Let me tell you about the noise. It starts off softly far up Three Mile Harbor Road to the north of my house, a quiet rhythmic sound that I can’t quite make out. But then it gets louder. Finally, it bursts out into the open where I can see this situation. It’s a big black Lab, his head sticking out of the window of a car, barking, barking, barking and barking,
What a ruckus this all makes as the car, dog and driver pass my house at 40 miles an hour.
All other activity at my house stops. And then, the car has zipped by and the barking gets softer and softer. The driver is heading toward town. This happens twice a day, five days a week. He heads south at 8:15 every morning Monday through Friday, and then he goes by heading north at 4:15 every afternoon Monday through Friday.
I think this fellow works either for the town government, or in construction. These are the only two professions that keep to hours where you get to work at 8 and leave work at 4 out here. I also think this man must really love his dog. I see him sitting there in his car, one hand on the wheel, one elbow out the window. Is this weird, or what? he thinks.
I mention this calamity that goes by my house twice every weekday only because, at the present time, the East Hampton Town Board is under fire for allowing barnyard animals to disturb the rural neighborhood up here in Springs. It’s specifically about roosters, because neighboring Sag Harbor Village recently passed a law banning roosters there. It appears this has led to an all out anti-rooster blitzkrieg on the town board.
Reporters attending the town meeting, for The East Hampton Star (quoting Kenney, Baumel, Wilkinson, Quigley and Wiggins) and The Independent (quoting Kenney, McNally and Baumel) filed stories about this dust-up.
“The rooster crows all day, starting at three in the morning,” said Constance Kenney, a local citizen of this community. “Please tell me if the area we are in is designated as farmland.”
Guy Wiggins, who lives near Spring Close Highway, said that he paid a neighbor $500 to put a rooster somewhere farther from his property. But “in the spring when I came back, the rooster was back in its original habitat next to our house.”
Grace Baumel said that there’s a rooster near her home that crows at 3:30 a.m., 5:30 and then 6:30 a.m. in the morning, and then at 3:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon. “I don’t know if it’s blind. I don’t know if it realizes the sun is up. But I’ve had it.”
Constance Kenney said she is a weekender, but she soon expects to move here permanently when she retires next year. “I would like to enjoy my home.” “But I’m being pushed out.”
It was the city people versus the local people.
The town board discussed this, and it took them a few minutes to determine that these people were not talking about just one rooster, they were talking about three roosters in three different parts of town.
Baumel turned to the Supervisor, and began to talk about the issue of overcrowding in Springs homes.
“What is it about the term ‘illegal’…that ‘il’ means not legal.”
“What is it about the term ‘U. S. Constitution’?” Supervisor Wilkinson said.
“Don’t quote me the Constitution,” Baumel said. “I taught it for 30 years. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says we can break the law.”
“I take issue with you, that we are ignoring the problem,” Councilwoman Theresa Quigley said.
And so it went on and on. It went on and on until Diane McNally, an East Hampton Town Trustee, got up to speak. She said she’s raised chickens and ducks and roosters for years on her property.
“(Don’t) mess with my chickens,” she said. “This is a rural community. If you think I’m a fiercely independent trustee, you mess with my chickens and my rural community…no.”
And nobody had much to say after that.
East Hampton Village has moved the Fourth of July fireworks to Labor Day weekend again this year, the sixth year in a row they have done that, because fireworks might scare the little piping plover bird, an endangered species which has a nest nearby. It might hurt their little ears.
I recall some years ago reading about a woman who came out to the Ocean Beach Motel in Montauk and at midnight sought out the manager to complain that the crashing of the waves was keeping her up. He told her he had no control over that. She said why not? He finally agreed to move her to a room facing away from the ocean.
Hold on now, it’s 4:15 p.m. Here comes