Sag Harbor Community Notes, April 16


Will Sag Harbor and Noyac residents who are fed up with the noisy onslaught of helicopters and seaplanes on summer weekends find relief this year?It’s a big issue for our community and it’s coming to a head. After a year of study and discussion among its airport subcommittees, the East Hampton Town Board was expected to adopt a package of regulations for the town airport today, April 16, that would prohibit what the town considers “noisy” aircraft—those with an FAA decibel rating of 91 or higher, which includes most helicopters—from making more than one landing and takeoff a week between May 1 and September 30. That would slash the Manhattan-to-East Hampton helicopter traffic to a shadow of its former self.

The proposed rules also would establish a nightly curfew for all aircraft between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.; for noisy aircraft, the curfew would extend from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. Currently, there is only a “voluntary” curfew (a contradiction in terms if I ever heard one) between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. that has not been very effective.

No airport in the country has a weekly limit on operations like the one East Hampton is enacting. National aviation organizations have called it illegal, as well as the nightly curfews, and they have promised to challenge the rules in court. Their first step may be to seek an injunction preventing the town from imposing the rules until the federal legal issues are litigated.

If the new rules do go into effect, and they prove practicable and enforceable, they won’t reduce the number of seaplanes that come and go. Because those turbine-powered single-engine Cessna Caravans are not “noisy” by the town’s definition, they won’t be affected by the one-operation-per-week limit. There are some Sag Harbor and Noyac residents who find low-flying seaplanes as obnoxious as the helicopters so they probably feel the town isn’t doing enough.

As a pilot and employee in the airport manager’s office, I am looking forward to finding out how these new rules will play out and learning whether or not they can bring relief to those whose summers have been spoiled by the racket overhead.

On the local event scene, Saturday is the day for the 5th annual running of the Katy’s Courage 5K in honor of Katy Stewart, the Sag Harbor girl who lost her battle with cancer in 2010 at age 12. The event raises money to support pediatric cancer research as well as provide support for patients and their families.

The event starts on West Water Street at 8:30 a.m. The route follows Main Street to Glover Street, into the Redwood Section and back to Water Street. More than 1,200 people from age 4 to 89 took part last year, running, jogging and walking to raise more than $50,000 for the cause through sponsorships and cash donations.

Register online at KatysCourage.itsyour or in person Saturday from 7 to 8:15 a.m. at 21 West Water Street. The fee is $25 per person online, $30 in person.

There’s a free workshop at the library tomorrow, Friday, April 17, at 10:30 a.m. for anyone who wants to know how to do more with his or her iPad than just check emails and surf the web. Bring your fully charged iPad to class. Registration is required with a limit of 14 participants. Call the library at 725-0049.

The Hamptons LGBT Center at 44 Union Street is hosting a pancake breakfast for LGBT-headed families this Saturday, April 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to kick off a new networking program called “Center Families.” Register by contacting Christopher Polistena by email at or calling him at (632) 899-4950. You can also register online at

Author Sande Boritz Berger will read from her debut novel, “The Sweetness,” at Canio’s bookstore this Saturday, April 18, at 5 p.m. in commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is today, April 16. “The Sweetness” is a tale about two Jewish girls who are cousins living on different continents during World War II.

The author, who lives in New York and Bridgehampton, received an MFA degree in writing and literature from SUNY Stony Brook, where she won the Deborah Hecht Memorial Prize for fiction. Her essays and stories have appeared in many anthologies.

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, will be observed at Temple Adas Israel at 30 Atlantic Avenue this Sunday, April 19, at 4 p.m. when brief remembrances will be given by survivors and the children of survivors. “Come gather with us,” reads the temple’s announcement on the web.

Filmmaker Susan Lacy of Sag Harbor will host a panel discussion with other filmmakers who worked with the late Albert Maysles when the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival screens his film, “Iris,” at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor on Sunday, April 19, at 2:30 p.m. The film, about fashion icon Iris Apfel, won’t open in theaters until later this month. Admission will be $15 at the door. Mr. Maysles died in New York last month at 88.

Next Wednesday, Long Island libraries including our own John Jermain will mark an event called “Long Island Reads: One Island, One Book” by discussing Alice Hoffman’s “The Museum of Extraordinary Things.” Set on Coney Island and in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, it is a blend of historical fiction, romance and mystery.

During the discussion, which begins at 5:30 on Wednesday, April 22, clips from documentaries on Coney Island and the Lower East Side, including the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, will be shown. “Refreshments will channel the heyday of the boardwalk: mini hot dogs, knishes and cream soda,” according to the library’s announcement. Copies of the book are available for checkout at the circulation desk. Pre-registration is required with a limit of 18. Call the library at 725-0049.

Coming up, the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce will host its next general membership meeting on Thursday, April 23, at 5 p.m. at Bay Street Theater. All local businesspeople are welcome. Melissa Mitchell, owner of the web-design agency Studio 16 Interactive, will give a talk on using social media as well as the chamber’s own website to boost business.

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