What Happened to the Hamptons Subway?

Hamptons Subway cartoon by Dan Rattiner
Cartoon by Dan Rattiner

People have asked me why we no longer publish the “Hamptons Subway Newsletter” in Dan’s Papers. It had appeared weekly in the paper for nearly 10 years.

Originally, it was just a company newsletter published weekly by management with a small circulation for distribution to employees and riders. But in 2010, we at Dan’s Papers approached them and asked if we could reprint it in Dan’s to give it a boost. It would have a much wider readership. And we would do it to help promote their subway system.

They were delighted. And so, we commenced to re-print the newsletter in our pages every week until 2018.

However, that year, we noticed that the reporters who wrote the newsletter for the subway system had begun to put things in it that were totally untrue. For example, they rewrote the history of the subway. The truth is that Hamptons Subway was built in 1927 by a New York City builder named Ivan Kratz, using construction material he was stealing from the construction job he had won to build the Lexington Avenue subway line in Manhattan.

He’d been trucking these hot goods to the Hamptons and, at first, was hiding it all in the woods here. Then, learning the feds were hot on his tail, he dug tunnels underground and put the materials out of sight. Then he had another idea. He’d use it to build an entire new subway system for the Hamptons.

It was the perfect idea. The feds would never know this was stolen goods. And someday in the not-too-distant future, when his prediction that many tourists would be coming out to the East End for visits, he’d unveil it. And open it for business.

The Hamptons Subway would make him a fortune.

In less than a year, the underground construction of the Hamptons Subway with all its tunnels, tracks, stairs, turnstiles and platforms was completed. It had 24 stops in all. Unfortunately, before Kratz could open it, he was caught red-handed stealing more hot construction goods in Manhattan, and was arrested, tried, convicted and sent to prison.

There, in 1956, he died. And nobody ever knew there was an underground Hamptons Subway here until 1995 when workmen, digging polluted dirt out of a superfund site in Sag Harbor, hit the underground roof of the Sag Harbor station, and from there, after digging down through the ceiling, proceeded along a wonderful underground journey to the discovery of it all.

The underground stations opened in 2001 to great fanfare. And it’s been a popular mode of transportation since.

Anyway, the bogus revision about the founding of the subway debuted as a six-part television series in 2018, then subsequently as a six-part newsletter account, in which Ivan Kratz is presented as an early environmental pioneer out to do good who gets tangled up with a corrupt Republican governor of the state of New York who sets him up, arrests him and gets him put away in the penitentiary.

In another version of this history, published this time as a book (reviewed in the newsletter), Kratz is presented as an immigrant from Guatemala who snuck over the border years earlier to run drugs and kidnap young women for the sex trade to benefit a corrupt Democratic mayor of the city of New York.

Soon after that, another lie appeared in the newsletter. It said Kratz’s wife, Mildred, an early suffragist demanding that women get the right to vote, had been responsible for turning him in and then, in later years, after he was put away, ran in the 1946 Boston Marathon dressed as a man. And nobody ever knew.

Vintage Hamptons Subway Newsletter from March 27 to April 1, 1948
Vintage Hamptons Subway Newsletter from March 27 to April 1, 1948

Then it was reported in the Hamptons Subway newsletter that experts had determined she’d actually won that marathon. Because of that revelation, the subway ordered a life-size statue of her holding a tennis racket (tennis was another sport she excelled at), which was then taken down to the Southampton platform to replace the statue of founder Ivan Kratz, now badly defaced and vandalized after it was reported in the newsletter that he’d had slaves build his subway systems all those years earlier.

And there were more lies in the newsletter. One was that an entire television studio run by Russians was operational in a subway storeroom in the tunnel between Southampton and Shinnecock, and, working closely with election deniers provided by the Oath Keepers, was able to keep the truth of the results of the 2020 presidential election from getting out to the general public until, actually, January 6.

And finally, there were repeated bogus reports in the newsletter about the dangerous situation on the subway platforms where wild-eyed strangers from unknown foreign countries were to be seen not necessarily pushing people off the platforms but instead thinking of pushing people off the platforms into oncoming subway trains, while the subway police looked the other way, pretending to fiddle with their body cams.

The last straw was a claim that in the ladies bathroom on the Bridgehampton platform, a prominent Democratic candidate for county executive, the previously unknown sister of President Joe Biden, was running an abortion clinic where fetuses were being sold to the Aztec Indians in the Sinaloa province of Mexico in exchange for bitcoin.

And so, in late 2020, we confronted the editors about all this. In reply, the editors said the newsletter was now getting millions of hits and no, they wouldn’t stop publishing inaccurate material. So, reluctantly, we broke our long-term arrangement with them and ceased reprinting the newsletter in our pages.

And the lies continue. Now the newsletter editors say in their pages that the newsletter can still be found in Dan’s Papers and if it cannot be seen when you look through the paper, it’s because the left-wing group Antifa is illegally taking it down every week, stomping on it, breaking our code and then blaming it on the Proud Boys.

Through it all, the subway system continues to run, taking the overflow of passenger traffic formerly on the roads, trains and helicopters up top on the surface.

But now, there is great news. We have just learned that Elon Musk is about to buy the “Hamptons Subway.” If this comes to pass and Mr. Musk uses his blue-check system to cause the editors to write only factually correct material in the newsletter, we intend, spurred on by folks who used to love that column in Dan’s Papers, to once again publish the “Hamptons Subway” newsletter in our pages.

Cross your fingers.

More from Our Sister Sites