When I was a kid, Sag Harbor was a weird town. 20 years ago, nobody thought Sag Harbor was cool from what I remember. It was a strange place, with a lot of strange people, not very much tourism and in general had a run down kind of feeling. Back when I was ten year old, I attended Catholic School at Stella Maris in Sag Harbor, and was there everyday from 1st grade to fourth grade.
Since then, Sag Harbor has become hot. The growth of the Town is largely attributed to the local government’s relentless pursuit of attracting tourists. The Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce did and continues to do a legendary job at keeping Sag Harbor as a major destination for people visiting the East End.
Sag Harbor has attracted celebrities to buy homes there, it has attracted large yachts, it has attracted fine diners, superb restauranteurs and entrepreneurs, and the hustle and bustle in the summer time is like magic.
And a big part of what makes Sag Harbor so awesome is its identity as an artistic community. The Sag Harbor Movie theater plays artful films and keeps an old world charm, and then there is Bay Street. It’s like the Broadway of the Hamptons. It just has a great reputation as a fine theater, and large acts come from all over the United States come to perform there.
But now, it would appear that Bay Street is moving for real. And it makes me sad for Sag Harbor, and I know a lot of people are upset about it. The theater is one of those details within that community that adds to its charm. Bay Street is just as important as the American Hotel or La Superica. They are symbols of the town that let you know about the history and awesomeness of the Village. And now it’s moving, not for lack of love for the theater, but because it is just too dang expensive to run a theater these days for it to make any sense, at least when it comes to the Landlord at the current location in Sag Harbor.
So now, it’s looking like Sag Harbor is going to lose Bay Street, and it’s looking like Southampton is going to gain Bay Street, and it’s a big win for Southampton if it works out, and it’s subsequently a big loss for Sag Harbor. Southampton Village officials are currently seducing Bay Street to bring their stage to the soon-to-be-vacant Parrish Art Museum.
I think this would be a great thing for Southampton. The Parrish Art Museum building is a gorgeous building and is easy to get to when you are in the Village. But for Sag Harbor to let this happen to itself, I think, is a mistake.
Full disclosure, I’m a Southampton resident, so I really shouldn’t even point this out. But I can tell you if I was a Sag Harbor resident, I would be feeling one emotion right now. PISSED OFF.