What’s New in the Hamptons: EH Airport, the Windmill & Sag Harbor Cinema

What’s New in the Hamptons: EH Airport, the Windmill & Sag Harbor Cinema

I met Ellen and Steven Corwin at a party in New York the other night, and they asked me, since they knew I am from the Hamptons, what is new out there.

“I’m particularly concerned about the airport in East Hampton,” Mr. Corwin said. “We come out to our house on Merchant’s Path from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Two summers ago was the summer from hell, with the helicopters coming in at all hours. Last summer was great. There were some new rules that prevented the helicopters from flying at off hours. What’s happening for this summer?”

“Prepare for the return of the summer from hell,” I told him. “The restrictions put in by the town were struck down by an appeals court last fall. The town appealed it to the Supreme Court. But I don’t think the Supreme Court is going to decide anything before you get out for Memorial Day in three weeks.”

A summer from hell would be defined as noisy aircraft coming in and out 24/7 rather than from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. And it’s not the airplanes, it’s the helicopters.

The Supreme Court is being asked to decide the legality of a law passed in 1990 prohibiting the enforcement of noise ordinances drafted by an airport owner after that date unless approved by the FAA (which opposes them). In 1990, East Hampton Airport didn’t have a noise problem, so had no noise ordinance. For this summer, East Hampton is hoping helicopter companies will obey the supposedly unenforceable town law anyway. Wouldn’t it be great if they would do that?”

Here are some other recent developments:

As almost everybody knows, the lobby, ticket office and entrance area of the Sag Harbor Cinema, with its landmark neon sign, burned down in the center of town last December. Everyone wants it brought back to life. Last month, a group of private citizens, the Sag Harbor Partnership, contracted to buy the theater property from its present owner, Gerry Mallow, for about $8 million. They plan to make it into a new nonprofit, the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center, converting the single art house 480 seat movie theater into two smaller movie theaters, adding a screening room and a café. They will also put the iconic sign back up. It will be a town treasure. Trouble is, they need to raise the $6 million by July 1 or the deal is off. They will need to raise an additional $2 million by December 31.

Those who have the funds are pledging money toward this, and those receiving the funds—the effort is led by April Gornik and others—say there is a good chance they are going to make it happen. Come join this effort at sagharborpartnerhsip.org.

The creation of a new waterfront park for downtown Sag Harbor is moving forward. It includes a beach and is located in a great arc of shoreline to the west of Long Wharf, under the bridge to North Haven and ending in the marina area near Baron’s Cove.

The Village initially fought with developers to make this happen, but soon it was decided to give most of the land to the future park and save a smaller portion of it, waterfront on Water Street, for the developers. Last week, the Village Planning Board gave an early go-ahead for the 13-unit condominium project.

In Napeague, a court threw out a lawsuit by private citizens who claimed that they owned the nearly mile-long Truck Beach because an 1882 deed failed to pass along the rights of the citizenry to use this beach. In turning away the case, the judge said the deed did pass along certain “public” rights and, perhaps more important, plaintiffs failed to produce any proof of their claim to ownership.

Also in East Hampton, a woman who claimed she owned part of Georgica Beach and had, in fact, built a rock revetment on it, failed to get a motion of summary judgment in a case filed against her by the East Hampton Trustees challenging her ownership of it.

As you might know, the Gardiner home and windmill on James Lane are now the property of the Village of East Hampton. As a result, almost the entire historic half-mile length of James Lane, from Guild Hall to Gardiner Windmill, is available to the public. Last week the Village decided to turn Gardiner’s house into an art museum.

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