Tag Archive | "Southampton"

“Art of Dance” Brings Artwork to Life on Stage in Southampton

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The company at Studio 3 practice. Photo courtesy Studio 3.

The company at Studio 3 practice. Photo courtesy Studio 3.

By Tessa Raebeck

In its annual spring production, Southampton dance center Studio 3 will bring famous works of art to life on stage in “The Art of Dance.”

For two nights, Saturday, June 7, and Sunday, June 8, the local dance school will bring works from artists as varied as Degas, Matisse and Banksy alive in the form of ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary and lyrical dance.

Ballet dancers rehearse at Studio 3 in Southampton. Photo courtesy Studio 3.

Ballet dancers rehearse at Studio 3 in Southampton. Photo courtesy Studio 3.

Diane and Meredith Shumway, the owner and assistant director of Studio 3, respectively, together with up-and-coming students-turned-choreographers Thomas Gallo, Liam Gifkins, and Jenna Mazanowski, have drawn inspiration from art to choreograph, costume and develop a variety of pieces.

“The best part of developing each piece was the learning process for the teachers, as well as the students,” said dance teacher and Studio 3 assistant director Meredith Shumway. “We are going above and beyond this year because students aren’t just dancing to music on a stage, they are expressing the mood, feeling, color, pattern and history of each work of art and bringing it to life.”

“The Art of Dance” is Saturday, June 7, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 8, at 2 p.m. at the theater at the Southampton High School, 141 Narrow Lane in Southampton. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (631) 537-3008, email tickets@dancestudio3.com or visit dancestudio3.com.

Landscape Pleasures Offers an Insider’s Look at Southampton’s Ever-Changing Gardens

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The garden of Margaret and R. Peter Sullivan is one of the homes featured on the Parrish Art Museum's Landscape Pleasures garden tour this Sunday, June 8. Photo by Doug Young.

The garden of Margaret and R. Peter Sullivan is one of the homes featured on the Parrish Art Museum’s Landscape Pleasures garden tour this Sunday, June 8. Photo by Doug Young.

By Tessa Raebeck

Like a piece of artwork or a writer’s manuscript, a garden is never truly finished. As with all art, gardens can always evolve, changing with the seasons and naturally growing out of plans and designs, developing over time in a never-ending evolution.

Gardening is the art of the Earth, providing the willing and creative with another means of finding beauty in the mundane.

“All I know is, I don’t paint with a trowel or garden with a brush,” the late Robert Dash said in a video by P. Allen Smith Classics filmed in 2011, two years before his death, when asked about the connection between gardening and painting.

“They inform one another in ways that are very mysterious. It’s how the trowel is wielded or how the brush is wielded that informs the canvas or the Earth and there are no rules. And the only way you know how to do something in either of those arts is by doing it,” he added.

Mr. Dash, an artist, writer and gardener who died in September at age 82, “believed very much in gardens taking their time and developing over a period of time,” said Jack deLashmet, co-chair of Landscape Pleasures, which will honor Mr. Dash this year.

Hosted by the Parrish Art Museum, Landscape Pleasures includes three lectures by gardening and landscape design experts on Saturday, June 7, followed by a day of tours of some of Southampton’s most historic and remarkable gardens on Sunday, June 8.

The 2-acre Sagaponack garden of Mr. Dash, the Madoo Conservancy, which is open to the public, is included among the private estates on Sunday’s tour.

Established in 1967, the internationally known organic garden is a testament to Mr. Dash’s belief in the ever-evolving landscape. The grounds offer a tour across history, featuring Tudor, High Renaissance, early Greek, English, French and Asian influences.

Mr. Dash’s horticultural wisdom—and his commitment to the garden as a canvas that is ever changing and organic—will be celebrated and expanded on this weekend.

“We’ve always had excellent speakers,” said Mr. deLashmet of the annual garden tours, who believes this year’s Landscape Pleasures is the best yet. “The theme is the never finished garden, that gardens really evolve—and everybody will have a slight take on that,”

On Saturday, southern landscape design architect Paul Faulkner “Chip” Callaway, “an absolutely entertaining speaker,” according to Mr. deLashmet, will present, reflecting on his experience creating nearly 1,000 gardens, concentrating on period restoration work and designing historically relevant gardens.

Following Mr. Callaway, Martin Filler, the architecture critic for The New York Review of Books, and renowned for his more than 1,000 articles, essays and books on modern architecture,  will celebrate the contributions of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, the Listerine fortune heiress who was a patron of the arts with a dedicated interest in gardening, landscape design and the history of gardens.

A friend and confidante of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Ms. Mellon redesigned the White House Rose Garden. She died in March at the age of 103.

One of the world’s premiere garden designers, Arne Maynard, is the final speaker Saturday. Known for his large country gardens in Great Britain, the United States and across Europe, Mr. Maynard has the special “ability to identify and draw out the essence of a place, something that gives his gardens a particular quality of harmony,” according to the Parrish website.

Continuing the celebration of the changing nature of gardens, the self-guided tour Sunday features properties with rich histories behind them.

The garden of Perri Peltz and Eric Ruttenberg, an 1892 property originally called “Claverack,” is rarely open to the public.

Although it has evolved, the owners are always mindful of their home’s deep history; the original outhouses, bucolic buildings housing poultry, dairy and the stables, were, in a move that is sadly rare on the East End, married together and allowed to remain.

Designer Tory Burch will open up her home, a 1929 red brick Georgian House and 10-acre garden known as Westerly that is one of Southampton’s grandest estates.

“A great story about both restoring and finding old plants,” according to Mr. deLashmet,  Bernard and Joan Carl, the owners an 8-acre estate called “Little Orchard,” restored original plantings while also bringing in new gardens.

“We did not want to be beholden to the past just for the past’s sake,” Ms. Carl told the Parrish.

The garden of Margaret and R. Peter Sullivan is an American style garden flanked by a new Palladian villa. The landscape offers a modern interpretation on standard ideas of gardening, with fruits and vegetables, an herb garden, and a vase decorated with poetry made by Mr. Dash.

As the late Mr. Dash once said, “Gardening is very much like setting a table—and if you can set a good dinner table, you can be a good gardener.”

A two-day event, Landscape Pleasures begins Saturday, June 7, at 8:30 a.m. at the Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For a full calendar and more information, call (631) 283-2118 or visit parrishart.org.

Nursing Award for Patricia Wright

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Patricia Darcey, RN, chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services at Southampton Hospital and chairwoman of the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council Nurse Executives Committee; Patricia Wright, RN, Southampton Hospital, Nurse of Excellence Award winner; Betty Commander, RN, nurse manager of Southampton Hospital’s Kathleen D. Allen Maternity Center; and Valerie Terzano RN, member of the NSHC Nurse of Excellence sub-committee and senior vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer, Winthrop-University Hospital.

By Stephen J. Kotz

Patricia Wright, RN, a nurse in Southampton Hospital’s Kathleen D. Allen Maternity Center, has been honored with the 2014 Nurse of Excellence Award by the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council. Ms. Wright received the award on May 21 at a ceremony hosted by the council at the Woodbury Country Club.

Each year, leading nurses from Long Island’s hospitals and nursing education programs honor their peers with the awards, with one nurse from each of its member hospitals nominated for outstanding leadership and clinical practice.

Historical Society Relives Days of the Railroad in Sag Harbor

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A train pulls up to Sag Harbor’s freight depot. Photo courtesy Sag Harbor Historical Society.

 

By Stephen J. Kotz

Save for the Garden Depot on Spring Street, which was long ago moved from its original location, there is nary a sign in the village that Sag Harbor was once the eastern terminus of the Long Island Rail Road on the South Fork, with regular passenger and freight service and serving as an important link to steamboat service to the North Fork and Montauk.

But, in fact, the railroad arrived in Sag Harbor in 1870—a full 25 years before it pushed on to East Hampton—and it played a major role in revitalizing a village whose economy had been left in tatters by the end of the whaling era.

The Sag Harbor Historical Society’s new summer exhibit, “The LIRR in Sag Harbor 1870-1939,” aims to give modern day residents and visitors a glimpse, through photographs, old timers’ memories, newspaper reports, and the occasional artifact, of what it was like when steam locomotives pulling passenger cars chugged into a beautiful brick depot donated by—who else?—Mrs. Russell Sage.

The show, on display at the society’s Annie Cooper Boyd House on Main Street, will officially open this weekend, after the historical society holds its annual meeting at the museum this Saturday, May 31, at 3 p.m. At the members-only event, Bryan Boyhan, the publisher emeritus and consultant of The Sag Harbor Express, will introduce the exhibit with a reading of an account of the railroad’s arrival that was first published in The Express 144 years ago.

“It was a drunken blast, as far as I can tell,” said Jean Held, a member of the society’s exhibit committee, who was largely responsible for curating this year’s display,  “although they did not describe it in such plain English.” Instead, she said, merrymakers, official and otherwise, were described as so happy about the railroad’s arrival “that they were unable to stand on their own two feet.”

In designing the exhibit, Ms. Held focused on several themes, including why railroad service, which had been extended to Greenport in 1844, was so badly needed. For one, in winter, the bay was often frozen solid—for 90 straight days in 1868, for instance—leaving Sag Harbor cut off from the rest of the world. Mail delivery was also intermittent, and the travelers on the Bridgehampton Turnpike were even from time to time set upon by armed robbers.

Eventually, Southampton Town and Sag Harbor Village agreed to ante up the money to buy the right-of-way needed to bring the train north from Bridgehampton.

Progress was watched with anticipation, with The Express reporting on November 11, 1869, “Now that work has commenced on the road in our midst, we can realize more forcibly that we are to have a railroad. Looking out of the rear windows of our office we can see some 50 men busily at work shoveling on the meadow, throwing up an entrenchment equal to the fortifications in front of a besieged city.”
Although the arrival of the railroad on June 11, 1870, was greeted with great fanfare, cracks in the relationship between Sag Harbor and the LIRR soon appeared when the line’s president, Oliver Charlick, insisted that all freight to and from the village run on the railroad, and if not, that the railroad be paid a fee anyway. When the village balked, Mr. Charlick reneged on a promise to build a beautiful depot. Instead a small shed was built at the end of the line until Mrs. Russell Sage had one built in 1909.

Ms. Held said in designing the exhibit that she wanted to include entries on some locals who refused to allow the LIRR to push them around. One was Betsy Josey, who refused to sell her boarding house near what would become the depot until she got her price. Rumor has it that when a party representing the railroad approached her place she appeared in an upstairs window, threatening to douse them with scalding water. She eventually got her price, $1,350, and her home was moved to Cross Street, off Division Street.

Although not everyone enjoyed cordial ties with the LIRR, its arrival did help revive Sag Harbor’s struggling economy. The presence of the railroad, for instance, helped convince Joseph Fahys to move his watchcase factory from New Jersey to Sag Harbor in 1881. Within a year after opening, it employed 350 workers. Other businesses, including William Eatons Printers and Engravers, which opened a small factory on Jermain Avenue, followed.

Hotels also cropped up, joining The American Hotel, which was already a fixture here, to serve a growing clientele of tourists.

To reach Sag Harbor, the railroad veered north at Lumber Lane in Bridgehampton, crossing the Bridgehampton Turnpike between Hampton Court and the Huntington Crossway. Today, a portion of the rail bed is a trail in the Long Pond Greenbelt. The line emerged from the woods near the parking area on the west side of the park, and hugged the shoreline of Sag Harbor Cove before making its entrance into the village down the future Long Island Avenue.

In its heyday, there was a siding to Round Pond, a popular source of ice in the winter, and another to a brickyard off Clay Pit Road. But when the line was extended to East Hampton and all the way to Montauk, ridership began to fall off, as passengers no longer had a need to transfer to a steamboat in Sag Harbor to complete their journey.

In 1927, the railroad replaced regular service with single-car trolley type trains, known variously as “Doodlebugs” or the “Sag Harbor Scoot.” They remained in service until 1939 when the LIRR successfully petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the branch.

In the intervening years, the tracks were torn up, although the occasional spike is still found along the greenbelt trail. Wetlands that were filled in along the tracks in Mashashimuet Park are now ballfields. There is no trace of a small station that once stood on the west side of the Bridgehampton Turnpike just south of Brick Kiln Road. Even the depot built with Mrs. Sage’s largesse and described as one of the loveliest on all of Long Island, could not ward off the march of time. Converted into the home of Dipple Fuel, it too succumbed to the wrecking ball in 1965 to be replaced by what is now the Capital One Bank drive-through next to the post office.

“The LIRR in Sag Harbor 1870-1939” will open at the Sag Harbor Historical Society’s Annie Cooper Boyd House on Main Street, Sag Harbor, there will be a preview open to the public, with an introduction from Bryan Boyhan of the Sag Harbor Express, on Saturday, May 31 at 3 p.m.

 

After Tragedy, Woman Petitions for Dog Park

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Tina Pignatelli and her dog Huckleberry.

 

By Stephen J. Kotz

A Bay Point woman whose pet dog was struck and killed by a Sag Harbor Village truck at Havens Beach a few weeks ago has started an online petition drive to have a portion of the park fenced off as a dog park.

“He was a wonderful, wonderful dog,” said Tina Pignatelli of her 6-year-old golden doodle, Huckleberry. “I felt like I could talk to him and he understood exactly what I was saying.”

Ms. Pignatelli said she has already collected about 160 signatures on her iPetition and has an ultimate goal of 500. She hopes to pitch her idea to the Sag Harbor Village Board at its next meeting, on June 10.

“I’m not trying to go against the village,” she said. “I’m just trying to make this a really beautiful place for people and make it safer for dogs.”

The field on the eastern side of the park is an informal gathering place for dog owners and their pets.

Mayor Brian Gilbride said on Wednesday that even though he was sympathetic to Ms. Pignatelli, he would not be inclined to support her idea. “At the end of the day that is not a dog park, nor is it supposed to be,” he said. “It is really supposed to be a picnic park.”

The mayor added that the village has spent a lot of money trying to clean up Havens Beach and pointed out that a person hired by the village to take water samples there recently remarked that there was a significant amount of dog feces on the beach.

Ms. Pignatelli said she thought most dog owners were conscientious about cleaning up after their pets, adding that she thought a formal, fenced-in dog park might result in them becoming even more diligent.

As part of her proposal, Ms. Pignatelli said she had reached out to landscape architects, Jack Delashmet Associates, and they had agreed to design a landscaped area on the south side of the field, leaving ample space for landing Medevac helicopters and a wide enough gate to accommodate cars if the field is needed for parking for events like the fire department’s annual carnival.

“I’m willing to raise the money,” she said. “I’m not asking for village’s money. I just want their permission.

Ms. Pignatelli said on the fateful day, Huckleberry was in a playful mood when she brought him to the beach to exercise him off his leash. When she tried to get him back in the car, he dashed out in front of a village work truck that was leaving the parking area.

She was able to get the injured dog back in her vehicle, but he died as she drove him to Old Towne Animal Hospital in Southampton. “There was nothing that anyone could have done,” she said. “He came to me during a hard time in my life. I miss him every day.”

Kevin Pollak Kicks off Bay Street’s Comedy Showcase Series

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Comedian Kevin Pollak performs at Bay Street Theatre on Monday, June 2 at 8 p.m. Photo courtesy Bay Street Theatre.

 

By Mara Certic

The Comedy Showcase returns for its fourth year this Monday, June 2, at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor. This year’s summer-long series kicks off with a performance by stand-up comedian and actor Kevin Pollak.

“We’re really excited that we were finally able to get him this year,” said Gary Hygom, Bay Street’s managing production director. “The kind of the cool thing about him is that he’s one of the few comedians who have had a huge dramatic career. Few people know that he started out as a comic.”

Known for dramatic roles in “A Few Good Men,” “Casino” and “The Usual Suspects,” Mr. Pollak started performing stand-up comedy in 1967 when he was just 10 years old. In his late teens, he started performing professionally and, after taping his first solo HBO comedy performance, Mr. Pollak was cast in “Willow,” a 1988 film directed by Ron Howard.

Mr. Pollak is known for his solid celebrity impressions, particularly his Christopher Walken, Peter Falk and William Shatner shticks.

Five years ago Mr. Pollak began “Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show,” an online talk show aired once a week. Guests such as Matthew Perry and Dana Carvey have been invited on air to play games like “The Larry King Game” –during which guests complete a series of tasks all while doing a bad Larry King impression—and “Who Tweeted”—in which guests guess the celebrity authors of embarrassing tweets.

Steve Rannazzisi will take to the Bay Street stage a few weeks later, on Monday, June 30. Mr. Rannazzisi is known for his role as Kevin on the FX show, “The League.” Mr. Rannazzisi got his break on MTV’s “Punk’d”: Ashton Kutcher’s practical joke reality television show. He has since become known for work on the comedy stage, on television and on the silver screen.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing Steve perform,” said Mr. Hygom of Mr. Rannazzisi. “I’ve never seen him live, but I’ve heard he’s just unbelievable.”

A newcomer to the showcase will be writer and comedian Heather McDonald who will continue the series the following week with a July 7 performance. Ms. McDonald has been celebrated for her writing for the late-night comedy talk show, “Chelsea Lately,” and her collaboration with the Wayans brothers on two of their feature films.

Ms. McDonald has been featured on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and has guest-starred on several prime time shows. Her 2010 book, “You’ll Never Blue Ball in This Town Again,” spent seven weeks on The New York Times best-seller list.

After his sold-out show at Bay Street last year, Bobby Collins returns to its stage on July 14. Mr. Collins performs upward of 200 stand-up bits every year and is well known for his work on VH1′s “Stand Up Spotlight.” Mr. Collins has been the warm-up act for artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton and Cher.

Mr. Collins’s career in observational stand-up comedy began over 20 years ago, when he gave up a well-paying job at Calvin Klein to pursue his dream to make people laugh.

“I don’t like to have comedians come back and do the same material,” Mr. Hygom said. “But Bobby has such a huge repertoire, his shows always change. Everything is always new and fresh”

Maine-native Bob Marley—not to be confused with the Wailer—will perform the first of August’s comedy showcases on August 11. Mr. Marley is one of few who have performed on the entire late night talk show circuit. He has had roles in cult film favorites, such as the “Boondock Saints.”

Last in the series, Grammy- and Tony-award nominee Robert Klein returns to Bay Street on August 18 for what is expected to be another sold-out performance. Mr. Klein has received recognition for his comedy and also for his musical work on Broadway.

With over 100 appearances on “The Tonight Show and Late Show with David Letterman” to his credit, Mr. Klein got his start in comedy when he auditioned for the improvisational troupe, Second City.

Mr. Klein has released several successful comedy albums, one of which is said to have influenced comedy great Bill Crystal—who on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” admitted to have, in his youth, decorated his apartment wall with a poster of Mr. Klein.

Bay Street Theatre will present up-and-coming comedy stars when the All-Star Comedy Showcase also returns this summer. Hosted by Joseph Vecsey, the June 9 show will also feature comics recognizable from appearances on Comedy Central, MTV and PBS.

The Comedy Showcase performances are at 8 p.m. on most Mondays throughout the summer season. Bay Street Theatre is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, or to purchase tickets visit baystreet.org or call (631) 725-9500.

East End Services on Memorial Day Celebrate Those Who Served, Those Who Fell

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The color guard makes its way down Main Street during the 2013 Sag Harbor Memorial Day parade. Michael Heller photo.

The color guard makes its way down Main Street during the 2013 Sag Harbor Memorial Day parade. Michael Heller photo.

By Kathryn G. Menu

Residents across the East End will honor those men and women who died while serving in the military during this country’s wars at Memorial Day services beginning Sunday and continuing on Monday.

In Sag Harbor, remembrance will begin this Sunday, May 25, said Martin Knab, commander of the Sag Harbor American Legion Chelberg & Battle Post, as members of the Legion and the Sag Harbor VFW are joined by Sag Harbor Boy Scouts in replacing the flags on the gravestones of veterans in cemeteries throughout the village. Flags and wreaths will also be laid at the veterans memorial at North Haven Village Hall, and on the South Ferry Lt. Joseph Theinert, named for the Shelter Island resident who perished in Afghanistan in June 2010. A flag will also be placed at the 1812 memorial on High Street in Sag Harbor, said Mr. Knab.

On Memorial Day—Monday, May 26— veterans, government officials and scouts will begin the Memorial Day Parade at the World War I monument at Otter Pond at 9 a.m. to lay a wreath, and march down Main Street to the Civil War monument to do the same before stopping in front of the Municipal Building and the Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge. The parade will continue to Bay Street and to Marine Park, stopping at the village’s memorials to those who fought and died in World War II, the Vietnam War and the Korean War. Both Mr. Knab and Sag Harbor VFW Commander Roger King will speak, as will James Larocca, a Sag Harbor resident and veteran who has dedicated much of his life to public service.

Residents will be invited back to the Legion for refreshments and hot dogs, said Mr. Knab.

Sag Harbor will not be alone in celebrating and honoring fallen soldiers.

On Sunday, May 25, the Montauk Veterans and Service Club will host its annual Montauk Memorial Day parade at noon, beginning at Kirk Park and moving east through Montauk to the village green. On Monday, May 26, beginning at 9 a.m. the annual Bridgehampton Memorial Day service will be held at the war monument at the corner of Ocean Road and Montauk Highway, hosting by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, Nathaniel Howell Topping Post 580. Members of the Bridgehampton Fire Department and the Bridgehampton School band will also be on hand for the ceremonies. The Village of Southampton Commission on Veterans Patriotic Events will host its Memorial Day service on Monday starting at 11 a.m. at Agawam Park, after a brief parade at 10:45 a.m. starting at the First Presbyterian Church and heading down Jobs Lane to the park.

 

 

 

New Affordable Health Care Clinic Opens in Southampton

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and HRHCare President and CEO Anne Kauffman Nolon officially opened the Kraus Family Health Center of the Hamptons at Southampton Hospital on Wednesday. Photo by Mara Certic.

 

By Mara Certic

“The face of healthcare is changing and the County of Suffolk is at the forefront of it,” said Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. at the grand opening of the Kraus Family Health Center of the Hamptons on Wednesday, May 21.

Hudson River HealthCare, a not-for-profit health care system, had an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new center at Southampton Hospital. Construction of the almost 10,000 square foot clinic began in October of 2013.

HRHCare’s mission is “to increase access to comprehensive primary and preventive health care and to improve the health status of our community, especially for the underserved and vulnerable.”

Its first center opened in Peekskill in July 1975; it now has 22 centers in New York, which provide care for more than 90,000 patients. English and Spanish are spoken at every site, and six other languages are spoken at specific HRHCare clinics.

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman said that the new clinic offers “significantly more” than what the urgent care clinics in both East Hampton and Southampton previously provided.

The new center will offer affordable health care, including family medicine, behavioral health services, dental care and women’s health services.

The clinic unofficially opened its doors on March 17 to provide family medicine services. Since then nearly 800 patients have made 1,200 visits to this site, according to HRHCare President and CEO Anne Kauffman Nolon. In the first month the clinic was open, 60 percent of its patients were uninsured and 182 of them were homeless. “It’s good to know that we’re really meeting a need here,” Ms. Nolon said.

Robert Chaloner, President and CEO of Southampton Hospital, announced that the Kraus Family Health Center already has its first six resident doctors, who will start in July. “As your landlord, we promise to be kind,” he said to Ms. Nolon on Wednesday.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, the day’s keynote speaker, said that the new facility is a “major advancement” for Suffolk County and thanked Hudson River Healthcare; he said that its hard work is the “main reason” that the clinic is open today.

Mr. Bellone also thanked local government officials for their dedication in seeing this project through: “If I had one word to describe Jay it would be relentless,” he said of Mr. Schneiderman. “We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for his tenacity.”

“And our great partners at the town level,” he continued. “Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, on this issue and so many others, you’re a great leader. And all of our partners in Southampton, thank you.”

The Kraus Family Health Center of the Hamptons is located at Southampton Hospital at 330 Meeting House Lane, Southampton. For more information visit hrhcare.org or call (631) 268-1008.

 

Sag Harbor Village to Target Illegal Rentals

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By Mara Certic

Like all municipalities on the South Fork, contending with overcrowding, parking and noise from share houses or illegal short-term rentals in the Sag Harbor is a challenge. But according to village attorney Denise Schoen it is not a challenge the village will take lightly this summer.

Rental-by-owner websites such as VRBO, AirBnB and HomeAway have hundreds of houses to rent in Sag Harbor Village; many of which offer rentals for very short periods of time and claim to offer sleeping arrangements for a worrying number of people, according to Ms. Schoen.

In the village, it is illegal to rent a home in short-term capacity, Ms. Schoen said this week. Although there is no specific provision defining the minimum length of stay allowed for a renter, the occupancy of houses in the village must be “permanent, or tantamount to permanent,” according to the village code.

“If we’re able to prove by presenting enough facts to a judge that they’re renting the house on a short-term basis, they are going to automatically fall outside the permitted use of the zone,” Ms. Schoen said.

Ms. Schoen said those who rent their houses for the full summer season do not have to worry that they are operating outside the law. “Obviously, Sag Harbor is a resort community,” she said. But short-term rentals, she added, can be very disruptive within a community.

“There’s no control over quality-of-life issues for neighbors, ” said Ms. Schoen, noting anonymous complaints have already been logged with the village about these kinds of rentals.

This week, of the 183 houses advertised on one rent-by-owner website, only 25 of them had a minimum rental period of 30 days or more— with many offering a two-night minimum stay during certain parts of the season.

East Hampton and Southampton Towns both have specific rental provisions in their codes. Southampton does not allow rentals for a period of less than 14 days. The law in East Hampton is slightly different, stating that a single-family residence may only be rented out for a period shorter than 14 days three times within a six-month period.

Ms. Schoen said that believes that adopting a specific rental law in Sag Harbor might be a way to buck the disturbing rental trend.

A provision in the village code allows for private homes to run bed-and-breakfasts within Sag Harbor’s residential zones if a permit is issued by the village planning board. In those cases there are many restrictions, such as a limit of four guests at one time, and a two-night maximum stay.

However, few of the two-or three-night rentals listed on rent-by owner websites fell under the B&B criteria. One house “two minutes from the center of town” charges more than $1,000 a night throughout the summer season and claims to sleep 13, despite stating that it has only three bedrooms.

Ms. Schoen said she is most concerned about overcrowding in the smaller houses within the central village area. Not only is this a matter of legality and quality-of-life, but there are also health and safety concerns.

A particularly worrying discovery on these rental websites is that quite a few of the houses are advertised as having cottages. “How many of those cottages are legal? And if they’re not legal, I’m even more concerned about the health and safety issues because that means they don’t have a C of O for sleeping,” she said.

The fear is that the detached structures might not have fire protection; the “cottages” are “built differently than other houses; they burn faster,” said Ms. Schoen, who has been a volunteer with the Sag Harbor Ambulance Corps for over a decade. The worry in a village as small as this one is that a fire on one property could quickly spread to another.

Although no official complaints have been logged with the village clerk in the last year, more than one anonymous grievance has been made to officials about rentals causing garbage, parking and noise problems.

“It was very hard for [these neighbors] to enjoy their backyards anymore because it was just constant parties because it was a different group of people every week,” Ms. Schoen said.

Building Inspector Tim Platt has had some success writing letters and stopping illegal “party rentals” in the summer season, when houses are rented out for one-night only for blowout celebrations, like prom. When a homeowner is cited by the village for an illegal rental, their only recourse to fight the charge is in Sag Harbor Village Justice Court.

The part-time code enforcement officer in the summer has focused more in the past on problems of overcrowdings in the business district. Ms. Schoen said that the lack of this resource might be why “the word isn’t out there that there’s a possibility you could be cited; there’s no fear on anyone’s part.”

Ms. Schoen urged residents to inform the building department if they are concerned that illegal, or dangerous, rentals are going in Sag Harbor. “We will take complaints very seriously,” she said. “So if a neighbor sees a situation where a short-term rental is taking place, especially in overcrowding situations, they should call down to village hall, to the building department, and we’ll check it out.

 

Paula Poundstone Opens Saturday Night Comedy This Weekend at Bay Street Theatre

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Comedian Paula Poundstone will open a series of special Saturday night comedy performances at Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theatre on May 24 at 8 p.m.

Richard Lewis will take the stage June 21, and audiences can spend “A Divine Evening with Charles Busch,” accompanied by Tom Judson July 26.

Ms. Poundstone is a regular panelist on NPR’s rascal of a weekly news quiz show, “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me,” and is known in her decades long career in stand-up for her ability to be spontaneous with a crowd.

“No two shows I do are the same,” said Ms. Poundstone. “It’s not that I don’t repeat material. I do. My shows, when they’re good, and I like to think they often are, are like a cocktail party. When you first get there, you talk about how badly you got lost and how hard it was to find parking. Then you tell a story about your kids or what you just saw on the news. You meet some new people and ask them about themselves.  Then, someone says, ‘Tell that story you used to tell,’ and then someone on the other side of the room spills a drink, and you mock them.  No one ever applauds me when I leave a party, though. I think they high five.”

For more information, or to reserve tickets, visit baystreet.org.