Talks continue here on the East End about whether or not we should create a new county for eastern Long Island. As you know, we are currently a part of Suffolk County. In the county legislature, our East End towns, which take up 3/4 of the land area, get only 4 legislators. The western towns get 17 legislators. So whenever money is collected, it mostly comes from the sales taxes on the East End but is spent mostly on projects in the west end.
Several prior attempts to form a new county have failed. During one of these attempts, the organizers decided upon a name for the new county, Peconic County. And they decided upon a flag.
Dan’s Papers has been mostly disappointed with both. The name Peconic County is kind of ho hum and doesn’t signify much. We might have done better if we had called ourselves Sunrise County or Windmill County, but Peconic County is what we got stuck with, and people still to this day advertise on their pickup truck bumper stickers that say “Peconic County.”
Many locals now also have Peconic County bumper sticker flags on their cars. The design of these flags was made by what one particular artist thought a Peconic County flag ought to look like. And you can see here for yourself how it lacks much in the way of charm. It has been said that it looks like a giant Pac-Man gobbling up Shelter Island. Shelter Island is that star between Pac-Man’s jaws. The other stars represent the other townships on the East End—Southold, Riverhead, Southampton and East Hampton, five towns all together comprised in the proposed new county. As you can see, they appear to be inside Pac-Man’s body after, uh, being eaten, I guess.
It’s time we re-thunk the flag. And so we will this week begin a contest to come up with a new design for one. We invite readers to create a new flag for the proposed county, one that we could, hat in hand, show pride in while we sing the verses to the Peconic County anthem (which sometime soon a well-known composer—Paul McCartney?—might be volunteered to create).
You may think it is sacrilegious to change the design chosen for the county in the past, but there is a long tradition of flags for proposed new government bodies changing over time before finally one is agreed upon by all. One early flag for America, for example, consisted of a coiled up angry snake with the caption “Don’t Tread on Me.” After that came a series of battle flags flown by militias, one of which was created by a Mrs. Hulbert here in Bridgehampton all those years ago for her husband’s militia when it went off to fight the British at the battle of Fort Ticonderoga. Finally, they settled on the Stars and Stripes, to which we stand, put our hands over our hearts and face when the “Star Spangled Banner” is being played.
But I digress. For those who want to enter this contest, I hereby offer up a list of images that might or might not be useful as part your entry. Here they are for your consideration. I hope they inspire you:
A Windmill. Sunrise. An Eagle. A gaggle of Piping Plovers. A bull. (California’s flag has a bear on it. We could, honoring Wall Street moguls living out here, have a bull.) A potato. A fish or a school of fishes. A bottle of wine. A view of a vineyard. A beach. A McMansion. A deer. A trawler. A hedgerow. A lifeguard stand. A surfboard. A potato field. A farm stand. An osprey. A clam. A windsurfer. A whale. A colonial saltbox. A Tesla. A helicopter. A traffic jam. A strawberry. A great white shark. Paul McCartney. Steven Spielberg. Somebody trying to make a left turn onto the Montauk Highway.
Here, by the way is a flag I like. It is the flag of the State of Arizona. Maybe it will inspire you.
Create a full-color drawing or painting of your entry for the Peconic County flag contest and send it in to [email protected] The contest will be open for entries until December 11, after which the winner will be selected by our readers in an online judging competition. The winner will receive a dinner for two at one of the fine restaurants here on the East End.