A Toast: To the Many People & Things that Make the Hamptons Great

Toast cartoon by Mickey Paraskevas
Cartoon by Mickey Paraskevas

To George Washington, who galloped east to see the East End of Long Island after the Revolution but didn’t quite get all the way out, turning around at Setauket. Back in the city, he authorized the building of the beautiful and picturesque Montauk Lighthouse, the first in the State of New York.

To the Monte family, and especially to George Filopoulos, who picked up where the Montes left off to turn Gurney’s Montauk into the world-class oceanfront resort it is today.

To the surfers of Montauk, whose grace and athleticism is such a pleasure to watch.

To the Montauk Fishing Village, the Gosmans, the Forsbergs, the Tumas and the late Frank Mundus, who brought us more world ocean fishing records than any other single community in the world.

To lifeguards everywhere in the Hamptons, who watch over our lives.

To the residents of Sag Harbor, for their astounding desire to keep that town as it was a hundred years ago and the work they’ve done to create a new waterfront park, and the restoration of a beautiful art film center in the heart of downtown. And to artist April Gornik, who led the drive to make that happen.

To Steven Spielberg, whose arrival here in the 1970s led a new generation of filmmakers, artists, actors, authors, painters and sculptors to the Hamptons.

To the Hargraves, for bringing winemaking to the North Fork.

To the late Jim Davidson, who founded the Hampton Jitney, and to the Lynch family, who have grown it into the world-class transportation service it is today.

To Stephen Talkhouse, the Civil War veteran, Montaukett Indian and famous walker who delivered messages between East Hampton and Montauk for a living and died in 1879, the year Montauk was sold to Brooklyn millionaire Arthur Benson, who kicked all the Montauketts off his land.

To our local ambulance and fire department volunteers, who take time away from their families and friends to serve their communities, day or night, 365 days a year.
To the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett and all the legendary local musicians who have sung there, including Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffett, Billy Joel and also to Nancy Atlas, the Lone Sharks, Caroline Doctorow and all the others.

To Pat Malloy and his great 180-foot yacht Intuition, which we shall miss.

To the Ladies Village Improvement Society in East Hampton, which beautifies East Hampton.

To the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, Bay Street Theater, Guild Hall, the Suffolk Theater and the many stages that showcase the incredible talent that visits and lives on the East End.

To Fred Thiele, the representative for the State of New York, headquartered in the Hamptons, who has brought more good things to the Hamptons and the North Fork than just about anybody.

To recently retired Mayor of Southampton Mark Epley, who spearheaded the ongoing effort to honor a prominent former slave in that village, Pyrrhus Concer, and who helped establish the Southampton Arts Center on Jobs Lane.

To Robert Chaloner, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, who, with great patience, has led that place from hard times into a wonderful facility with links to Stony Brook University Hospital, and a possible re-location of the hospital to the grand campus of Stony Brook Southampton.

To Father Alex, a great friend to everyone and the spiritual head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Southampton.

To the leaders of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, who have caused their reservation to rise into a wonderful and warm home for their tribe, including a museum and health center.

To Bonnie Cannon, the leader of the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center, for all she does.

To Christie Brinkley, the beautiful princess of the Hamptons.

To the late Linda Scott, who created the 30-foot “Stargazer” sculpture and through her determination caused it to be displayed in Manorville, to act as a greeting to all coming to the Hamptons.

To both the East Hampton and Southampton Town Police Departments.

To all the movie stars who’ve spent time in the Hamptons, from Marilyn Monroe to Kathleen Turner to Sarah Jessica Parker to Matthew Broderick to Jack Nicholson to the late Roy Scheider.

To Colonel Meigs, who crossed the Long Island Sound with a company of armed men in whaleboats to burn a British headquarters in Sag Harbor during the American Revolution.

To the legendary merchants of Sag Harbor, including the Schiavoni family and Ted Conklin of the American Hotel.

To Larry Cantwell, Jay Schneiderman and longtime Mayor of East Hampton Paul Rickenbach, for their years of service.

To naturalist Larry Penny, now retired. To the environmentalist (and also industrialist and adventurer) Andy Sabin, who founded the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton.

To the Bridgehampton Killer Bees, the multi-honored champions of basketball in the State of New York.

To the Trustees of Southampton and East Hampton, who watch over the rights of the people of those towns against developers who would take those rights away.

To the trustee roads.

To the great natural beauty that is the Hamptons—the beaches, cliffs, dunes, rolling hills, sunrises, sunsets, views to the horizon, harbors, lakes and ponds.

To the soaring eagles and osprey, to the huge seals and whales, to the deer and foxes and fishes.

To the great and wonderful things done over the centuries to enhance the natural beauty of this area, the windmills, water mills, potato fields, fishing villages, estate areas, downtowns, churches and grand estates.

To the Montauk Observatory. And the Custer Observatory.

To the summer traffic police.

To Kathleen King and Tate’s Cookies.

To the developers of Baron’s Cove and the Watchcase in Sag Harbor, Curtis Bashaw and Craig Wood, who have restored both projects so lovingly.

To Alec Baldwin, for all he does.

To Richard Burns, for his creative ideas in growing Dan’s Papers—including a sculpture of me riding a lobster at the eastern terminus of the Sunrise Highway in Southampton.

To the Bonackers, the descendants of the early English settlers who came, thrived and labored in East Hampton beginning in the 17th century.

To artist Mickey Paraskevas, whose work has graced the covers and articles of Dan’s Papers for 30 years.

To the wealthy of the Hamptons, most of whom also live in New York City, for their incredible generosity in funding so many civic, historic, educational, childcare and medical projects in this beautiful land.

To director Helen Harrison of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in the Springs and to executive director Terrie Sultan of the stunning Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill.

To the Shinnecock Canal, for making the South Fork an island.

To the great artists who built their wondrous homes and workshops in the Hamptons: Jack Larsen, Bob Wilson, the late Robert Dash and the late Jackson Pollock.

To Long Wharf and the Shelter Island Ferry.

To the food pantries, those that run them and the job they do.

To the Retreat.

To the architects, builders and craftsmen who have graced the Hamptons with some of the most recognized and beautiful homes in the world.

To the Hildreth family, for having the oldest family-owned department store in America right here in the Hamptons.

To Tweed’s, the oldest hotel, bar and restaurant in Riverhead, where Teddy Roosevelt and Governor Al Smith stayed.

To Claudio’s in Greenport, the oldest continuously family-owned restaurant in
the country.

To Linda and James Eklund of The Ram’s Head Inn on Shelter Island, for preserving this 1929 gem in the spirit in which it was originally built.

To BNB (formerly Bridgehampton National Bank), for being the “go to” bank for hundreds of local businesses on the East End and beyond.

To Pierre’s restaurant, for bringing us that je ne sais quoi and a little piece of Paris.

To WPPB, Long Island’s only NPR station, right here in Southampton.

To the Ludlows and the bounty of Fairview Farm at Mecox and Mecox Bay Dairy.

To Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton, the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, Bobby Van’s and the Candy Kitchen in Bridgehampton, and Sip ’n Soda in Southampton, the heart and soul of those communities.

To Dan’s Papers, the most widely read publication in the Hamptons.

Make your own toasts to the Hamptons and the North Fork on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below.

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