Dan Rattiner's Stories

The Hamptonz: What’s in a Name? – Trademark Monkey Returns

The Hamptons Standard, Ditch Plains, Springs and other name disputes.

The Trademark Monkey has struck in Hampton Bays. The subject this time is Salvatore Biundo, who owns what until recently was called “The Hamptons Standard,” a restaurant in Hampton Bays. In September, he was served legal papers claiming he was infringing on the trademark rights of a hospitality group with locations around the world, including “The Standard” in New York City.

Saying that he wanted to refocus and change the food and the feel of the space, Biundo is introducing a new menu, and a new sign has gone up. His place is now called “Salvatore’s.” His restaurant sports new signage that also reads “Italian American” and “Family Restaurant and Bar.”

We wish him well.

We call such actions the work of the Trademark Monkey, because when he comes and serves his papers, it is often going to monkey up the works. He shows up out here every once in a while.

I recall a catering hall in Southampton that was for many years “The Four Seasons.” Didn’t go well, ultimately, with the Four Seasons Restaurant corporation based in Manhattan. The Trademark Monkey arrived in the Hamptons. The catering hall changed its name to “Seasons,” and it had a long and successful run after that.

Remember “The Chart House” along the Shinnecock Canal? It got renamed “The Chart Inn” after someone with the trademark “The Chart House” raised complaints. After that, things were fine.

In a related matter, the powers that be in East Hampton have been struggling for months to decide on the correct name for one of its hamlets. There’s no Trademark Monkey here. But about 10 years ago, someone put up signs that read WELCOME TO THE SPRINGS at the entrances to the community. But it has rankled some who felt the name should just be SPRINGS, as in WELCOME TO SPRINGS.

There was no Trademark Monkey involved in this great debate, but it was agreed by the citizenry who talked about it through the months of September and October that it could either be one or the other, but not both. Finally, last week a vote was taken in town hall. The Springs sounded so wonderful and upright. But Springs had more votes. So the sign will come down and be replaced. It will say WELCOME TO SPRINGS. And I say this is how it should be. “Springs” is how it has been known throughout history because there were springs here.

Then there is Noyac. Or maybe it’s Noyack. It’s been alternately one and the other for many decades. Before that complex on Hill Street in Southampton came to be known as Whitefields, it was a prep school known as the Noyack Boys School. And yet, further to the north, there is the Noyac Post Office. Does anybody care? Passions don’t run as high in Noyac(k), I guess, as they do in The Springs or Springs.

About five years ago, some apparel company was running around saying they owned the trademark on the name Ditch Plains and so you couldn’t sell a sweatshirt that said Ditch Plains on it without their okay. I never learned how that worked out. But people are still selling sweatshirts that say Ditch Plains on them.

And it doesn’t seem to be a problem.

Finally, there is this:

Remember gas station roadmaps? Before GPS, they were totally necessary to have in your glove compartment to refer to when you drove around. Well, about 20 years ago, someone sent me one of these full-color roadmaps from Shell or Esso or some other gas station outfit that entered a wrong name for a section in Montauk. The sender thought it was interesting. And it certainly was. The section was Hither Hills. On this map, it erroneously said the name was “Hitler Hills.”

I’m a packrat. I save everything. And I have this map someplace in the house. It’s going to turn up one of these days.

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