All hell has broken loose at the corner where County Road 39 meets up with Hampton Road in Southampton. A huge multi-building shopping center is going in along the southeast corner. A big medical center is going up on the northwest corner. Bulldozers and building cranes are everywhere.
Now the old abandoned Buick car dealership on the southwest corner is being turned into The Spur, a private clubhouse where financial wizards and investors can sign on, meet and discuss bankrolling fledgling start-ups and other businesses renting space there. It is also to include a restaurant on a newly built second floor and a wellness center.
The construction cranes and concrete mixing trucks are already on that site, too. Other recent additions at this corner include a Hampton Coffee shop (it’s the second one on the strip, and they want to expand elsewhere), a new Audi showroom that finished construction and opened its doors last year, a motor-scooter dealership and a new walk-in medical facility—all in the little shopping center on the northwest corner—what the heck is happening here?
It wasn’t so long ago that this corner was just a place where, coming from the east, you could turn onto County Road 39 in peace with two car dealerships on your right, a diner on your left before the turn and a potato barn on your left. Now there’s four car dealerships, three medical centers, the $60 million Parrish Art Museum and, well, this place is a VILLAGE now.
Its boundaries seem to be anchored at one end by the Parrish Art Museum and at the other end by David Whites Lane and the Omni/Hampton Jitney building. It exists for that mile. It’s a bustling urban hub now, and in the world of transportation and health it is already a rival to the Village of Southampton itself.
We should name it.
But first, we should consider what a village is and what it isn’t. It isn’t a village until it is incorporated, for example. Wainscott is a good example of this. It has sprung up into what you might think is a village in the last 30 years. Before that it was a gas station (now Georgica Creek Antiques), a sand and gravel place (still there), a car dealership (now torn down to make way for Home Goods) and a Chris-Craft boat showroom (now Mattress Firm).
On maps, they didn’t call it Wainscott. Wainscott was down toward the ocean on Main Street—yes, there is a Wainscott Main Street there—where the schoolhouse and a church and the post office was. Up here on the highway, it was in fact nothing you’d think to name, just the place where you’d speed on through going from East Hampton to Bridgehampton or back to East Hampton.
Now there’s a traffic light, 20 more retail shops and the post office tucked in, too. Wainscott is a formidable place, and you could call it a village, although not a Village. Officially it’s an unincorporated hamlet in East Hampton Town and will remain so unless it incorporates.
No matter. We’ll call it, as everybody does, Wainscott Village.
My first thought about what we should call this new conglomeration at Hampton Road, Flying Point Road and County Road 39 was to have it called Southampton East. But that is just too, too confusing. We have Southampton and we have East Hampton. We also have Bridgehampton.
One could say, leaving Southampton Village to go to this new corner, “I’m heading over to Southampton East.” What? Too confusing.
It also isn’t Car Hampton, although it’s got five showrooms to make it a candidate. It’s also not Medical Hampton, although it’s got four facilities and a fifth being built.
It could be called the Village of Flying Point, and there’s romance in that, but I think what we have here is too commercial for a place to be called the Village of Flying Point. Cars. Wellness. Coffee. The diner. The Jitney. The gym. The new shopping center will be the Flying Point Shopping Center. Well, you can’t name something after a shopping center. And there’s no airport, of course.
The big operation here is the Parrish Art Museum. But you can’t say I’m going over to the Parrish without it meaning the Parrish Museum. Parrish Village doesn’t cut it.
Well, bring in the post office. Let’s see what they do.
For some reason, perhaps left over from the old bygone days of the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, we seem to equate the name of a village with the arrival of a post office and the name the Postal Service (post office then) assigns it. That happened to Water Mill years ago. You could say, with just the post office there and a church and a water mill, that it was Water Mill. And they did.
Post Offices lend history to a place, and that is the start of the journey toward official Incorporated Villagehood.
So I say we bring in the post office. Put it on the site between the Parrish Art Museum and Duck Walk Vineyard and I think we have the answer.
Across the street, we already have a village, a pop-up village for the kids that’s open from September to November.
I say this new village should be Pumpkintown Corners. Give it that name and it sounds like it’s been there forever. And it will keep the local bureaucrats from ever coming in to “put a stop” to this fun place for kids. Put the signs up east of the Parrish and west of the Omni.
WELCOME TO PUMPKINTOWN CORNERS. FOUNDED 2018.
Underneath it could be its slogan: “The Unhampton on the Highway.”
Meanwhile, we’ll get the railroad to put in a new station where the tracks cross County Road 39, maybe to the east in an overpass. Pumpkintown Corners Station.
And change County Road 39. What an ugly name. And by the way, just to the west of Pumpkintown Corners, in front of Suffolk Lighting, there’s a sign calling it by another name, which is even worse. It’s named for a loveable politician, the late leader of the Republican Party, Henry “Buzz” Schwenk Highway. But nobody says that. And it’s only for a brief stretch.
County Road 39 should be called Dan’s Parkway, from Pumpkintown Corners to the statue of me riding a lobster, buckaroo-style, that stands by the gas station at the western end of the bypass just where it turns into the Sunrise Highway. On the northwest corner of the gas station. Know what I mean?