Dan Rattiner's Stories

My Party: East Hampton Town Knew About It & Must Take Blame for Trash

They should have expected the 220 helium balloons and 4,400 lbs of soda bottles.

Trash was picked up throughout the Hamptons during the last week of 2018, and it was so bad that the Surfrider Foundation Eastern Long Island Chapter, which coordinates these efforts, appeared at a meeting of the East Hampton Town Trustees on January 8 to list specifically all the wonderful things they had found.

There were 220 out-of-gas helium balloons caught in the driftwood along our beaches. There were 4,400 pounds of soda bottles around town and there were 610 pounds of trash in the parking areas, beaches and bushes between East Lake Drive and Turtle Cove in Montauk. Among the trash were Champagne corks, cake and pie pans, partly burned charcoal briquettes, and plastic cups, plastic spoons and forks and pizza boxes and plastic beer-can holders.

Colleen Henn, who read the detail from the lists of things, said she found it almost terrifying, the East Hampton Star reported. According to county law, she said, you can legally release up to 25 “Happy Birthday” helium balloons in any 24-hour period and then release up to that number again in the next 24 hours. This law needs to be changed.

All I can say is that there was nothing hidden about what we did at the all-weekend blast I organized for Labor Day weekend. I got all the proper permits. I listed all the 260 helium balloons we intended to release, all the beer kegs we would tap, all the traffic police people we would hire, all the caterers with the food and drink by name, the number of pizza pies we would eat, the number of people who would attend—you have to get a special permit if it’s more than 50, which we got—and I wrote on the back of the form about the bonfires and the trapeze artists, and the midnight fireworks displays and elephant herds, and the 14 bands, the wet t-shirt contests and the hangover basement facilities with the hot coffee, and I listed the celebrities who would be coming and the Broadway show troupe who would perform the Broadway show Titanic on our lawn, and I listed each of the 40 security officers and parking lot attendants by name, and I listed the flocks of pigeons we intended to release at one-hour intervals during the two days of the event. Even the colors of the different plastic wrist bracelets.

It was all reviewed and approved. So they can’t blame anybody but themselves for this.

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