Not new, but noted...

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Not new, but noted... the downtown area, the "temporary bill­board" cum movable signage. Behold!

The Cupcake Truck on Main Street

Right side detail of "Cupcake truck"

It's the "cupcake truck," prominently parked as close as it can to the alley adjacent Main Street Sweets, down which narrow thorough­fare is the recently opened specialty shop featuring... wait for it!... cupcakes.

(Had one, genus S'more, this evening... yummy! $2 each, so I brought one home for Jeanne.)

Positioning one's commercial vehicle in that manner is a form of guerrilla marketing, a concept first introduced into the Village by Sleepy Jack Crowley when he had The Bay Club (née "Gene's on the Bay") at the end of Tanners Neck Lane in the mid-'80s.

Every Friday afternoon "in season," Jack's truck with a large sign for his club, would be strategically parked on Sunset Avenue oppos­ite Hansen Place... for the weekend.

He did this Summer after Summer, and only discontinued the practice when he relocated the club to a larger premises in East Quogue.

The practice was reintroduced some years ago by Elyse Richman1, proprietrix of the Shock mini-chain on and just off Main Street.

"And I got the idea from the real estate people... of which I am one... so it's nothing new," she insists.

Elyse's latest attention-getter

Let it not be said that Madonna or Lady Gaga had anything on Elyse when it comes to flagrant self-promotion.

(Okay, so it's not her much bewailed giant ice cream cone, but the giant plush totem actually made me laugh.)

So it comes down to a "chicken/egg" decision.

Does a downtown entrepreneur follow the letter and the spirit of the law, and not take up valuable parking spaces along Main Street?

Or does the entrepreneur take a "Go ahead and ticket me!" approach in the hope that the promotional efforts will bring in enough customers so that the parking fines can be filed on the "Cost of Doing Business" line?

We already know what choice Elyse, the rarely-repentant scofflaw, will make, but let's see what the new kid on the block will do.

  1. Yes, Ms. Richman is a paid advertiser on OtBB.


1. Jeanne Speir said...

AngryBird? Ha! I love you, E. My "kids" play that all the time.

The huge cupcake was cute for a day, but it's in a parking spot right in the middle of the Village, dear hearts. It's a parade item. It is SO big that it is a traffic hazard – try backing up into traffic on the blind side of that thing. It's an accident waiting to happen.

It's funny. The long-established Main Street Sweets keeps a much quieter profile, yet has a waiting-out-the-door business without the hoopla.

I miss that big ice cream cone down the alley, though. It was truly a "cool" work of art.

"Work of (pop) art" or not, under Village Code, it's a sign!

2. Seeker said...

Perhaps it's time to install parking meters on Main Street - the Village could call them "inter-active sculpture."

I like it!

3. EastEnd68 said...

How about a "No Parking" of commerical vehicles on Main Street.

I'd be interested to hear the responses when you propose this at the next Village Board Work Session.

4. Jeanne Speir said...

Seeker, you are truly brilliant!

What an excellent fusion of art and practicality!

Plus, it would send cars to the now near empty free parking behind Waldbaum's and the old firehouse.

5. Terry Smith said...

Re: "the now near empty free parking behind Waldbaum's and the old firehouse."
I wish the employees of Starr Boggs would park over there instead of taking up the parking spots right by the library where, after changing their clothes right in the parking lot, they leave their cars for hours.

Perhaps someone should call Starr's attention to that... he doesn't read the blog so someone will have to speak to him directly.

6. Tugboat Bertha said...

Folks are able to find the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings but they don't remember that that whole area is a parking lot available to them at night every night. Even on Saturday nights that lot is empty.

7. Seeker said...

Tugboat Bertha: After the idea of a new Village Hall located on the parking lot parcel you refer to proved unpopular, it was decided another dose of asphalt was what the community would get - it felt like a retaliatory gesture. Protests against the lot fell on deaf administrative ears. It was a waste of potential green space. The best the then Mayor had to offer by way of the need for another parking lot was that it would be used for folks attending the Methodist Church and the Hampton Synagogue. This statement ignored the other under-utilized lot situated right next to the Methodist Church, and that the Synagogue had built its permanent building, with less than the full parking typical of such a structure based on the understanding that its congregation walked to services. And so all these years later, we have a lot that has come in handy for the seasonal Farmer's Market, and the occasional parking of Village or Town police vehicles and rarer still, the occasional requirements of the Westhampton Beach Fire Department drills.


"Another dose of asphalt" = "a retaliatory gesture." I was reasonably close to that Administration, and I can assert without fear of successful contradiction, that your speculation is unwarranted if not outré!

And, as events have proved out, that "understanding" of the strictly Orthodox-observant "congregation [which] walked to services" was a carefully constucted illusion by Rabbi Schneier. That's one for which I had a front-row seat as the Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals at the 1993 multi-Board hearing.

8. Seeker said...


As I have learned over the years here in Westhampton Beach, often the actions of the sitting Village Mayor and Board of Trustees seem "arbitrary and capricious" to those of us not privy to the day-to-day discussions behind closed doors. Since you were one of the insiders at the time, your perspective on what happened in the creation of the Farmer's Market lot is different from those of us looking at the actions from the "outside." Residents' objections to the lack of need for another parking lot, particularly in that location, have been born out by the lack of use, lo these many years later.

You may remember, the Strebel Administration had intended to build a new Village Hall there, but events conspired to thwart that plan.

And it's not so much being an "insider," dear Seeker (O how I admire that cognomen!), as it is paying attention to what's going on, attending meetings and asking questions.

9. Seeker said...

You may remember that A&P/Waldbaums wanted to buy that parcel from the Village, but certain sitting Board members at the time (who were part of the previous administration and responsible for the over-priced purchase of that small piece of property ($600,000 - in 1999!!!) conspired to thwart that plan. (Events don't conspire - people do.)

You may also remember that the Strebel Administration was fond of holding Village meetings at their convenience. The Board Work Session, at which the additional $100,000 bond required to make the $210,000 nut for paving over that $600,000 piece of land was discussed, occurred at a morning meeting in the middle of a work week. Hardly conducive to community attendance, and without any minutes taken of the meeting.

I cannot argue the point that not nearly enough residents attend Village meetings - it seems like this has always been the case here. But I will say the Sunshine Law has been followed by the Village Board since Strebel left office, and such financial issues are on the table for residents to examine, whether at the regular or Work Session meetings.

Finally, I must reiterate that, while a certain group of individuals were in office in Westhampton Beach, there was a marked appearance that you were an "insider" during their administrations. This may not be the case as you experienced it - but there are many individuals who come from the school of thought that "if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck...."

I do not recall that "A&P/Waldbaums wanted to buy that parcel," #1, and, #2, why would they have wanted to buy it? For what purposes? Not expansion, since they don't own their present premises.

Yes, I recall that Village Board meetings were held in the morning. I argued with Bob Strebel about that... you, as I recall, argued with him about everything... but how much better has attendance been since they've been held in the evenings?

I don't recall the "$100,000 bond" issue to which you refer, but for an "insider," how'd I miss out on all those lucrative contracts or not have a second home in the Keys by now?

I've spent a great deal of time around Village Hall over the past 43 years, and served a number of administrations in a variety of capacities. I cannot help if you find something sinister, or even disquieting, about that.

10. Seeker said...

Yikes! Or "ye gods and little fishes!" as you like to say.

It's a wonder how often we travel completely different trains-of-thought-tracks. I am not implying, in any way shape or form, that you were pocketing any moola! I don't think anyone thought that at any time. It was not the idea of money-changing-hands but the "who knows what when" (the "411" in today's parlance) inside track I refer to.

I'll have to get back to you on the A&P issue for details as to their scenario ... need to dust off my Wayback Machine....

As for evening meetings not being well attended by the public - that's a poor excuse for a publicly elected municipal body, such as the Village Board, to decide that meetings should be held at the convenience of those officials.

Apparently, we need to get back to a conversation about cupcakes to be on safe ground. (I wonder if the cupcake craze will fade as quickly as the Crispy-Creme Donut craze....)

Couple of corrections, Mrs. Peabody:
  • My version, deliberately so, is "ye Gawds and little fishes!"
  • Speaking of "today's parlance," the term "insider" is a particularly opprobrious one.

    When one works successfully to get an official elected, I've always felt that there should be a certain droit d'accès. What one does with that access is the issue.
  • We shall, I fear, always differ on that "the convenience of those officials" matter.
And, pedant that I am, isn't it "Krispy Kremes?"

11. Jeanne Speir said...

Is this a good time to bring up the fact that Dean Speir brought that administration, kicking and screaming, into the computer age? Dean prodded that administration into on-line Village access, right dear?

To the extent that this is dispositive of anything, yes, dear.

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