The Hamptons Police responded to numerous calls last Tuesday, September 4 reporting the mysterious, continued presence of hundreds of vacationers in villages across the South Fork.
Callers expressed alarm and outrage that the longstanding custom of exiting the region on or before Labor Day was being flouted by a determined group of visitors. In response to these complaints, police made inquiries at numerous locations but could uncover no wrongdoing.
The Hamptons Police Department pointed out there was certainly nothing illegal about visitors choosing to stay past Labor Day.
“Despite what people might have heard, Tumbleweed Tuesday is not a mandate for people to leave,” Hamptons Police spokesman Larry Hirsch says. “Visitors are free to stay as long as they like, within certain parameters.”
Hirsch explains that locals refer to the Tuesday after Labor Day as Tumbleweed Tuesday, and have historically regarded it as a day to reclaim their villages and beaches from the seasonal residents and tourists who dominate the landscape during the summer months. “But, to reiterate, their leaving on Labor Day is only a time-honored norm, and like many such norms, it is being tested by the culture,” Hirsch adds.
Lifelong Sag Harborite Joe Goodacre was not having it. “Are you telling me that, on Tumbleweed Tuesday, I can’t drive down from Mount Misery and have my pick of parking spots on Main Street? Or go down to Havens Beach without having to see all these people crowding it up? What do I pay taxes for?”
Goodacre says he plans to file a petition to make Tumbleweed Tuesday a legal holiday on which non-year-round residents of the South Fork will have parking privileges and beach access revoked. “If people aren’t going to get out on their own, then we got to make it a legal matter, right, Bub?”
While a law like the one Goodacre envisions seems unlikely to pass, Hirsch says the Hamptons Police are taking measures that might lead visitors to hasten their departures. “We’re stepping up our enforcement of the Mandatory Cash Minimum law. We are now doing stop-and-frisk on a routine basis to verify that visitors are maintaining the proper amount of cash on their persons. Anyone who falls below the minimum is directed to leave immediately or pay a steep fine.”
In Sag Harbor, they’ve also stepped-up enforcement of the dress code that requires casual attire in the village. “As the weather cools down, visitors will find it harder to comply with the provisions against formal wear. At some point, they’ll decide it’s easier just to leave.”