Bulova Plan a Tragedy
To the Editor:
Ignoring both the Village workforce housing crisis of the 21st century and the Village workforce heritage of the 20th and 19th centuries the ZBA quickly voted to accept the affordable housing offer made by the Bulova developers at the July 15th meeting to the cheering applause of the local vested zealots. This outcome had been predicted by various insiders as a “done deal” and so it was although not at all cleanly nor without suspicions by other various outsiders.
The Board as we know was under tremendous pressure to get this through and maybe the members were unprepared for that but their public statements of justification fell short in that they lacked the courage to be the voice for the voiceless. Yet theyÂ were arrogant enough to override the county’s recommendation. At the very least they let the Village, Town, and County down by failing to negotiateÂ for sufficient money to actually build even a modest portion of the 13 units the County mandate required.
But this was a runaway train from day one fueled by big money interests and a simplistic sell job about pretty drawings vs. a pile of falling bricks and the fear around more time passing. Can anyone therefore be surprised that some Sag Harborites reacted out of fear rather than believing we could rise to a higher standard? That the smart creative sophisticated people who live here would be happy about condoning something as common and unimaginative as luxury condominiums; a 65 unit multi-million dollar apartment complex in the middle of the Village right where its heart should be? It is an inauthentic representation of the culturally diverse workforce heritage of the Village and the Bulova watch factory workers. And that is just the first on the list of offences.
It is a tragedy at this important crossroad that something innovative, clever, and community forming was not conceived that the Town, County, State, and even country might look at and emulate. Ideas such as these were scuttled before they were even truly considered. So notÂ everyone believes the Bulova project is a solution to our needs nor that the process has been admirable. And that when it is over a few of us along with a few old timers and a few new comers might look at the finished product and feel just a little sick at the sight of it and long for what could have been.
John N Linder
It was your “wild, wild, west” editorial that prompted me to inquire about the R20 (residential) zoning of the Havens Beach area. Lots of things have happened to our Village because the out-dated code has forced us to be re-active instead of pro-active.
A public park, if we want to keep it as such, should have no development potential at all. And it should be afforded the most protection possible.
While reading the LWRP last fall I had made a note of that zoning, and was wondering why it didn’t have its own classification… a separate zoning category…like “parks and conservation”, with no special exception uses.
This is perhaps something the Trustees can consider.
Converting a Church
It may make a lot of sense to expand our local library into the former Methodist Church on Madison Street. The site is close to the original library and it is an established public space. Despite the initial maintenance and conversion costs, this structure is a rare gem of historic significance well deserving of preservation.
Additionally, keeping public spaces downtown draws people into a village so this expansion would make dollars and cents to local business owners.
Using an old building is inherently green, particularly when the given alternative is to destroy park land. There is free literature available from Albany on how to convert old churches to other public uses, as communities across the state do just that.
Whether or not the library expands into the former Methodist Church, clearly the public will is behind keeping this historic site open. Many people came forward last year to try to save the building from a private sale and conversion to private use.
This year we have a second chance to save it and progress has been made toward the use of Community Preservation Funds. The last thing we need is another private trophy home in the village. Sag Harbor is desperate to maintain what public space we have as our population grows.
Take a Walk
In recent days, residents of the Village have seen many architectural renditions of what Sag Harbor is going to look like in the near future, from the Ferry Road condominiums to the Bulova Watch Factory. The drawings are done in pastels and imply lightness and open space beyond the picture frames.
So I would urge Sag Harbor residents to take a you-won’t be-able-to-see-the-sunset stroll down West Water Street, past #21, where the infamous nightclub used to stand. The walls, the brick and mortar, of the new condominium project are beginning to go up: a wall of concrete hedges is rising, a wall that will imprison the views of the harbor, the masts and the sunset, for the exclusive enjoyment of future residents of the building (if they get on the good side, that is). But not to anyone walking or driving down West Where’s-The-Water Street.
Keep walking down the street and superimpose a new condominium complex where the Harborview Office Building now barely stands. Think about even taller walls of concrete: the “You Can’t See the Harborview” project.
Important votes on new construction projects are imminent. Anyone concerned about what Sag Harbor is going to look like, in brick and mortar reality, should take a walk.
Great to be Back on the Wharf
On behalf of everyone here at Bay Street Theatre, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the Village of Sag Harbor for welcoming us back to the Long Wharf to hold Bay Street’s Summer Gala Benefit Bash recently.
The Gala is Bay Street’s most important fundraising event of the year and supports our Mainstage programming, KidStreet, Comedy Club, Picture Show Series and our educational outreach initiatives. This year’s event was a wonderful success and the spirit of the evening, generated by being back on Long Wharf, was tremendous.
In particular we would like to thank Mayor Gregory Ferraris and the Sag Harbor Village Trustees, Chief Tom Fabiano and the Sag Harbor Police Department, Jim Early and the Public Works Department, Harbormaster Ed Swenson, Fire Marshall Timothy Platt and the Fire Department, all our neighbors on the Wharf and Patrick E. Malloy III – – – the support shown to us was wonderful and we are so grateful!
Again, thank you to everyone who helped to make our Summer Gala Benefit such an exciting event!
With much appreciation,
Julie Fitzgerald and Gary Hygom
Bay Street Theatre
As the American Beauty sailed out of Sag Harbor, I was greeted by a wonderfully refreshing breeze which made me feel light and free and at one with nature. I was gently rocked by the wake of a magnificent yacht named “Peace.” With the sun’s rays beating down on me, I began to think about and meditate on the word “peace;” by which the passing yacht had been aptly named. As I started to dwell on the word “peace” I began to feel my body begin to relax and a warm friendly smile lit up my face. The combination of landscapes and seascapes danced in front of my eyes as the boat was cradled by the friendly waves of Northwest Harbor.
There is something very therapeutic about being on the water. The views are spectacular and unrestricted. The air is pure and there’s always an unpredictable light breeze on the horizon. The sun warms your skin and leaves a tan kiss mark where it shines. It’s much cooler on the water, even on the hottest days. Everyone seems so much friendlier when they’re out to sea. They wave to say “hello” to each passing voyageur.
As we were coming to the end of our fantastic journey I finally realized what the “American Beauty” was all about. Some of it had rubbed off on me. I felt more beautiful. My skin had achieved a golden glow. I felt more vibrant and alive than I had in years and my body was smiling from head to toe and bow to stern….
Hang on to Your Mind
To the Editor,
How long will it take for some of our citizens to figure out their minds have been manipulated again and again by the corporate controlled news media. The damage has devastated our people and nation for a long period of time as our war spreads throughout the Middle East and our economy paid tremendous consequences. An uninformed, deceived and vulnerable citizenry will soon lose their democracy with capitalism waiting in the wings to take over. A few examples of how this mind control works on our brain.
A number of years after President Reagan left the Washington scene his campaign manager, Michael Deaver, was interviewed on television. Deaver was asked how did you get Reagan elected and keep him in office four more years? I was shocked by his reply, “The images we used were so powerful you could not hear what the man was saying.” During the Iraq war Deaver later commented, “We were good at this stuff but these guys today have made it into an art form.”
What inspired me to write this letter was another photoÂ p on the front page of Newsday July 27 of a little Iraqi child playing in a Baghdad park. The caption over the child read, ‘More Peace Less War.’ The powers that be in Washington, D.C. continue to cast their spell over our psyche and it’s still effective. What fools! Hang onto your mind. Thirty second sound bytes can eat your brain away.