Hamptons Subway Newsletter: Week of August 10–16, 2018

Hidden Hamptons Subway hatch that led to bags of hidden cash
This hatch led to bags of hidden cash, Photo: czarnybez/123RF

Week of August 10–16, 2018
Riders this past week: 39,923
Rider miles this past week: 202,864

Lally Weymouth, senior editor at The Washington Post, was seen on the subway reading a manuscript on her way from Southampton to Hampton Bays. Scarlett Johansson and Aida Turturro were seen on the subway system on Thursday going from Amagansett to East Hampton wearing identical cowgirl hats.

The subway system trains spend the night while the subway system is being cleaned in the Montauk Yards. At the other end of the system, in Westhampton, arriving trains are sent back the other way by entering a building in the Pine Barrens containing a huge turntable to turn them around. Last Wednesday, a workman noticed a small concrete hatch with a handle under this turntable in the dusty gloom. Management lifted it up and found a virtual treasure load of cash in 20 separate giant bags, clearly the property of the late Ivan Kratz, who built Hamptons Subway underground with stolen building materials in 1927, for which he went to jail, and later died. (The subway system was accidentally unearthed during a Superfund site dig in Sag Harbor in 2007 and with great fanfare put into service in 2008.)

That this cash was hidden here by Kratz is clear because all dollar bills and five dollar bills are dated from 1924 and feature purple seals on them from that era. Purple seal bills were taken out of service in 1932 and are worthless.

More than three quarters of the treasure is these singles and fives and all the rest are quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Due to inflation, what seems like very little to us today was worth a fortune back then when you could buy a car for $3, a house for $25 and a meal for a penny. In any case, after discounting the worthless bills, the treasure totaled $813.14. A mere trifle today. A fortune then. Kratz was a dreamer and a visionary. But eventually dreams turn to dust.

During the month of July, the Hamptons Subway system experienced 117 delays of more than 20 minutes, more than any one-month period ever. It may even be a record nationally. And we plan to bring this to the attention of the National Subway System Organization, which will hold its meeting in October.

The delays are largely a function of the increasing number of passengers on the system, which creates greater weight and lengthier trains, a good thing. But another cause is the age of the system. Built in 1927, spare parts are no longer an option, so more breakdowns occur more frequently. Our new marketing director Felix Benchmark is offering a prize of a one-year-free subway card on Hamptons Subway to the individual who can claim to have been on the most subway delays during July. Put your name, address, dates of delay and number of minutes on a card and put it into any suggestion box on the platform. The one that shows the most, and they all match up with our records, wins.

It is illegal to wear a bathing suit on the subway without a cover-up, but since so many do anyway, we don’t enforce it. Now, as a courtesy to bathers, beginning August 11, we will have a single subway car, the last car on every train, heated, rather than air-conditioned.

Greetings from Bimini where I am working with authorities here discussing whether putting a subway system on this little island makes sense. Probably not.


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