like we can leave this as a dusty museum that people come to once and then never go back to again. We’ve got to recognize this is a changing world, and we’ve got to get with it.

And I see that you’re diversifying to different marine species with your next art show: SHARK! The misunderstood fish.

LPW: Poor shark’s got a bad rap. Especially down in North Carolina right now, where people keep getting eaten.

BL: Well I think that’s more like their natural habitat down there, and you don’t really see those sharks going back for a second bite, I think they know what they want. But I’m really not an expert on it. But I have to tell you the gentleman who’s coming here to speak next weekend, Richard Ellis, is an expert on whales and sharks. He’s sort of like a legend, and we’re so lucky to have him.

And did you also have music last weekend?

LPW: Yes! We want to do music, we want to have films. We’re going to be screening “Jaws” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” for our family night. This place just lends itself to it. Every level of creativity should be going on here.

BL: And we like to honor our cultural diversity here with the artists and speakers, and so we want to reach out to the whole community. In the last three years we’ve finished phase one of our reconstruction, but we need the public to know that we really need to raise funds. Everything looks like it’s done outside, but we still have a lot we have to repair. It’s hundreds and hundreds of thousands, but once you start, you just keep going. It’s a big task we’ve taken upon ourselves, I’m glad that we did. We want people to stop by and see what we’re doing.

LPW: We’re an evolving historic museum, if you can imagine that.

An opening reception for SHARK! The misunderstood fish will be held on Friday, July 10, at 6 p.m., with a special 40th anniversary screening of “Jaws” starting at 8 p.m.  The family picnic and screening of “Pirates of the Caribbean” will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 11, and Marine biologist and artist Richard Ellis will give a lecture on the misunderstood creatures at 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 12. For more information visit sagharborwhalingmuseum.org






Judge’s Airport Decision Expected Friday

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Takeoff and landing activity at the East Hampton Town Airport on May 22nd, 2015

The East Hampton Town Board has postponed enacting airport restrictions until Judge Joanna Seybert makes her decision on a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order, which she said she would do this Friday. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Mara Certic

 Many residents from Manhattan to Montauk are awaiting the Friday decision of U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert, who said she would rule on a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction filed by members of the aviation industry against the Town of East Hampton.

The town board has so far held off implementing three historic airport restrictions it adopted in April out of respect for the judicial process, but, both times that the judge has postponed her decision, the town board has released statements saying it “remains confident that it will prevail in the litigation.”

Just days after the town board adopted two curfews and a restriction on the number of permitted operations by noisy aircraft at the East Hampton Airport during the summer, a group of helicopter operators and their allies filed two suits and a request for a temporary restraining order against the town. One of the suits claimed the town didn’t have the authority to enact the three restrictions, while another said that the new rules would cause irreparable injury to the airport, the large helicopter charter companies and local aviators.

On the other hand, hundreds of residents from as far away as the North Fork have for years been complaining about the constant noise from low-flying aircraft in and out of the East Hampton Airport at all times of day and night.  Despite attempts to change routes or the promises of the aviation industry to comply with routes and minimum altitudes, some of these residents say that traffic this year is only getting worse.

Kathleen Cunningham, chair of the Quiet Skies Coalition, said this week: “The weekends have been terrible,” this year. “The other day I must have counted 20 flights overhead in as many minutes,” she said.

Jemille Charlton, the East Hampton Airport manager, said this week that so far this season, “It’s been pretty much status quo.” The levels of route- and altitude compliance he said have been relatively high so far this year, but added that the number of complaints is  “still very high.”

“We’re very eager, desperate I might say, for these restrictions to deliver some relief,” Ms. Cunningham said.

Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley preemptively introduced a law on Tuesday that would limit the number of landings at the village’s helipad on Meadow Lane, ahead of Judge Seybert’s decision on Friday.

“The reasoning behind that is that we have had a 44-percent increase as compared to 2014,” Mayor Epley said on Wednesday. “If the East Hampton restrictions are held up in court, then we’ll have a substantial increase, more than 44 percent,” he said.

While the number of complaints hasn’t increased astronomically, Mayor Epley is more concerned about the safety at the heliport.

“Our helipad is located at the end of Meadow Lane—it’s a dead-end, two-lane road,” he explained. “It’s unmanned and cell phones don’t work there. He added that the village, like others on the East End, is supported by volunteer medical services and that increased services would create more of a burden on the area.

Mayor Epley opened and closed the public hearing on the new law last night without a vote on the law, and said he is waiting to hear Judge Seybert’s decision before asking the village board to adopt the new rules. If the judge sides with the town, Mr. Epley said it was likely he would call a special meeting to vote on the law ahead of the regularly scheduled July 9 meeting.

The East Hampton Town Board will post any decisions about the airport to the website htoplanning.com .

Sunday Is Race Day

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Tristan Remkus and Sage Witty facing off during last year's race. Photo by Michael Heller.

Tristan Remkus and Sage Witty facing off during last year’s race. Photo by Michael Heller.

A bit of Americana returns to Sag Harbor this Sunday for the the third annual running of the Soap Box Derby. The festivities begin at 1 p.m. with a parade down Main Street,  with the Derby King and Queen and the competitors homemade—and often stylishly customized—racecars on display.

From Main Street, the parade makes its way to High Street for the opening ceremonies and races themselves.

This year’s derby is dedicated to the memory of Ralph J. Ficorelli Sr., the former chaplain and two-term commander of Sag Harbor’s Chelberg-Battle American Legion Post 388. The Sag Harbor native and veteran of the United States Army died in April.

More than 40 racers, most in the Mustangs division, made up of younger scouts driving cars made from uniform kits and with a weigh limit of 150 pounds, are expected to compete. Another 13 drivers have signed up for the Thunder Road division, which is for older kids who want more of a say in their designs.

The derby was resurrected by Laurie Barone Schaefer, a Sag Harbor Cub Scout leader, who was inspired to bring back the tradition afer seeing old photos from a race day in the 1950s.

Cars are impounded Saturday afternoon before the big race, and a team of judges, led this year by Sag Harbor Mayor-elect Sandra Schroeder, will judge them for a number of special awards that will be announced on Sunday.

Harbor Market’s Owners Fight Back With Lawsuits

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Hopes for a truce between the owners of the new Harbor Market and Kitchen in Sag Harbor and angry neighbors, who say the appearance as well as noise and fumes from rooftop fans and vents that were installed last winter are despoiling their neighborhood, grew dimmer this week as the market’s owners filed a pair of suits against their most persistent critics.

Abbey Warsh, owns the market along with Paul and Susanna Del Favero, said the suits, one filed in federal court, the other in state Supreme Court, were “a last resort for me” after what she said was a persistent smear campaign against the business.

“I am extremely sensitive about being painted as litigious,” said Ms. Warsh, who added she had ignored advice from friends and legal advisors to sue months ago. “But I’ve been hammered for six months now.”

The federal suit charges that Andrew Skonka, who lives across Henry Street from the former Espresso’s Italian Market and designs web sites—including the Espresso site, which Ms. Warsh said she owns—hacked into it and directed web traffic to a forum set by the Next Door Neighbors’ Association, which has fought the market’s plans tooth in nail before the village Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review, the Zoning Board of Appeals and in a series of full-page ads in The Express.

Ms. Warsh said this week he only stopped after learning last week that the suit had been filed.

A second suit charges 10 of the market’s neighbors with defamation for allegedly engaging “in a malicious and coordinated campaign to brand the plaintiffs as wealthy developers that ‘lie’ and ‘building illegally without permits’ in violation of the local Sag Harbor laws and ordinances.”

Both suits, filed by New York attorney John Pelosi, seek unspecified damages.

Mr. Skonka said this week he had yet to be served, and insisted that it was he, not Ms. Warsh, who owned the Espresso website.

“The normal procedure is to transfer the domain to the new owner,” he said, “but I was told the new owner had no interest in using this domain because they were going to use a completely new name.”

He said he was not directing anyone away from the site and described it as “just hanging there” in cyberspace.

The dispute started last winter after neighbors said they were alarmed by the appearance of a growing jumble of mechanical equipment on the roof of the market, at the corner of Division and Henry streets. The market owners, who had already received building permits to renovate the building and approval from the ARB, charge that neighbors knowingly circulated a letter from village building inspector Tom Preiato stating that the market did not have all the necessary building permits in place even though he wrote a subsequent letter stating that he had made a mistake and all permits were, in fact, in place.

Nonetheless, the market’s owners, agreed to return to the ARB to discuss plans to screen the equipment. But when they appeared before the ARB again, neighbors—and members of the board itself—said they had failed to fully disclose just how much equipment they had planned to put on the roof.

In the ensuing months, the market has also been before the ZBA, which has weighed several variances and a request from Mr. Preiato for a ruling over whether or not a renovation of the basement for food preparation constituted the expansion of a non-conforming commercial use in a residential neighborhood.

The flames were fanned when the market opened at the end of April without a certificate of occupancy, but it appeared things were cooling down between the parties grew last month, when the market’s owners unveiled plans to muffle the equipment’s noise and screen it from sight.

On Tuesday, as it slogged through a seven-hour-long meeting, the ZBA concluded, over the objection of its chairman, Anthony Hagen, that it would not require an environmental impact statement for the project, though it stopped short of approving the application.

On Wednesday, Mr. Skonka said neighbors were considering a lawsuit of their own, if the village approves the market’s plans without some effort to reduce the appearance and impact of the rooftop equipment, which he said disturbs the peace 24 hours a day.

“I’m surprised she doesn’t understand our concerns because she would do the same thing,’ he said of Ms. Warsh. “We are just trying to protect our neighborhood.”

For her part, Ms. Warsh said the problems could have been solved if neighbors had simply tried to discuss things with her last winter. “I’m exhausted by it,” she said of the battle. “I just want to make food.”

Debbie Skinner

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By Mara Certic

Debbie Skinner, the director of the Youth Resource Center of Sag Harbor, discussed some free summer events coming to town soon.

So what new and exciting things are going on at the Youth Resource Center of Sag Harbor?

Well the newest thing is that we’re launching a new website on Thursday, and the address is yrcsagharbor.org. So now it should be easy for people to download permission slips, calendars of events and cancellations will be on there, if the weather is a problem. It’ll be a place for people to know what’s going on. So that’s new for us and we’re excited about.

So school’s out for summer… what will you be doing for the next few months?

So what’s next is that we’re going to start up the beach program for the 17th summer—and I’ve done all 17 of them—on Monday night, June 29. And it’ll be free again! Last year, after the merger, there were a lot of situations that had to be resolved and that cost money. Now the situation’s been resolved, and we’re able to offer the program at no charge to everybody—all kids who have completed the sixth grade, through 18.

How does the beach program work?

One of the greatest things I think about the program is that kids from our community have the opportunity to meet other kids who are guests of ours in Sag Harbor during the summer, and I like that. I think it’s a nice blend of kids. They go to all different schools, from all different states and we get a lot of different countries, and they come down and forge friendships on the beach. The next day, they meet at the ocean. It’s nice for them, and I think it’s really nice for the kids who come here. It’s not as easy to entertain that age group, and this is a nice opportunity for them to make friends and do something in the evenings so they don’t have to watch awful summer TV. We look at the summer kids as our guests in Sag Harbor. We host them here and we enjoy meeting them and we love watching the new friendships that take place down there. That’s, I think, one of the best things about the whole thing.  So, as with every other year, we’re keeping the dates to Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings and we’ll keep the hours of 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., starting on June 29, down at Long Beach. And the ice cream man will be there, and we have a lot of events. We have a youth advisory board that meets over the winter, and they’ve come up with a lot of the events for the beach program.

What are some of the events to look forward to?

Off the top of my head, we have nights where it could be flag football, basketball tournaments, it could be entertainment companies—sometimes we’ll get water slides or inflatable bungee runs or a water tank. But we also have nights where we might have telescopes down there and we look at the stars. We have a lot of different competitions and music and we hope to have a couple of DJs over the course of the summer. In the past we’ve had bands. But sometimes one of the things they just love the most is sitting on the chairs and just watching the sun go down. They love just sitting around and talking among themselves.

How is the program supervised or chaperoned?

Our chaperones, most of whom will be returning this year, tend to be college-age kids. And a lot of them are lifeguards—even though there is absolutely no swimming allowed at the beach nights, it’s nice to know that there are lifeguards around. And they’re all trained in CPR.

How has Youth Resource Center evolved over the past 17 years?

This is the 17th year of the beach program. It was the very first thing we started and it’s kind of like our keystone program. Since YARD merged with the youth center and there really is no brick and mortar youth center at the moment, we’re kind of like a moveable youth center. We do different programs in different locations and at the summer we do that down on Long Beach. In many ways it hasn’t changed in 17 years. What I’ve noticed is that as kids age out of the program, and I see them, it’s always with a fond memory that they talk about the beach program.

East End Motorists: Make Way For Turtles

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A painted turtle buried her clutch of eggs in a backyard in Montauk last week. 

Over the next few weeks, motorists on the East End should keep an eye out for wandering turtles, which will be moving around their territories during their peak nesting season, this month.

Melanie Meade, at the South Fork Natural History Museum (SoFo) explained this week that the painted, box and snapping turtles who live in and around local ponds are moving away from the water at this time of the year to nest and lay their eggs. Once they have laid their eggs, she said, they may return to lay more, or else they will leave the eggs to hatch on their own.

Usually in April, or whenever the air temperature gets warm, local turtles wake up from hibernation and feast on pond insects and plants before getting to work looking for a mate. Once they do, the female turtles travel great turtle distances to lay a clutch of around 20 eggs. Snapping turtles, the official turtle of the great State of New York, will travel up to 100 feet to find the perfect nesting spot, and so the eggs can be found a surprising distance from waterways.

Many turtles, specifically box turtles which have larger territories than many of their reptilian relatives, are killed by cars each year as they move around their stomping grounds.

“If people want to help, use great caution,” Ms. Meade said. “Carry them across the road in the direction where they’re already going,” she said, because otherwise the slow but stubborn terrapins will just make the treacherous trek again.

There are turtles all over the East End of Long Island, Ms. Meade said, but often hang out near wooded areas close to fields. Box turtles are often seen crossing the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike because of the many temporary seasonal ponds along the road, which is adjacent to the Long Pond Green Belt.

“If you have seen them there in the past, they’ll be there again,” she added.

Not Your Average BBQ Set

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In just a few weeks, fathers around the country will wake up to home cooked breakfasts, macaroni artwork and yet another “World’s Best Dad” mug.

For the fathers whose mug collections are already complete, Washington Street’s new Copious Row has a plethora of precious paternal presents.

For the grill-master who has everything, Copious Row has a Laguiole en Aubrac three-piece barbecue set that comes in a leather case. Laguiole knives were created for farmers in the mountain region of Aubrac, in southern France, in the mid-19th century. The knives, still hand crafted and decorated in Aubrac, have now become known as some of the highest quality tableware in the world.

The BBQ set, which comes with tongs, a two-pronged fork and a knife, costs $475 and is available at Copious Row, 27 Washington Street in Sag Harbor. For more information call (631) 808-3600.

Made By You

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Eleni Prieston, owner of m a d e in Sag Harbor and a seasoned goldsmith, announced recently that she will begin offering one-on-one metal smithing, gold smithing and jewelry making classes in her Byzantine Gold studio in Sag Harbor.

Those interested can bring in ideas, drawings, even old jewelry to repurpose. Ms. Prieston can help you come up with ways to make brand new pieces out of well-loved but no longer used ones.

Some materials, and all tools, will be supplied. Eight two-hour sessions will cost $400. For more information, call made at (631) 899-3351.