Hamptons Subway Newsletter: Week of June 23–29, 2017

Spielberg rode the Hamptons Subway to go fishing in Montauk
Spielberg rode the Hamptons Subway to go fishing in Montauk , Photo: Ternmongkol/123RF, Jason Merritt, Robert Remen/Getty Images Entertainment, Hemera/Thinkstock

Week of June 23–29, 2017
Riders this past week: 34,212
Rider miles this past week: 200,002

Artist Leif Hope and writer Ken Auletta were on the Hamptons Subway between Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton last Thursday along with Mets Pitcher Steven Matz of Setauket. Richard Dreyfus and Steven Spielberg were seen on the Subway carrying fishing gear heading for Montauk on Friday. Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer was seen with singer Beyoncé traveling from Westhampton to Quiogue on Saturday.

People gathered on the sidewalk in Southampton at the entrance to the subway on Sunday about 10 a.m. unable to negotiate the down escalator, which, by mistake, was going up alongside the up escalator. Down below, token booth operator Janet Smith called into headquarters to describe the scene. She said only a few people were on the platform waiting for trains and those there were young, well conditioned, determined to make their train and out of breath from winning the fight to battle their way down the up escalator. The escalator was fixed by 11 a.m.

Last Monday at noon, Commissioner Aspinall flipped a switch to “Close” in his Hampton Bays executive office and, with a hooga, hooga, hooga warning sound, the great iron doors, recently installed to keep the subway system safe from flooding, slowly slid out from their sleeves at the top of all the subway stairs and closed off the station entrances. This may have frightened some of the customers who were down on the platforms at the time since there was no way in or out, but the bright lights we’d installed on the platforms to turn on automatically when the doors closed gave them comfort. Also, we had the loudspeaker system playing Frank Sinatra records. With the doors closed, subway engineers on the sidewalks checked if the rubber seals on the doors were tight, found all working properly and so phoned into headquarters with a thumbs up. After 20 minutes, the Commissioner flipped the switch to “Open,” and with the hooga, hooga sound echoing through the system again, the iron doors slowly slid back into their sleeves with a clang. Test successful.

As everyone knows, the Hamptons Subway system was secretly constructed underground in 1928 by Ivan Kratz, the builder of the Lexington Line of the New York Subway. The Hamptons was a quiet, peaceful place at that time and he hoped no one would realize that the enormous amount of building material he buried here was the excess “overrun” of materials the city had paid him to build Lexington Avenue. It was never found and Kratz died of old age un-indicted, but then it was re-discovered in 2005 by workmen digging up a superfund site in Sag Harbor. Hamptons Subway was then cleaned and, as is, opened to an eager public.

Now, it turns out, another Manhattan mystery has been solved here at the Hamptons Subway. Opening a long sealed-up storeroom on the wall of the darkened subway tunnel between Water Mill and Bridgehampton, workmen have found a 22-foot tall bronze statue of the Greek god Mercury lying on its side. This statue was supposed to have been atop the Empire State Building, then being built. When it was needed, it was discovered stolen. So they finished the top of the Empire State Building with a needle.

I have offered this statue of Mercury to the current owners of the Empire State Building for $5 million. They have declined. And so I will auction it off on July 3 at the Bridgehampton platform. It’s a fine piece of work for any billionaire’s estate here.


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