The East End of Long Island is a special place. This last year has been an example of the magnitude of just how unique of a place the East End is. Folks coming together to stock or in other cases create new food pantries. Others helping seniors by doing their outside of the home chores – like getting supplies, their food, their prescriptions, so that the seniors would not be exposed to the virus threat.
It seemed each week the local news had amazing stories of wonderful, local people doing something kind and new to help. One day it was high school kids, the next it was seasoned women sewing away, then it was men stocking food, and, of course, what can anyone say about the first responders, the nurses, and doctors at all of our local hospitals, clinics, fire houses and EMS services facilities, except “Thank You.”
Now, again, I can feel the seasons that make up my lifetime changing. I find myself looking in my closet for fleeces, and sweaters. Ones that have been my favorite go-to for years. Although I am still wearing short pants out of habit, I have now also worn some warm long pants in the evenings. The weather is already in the low fifties, heading to the forties. It has become a regular occurrence to swim with a wetsuit, and the whole experience is becoming less pleasant as it gets colder. The end of 2020 outdoor swimming is almost at hand. However, for striped bass fishermen, this is their hallelujah moment out in the waters that surround the East End. But, for us sailors, the sunset is earlier and earlier and the winds too often cold and unruly from the north.
Is anyone on the East End really surprised that since the beginning of this pandemic real estate sales have become robust and strong on the East End? It seems no one is leaving, just lots of new folks somehow moving in. Just a year ago, there existed an inventory of certain unsellable homes. Now, it is a situation of closings and new homeowners happen daily and to be in step with the times, the closings are done virtually! There has to be a reason why folks are fleeing certain areas and flocking to others, specifically the East End. I have my opinion.
Forever folks have been visiting the East End, be for a day, a week, a month or a whole summer. They love the beaches, the country roads, the beauty of the topography with the wide-open spaces and perhaps even the feel of the community. After working hard and focused on their families, careers, investments, and the American “pursuit of happiness,” folks were confronted with an order to stay safe, work from home, or in some cases, not at all. Acting smartly, many people decided to uproot and move to the East End. They knew it was the best and safest place they could go and ride out this pandemic enjoyably. Lastly, some just thought it was time to go to the best place to live the final chapter of their life.
The people who deal in fear said this migration would corrupt the area, cause the virus to flourish on the East End, but the opposite happened. The sense of community unique not only to the East End, but perhaps all over Long Island helped everyone aim at doing the right thing daily, to keep themselves safe, their neighbors safe, keep the community safe.
Slowly, things are returning – but to a new kind of normal. Everyone now understands how fragile life and good health can be and how much more respectful we all have to be of everyone else’s safe space and well-being. Unfortunately, there are lapses of judgment, but luckily, they don’t go unnoticed, unreported, and are not repeated. I look forward to another year of writing these columns and hope we all have wonderful, beautiful, special East End days in our future for quite a while.