Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor"

Sag Harbor School Board and Administrators Start the Goals Discussion

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By Tessa Raebeck

In the first brainstorming session of Sag Harbor Board of Education members and administrators led by the district’s new superintendent, Katy Graves, the group had a preliminary discussion on July 16 of goals for the upcoming school year.

With the standard concentration on people, buildings and equipment and programs, Ms. Graves stressed communication, accountability and “the Sag Harbor experience.”

From her observations, she said the district needs to focus on the strengths of Sag Harbor schools and communicating them clearly, measuring and monitoring those strengths and where the district needs support in terms of plant, program and people “to continue Sag Harbor schools’ outstanding trajectory,” and “that every child loves to come to school every day for the love of learning, the experiences in their day and the challenges they are provided.”

At the workshop, Ms. Graves told the administrators that her background in professional development supports brainstorming to get different perspectives. She had them split into small groups, counting off by three like school children, to discuss what they feel are the most significant steps to tackle in the upcoming year. The group then placed their ideas on sticky notes, after which they went around placing stickers on the ones they agreed with.

There were 60 answers as vague as “build an exciting and exceptional experience for students” and varied as “solar wind/alternate energy” and “volleyball at the elementary school.” The group then divided the ideas by people, program and plant and narrowed them down to the most popular responses.

In terms of “people,” later start times, accountability, staff development, adding a staff member to handle communications and adding faculty to teach course offerings in business and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) were the most popular answers.

The most frequent “program” responses called for teaching students coding, implementing the International Baccalaureate (IB) program into the middle years, enriching academic opportunities in the summer, adding business, computer science and programming courses, and having all teachers trained in special education.

Solar/wind/alternative energy, comprehensive and ongoing security training, exploring the Stella Maris building, instating healthier meals and adding a functional supervised room for athletic training after school were the most popular ideas for “plant.”

While the board will not be setting finite goals for the school year for some time, the meeting helped administrators and board members connect and articulate their concerns.

“The brainstorming session was just the beginning of the goal setting process,” Theresa Samot, president of the school board, said in an email Tuesday, July 22. “We will be having much more discussion at upcoming board meetings regarding goals.”

Village Revokes Page Outdoor Dining License

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Staff members clear tables and chairs from in front of Page at 63 Main after the Sag Harbor Village Board revoked the restaurant's outdoor dining license on Friday. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

Staff members clear tables and chairs from in front of Page at 63 Main after the Sag Harbor Village Board revoked the restaurant’s outdoor dining license on Friday. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

After a month of behind-the-scenes wrangling over unapproved renovations made at Page at 63 Main, the Sag Harbor Village Board pounced on Friday, July 18, revoking the restaurant’s license for outdoor dining on Main Street.

The village took the action even after one of the restaurant’s attorneys, Dennis Downes said losing the option to offer outdoor dining would cost the restaurant between $7,500 and $10,000 a day and even jeopardize its ability to stay in business.

In an 11th hour bid to appease the village, Mr. Downes said Page’s owners had offered to immediately shut down their Back Page café, behind the main restaurant, until zoning and fire code violations there were rectified and a site-plan issued for the property.

Mr. Downes conceded that mistakes had been made, but said the restaurant had been held up during the planning process and had to do the work before approvals were in hand to be ready for the summer season.

“Without those seats, there is a lot of money being lost,” he said of the outdoor dining. “It could be the difference between being able to stay alive in the winter where there are less people out here.”

But the board would not be swayed. “We’re here talking because when there was a suspension… the right thing would have been to remove the tables and chairs and let’s get to the bottom of this,” Mayor Brian Gilbride said.

He referred to an action taken by building inspector Tim Platt, who had cited the business for doing the renovation work with neither a site plan approval nor a building permit and had ordered it to suspend its outdoor dining service until the charges were sorted out. Instead, he said, the restaurant’s owners “thumbed their nose” at the village.

The board’s action clearly got the restaurant owners’ attention. A few minutes after it revoked the license, and Page’s owners and managers left the Municipal Building grumbling among themselves, waiters and busboys were scurrying about, clearing the tables and chairs from in front of the restaurant before the evening’s dinner rush.

On Tuesday, Mr. Downes, and Tom Horn, another attorney for the restaurant, were in Sag Harbor Village Justice Court for an initial appearance on the restaurant’s behalf. Village Justice Andrea Schiavoni said she would have to recuse herself from hearing the case because of a relationship with one of the restaurant’s owners and adjourned the case until August.

Speaking outside the courtroom, Mr. Horn, who said he had only had time to quickly review the charges against the restaurant, nonetheless expressed confidence it would prevail in court. “I think the charges are technically flawed and actually flawed,” Mr. Horn said, “and I say that based on my 11 years’ experience as a fire marshal.” Before becoming an attorney, Mr. Horn was a fire marshal for East Hampton Town.

The restaurant’s saga took another turn on Tuesday night when Mr. Downes, and Gerard Wawryk, one of its owners, appeared before the Planning Board, trying to straighten out the confusion over the restaurant’s renovation project, which was undertaken this spring.

The key issues revolved around changes to the proposed site plan for the dining area now known as the Back Page Café. At a June 26 village board meeting, then-planning board chairman Neil Slevin said the restaurant had done work that planners had not intended.

That included moving without permission the location of an enclosure that would allow it to keep its dumpsters refrigerated as well as the replacement of a grass waiting area with a bluestone patio.

One of the village’s attorneys, Denise Schoen, said that the wooden Dumpster building, which had been placed next to a fence beside Murph’s Backstreet Tavern and connected to the electric service, posed a fire hazard, a charge the restaurant’s owners denied.

Ms. Schoen added that the Back Page had originally been presented as a waiting area, where restaurant patrons could enjoy a drink or hors d’oeuvres while waiting for a table inside, but had, in fact, been turned into an outdoor expansion of the restaurant.

Mr. Downes has said the planning board approved the changes when it accepted a new survey of the site last winter, but board members said it was an oversight.

Despite the disagreement, planning board members were amenable to tweaking the site plan for the Back Page and said they would okay the bluestone patio even though it would exceed the allowable lot coverage because it was served by sufficient drainage.

But planners said they would not allow the dumpster enclosure to remain in its current location because it effectively eliminated the restaurant’s driveway and prevented delivery trucks from backing in off the street, forcing them to instead block one lane of traffic on Division Street.

On Tuesday, Mr. Wawryk offered to remove the dumpster building and replace it with two smaller enclosures that would be set back on either side of the driveway farther from Division Street to provide space for delivery trucks.

Planners said they would send a memo supporting the changes to the village Zoning Board of Appeals, which has held off on a decision on the restaurant’s application for variances, pending a resolution of the site plan issues.

At last week’s special meeting, when the board informed Page’s owners that it was considering revoking the restaurant’s outdoor dining privilege, Mr. Downes tried at first to argue that it was “a was “a valuable property right” that the village could not revoke without “due process.”

Village attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr. called those charges “ludicrous,” adding that the village only charged $100 for a license and said if outdoor seats were as valuable as Mr. Downes said they were, the village should be charging more. “It’s a privilege to use public property for a private use,” Mr. Thiele said.

New Minister Takes Helm of Methodist Church

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The Reverend Rose Livingston at the Sag Harbor United Methodist Church. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

The Reverend Rose Livingston at the Sag Harbor United Methodist Church. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

To an outsider, it might seem to be a circuitous route that brought the Reverend Rose Livingston to the Sag Harbor United Methodist Church, where this month she took over for Pastor Tom McLeod who moved to the North Fork at the end of June.

But Pastor Livingston, 49, who comes to Sag Harbor from a post at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church on Staten Island, sees Providence directing a life journey that brought her to Brooklyn from her native Jamaica when she was a child. She pursued a career in children’s mental health services in the city before eventually settling on becoming a minister.

“It took me a few years to know what I wanted to do,” she said on Monday in an interview in her new office, “but theology was always important to me.”

Pastor Livingston will serve a part-time ministry in Sag Harbor, where the congregation has been on the rebound since selling its old church building on Madison Street and building a new edifice on Carroll Street. For now, she will split her time between Sag Harbor and New York, where she still has a home, before she moves into the parsonage at the Bridgehampton Methodist Church, which has merged with the Southampton congregation.

Her goals for her new ministry are to “work with the community, find needs and see how we share,” she said. “Perhaps there is a homeless population, latch-key kids, the addicted that we can serve.”

A particular interest, she added, will be to “attract young people to the congregation” and continue its mission programs on both a local and broad based level.

Pastor Livingston was just 14 when her mother, “seeking the American dream,” moved with her from Kingston, Jamaica, to Brooklyn. An excellent student, Pastor Livingston was admitted to Hobart and William Smith College in Geneva, New York, when she was  16. “It was beautiful, absolutely beautiful,” she said of the campus, where she studied psychology.

More importantly, she said, it was the right time and place for her.  “At that time, women’s studies was becoming important. There was that conversation about women’s place and contribution to society. It was a place for dialog”

Pastor Livingston later received a master of divinity degree from Howard University and a master’s degree in psychology from Bowie State University in Maryland. Most recently she completed her classroom work on a doctorate in education at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, although she has yet to complete her dissertation.

For much of her career, Reverend Livingston was a case worker and supervisor for New York’s Administration of Children’s Services. “It is a tough world,” she said of the career, “but it is a great need and one I love.”

Although she was brought up in the Anglican tradition in Jamaica, Reverend Livingston’s mother joined a Baptist church after moving to New York.  Pastor Livingston herself was a member of a Pentecostal church for many years in Brooklyn before becoming a Methodist. “I’m all over the place,” she joked.

“The United Methodist Church is a Godsend for women,” she said. “It’s truly an equal opportunity employer” for ministers.

After serving as a minister in various capacities, Reverend Livingston was handed her first post at St. Mark’s Church on the southern shore of Staten Island, where the congregation had an aging population. Besides ministering to the elderly, Pastor Livingston also established a girl’s club at the local elementary school.

Her initial take on her new congregation? “They are beautiful people, they are very supportive,” she said. “They love the Lord. They tell me they enjoy the services.”

In her preaching, she said, she hoped that through the Gospel she can assist her congregants “on their close, personal walk with God.”

“God is not an imaginary friend,” she said. “God is real.”

Sag Harbor Whalers in Mix for Regular Season Title

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Montauk's John Palladino beats Ted Shaw's tag at second base during the game between the Sag Harbor Whalers and the Montauk Mustangs at Mashashimuet Park on Sunday,

Montauk’s John Palladino beats Ted Shaw’s tag at second base during the game between the Sag Harbor Whalers and the Montauk Mustangs at Mashashimuet Park on Sunday.

By Gavin Menu; photography by Michael Heller

The final games of the regular season will played this weekend in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, which as of Tuesday had five teams separated by just two-and-a-half games in the standings.

The Sag Harbor Whalers are one of the teams still in the mix for a regular season title, which they won last year before going on to lose in a playoff semifinal. The Whalers improved to 19-16 with a 9-1 win over Montauk at home on Sunday and as of Tuesday were tied with Riverhead for second place, just a half game behind the first-place North Fork Ospreys, who Sag Harbor hosted on Wednesday night after this edition’s deadline.

The Whalers’ final two regular-season games are at home against Shelter Island tomorrow, July 25, at 2 p.m. and at Montauk on Saturday at 5 p.m. The postseason will begin next week, with a champion being crowned on August 3.

It was Alex Person (Southern New Hampshire) who shined brightest on Sunday, tossing a complete-game four-hitter to shutdown the reeling Montauk Mustangs (14-23), who have been in last place for much of their first year in the league. Person was masterful on Sunday, especially late, as he retired the final 10 hitters to improve his league-best ERA to 1.34.

Person also received plenty of support from the Whalers offense, which compiled 14 hits in the game, including three each from Dan Rizzie (Xavier) and Nolan Meadows (Long Beach State). It was Meadows who opened the floodgates early with a solo home run in the fourth inning. He added a two-run double in the eighth that effectively put the game out of reach.

Outfielders Joe Gellenbeck (Xavier) and James Clements (Georgia State)  had two hits apiece and all but two of the Whalers who saw action picked up hits in the game.

Sunday’s win was made more important following an extra-innings 9-8 loss to Riverhead on Friday, July 18. Riverhead was in total control for most of the game and led 8-2 after seven innings. The Whalers scored one run in the eighth and closed to within 8-5 in the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Scott Hagan (Mercy). With two outs, Zach Piazza (Wake Forest) and Gellenbeck hit back-to-back doubles to score three more runs to even the score.

The excitement was short-lived, however, as Riverhead’s Cole Fabio (Bryant) hit an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning to plate the winning run.

Update: Sag Harbor Acupuncturist Arrested on Charges He Sexually Abused Female Patient

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Sag Harbor acupuncturist Michael Gohring was arrested July 12 on charges that he sexually abused a female patient. Mugshot courtesy Southampton Town Police Department.

Sag Harbor acupuncturist Michael Gohring was arrested July 12 on charges that he sexually abused a female patient. Mugshot courtesy Southampton Town Police Department.

Click here for the original version of this story.

By Tessa Raebeck

Southampton Town Police arrested Michael Gohring, an acupuncturist in Sag Harbor, on Saturday, July 12, on charges that he sexually abused a female patient he was treating.

Mr. Gohring, 64, a resident and business owner in Sag Harbor since 1987, was arrested at his office, Mikal Gohring Acupuncture & Comprehensive Oriental Medicine, on Noyac Road in Noyac. According to Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa of the Southampton Town Police Department, Mr. Gohring’s legal name on his identification is Michael, but he uses “Mikal” for business purposes.

The patient, who Sergeant Costa identified as a 50-year-old Southampton resident, told police that the acupuncturist had sexually abused her during an appointment while she had acupuncture needles inserted into her body and was thus unable to move. Mr. Gohring was charged with aggravated sexual abuse in the second degree, a Class C Felony, which alleges he violated the patient using his hand.

He was held overnight at Southampton Town Police Headquarters in Hampton Bays and arraigned Sunday, July 13, at Southampton Town Justice Court. Mr. Gohring was remanded to Suffolk County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail, police said in a press release issued Wednesday, July 16. He has since posted bail.

When approached outside his Noyac Road acupuncture office on Tuesday, July 22, Mr. Gohring and his attorney, Robert J. Coyle, who practices in Sag Harbor, said they are in the process of preparing a formal statement attesting to his innocence that will be issued sometime this week.

Mr. Gohring added that he has strong ties to the community and has treated countless local people who can corroborate his professionalism. A poll of Dan’s Papers readers named Mr. Gohring’s practice “Best of the Best Acupuncturist in the Hamptons” several times, most recently in 2013.

According to his website, Mr. Gohring has been practicing professionally 27 years and offers “comprehensive oriental medicine, acupuncture and acutonics treatments.” He lists “women’s health” as among his specialties.

“My training and experience have given me professional expertise in treating diseases and chronic conditions difficult to treat through other disciplines,” his website states.

Mr. Gohring is due back in Southampton Town Court on September 9.

Police have asked that anyone with related information call the Southampton Town Detective Unit at (631) 702-2230.

Sag Harbor’s John Jermain Memorial Library Presents 2015 Budget Draft

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John Jermain Memorial Library Director Catherine Creedon at the library during its renovation in October 2013. Photo by Michael Heller.

John Jermain Memorial Library Director Catherine Creedon at the library during its renovation in October 2013. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Tessa Raebeck

With the much-anticipated move back to its renovated and expanded home at 201 Main Street on the horizon, the board of Sag Harbor’s John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML) is presenting a budget draft that aims to cover the expenses of the building without exactly knowing what they will be.

“This budget was by far the most interesting budget for the board and I to put together in the years that I’ve worked at the library,” director Cathy Creedon said Monday, July 21, “because we’re almost back into the old, fresh, new building and we don’t have a real clear sense—because we’re not there yet—of what any of our operating expenses would be.”

The total of the 2015 draft budget, proposed at a library board meeting Wednesday, July 16, is $2,399,812. It includes operating expenses and debt service but is excluding capital expenses.

The budget represents an increase of $111,367 over the 2014 total budget, which was $2,288,445.

It would result in a 5.8-percent increase in the tax collected on the library’s behalf by the Sag Harbor School District, increasing that by $128,723 to $2,348,088. Those figures include funds for the library’s operating expenditures and the $905,000 in annual debt service approved at the time of the library’s 2009 renovation referendum.

Income designated for operating expenses (exclusive of funds raised through the capital campaign to improve the building) that the library generates itself through fundraisers, fines and other means is projected at $51,724 for 2015.

Ms. Creedon said the budget increase is due to moving into a bigger and better building, a move that has been stalled several times but should occur over the winter.

“At a minimum, we expect to see increases in electricity,” the director said. “We’ve been seeing our electric bills go up month after month even here in our temporary space, as we have people use our facility as a resource to support information searching of a digital nature. People are charging their laptops here or their iPad—they’re interfacing those devices with our collection to try to bring their research into the 21st century, which has been a great thing.”

Ms. Creedon said she has met with PSEG Island representatives to try to determine how much electricity the new building will need. In the proposed budget, electric expenses would increase by $8,439 for a total projected cost of $36,439.

The other major anticipated increase in expenses is due to staffing.

The building is four times larger than the library’s temporary space at 34 West Water Street, so custodial hours will need to be added.

The library moved into its temporary space around the same time as Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted the 2-percent tax cap on school districts. As a result of being in a smaller building and under a smaller budget, three employees left without being replaced. A desk clerk will not be replaced, but Ms. Creedon hopes to reinstate the adult programming coordinator and local history library positions.

“I really want to bring that building to light, be able to celebrate our local history holdings and the programming that we have,” Ms. Creedon said, adding that the number of people visiting the library for programs is increasing monthly.

“I think that kind of face-to-face instruction is something the community is really hungry for in terms of how they gather their information,” she added.

Ms. Creedon is hopeful the proposed budget for 2015 will enable the library to stay below the tax cap next year—and that JJML and the community will be enjoying the new library before the spring.

“I can see the staff, I can see the public computers, I can see the reading room full of people and it’s really wonderful,” the director said.

The terms of three current board members—Jackie Brody, Ann Lieber and Toby Spitz—will expire on December 31, 2014. They are all eligible for re-election.

A budget hearing and trustee forum will be held at 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, September 19, preceding the regular monthly meeting. The library trustee election and budget vote is Monday, September 29, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Helicopter Noise at an Unbearable All-Time High, According to Sag Harbor CAC

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By Mara Certic

Helicopter noise dominated the discussion at the Sag Harbor Citizens Advisory Committee meeting last week.

Southampton Town Councilwomen Bridget Fleming and Christine Scalera attracted a small crowd of non-members to the CAC’s monthly meeting on Friday, July 18, in the Pierson High School Library.

Susan Baran, a member of the CAC, announced as she briskly walked into the meeting: “This is the worst day ever.” The helicopter noise over by Long Pond had started at 6 a.m. that morning and hadn’t stopped all day, she said. Those in the room agreed with Ms. Barren that it was “the worst it had ever been.”

Rosemary Caruso added that the “all-white helicopters are the worst,” and that she and her husband see them all the time from their North Haven home.

Bob Malafronte and Barry Holden explained the current situation with helicopter routes and answered questions. Both men are members of the CAC and are the only two Southampton representatives on East Hampton Town’s helicopter noise abatement committee. Mr. Malafronte explained that East Hampton has two airport advisory committees. One of the committees is made up of helicopter and airplane proponents, he said, and is “misleading at best.” The other committee that both Mr. Malafronte and Mr. Holden sit on and which is composed of those concerned with noise issues speaks “nothing but facts and the truth,” he said.

The current problem is exacerbated by the total lack of restrictions at the airport, Mr. Malafronte said. Pilots do not follow the designated routes, he said, adding that 83 percent of the helicopters that flew in and out of East Hampton Airport over July Fourth weekend did not comply with the altitude restrictions.

The two men said that they are in the minority on the committee. “We had to force our way on,” said Mr. Malafronte. He even suggested that airport manager Jim Brundige was “targeting” Southampton Town residents. “This man Brundige has to go,” he said.

Councilwoman Scalera interjected to tell the members of the CAC that they were “very, very, very well represented” by their two Southampton reps. “Without you behind us,” Mr. Malafronte said to her, “we’d be nowhere.”

Mr. Holden said that the new East Hampton Town Board does actually seem to want to solve the problem caused by helicopter noise, unlike the previous administration. He mentioned that East Hampton Town Board member Kathee Burke-Gonzalez sits on both airport advisory committees, and Councilwoman Scalera sits on the noise abatement committee, too.

Recently, the men said, the committees have been working on letter-writing campaigns. They emphasized the importance of documenting complaints about helicopter and aircraft noise, by calling the complaint hotline or writing letters to the editor in local papers.

Their new focus, however, “is to go after the FAA not just to ask for changes but to start demanding answers.” Mr. Malafronte said. “We’re going to focus on Huerta, the man has to produce answers.”

Michael Huerta is the administrator of the FAA, who Mr. Malafronte says “has been hiding.” Mr. Malafronte’s new tactic, he said, is to go after Mr. Huerta “more aggressively.”

A meeting with Congressman Tim Bishop scheduled to take place on August 12 is the next big step, he said. The committee members hope to have at least a representative from the FAA, if not Mr. Huerta himself, present to answer questions.

The meeting will take place at the Bridgehampton Nutrition Center  at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 12.

To register an airport noise complaint call 1-800-376-4817 or visit planenoise.com/khto/

Issues of dumping on Town Line Road continue to trouble members of the Sag Harbor CAC. Several members discussed the problems, mentioning that tires and have piled up and that some people have even gone as far as to dump their mattresses there. “They go out of their way to dump there,” said CAC member Steve Schuman.

“What’s the solution, besides setting up snipers in the woods?” asked CAC member Judah Mahay. He suggested that the CAC look into the feasibility of setting up security cameras, or even looking into getting police to do surveillance at the site once a month.

“If you report it to the public, this could be enough to mitigate it,” he said.

 

Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival Returns

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The festival’s home of the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church hosts the 2013 concert. Photo courtesy Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival.

The festival’s home of the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church hosts the 2013 concert. Photo courtesy Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival.

By Sam Mason-Jones

The Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival returns to the East End this summer to mark its 31st consecutive season, with this year’s series highlighted by the debut of “A Palace Upon the Ruins” by Howard Shore, who composed the score for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

The 12 concerts, which will be hosted by a variety of Bridgehampton venues new and old over a four-week run, features an array of high-profile performances and will debut with a free concert on the grounds of the Bridgehampton Historical Society on Wednesday, July 30.

Mr. Shore is well known for his film scores, particularly that of the “Lord of the Rings,” for which he received three Academy Awards. As well as scoring many other motion pictures, he has also written an opera, “The Fly,” based on the David Cronenberg’s 1986 film of the same name.

Mr. Shore has been commissioned to create a piece of chamber music, with the result being unveiled to the public at the festival. The world premiere of “A Palace Upon the Ruins” will form the heart of the program “Colorful Explorations” on Sunday, August 10, at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Shore has composed “A Palace Upon the Ruins” for mezzo-soprano, flute, cello, piano, harp and percussion. The rising young mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano will be the soloist, singing the accompanying words written by Elizabeth Cotnoir. The piece will be complemented on the night by the work of French composer Gabriel Fauré.

The BCMF, which prides itself on its combination of established and emerging artists, will hear a number of other recent works too. Interwoven with classics from the likes of Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart and Schubert, the schedule features performances of Eric Ewazen’s “Bridgehampton Suite,” Phillippe Hersant’s “Heliades” and Kevin Puts’s “Four Airs,” among others.

The core of the festival is made up of the “Classic Six” concerts, which are held in the home of the BCMF, the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church. The 19th century building boasts excellent acoustics and superb architecture.

Alternate venues, such as the Bridgehampton Historical Society, Atlantic Golf Club and Channing Sculpture Garden host the other half of the performances. These shows, set outside, offer a unique experience to hear classical music.

Some of these newer contributions will have a new home too, as the festival has entered into a new partnership with the Parrish Art Museum. The museum’s new building on Montauk Highway in Water Mill will be the site of a concert by Brooklyn Rider, a young string quartet New York City. Known for its intriguing and unconventional style, the group has won many plaudits for its contribution to contemporary classical music.

On Saturday, August 9, the quartet will perform new work from Gabriel Kahane, Evan Ziporyn and Aoife O’Donovan at two separate shows. First will come a concert at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church at 6:30pm, before it will adjourn to the Parrish Art Museum for a second performance at 9 p.m.

Speaking to this point, Marya Martin, the festival’s artistic director, noted, “We are thrilled to grow the festival in partnership with the Parish Art Museum, adding not only a new concert venue, but also providing easy access to a BCMF concert to those in Southampton and Water Mill.”

Ms. Martin is also the festival’s sole flutist, and will perform in all but two of the 12 concerts. Joining her on the 2014 artist roster are a number of musicians familiar to past festival attendees.

This year violinist Ani Kavafian, having performed at the very first festival in 1984, returns to Bridgehampton, as does pianist Joyce Yang, who makes her return after originally performing at the festival in her early teens. Regular string-players Cynthia Phelps, Carter Brey and Donald Palma are also set to return.

This familiarity is essential to Ms. Martin for the creation of what she describes as “the electricity of good friends making music together.”

Festival debutants violinist Anthony Marwood, cellist Antonio Lysy, harpist Bridget Kibbey and percussionist Ian David Rosenbaum complete the mix of more than 40 musicians.

The Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival of 2014 will close on Sunday, August 24, with “A Serenade to the Season” at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church. A reflective collection of music, it will feature Mozart’s “Eine Kliene Nachtmusik” and Brahms’s “Serenade No.1.”

A comprehensive concert schedule, as well as a ticket outlet, can be found at www.bcmf.org. Alternatively, tickets can be purchased by phone at (212) 741-9403 or from the box office at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church at 2429 Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton.

Bay Street Theater Brings World Premiere of “My Life is a Musical” to Sag Harbor

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A rehearsal photo taken at the New 42nd Street Studios in NYC with the cast of "My Life is a Musical:" Danyel Fulton, Wendi Bergamini, Howie Michael Smith, Adam Daveline, Brian Sills, Justin Matthew Sargeant, Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone, Robert Cucciolo. Photo by Barry Gordin.

A rehearsal photo taken at the New 42nd Street Studios in NYC with the cast of “My Life is a Musical:” Danyel Fulton, Wendi Bergamini, Howie Michael Smith, Adam Daveline, Brian Sills, Justin Matthew Sargeant, Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone, Robert Cucciolo. Photo by Barry Gordin.

By Tessa Raebeck

Parker has lived his entire life seeking solitude, trying to hide his affliction from the rest of the world. He doesn’t make new friends, he doesn’t have romantic relationships and he most certainly does not want to join the local chorus.

Parker, a straight-laced accountant, is suffering from a rare condition that makes his entire life take the shape of a musical. Bay Street Theater’s latest play, “My Life Is a Musical,” follows Parker’s struggle as he tries to navigate a world in which everywhere he goes people are singing, dancing, and going through life with an energy that is only found in musical theater—which he happens to despise.

The musical, written by Adam Overett and directed and choreographed by Marlo Hunter, “both real rising stars in musical theater,” according to Bay Street’s artistic director Scott Schwartz, will have its world premiere in Sag Harbor.

Director/choreographer Marlo Hunter, playwright Adam Overett and music director Vadim Feichtner. Photo by Barry Gordin.

Director/choreographer Marlo Hunter, playwright Adam Overett and music director Vadim Feichtner. Photo by Barry Gordin.

The play opens on a normal—and thus strange—day in the life of Parker, who quickly sees the order through which he controls his affliction turned upside down when his accounting firm sends him to work for none other than a rock band.

“Of course, it’s his worst nightmare,” Ms. Hunter said in an interview on Friday, July 18, “because he has to be around music all the time and he won’t have any idea what’s going on.”

With his company’s future hanging in the balance, Parker accepts the position.

In a structure similar to “Cyrano de Bergerac,” the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand, the play follows Parker’s struggle to discern between what is song and what constitutes a person’s inner thoughts.

“He hears the truth of their emotion in the song,” explained Ms. Hunter.

Although the proximity to music is what terrifies Parker, in the end, it is what helps him to see the value of his affliction.

“It’s about how this person struggles with and ultimately embraces the thing about him that he thinks makes him a freak, which is a very universal theme,” the director said.

“We all have things about ourselves that we feel don’t fit in or we’re not comfortable with,” Mr. Schwartz said. “This show explores that life from a wonderful, musical land.”

The cast, which Ms. Hunter called “sensational,” has appeared in celebrated shows including “Evita,” “Hair” and “The Lion King.”

It stars Howie Michael Smith as the confused Parker, and Robert Cuccioli, who plays the rising rock star Zach, with Kathleen Elizabeth Monteleone and Justin Matthew Sargeant playing other the principal roles.

The ensemble, “the hardest working people in show business,” according to Ms. Hunter, features Wendi Bergamini, Adam Daveline, Danyel Fulton and Brian Sills. They play over 70 characters between the four of them.

“It’s pretty astounding what they do,” Ms. Hunter said of the cast, “and they have to sing, dance and have broad comedic ability—they were hard to find.”

The show’s music is as varied as the ensemble’s roles.

“We really run the gamut stylistically,” she said. “It’s not all just traditional musical theater. There’s some pop, rock in there.”

Through Mr. Cuccioli’s character Zach, who Parker hears singing like a musical theater star, Mr. Overett shows how musical theater moments get transformed into rock songs.

Mr. Overett, Ms. Hunter and Mr. Schwartz agree this is a show for both people who love musicals and people who hate them.unnamed-5

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people in previous readings or in our workshops who have said, ‘I don’t usually like musicals, but I love this,’” Ms. Hunter said, adding she thinks both sides of the audience will walk away from Bay Street with a love—or at least an appreciation—for musicals.

The show addresses the aspects of  musicals that bother people while celebrating them at the same time.

“The form of musical theater, there’s an aspect of it that is—it’s larger than life—and in some ways, that feels inaccessible to people, because it seems insincere in its grandeur. But that’s also what other people love about the form—that it requires such a suspension of disbelief,” Ms. Hunter said.

“The beauty of the way Adam has written this show,” she added, “is that it may not seem realistic but he’s written us characters who are very real and very accessible and a story line that is incredibly heartfelt.”

“My Life is a Musical,” Ms. Hunter said, delivers the big production and entertaining numbers of a musical, but with “real heart and a strong core.”

“This is the kind of show that in your career you hope you find and I’ve been lucky enough to have found it,” the director said.

“My Life is a Musical” opens Tuesday, July 29, and runs through Sunday, August 31, at the Bay Street Theater, located at the corner of Bay Street and Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. For more information or tickets, call (631) 725-9500 or visit baystreet.org.

Sag Harbor Village Board Revokes Page at 63 Main Outdoor Dining License

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Waiters remove chairs from Page at 63 Main Friday afternoon after the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees revoked the restaurant’s outdoor dining license. 

By Stephen J. Kotz

The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees on Friday, July 18, revoked the outdoor dining license of Page at 63 Main restaurant. The village board took the action, Mayor Brian Gilbride said, primarily because of ongoing code compliance issues with the restaurant’s new Back Page café, which opened earlier this year.

It did so after attorney Dennis Downes—who told the board the outdoor dining on Main Street earned the restaurant between $7,500 and $10,000 a day—said its owners would shut down the Back Page café immediately until zoning code violations were resolved and a site plan was issued if the village would allow it to keep its outdoor dining license.

Minutes after the village issued its order, at about 5 p.m., waiters were busy removing the tables and chairs that had graced the front of the restaurant next door to the Municipal Building.

The restaurant found itself in hot water when village officials said it made improvements to the property without first obtaining building permits. Village officials also said the restaurant created an outdoor dining area with a slate patio, when the village Planning Board had intended for it to be used simply as a waiting area for patrons who wanted to dine in the main restaurant.

Village officials also said a refrigerated Dumpster enclosure that was built behind the Back Page posed a fire hazard because it was wired for electricity, a charge the restaurant’s representatives denied.

The village also charged that Page did not remove the same number of seats from inside the restaurant as it offered outside, as it had agreed to do when applying for the license.

Last week, the village building inspector suspended the Main Street dining license, pending the restaurant’s appearance next week in village Justice Court. In the meantime, said Mayor Gilbride, the restaurant’s owners “thumbed their nose” at the village.

“We’re here talking because when there was a suspension… the right thing would have been to remove the tables and chairs and let’s get to the bottom of this,” the mayor said.

Mr. Downes sought to prevent the village board from taking action, saying the outdoor dining right was “a valuable property right” that the village could not revoke without “due process.”

Village attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr. called those charges “ludicrous,” adding that the village only charged $100 for a license and said if outdoor seats were as valuable as Mr. Downes said they were, the village should be charging more. “It’s a privilege to use public property for a private use,” Mr. Thiele said.

Mr. Downes conceded that mistake had been made, but said the restaurant had been held up during the planning process and had to do the work to be ready for the summer season.

“Without those seats, there is a lot of money being lost,” said Mr. Downes of the outdoor dining. “It could be the difference between being able to stay alive in the winter where there are less people out here.”