Golden Goose or Trojan Horse?
The proposed Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center will harm Main Street; reimagined, it could be a god-send. It is a proposition heavily grounded in sentimental attachment to the symbolic marquee and is not born of local need, and, whereas we may be delighted beneficiaries, there will be long-term traffic burdens and further erosion of our local culture. Charities may get hammered; Bay Street Theater, since it is supported by the same demographic, may be mortally wounded. In short, whatever prosperity this project might bring, we can anticipate more seasonality, greater tax expense and less livability. We need to get our arms around what is happening.
The Center’s organization — a proven fund-raising machine — and the Bay Street Theater should be encouraged to partner to work toward a joint cultural center at Ferry Road or on the former Keyspan property. It would assure a strong future for both, better serve the Village and not damage an already overburdened Main Street. Money would be easier to get and our infrastructure would be improved. A truly cooperative venture, located off Main Street is better for all parties.
A permanent, cultural center at the in-limbo Ferry Road property would have (some) parking and public (park) access to the waterfront. Another idea is to pull the trigger on the former Keyspan property to build at that site with a more fully developed parking lot. Either idea is more attractive to donors, and compelling for grants. The “Sag Harbor Community Theatre Center” would be a self-supporting, pivotal, year-round community-wide asset.
Sag Harbor gets blitzed by advocates of preservation, zoning and parks. Much of the high-powered zealotry comes from persons who neither live, vote or pay taxes in the Village. In large measure, we are told to pay for things that will make their lives better. They seem not to appreciate that there is a difference between the activity of passing the local hat to raise a few bucks for a playground — versus non-resident celebrities and captains of industry improving, at will, our back yard. We are regularly out-gunned and subsumed by outside sensibilities. The ‘Harbor’ — the core value of this place — becomes collateral damage. That need not be the outcome.
As to the remains of the Sag Harbor Cinema, the moribund movie house’s best permitted use would be a low impact, high return use like a combination of retail and housing. That would result in less congestion, higher tax revenues, and a few Main Street residents to patronize our year-round shops and businesses. The “Sag Harbor” neon returns, and the Harbor prospers.
Theodore B. Conklin
As the Third Annual Songwriters Share Concert Series comes to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped to make it a success. This year we raised money to benefit seven local charities: The Retreat, Maureen’s Haven, Project Most, East End Hospice, The Center for Therapeutic Riding of the East End, The Long Pond Greenbelt and the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center. Though many amazing local musicians were part of the series, I would like to thank our headliners: Mariann Megna, Inda Eaton, Fred Raimondo, Caroline Doctorow, Gene Casey and Dan Koontz as well as all of their musical guests.
I would also like to thank the members of the concert committee Sue Penny and Margaret Pulkingham and the members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork for the use of their warm and welcoming space and their dedication to the series. Thank you to Channing Daughters for their donation of wine for our receptions….thank you to the Sag Harbor Express and all of the local newspapers for their coverage of the concerts, thank you to WLNG for spreading the word…thank you to the stores and businesses that welcomed our posters for display… and of course a big thank you to all of the concert goers who helped to make the series a success.
Each concert was filled with a wonderful and warm sense of community. Each musician shared their stories and how they approached the art of songwriting. It has evolved into a wonderful evening out for everyone.
I look forward to organizing the Fourth Annual Songwriters Share Concert Series and I hope we can all come together as a community to support our local musicians as well as our local charities.
Thank you everyone!!!!
Oh, Summer Slumber
To the Editor
Ackerly Street in Sag Harbor runs for one block between Jermain Avenue and Clinton Street. Ackerly faces the back of the Sag Harbor Elementary School. There is a great need for parking space for teachers, and for parents delivering children to the school in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon. (There is no parking on Clinton). This has tended to create parking frustration on Ackerly; but recently, to the surprise of those of us who live on one side of Ackerly, signs went up on the other side. “No Parking From 8 until 4 on School Days.” What? How did this happen. In a matter of an hour!
Their front lawns now sloping gently to the pavement, unblemished by a Prius or Subaru. We sighed and realized that our side was to remain the same. Fender to fender from eight until four. On our side we have the most honorable Frederick Pharoah who kindly shovels the snow from our walks in the winter, but he is too busy to complain and we do not complain. We merely observe the drama of village life. And so we will embrace the daily clamor and bustle until school is out in a few weeks when our street will settle into a summer slumber. Until September!