Ain't like the ol' daze...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ain't like the ol' daze...

...and those "ol' daze" weren't all that long ago, as generations go!

We're talking the late '70s-to-the-mid-'80s, the time of Scarlett's, Club Marakesh, The Artful Dodger and The Patio... the era of what the late Joe Rhodie deplored as "honky-tonk," but was undeniably fun for many.

I admit that I enjoyed much of it... 'til the al­kaloid-aggressives assaulted the down­town area so that it crackled with hostility.

Jack O'Connell, who worked the door at Magic's in the early '80s, once made a cogent obser­vation about what was then "the old days:"

"People had a little wine, toked some weed, and went out for a mellow evening.

Now it's endless lines of blow and they walk around wired up and looking to hassle everyone."

The Friday of Memorial Day weekend has traditionally been the start of "The Season" in Westhampton Beach.

Yes, something happened this year... but whatever it was, it wasn't much.

Jeanne and I had dinner at home, then decided to try OtBB reader "Tugboat Bertha's" recommendation and walked down for some of Elyse's gelato at Shock Ice Cream.

(Delicious... especially the tiramisu.)

There were decent crowds on our way... this was around 9:00 pm... and on the way back we stopped at Post Stop for a nightcap and ran into Randy King who I hadn't seen in ages.

We had a lot to catch up on, and after another round, and Jeanne, Randy, his friend Jeanette Smith and I were all alone in the place as bartender Eric was counting out the register.

It was 10:30 pm, not 2:30 am or 3:30 am.

Outside, Main Street was soooooo empty that no one was even outside Beach Bakery be­cause the music had already stopped.

"You know, it wasn't all that long ago that people were just getting ready to go out for the evening around this time," Randy said. "What happened here?"

Hard to say...certainly quieter, though.


1. Crabby said...

I wonder how much business was transacted after 9:30 pm in the old days? Short of the bar/drug crowd, which has been thinning out everywhere, I don't think much good commerce happens at night. The ice cream and movies crowd finishes up earlier... especially if there's a good beach day coming. The few kids left meet on the 'Net, not in a bar.

So don't worry, Speir. It's early in the season.

Your beloved little Village should weather the wobbly economy pretty well.

Anybody selling the really good Italian Ices out there?

Well, I don't remember any stores selling illicit drugs back then, but a lot of "good commerce happened at night," which is why those stores were open!

And it wasn't all ice cream and pizza... Westhampton Tee-Shirts used to do a land-office business well after dark.
– Dean

2. Shepard M. Scheinberg said...

Talking about the good old days, about a month ago, my wife and I went out to dinner (in Naples, Florida) and ran into Dave Gilmartin (from Southampton). He invited us to say hello to his wife, and a Mrs. King (formally from Westhampton) and John Cummings. I said, "John Cummings of Casa Basso?" Well, it was that John Cummings, the grandson of Mrs. Basso and the son of Mary Cummings who was the Hostess at Casa Basso while Mrs. Basso was the owner. We spoke about Westhampton and Basso's back in the '40s, '50s and '60s. John and his wife live in Dallas and were visting Dave in Fort Myers. I hadn't seen John in at least 45 years.

Willikers!, I thought that you were going to reveal that the "Mrs. King (formally from Westhampton)" is Randy' mother!

3. Hunt Marckwald said...

What I remember most about the fun years that you are citing, was that we all either knew or knew of one another and there was a lovely lack of anger. Those were the good years.

4. Barbara Ramsay said...

I remember checking out Main Street after being out for dinner and running into many friends that were strolling along stopping in shops and eating ice cream.

Not no' mo'.

5. The Quiogue Kid said...

And was it Memorial Day that we all decorated our bicycles and there was a parade to the cemetery, a 21-gun salute and then we all scrambled for the shell casings... then a few years later, Mad Dog at the Dodger and the incomprable Hugh Shannon at the Bath & Tennis and Twisted Sister at the Mad Hatter.

ahhh, toast one up to Memorial Days past in Westhampton Beach.

[clink] Na Zdrowie!

6. Tugboat Bertha said...

Tonight at 10:30 there were so many people on the sidewalks that it was hard to get through the crowds. Friday may have been a slow night but tonight the joint was jumpin'.

Okay, but what were you doing out on Main Street that time of the evening!?

7. Pam Beccaria said...

I have always enjoyed the scene in "The Wedding Planner" where people are watching old 1940s movies showing on an outside screen on a warm Summer night, eating popcorn under the stars, and sitting on blankets (until the storm appeared). I wrote to the Village about an idea I had for the small "park" area on Glovers Lane - why not show a weekly movie from the good ol' days under the stars on a huge screen with popcorn vendors, bring your own blankie? I'd go, wouldn't you?

Nice idea, and one that is implemented on "The Great Lawn" (opposite Saint Marks Church) each Summer by Southampton Town Parks and Recreation, #1, and, #2, (for me, at least) depends on the movie.

8. Jim Cordo said...

Randy King! I love that guy. Haven't seen him in 25 years. Do you know his general location these days, Dean? We used to go to work at 10:00 pm and meet at The Post Stop "on the way home" at 8:00 am. With Randy, JD (Jimmy Doyle, RIP), "knee high" Freddie Provost (RIP) and Bobby Dresher among others. The action felt continuous, day and night. Hellava good time but it obviously took its toll. Too many RIP's. Left in 1985. When people had to take three steps to finish a line of coke, things changed just like Jack O'Connell said.

Boy!, there are some names! Randy's in the City, still working a stick. One of the most good-natured guys anyone will ever meet!

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