On The Beach Blog | August 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

An Interesting Practitioner...

...of that infamous propaganda device which has come to be known as "The Big Lie," is Hampton Synagogue Rabbi Marc Schneier.

From an interview with Religion News Service's Tim Murphy, on WEEEF: More...

Return to The Sandwich Club

One of my most closely-held precepts is "Al­ways challenge one's own perceptions,"

Last week when Shep Scheinberg asked "What about The Sandwich Club?," I responded: More...

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Clint Identity

Conflicted Clint? A composite graphic.

Where does Clint Greenbaum's mem­bership on the Board of Education stop, and that of the Eruv Com­mittee start?

Or what of the line between Interfaith Council emissary and plain ol' garden-variety private resident?

When he makes public statements of advoca­cy, or broad­casts E-mails, in what capacity... his disclaimers not withstanding... does he actually serve? More...

Kudos to Jessica DiNapoli...

...for her truly top notch reportage on the much-referenced, little understood "Tenafly Eruv Case."

Ms. DiNapoli, one of the new kids on the beat, took heat here for some sloppy reporting and fact-checking when she first went to work for The Southampton Press Western Edition. More...

How the Village is being marketed...

...and it's equal parts what others are saying and where it is being said and read.

As posited last Spring, the increasingly con­tentious eruv issue has spread well beyond the greater Westhampton area:

Town Justices Debate

Updated 08/29/2008 - 5:38 pm

For those who missed the poorly promoted Southampton Town Justice Candidates Forum last Monday, it's being cablecast on Channel 22.

The event, featuring incumbent Tom DeMayo and previously unsuccessful candidate Andrea Schiavoni, was overseen by the no-nonsense League of Women Voters of the Hamptons.

The schedule for the remainder of this month: More...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

August Planning Work Session

Updated 08/29/2008 - 1:51 pm

Wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it, but the Westhampton Beach Planning Board got serious with the Hampton Synagogue, Kelly & Hulme, PC, James N. Hulme for the applicant, this afternoon.

Of course, it could all be pure posturing on the part of Chairman Ralph Neubauer, but mem­bers Barbara Ramsay, Sundy Schermeyer and David Reilly and even freshwoman Pamela Sheiffer seemed to sign on as well, so the long-delayed (5½+ years) Synagogue's ap­plication doesn't look like it's going to get the Olé! treatment it has in the past.

One of the larger problems is in the applica­tion's caption:

"Applicant proposes to convert a single family dwelling (Rabbi's dwelling) to offices for the Synagogue on the second floor and a meeting hall on the first floor, which will provide kosher catering of private events, which are part of services or events spon­sored by the Synagogue."

The application should probably have been denied on that basis alone.

Parking, the unpermitted-but-ongoing dump­ster, parking, the unpermitted-but-ongoing amplified sound, parking and the unpermitted-but-ongoing catering seems to be squarely in the Planning Board's sights.

It was also, sadly, Mrs. Ramsay's swan-song after nine-years on the Board.

Do Tell!

From the August 26th Newsday:

"...the only other municipality in New York State which can force 20-year police veter­ans into retirement is the village of West­hampton Beach. Village Mayor Conrad Teller, a former police chief himself, said no one on his village board has ever con­templated laying off veteran officers to save money."

Splitting former Lieutenant Trevor Gonce's hairs now, are we?

Goodness Gracious!

What have we here in today's Newsday?

Quogue mayor indicted
on securities fraud

While it's not the indictment we expected, this should come as no surprise. Mayor Motz was the subject of an investigation over a year ago as detailed in a February 2007 SEC document. More...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bons Mots du jour

On the fastidious groomer... weekly trim, waxed eyebrows, et al:

"I wouldn't go out with any guy who spends more time looking in the mirror than I do!"

Doreen at Hampton Haircutters.

Beach Minyan Profiled

Updated 8/27/2008 - 2:28 pm

...in this week's South­amp­ton Press Western Edition.

(Yes, it's the same house of Worship dis­cussed here over a month ago.) More...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Once again...

Link Updated 10/24/2008 - 07:50 am

...Newsday presumes to know what is best for Westhampton Beach with their Op-Ed column of yesterday. More...

Look what's finally arrived...

Updated 08/26/2008 - 9:56 am

...at 28 Library Avenue! More...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bears Watching

A legal development at the other end of Long Island should provoke the interests of the In­corporated Villages of Westhampton Beach and Quogue and Southampton Town.

From the August 21st edition of Newsday:

"More than a year after losing a federal ha­rassment lawsuit against the Village of Sea Cliff and several officials, the owner of a multimillion-dollar gourmet popcorn com­pany was ordered to reimburse them more than $900,000 in attorney's fees."

U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler ordered plaintiff Robert Ehrlich to cough up that sum to be paid to sundry current and former members of the Village of Sea Cliff Boards of Trustees, Zoning and Planning, as well as the Village At­torney and Building Inspector. More...

Sunday, the Rabbi...

...was in Denver, and he did help launch the Democratic National Convention.

It was a great honor for Rabbi Marc Schneier as well as his two Synagogues.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's not nice to break faith...

Updated 08/24/2008 - 3:38 pm

...with the Hamptons Interfaith Council.

The "re-thinking" of the September 7th invite to Rabbi Marc Schneier by the Vestry and Wardens of Saint Mark's Church should come as scant surprise to anyone familiar with the 14-year history of the Rabbi and the Hamptons Interfaith Council (nèe Hamptons Council of Churches).

It is one marked throughout by disdain and overt rudeness on the part of the Rabbi, and it has now returned to bite him on the tuccus. More...

Downtown Saturday Night

The biggest difference between now and the mid-'80s is that I just don't go out much any­more, especially on a Saturday night!

I reflected on this as we walked downtown to meet some friends for some ice cream after their dinner at Margarita Grille.

The place was a maelström of young and older adults interspersed with roaming bands of awkward adolescents... the sidewalks in cen­terville were almost impassable. That hasn't changed!

I know the difference in me between now and then, but in the downtown DMZ?

Of course, a bookstore and a bank now stand in place of the mighty Marakesh.

Otherwise, it's that the music is live, and if there's still cocaine around, the users are much more discreet.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In Praise of Pathmark

...specifically the Patchogue Route 112 store.

Acting on a tip from her nephew Alex, on one of her her thrice-weekly ways home from the City, my wife took a chance on picking up a whole fried chicken. More...

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Rabbi Watch

Updated 08/23/2008 - 1:15 am

This in earlier from Sunset and Brook...

Rabbi Marc Schneier To Offer Prayer at
Democratic National Convention
Rabbi Marc Schneier has been invited by the Democratic National Committee to speak next week at its opening session in Denver, Colorado. The interfaith gathering, officially kicking off the Convention, will feature eight prominent clergymen from across the United States who will each recite a self-composed litany drawing on their particular faith traditions.

The theme of Rabbi Schneier's presentation is "Our Sacred Responsibility to Our Nation," and its content will be drawn from both the High Holy Days liturgy and Biblical texts.

According to Rabbi Schneier, "We need to reach beyond ourselves, if we are to rise above ourselves." The interfaith gathering will celebrate America's religious and ethnic diversity.

One might surmise that the long-rumored ap­pearance at Hampton Synagogue by Demo­cratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama might not be far behind.

But let's look, as one of OtBB's regulars has, under the hood of this event, starting with the operative page from the Democratic National Convention. More...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Second Time Around

08/22/2008 - 11:45 am

The third time, it is said, is a charm, but with us, restaurants rarely ever get a second strike. I mean, why bother?!

But the dining out experience in Westhampton Beach isn't as broad for us as it once was... Milo's changed its identity as well as its menu, Finn McCool's let that maniac Gordon Ramsay take the Bangers'n'Mashed off its bill o'fare, and for a variety of reasons... some personal, some political... other local eateries are no longer acceptable. More...

Me 'n' Moish...

...grappling with what OtBB feels is the fun­damental issue, in response to Mr. Tuchman's Comments of today. More...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

WEEEF Video On-line

For those who missed it, YouTube to the rescue....

There are eleven parts in all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

HAT's back...

Updated 8/20/2008 - 5:23 pm

...and Westhampton Beach is damned lucky to have it.

Of all the things that are directed to the Village Board during the public discussion portion of their monthly meetings, the item that I found most annoying, and yet remained silent on, came at the very end of the June session when a gentleman from Seafield Lane spent over five minutes whining about the bowling alley, the supermarket and the "filthy, dirty conditions" of the Hampton Arts Theater. More...

If there was any doubt...

...as to what Rabbi Marc Schneier is all about, this encapsulates it very well. More...

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Vestry Has Spoken...

...and Rabbi Marc Schneier has been disin­vited to appear at Saint Marks Church on September 7th as he had announced at the WEEEF.

Following a meeting of the Vestry and Wardens after yesterday's services, the Very Reverend Christopher L. David was informed that the Rabbi was for the foreseeable future to be con­sid­ered persona non grata. More...

But that it were true...

Updated 08/19/2008 - 9:51 am

From Hamptons.com's report on WEEEF:

"Yet, still others wondered if the Eruv was really worth all the disruption within the village – hateful e-mails sent to the syna­gogue, angry meetings with residents storming out, and a former deputy mayor, Jim Kametler, who claims he is moving out of the village over the tension he has experienced." More...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Price is Right...

...this Friday night at the Performing Arts Center.

The act is classic rock cover band Square Feeet and they're doing it "for the community."

Authentic Brown and Williamson-issued Raleigh Coupon, circa 1946.

No, they're not some kids from Coram in a garage band... they're group of aging real estate industry exec­u­tives where grey hair is more the order of the day than tats.

It's Free! and you don't even need to expend any of your carefully hoarded cache of collectible Raleigh coupons.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

August Planning Board Meeting

Updated 08/17/2008 - 1:05 pm

It was a fairly short meeting, Thursday even­ing, but a far from uneventful one... and not, unfortunately, covered by The Press.

In a matter first calendared in January 2003 and which has been less than aggressively pursued by applicant Hampton Synagogue, attorney James N. Hulme, Kelly & Hulme, P.C., was asked to read into the record his letter of July 15th which outlined the issues involved with the conversion of the Rabbi's single-family dwelling to: More...

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Big Fix

Updated 08/16/2008 - 4:25 am

...or not, as we shall learn.

When the question arose Wednesday evening about whether to issue citations to those il­legally parked vehicles near Hampton Syna­gogue, Westhampton Beach Police Sergeant Nick Fusco made a courageous decision.

"Go ahead and ticket them" was the Super­vising Officer's call, and at least six, possibly more, parking violations were issued. More...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

After Action Assessment

I found this, from my old friend Glenn Dor­skind, to be especially poignant:

"I tried for Woodstock and it almost turned into Altamont."

With his highly personal and heartfelt opening statement, Mr. Dorskind, an English teacher in the Westhampton Beach School District, had set a perfect tone for the "eruv evening."

To the detriment of all and through no fault of Glenn's, it quickly deteriorated after that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It was f'ugly...

Updated 08/28/2008 - 3:32 pm

...and there was definitely no breakthrough earlier this evening at Hampton Synagogue.

The eruv education meeting began ten min­utes late but ended early for a sizable chunk of the overflow crowd which exit­ed loudly and in high dudgeon. More...

Name that Official!

Updated 08/15/2008 - 2:32 pm

From "A Hamptons Shabbos To Remember," posted today at JewishPress.com.

"Some final words about the vibrant kehillah built by Rabbi Schneier. Back in 1990, a municipal official flatly stated that 'there never was a synagogue and there never will be a synagogue in Westhampton Beach,' and a local court promptly issued an injunction against Rabbi Schneier’s minyan. William C. Thompson, Sr., an appellate division judge at the time (and the father of current New York City Com­ptroller William C. Thompson, Jr.), vacated the injunction and ordered the village to allow the minyan. (Rabbi Schneier was sup­ported by then-New York City Mayor David Dinkins and then-Gov. Mario Cuomo.)"

Source please? What "municipal official?" Name and circumstances. More...

So long, Norma...

Norma Reynolds (1934-2008) has passed away, suddenly, early this morning.

Controversial, as tough a cookie as ever sold a piece of property, she changed the face of brokering real estate in the area for all time.

Who shall come?

Updated 08/13/2008 - 11:48 am

And what, if anything, shall be accomplished by the eruv educational meeting tonight at the Synagogue?

Reprising yesterday's concluding assertion:

"While the original iteration of the 'Alli­ance...' is gone, its successor, The Alli­ance for the Separation of Church and State for the Greater Westhampton Area, Inc., not only endures, but grows."

And does it ever! More...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Alliance 1.0 Revealed

Updated 08/17/2008 - 12:18 pm

After several formal requests by the Village's Chief Election Officer, Kathleen McGinnis, the original anti-eruv collective briefly known as "Westhampton Beach Alliance for the Separa­tion of Church and State," filed the paperwork required of a Political Action Com­mittee with the municipality on July 28th.

Writing on behalf of that Alliance, Els Phillips noted in a letter accompanying the filing:

"The Westhampton Beach Alliance for the Separation of Church and State was not formed as a Political Committee. Rather it was an ad hoc group formed over an issue of major concern for the the village: The construction of an eruv running through the heart of Westhampton Beach. It's sole purpose was to inform residents about the issue."

Okay. So far so good. But here's where the wheels came off. More...

Monday, August 11, 2008


Contrary to a footnote asserting that the late George Irvin was Jewish, OtBB acted on poor information without proper confirmation.

OtBB regrets the error and any distress it caused his family.

Another Letter

Updated 08/11/2008 - 9:22 am

An out-of-district former school board mem­ber, questioning the legality of the re-formed Alliance's proposed alternate venue for an "Eruv Education Meeting," has E-mailed members of the Westhampton Beach Board of Education, copied to Hampton Synagogue and The Press:

"Dear Board Member,
"I have been informed that a local organi­za­tion calling itself The Alliance for the Sep­aration of Church and State for the Greater Westhampton Area, Inc. has reserved the High School Auditorium on Wednesday, August 13th so that the local Synagogue can hold an 'information meeting' about an Eruv.
"I believe that this is a violation of the Regulations of the NYSED. More...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

By hand...

Updated 08/09/2008 - 6:51 pm

A letter nearly identical to one served upon the Village and Hampton Synagogue over the sig­nature of attorney Mark Williams, is being de­livered directly to area residents this week­end... including placing them on the wind shields of vehicles of those attending 5:00 Mass at Immaculate Conception this afternoon.

There are two significant differences however. More...

Friday, August 08, 2008

Cindy at the Synagogue

Updated 08/11/2008 - 11:03 pm

There seems to be some large discrepancies between what has been reported by The Press Group's Jessica DiNapoli, Long Island Jewish World's David Gertler and Cynthia DiLonardo.

And if Ms. DiLonardo has any credibility at all, reporters DiNapoli and Gertler, not to mention Newsday's Mitch Friedman, all missed a major story while covering Governor David Paterson's address at Hampton Synagogue last Saturday! More...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

August Village Board Meeting

Updated 08/09/2008 - 10:07 am

Nothing much happened this evening at the Trustees monthly meeting.

Dep'ty Mayor Jim Kametler was among los desaparecidos, and that's not a bad thing. More...

A risk of the True/False format

Updated 08/07/2008 - 4.51 pm

Today's Southampton Press Western Edition (the "all eruv issue") has on A15, a quarter page of space sponsored by Synagogue Pres­ident Morris Tuchman:

"Take The Eruv True/False Test"

One of the questions posed by the "Test," which comes with it's own "crib sheet," asks:

"Cars can be driven within the ERUV on Saturday"

...and the supplied answer is "True."

Aw, jeez! More...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

An Alternative Approach...

Updated 08/06/2008 - 11:22 am

A new initiative by the anti-eruv activists was delivered to Hampton Synagogue's Rabbi Marc Schneier Tuesday in the form of a letter and a petition "on behalf of 300+ Westhampton Beach residents."

(The same petition was delivered to Village Hall last Friday.) More...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Nooze from Noo Joisy

Message from my wife, left on our answering machine earlier this evening:

"Eat your heart out, Speir! I'm paying $3.59 a gallon for gas."

Wasn't our New York State Assemblyman, Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (R, I, C, Sag Harbor), promising to do something about the higher prices we pay at the East End gasoline pumps?

A dialogue has broken out...

...and no one waited for Rabbi Marc Schneier's educational and informational meeting at the Synagogue next Wednesday.

It's taking place in the "Comments" section following Jessica DiNapoli's story of Governor David Paterson's visit on 27East.com, but somehow I don't think this is quite what the more reasoned minds among the congregants had envisioned. More...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Where are the Cops?

...and more importantly, what are they doing?

OtBB has often reported on the politics of the Westhampton Beach Police Department at the Village Board level, but little about "the job" itself.

And no, the title reference isn't simply Officer Jeff Speer's in-plain-view matutinal siesta on Dune Road in mid-July.

It has less to do with a black SUV getting away with an illegal U-Turn at 4:15 pm Saturday in front of 133 Main Street More...

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What a day for the Beach!

Updated 08/03/2008 - 06:38 pm

Especially since "the Dog Days of August¹" are already behind us, having already worn out their welcome a week ago with that "pocket-hurricane" we experienced!

The weather was temperate, the ocean was calmer than it had been in ages, and while there were the occasional "tugs" (my wife's description), the "killer" rip currents, or sea pusses as we used to call them, of the prior week were nowhere in evidence.

And a grand day it proved to be all the way around... no harsh eruv-related invective, the Yankees made a helluva comeback against the Angels, it took Manny Ramirez three days to achieve the popularity in Los Angeles that had taken Arnold Schwarzenegger 19 years, and no one seems to have drowned.

And here I thought that things weren't ever going to be right 'til they put the rocks back on the moon!


¹.- Officially either July 3rd to August 11th or July 6th to August 17th depending on whether one trusts to the Old Farmer's Almanac or the Anglican Church of England's Book of Common Prayer.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Triple-Witching Hour in the Village

Updated 08/02/2008 - 09:56 pm

Don't know what else to call it... in one three block area, Westhampton Beach hosted the Greater Westhampton Outdoor Art Show at Main and Mill, the Saturday morning Farmer's Market on Mill off Woodland, and New York State Governor David Paterson at Hampton Synagogue at Sunset and Brook. More...

Friday, August 01, 2008

Revisiting Clint's Letter...

Updated 08/01/2008 - 5:55 pm

...or "Me and Moish get to it."

Earlier today Hampton Synagogue President Morris Tuchman offered a Comment to yes­ter­day's blog entry:

"I read Clint's letter as asserting that majority does NOT rule, and is not consulted, on civil rights issues. The Mayor should not, and cannot, listen to his constituency (as he asserted he must to Jessica DiNapoli) in such cases. George Wallace had overwhelming popular support."

However one reads Mr. Greenbaum's letter, his invoking More...