The Hamptons Municipal Board is asking citizens to donate as many robot vacuum cleaners, like the popular Roomba, to help clear out-of-control farm dust in Amagansett. Officials note that emergency cleanup and dust remediation officers are federal workers—all of whom are furloughed during the government shutdown—so robots may be the next best thing.
Powdery brown dust has been piling up in the hamlet in recent weeks, causing some stores to close for the pair of days they’re usually open in the winter season. “Cars are experiencing dangerously low visibility on Main Street, and the rising dust tide is threatening to block valuable ocean and farmland views,” Hamptons Municipal Board Chair Fred Staub Wolke said in a public plea for vacuum donations. “This cannot continue.”
Since sending out the call for robot vacuum cleaners on Tuesday, the Board has already received 16 devices from local residents, as well as a pledge for another 200 machines, thanks to an anonymous donor who is CEO of a robot vacuum manufacturer. They also received an actual robot maid with a backpack-powered vacuum, which can do the work of at least 10 of the smaller disk-shaped robot vacuums. “It’s not what we expected, but it’s better, actually,” Staub Wolke says. “This robot maid came from an inventor in Southampton. Unfortunately, it’s a one-of-a-kind prototype.”
According to Municipal Board officials, the fleet of robot vacuums, and single bipedal robot maid, have already been deployed on Main Street, but they’ve managed to put only a minor dent in the dust buildup. If things don’t change, Amagansett may become nothing more than another large dune.
“Let’s hope this shutdown ends soon, or we get more Roombas, stat,” Staub Wolke says, adding, “Should things continue in this terrible direction, we may have to commission a much, much larger version of this single robot maid—I’m talking Voltron big—and that’s not entirely practical.”
The Hamptons Municipal Board is still accepting robot vacuum donations at each of their offices around the South Fork.