Hamptons Subway Newsletter: Week of October 11–17, 2018

Hamptons Subway has added neon arrows to stations
Hamptons Subway has added neon arrows to stations, Photo: SAVELYEV ANTON/123RF

Week of October 11–17, 2018
Riders this past week: 24,043
Rider miles this past week: 99,322

Maggie Gyllenhaal, who starred in the opening night film The Kindergarten Teacher at the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) last weekend was seen riding from Bridgehampton to East Hampton on Friday afternoon. Actor Alec Baldwin and his wife Hilaria and their three kids were seen together riding in the subway train caboose from Sag Harbor to Bridgehampton along with Ed Hollander, the landscape architect who is designing the new Steinbeck Park in Sag Harbor. In a subway car riding between Westhampton Beach and Quogue, Montauk’s Dick Cavett was seen interviewing Pia Lindstrom. It was a good week for celebrity watching.

Among the great films shown last weekend in the lesser-known Hamptons Subway Film Festival (HSFF), the film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was voted the favorite by straphangers. Movies were shown continuously from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on every platform so riders got little pieces of each movie as they hurried along to board the trains. Three Billboards was a surprise winner at HIFF last year and later won Academy Awards. And yet many straphangers had missed it. Riders also voted on the best platform transformation from “platform” to “Movie Platform.” Quogue won Best of the Best.

Three weeks ago, you may recall, the new Hamptons Subway Marketing Director Harry “Grand” Slam, formerly of the Toronto Subway, Chopper Pad and Bridge Authority, spoke with Hamptons Subway Commissioner Bill Aspinall behind closed doors to consider the fact that many people are unaware of where the entrances to all the subway platforms are. Some are said to scoff at the idea that the Hamptons even has a subway system.
As a result of this meeting, Commissioner Aspinall ordered 14 orange blinking neon arrows built, each five feet long, and mounted them at the top of the stairs blinking every four seconds while pointing down to each of the 14 subway platforms below.

The effort was an immediate success. Subway ridership shot up 85% in the first three days. But many environmentalists filed protests with the Hamptons Town Board. The Hamptons are old English 17th century villages with white churches and wood shingle windmills everywhere. Having blinking neon arrows in the center of every town was terrible. Commissioner Aspinall offered to have the neon turned off when the subway shuts for maintenance at 2 a.m. every night. But this did not mollify anybody.

Mayor Brody said his hands were tied. The old laws, which protected our historic towns from flashing neon, were removed when new EPA officials appointed by the Trump administration said that neon was good for business and that was their new focus.

So at 3 a.m. last Monday, hundreds of demonstrators, most believed to be of the wimpy Democrat persuasion, attacked the neon, removed them all and carried them still flashing to a great bonfire pile at Monument Square, Southampton where, amidst the Revolutionary War cannons there, jet fuel set them all popping and blazing. The police and fire department crews, all local folk, contained this blaze but did not put it out until the last arrow was consumed.

As far as those neon arrows were concerned, I decided to bow to the will of the townspeople. The arrows had done their job. The location of our entrances is now emblazoned into this entire community’s mind. Also done was “Grand” Slam who I called to my office and declared fired. We’d spent a small fortune on those arrows. What a mess.


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