Is anybody surprised that the American Planning Association has listed Sag Harbor’s Main Street from Long Wharf to Jermain Avenue and Brick Kiln Road one of America’s 10 greatest streets along with the likes of Broadway and Pennsylvania Avenue?Our Main Street is vibrant, beautiful and dominated by real, live, local businesses and homes erected before state fire codes and crass commercialism removed design and taste from the construction formula and replaced it with rank efficiency. Not that fire codes are a bad thing! It’s just that they’ve been an excuse for too many developers to trade cheap and efficient for grace and charm.
Travel anywhere in America. The beautiful places often seem a little too cute, even fake. The “real” places seem wounded. Outside of the big cities, the vibrant, busy places seem populated not so much by human beings but by cars and trucks.
Our grand exception, Sag Harbor’s Main Street, is not only beautiful, it’s no museum piece or mere tourist stop. It’s a thriving, working world where Nada Barry and Gwen Waddington; Romany Kramoris; Bob and Barbara Schmid and their daughters; Rose Bucking her daughter Lisa; the inimitable Ted Conklin and all the other downtown businesspeople (sorry not to mention you all!) keep things real to a degree that, say, East Hampton’s Main Street—as beautiful as it may be—doesn’t quite reach.
The Sag Harbor Fire Department is, of course, a big part of what makes Main Street and the whole village and its surrounding area real. On the Sunday morning of this upcoming Columbus Day weekend, you can see the department up close from 10 a.m. to noon, when the firehouse just west of Upper Main Street at 1357 Brick Kiln Road will be open for visits. Head on over and check out the trucks and equipment and see the demonstrations that the department’s hard-working volunteers are planning.
The Sag Harbor Lions ran a great 5K event last weekend: Andy’s Run, named for the great Sag Harbor runner Andy Neidnig. Some 89 people, 44 men and 45 women, took part in the run and walk on Saturday morning to raise funds for the club’s many beneficiaries.
Angelo Toscano, age 15, was the overall winner with a time of 19:36; James Kelly, age 62, came in second six seconds later and Aiden Cowley, 15, was third in 12 more seconds. The top finisher among the women was Patricia Fall Salamy at 19:56.
For the full list of winners, search on line for “Andy’s Run Sag Harbor Lions” and you’ll find it.
Two amazing ladies will be performing on stage this weekend at Bay Street Theater highlighting the Great American Songbook. One of Sag Harbor’s most precious assets, the theater gets plenty of press elsewhere in this and other papers so I rarely mention its attractions in this column.
But as a fan of Judy Carmichael and Betty Buckley, two familiar faces in Sag Harbor not to mention on stages near and far, I have to include the news that the great stride pianist Ms. Carmichael and her quartet will perform on Friday at 8 p.m. and the great Broadway songstress Ms. Buckley will perform on Sunday at 8 p.m.
Ms. Carmichael will feature songs from her first all-vocal CD, “I Love Being Here With You,” with songs by Peggy Lee, Irving Berlin, Gershwin and others.
Two days later, Ms. Buckley will perform her show, “The Lyricist,” a celebration of the greatest Broadway composers and the creators of the American Songbook. Oscar Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim and Mary Chapin Carpenter are among those featured. John McDaniel will accompany Ms. Buckley on the piano.
Ms. Buckley won a Tony Award for her performance in “Cats,” a Tony Award nomination for “Triumph of Love,” and an Olivier Award nomination for her performance in “Sunset Boulevard” in London.
For information about either show, call Bay Street Theater at (631) 725-9500 or find its website on line.
This Columbus Day weekend is the last chance to see the Sag Harbor Historical Society’s very cool exhibit, “The Long Island Railroad in Sag Harbor, 1870-1939,” which has been up all summer at the Sag Harbor Historical Society’s headquarters in the Annie Cooper Boyd House at 174 Main Street. The house will be open to visitors on Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 1 to 4 p.m., after which the exhibition comes down.
To really understand the evolution of Sag Harbor in the 19th and 20th centuries, you have to know about its connection to the Long Island Rail Road and the spur that used to run from Bridgehampton, across the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike not far from Scuttle Hole Road and alongside the ponds east of the turnpike that are now protected in the Long Pond Greenbelt. The old right-of-way emerges from the woods between Mashashimuet Park and the turnpike and runs through town right down to Long Wharf.
Canio’s Books on Upper Main Street is another institution that makes Sag Harbor the great place it is. Primatologist Patricia Wright will be there speaking about her new work, “High Moon Over the Amazon: My Quest to Understand the Monkeys of the Night,” at 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 11.
“Against all odds,” writes Jane Goodale, “Patricia Wright succeeded in observing the previously unknown behavior of the mysterious and enchanting little owl monkey … With the skill of a born storyteller, she describes hair-raising adventures deep in the Amazon rain forest … You will laugh and cry and marvel at the determination, courage, and scientific integrity of this amazing woman.”
Do you sit at a desk too much of your life, as I do these days? My gym routine is in a state of suspended animation. If you’re in the same belly-widening boat, join the group that meets at 10 a.m. every Tuesday weather permitting (except in summer) at the temporary library at 34 West Water Street. By joining in this free weekly meet-up facilitated by the Wellness Foundation, you can enjoy the salt air while you walk through scenic Sag Harbor. Participants can choose from one- or two-mile routes. For more information, call the library at (631) 725-0049.
The Annual Celebration of the Long Pond Greenbelt is set for Saturday, October 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., when Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt (FLPG), the South Fork Natural History Museum (SoFo) and the Peconic Land Trust will offer games, crafts, hikes, and information about the greenbelt.
The event takes place at Vineyard Field on the grounds of SoFo at 377 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike. Take a migratory bird walk with naturalist, birder and published author John Turner (10:30 a.m.), a reptile hike with “Snake-Man” Chris Chapin (11 a.m.) and meet live animals from the Quogue Wildlife Refuge. For more information, contact Diane Lewis at (631) 725-7894.
And don’t forget the Sag Harbor Farmers Market. It’s still going strong on Saturday mornings on Bay Street.