Rowdy Hall's Sand Land Defense, Balenciaga Thefts, Pond Lane & More from the Hamptons
A selection of Hamptons shorts and observations from Dan Rattiner.
THE SAND LAND DEFIANCE
Rowdy Hall, the popular restaurant in East Hampton, has moved. It now occupies a space on Main Street in Amagansett.
In its old location, its façade was painted black. In Amagansett, they wanted the façade black. But because their new location is in a designated historic district, an architectural review board approves façade colors.
The board voted 3-1 against it. Well, Rowdy Hall painted the façade black anyway. And though ticketed, they’ve not been shuttered. I call it the “Sand Land Defiance.” Sand Land, a mining operation found to have contaminated the groundwater by the Suffolk County Health Department, is still doing it in spite of tickets from numerous different government agencies. Apparently, only the military can shutter it.
In the 1880s, bohemians came here from Manhattan and behaved badly. Their visit is referred to as “Rowdy Hall.” Hey, it’s historic.
High drama at the high-end East Hampton pocketbook store Balenciaga. Again. In March of 2022, five people got out of an SUV in front of the store on busy Newtown Lane, walked in and, while the salesperson went down to the basement stockroom to fetch things, swiped 48 pocketbooks worth $94,000 off the shelves. They then ran out of the store, hopped into the van and drove west.
The police, getting a 911 call, gave chase. Coming through Manorville at 100 miles an hour, the perps’ SUV blew a tire and bumped along issuing smoke to finally limp off the road and stop. The perps tumbled out and ran into the woods, but the cops soon rounded them up. $94,000 worth of pocketbooks is a big deal. Most pleaded guilty and are paying fines, serving jail time, or both.
A year later, this past July, a man and a woman shopping in Balenciaga were filmed by surveillance cameras each swiping a pocketbook and walking out with it. They were filmed in September doing it again. And since that worked, they tried again on November 10. But this time, the staff, having studied the surveillance footage, recognized them and quietly called 911. Uh- oh. The thieves ran out, hopped into their van, and off they drove. But they got only a few feet before the cops pulled up and boxed them in.
Maybe a clever ad agency planned all this at Balenciaga. Look at all the publicity it got. Probably the best publicity stunt ever. And those folks who got arrested? Paid big time for their service, that’s for sure. Risking jail time like that.
Want an expensive pocketbook? You know where to go.
POND LANE RETHUNK
A plan is moving forward to create a magnificent 11 acre public garden in downtown Southampton just adjacent to Agawam Park along the shore of Lake Agawam. To do it, they want the 500 yards of Pond Lane that would then be cutting across the garden closed to vehicular traffic. Instead, the lane would be for walking, running and biking. There’s some opposition to closing the road like this, and so now, behind the scenes, there’s talk that a compromise might be made. Perhaps allow cars, but only between Monday and Friday. Or make the road narrower and one way only.
Here are some other ideas:
1. Dig a tunnel under the park. Cars go down it at one end and back up the other.
2. Place flowers and plants in pots on wheels and tow them onto the road during the hours the gardens are open. Motorists? Enjoy! And follow the zigzag around them.
3. Replace the road asphalt with matting that rolls up during the day and then rolls back down at night.
4. Have deep-pocketed motorists pay $2,000 to drive a car across the park. Noblesse oblige. Funds benefit the Garden Conservancy.
5. Fire cars out of a cannon to arc over the park. Nah. Dead on arrival, that one.
Retired New York State Supreme Court Justice Paul Baisley Jr., the one-man wrecking crew of local history, customs and traditions, is being sued for $25 million by an attorney he tangled with.
The attorney suing him is Dan Rodgers, who attended a 2021 demonstration denouncing Baisley for upending an old law, backed up by deeds going back nearly 150 years, that allowed local fishermen to drive vehicles on the Napeague beach known as Truck Beach. Baisley, who received the case on appeal, could not deny the deeds, but at the last minute, granted opponents a temporary restraining order until somebody could clearly define “fishing.” It’s back to square one.
Rodgers spoke at the demonstration. Baisley denounced him for disobeying his decision and referred Rodgers to the Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District. It could revoke Rodgers’ license to practice law. He also fined East Hampton Town nearly $240,000 for not stopping the demonstration.
Also at the last minute, Baisley took on an appeal involving East Hampton Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration and East Hampton Town had agreed to put in rules reducing the activity and noise at the East Hampton Airport. Just one day before the laws would go into effect, Baisley stopped them with a temporary restraining order. Again, back to square one.
Rodgers is seeking $25 million from Baisley for defamation and libel that harmed Rodgers’ law practice. I imagine that Baisley will argue that his indiscretion took place on the same day he announced his retirement, which it did, and that his retirement announcement came before his utterances. So, there at the last minute, he was then a private citizen. Not guilty.
“Last-Minute” Baisley. Now you see it, now you don’t.
HELP PRESERVE DAN’S PAPERS 1960–2023
Stony Brook University intends to digitize the complete set of Dan’s Papers back issues (1960–2023) preserved within Stony Brook’s Special Collections library division. A total of $130,000 is needed. Currently, $73,000 has been raised.
Every dollar helps. Contribute? Write a tax-deductible check to “Stony Brook Foundation” marked “for Dan’s Papers archive” and mail to Stony Brook Foundation, 230 Administration, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook NY 11794-1188 or visit sbugiving.com/danspapers.