Hamptons Subway Newsletter: Week of May 14–20, 2020

Hamptons Subway giraffes
Two giraffes delayed the Hamptons Subway reopening, Photo: 123RF, Oliver Peterson

Week of May 14–20, 2020
Riders last week: 6
Rider Miles last week: 8

The Hamptons Subway opened for business on Thursday, May 21. It had been hoped it could open six days earlier so all the celebrities who would be using it could be reported upon in this newsletter, but because of the unexpected delay, which will be explained further along, the opening took place after our newsletter’s deadline. As a result, we can only report on the dignitaries on-hand for the subway’s ceremonial first ride, which did happen just hours before the deadline. Riding were Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele and State Senator Ken LaValle. Congressman Lee Zeldin was supposed to show but didn’t. Reportedly he was having a private meeting with Mr. Trump in Washington, so that is excusable. Anyway, for the next day and the crowds and celebrities, go to DansPapers.com, which keeps up-to-the-minute celebrity tallies.

Six days before the scheduled re-opening, an extraordinary thing happened on the sidewalk above our subway entrance on Main Street, Southampton. At 3 p.m. that day, pedestrians reported that two alarmed giraffes had come up the stairs, ran down the sidewalk and gone across Jobs Lane. The police had been called, but the giraffes had run off into the woods at North Sea before they arrived. On hearing this, Commissioner
Aspinall, who was at a reopening planning meeting, immediately ordered the entire 56-member Hamptons Subway police force, laid off during the COVID-19 crisis, to  report for work at 9 a.m. the next morning—armed with flashlights, nightsticks, radios and sidearms—to head down every subway stairway to see what
was going on.

What they found was extraordinary. In every tunnel, groups of animals were self-sheltering in recently built nests. They would need to be removed. Twenty-eight raccoons were rousted out of the subway tunnel between Amagansett and East Hampton and chased up the stairs at Pantigo. Wolves nesting in a storage room in the tunnel between Wainscott and Georgica put up such a fight that environmentalists had to be called in to dart the animals with a sleep potion so they could be taken out and let loose into the farm fields of Sagaponack.

“No animals were harmed during this operation,” Commissioner Aspinall announced.

Garter snakes were chased along the tracks east of Napeague to slither themselves up at Hither Hills. Scorpions were sent up at Noyac. And a pair of mountain lions, in a foul mood at having been awakened, were sent up the stairs to the sidewalk at Main Street, Sag Harbor, from their den in the tunnel under Bay Street.

The Commissioner announced at a news conference on Wednesday that all the critters  had been removed and the subway system, after the ceremonial first ride, would be open at 8 a.m. Thursday morning. A work-around had been decided upon about the colony of rare poisonous iguanas between Mecox and Water Mill, a giant hippopotamus that had become stuck in the tunnel near Trout Pond in Noyac, and a gaggle of endangered piping plovers on the platform of our station at Main Beach, East Hampton.

At all three locations, he said, passengers will disembark at these blockages and walk, escorted, along the dark tunnel catwalks to waiting subway trains just beyond these problems.

“You will be able to briefly observe these endangered species exhibiting their native behaviors on the tracks below the catwalks, a special treat, for as long as it lasts.” he said.

“It’s a plus.”


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