A Pitch For French Ball Game In Sag Harbor

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The architect Blaze Makoid has proposed installing two courts for the French game, petanque, in the alley between the Sag Harbor Variety Store and Sag Harbor Pharmacy. COURTESY BLAZE MAKOID ARCHITECTURE

Will Sag Harbor soon be invaded by swarms of elderly French men sporting berets, Gauloises dangling from their lips, and muttering “bon ben, alors” as they line up their shots on a pétanque court?

Probably not.

But the unassuming walkway between the Sag Harbor Pharmacy and the Variety Store, formally named Reimann’s Alley after the one-time owner of the drugstore, could be transformed into a pocket park — complete with pair of courts for the quintessential French game.

At least that’s the vision of architect Blaze Makoid, who brought his idea to the Sag Harbor Village Board Tuesday.

Pétanque, sometimes called by the more generic name boules, is a cousin of the Italian game bocce. It is played with small metal balls similar in size to a baseball that are tossed at a smaller target ball. The object is to get your ball as close to the target as possible without hitting it.

To hear Mr. Makoid tell it, the game is lots of fun and can even be enjoyed by ordinary Americans. He said several of his clients had requested he include courts in the designs for their homes. He added that last summer, he and a friend, the writer and producer Bill Collage, took part in a local tournament and had a blast.

On Tuesday, Mr. Makoid told the board he is also fond of the pocket parks that are typically found carved out of small vacant lots in large cities and thought the alley would be a perfect candidate to be dressed up.

Although a pétanque court is typically about 13 feet by 50 feet, Mr. Makoid said the game can be played on any reasonably flat surface. He showed the board a series of sketches that showed the alley terraced to provide space for two 11-foot-by-32-foot courts. They would be surrounded by planters and benches.

The board was generally receptive and appeared to be pleased when Mr. Makoid said the plan was for the project to be self-funded, and that a local business owner had offered to provide the basic upkeep for the courts.

Mr. Makoid said 10 business owners had written in support of the projects, and some had expressed interest in either selling or renting the balls required to play the game.
No word, though, on whether any stores are willing to stock berets and Gauloises.

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