As you probably have heard by now, both East Hampton and Sag Harbor will install paid parking in their lots downtown this summer. And Southampton may soon follow. The money raised in both East Hampton and Southampton, if it happens there, is to be used to install a sewage treatment system. But Sag Harbor already has such a system in place—it was put in back in the 1970s—so one wonders what Sag Harbor will use the parking lot money for.
According to the usually reliable sources who attend the closed-door meetings in Sag Harbor, the village is considering using the money to seize the cars of the scofflaws who ignore the parking fees as another way of reducing the parking problem. The village has already bought a car crusher, they say, the kind they use in junk yards to flatten old cars. The car crusher would be set up in the vacant field behind the post office where that giant gas ball—a town landmark—used to sit before it got taken away. What to do with that property is currently under discussion and will probably not get resolved anytime in the near future, so the car crusher should work just fine there until we run out of cars.
The flattened cars, by the way, will have a second use. When stacked up on that site and filled in with dirt, the village can raise up that low-lying area which currently floods whenever we have a hard rain.
It’s true that car crushers can be noisy. But it will be nothing compared to two particular years in the 1980s when the village voted to allow strong young men—mostly the grown children of environmentalists—to roam the streets of Sag Harbor with sledgehammers smashing up cars at random to thin the herd of parked cars here. Ask an old-timer about how noisy that was.
While Sag Harbor is going its own way to solve the parking problems, the Town of Southampton is considering other ways to solve the parking problem. They’ve gone into their storage building at the Southampton town campus in Hampton Bays and dusted off the four tollbooths that operated briefly in the 1990s at the Shinnecock Canal. For just one year, tollbooth operators charged $10 tolls for all cars and trucks coming to the Hamptons except for BMWs, Mercedes-Benzes and Audis, which were waved through for free.
The plan now is, using the much newer technology, to charge tolls to all cars and trucks based upon their current value. With radar guns reading license plates, they can instantly determine the values with a hookup to the Kelley Blue Book car website, learn the value of the vehicle in question and charge tolls accordingly—$3 for Toyota Corollas, $5 for a Ford F-150 pickup, $10 for an SUV and $100 for Teslas and Lamborghinis. It’s kind of a reversal of the old system that let in the expensive cars, but we’ve got a Democrat for president now and it seems more appropriate. It’s really up to Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who we are told has been in discussion with Biden.
Yes, the aliens have been here and gone. All you have to do is look at the chronology of some interplanetary events in recent years. Here we go.
In 2017, astronomers using strong telescopes observed an object in the shape of a cigar with glowing portholes on the sides making its way across the sky overhead. Calculating its trajectory, scientists were able to determine it was not circling the sun, but had come from somewhere way beyond our solar system. It was the first such object ever observed that did so. It was in the news again last week because further study got many astronomers to believe it was a piece of a planet from far off in another galaxy that had scooted by.
But look what’s happened since then. In 2020, part of the radar dish that sits atop the Aricebo Observatory on a mountain in Puerto Rico collapsed when some struts and wires broke. Aricebo, built in the 1960s, has for more than half a century been sending radio waves, radar signals and light beams out into space. It sent out messages such as “Hello, hello, anybody out there?” and then waited for replies, which were never heard. The struts and wires, it was soon learned, were broken in such a way as to endanger the entire facility from a further collapse, and plans were made in 2020 to demolish it.
Also in 2020, a whole lot of rocket ships went off to land on or fly by parts of our solar system. The Chinese landed a rover on the far side of the moon. Probes from the United States, China and the Emirates flew by Mars and then in 2021, an American rover landed on Mars, after which, butterfly fashion, it unfolded its wings to become a drone, took off and started taking pictures of that planet. It’s taking pictures and sending them back to this day. Now Elon Musk is saying he wants to put a space station on Mars, and he’s got the rockets to do it.
The way I see this is that around 1980, the aliens off in space started to notice that our planet was beginning to overheat from carbon in the atmosphere and there was now all this space junk from satellites and rocket ships circling the earth, and so they launched this cigar-shaped craft to come by and see what the heck was going on.
Due to some miscalculations regarding the speed of light, the aliens aboard that craft got here three years early—traffic was not the expected problem along the way—and so the aliens reported back to describe what they saw, and in return got orders to cripple the Arecibo Observatory, thus putting a stop to our attempts to contact anybody and then fly off.
In other words, the aliens aren’t going to touch us with a 10-foot pole and they don’t want to hear any more about us.