Dan Rattiner's Stories

Hamptons Bypass Abandoned 40 Years Ago

This year marks the 40th anniversary of then Governor Hugh Carey’s decision to abandon plans to build a four-lane limited access bypass through the Hamptons. It would have started at the end of the Sunrise Highway in Shinnecock, continued northeast up into the woods of Sebonack and Tuckahoe, then crossed farmland just to the south of Noyac, continued along under the powerlines through to Lopers Path (which was dirt then), then on to the woods north of the East Hampton Airport, further along through Northwest and around to come finally back down east of Amagansett, to dump cars off onto the Montauk Highway just before it headed out to Montauk.

The proposed bypass met with great opposition and eventually got dropped. People today wonder if this would have solved all the problems of the Hamptons or have been a dagger through the heart of the Hamptons, turning it into a sort of Jersey Shore. The vote is about 80% Jersey Shore and 20% solving all our problems, from my own personal survey.

This editor vehemently opposed the bypass when it was proposed. One thing I did was publish a map of an alternate bypass proposal that did not end in Amagansett, but at the entrance to the driveway of Governor Carey’s summer home, which at that time was on Shelter Island. Let him deal with all the cars coming out.

Another week I went out with my camera and my girlfriend one day and we followed the route of the Carey-proposed bypass, mostly through dirt roads, taking pictures of the barns, cornfields, farmhouses and ponds that this bypass would obliterate. I then published them all in Dan’s Papers to indicate all the beautiful things we would lose to this four-lane catastrophe.

I’m not sure if my proposals had any effect on the eventual decision to forget the bypass, but it did result in my falling in love with my girlfriend, who I then proposed to afterwards. We got married and, though the marriage did not last, we had two beautiful boys who thus added to the population here—increasing the problem and need for a bypass—but who are such a delight that I have forgiven them everything anyway.

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