No matter how much you have done, there are so many things still to do. Every day is an opportunity to achieve something, and every achievement is the thread that weaves a life. As time rolls forward, and the days accumulate both wisdom and experience becomes arrows in a sixty-something’s quiver. After the summer, we are always making subconscious “to do lists” in our minds while some actually write them out. With the fall season around the corner, the last days of summer on the east end are teasers of a warm and cozy endless summer like days mixed in with cooler long sleeves needed nights.
Driving across the east end after the 2021 summer season has already shown me a new face of change versus last year. During the height of the “Covid Pandemic,” the east end was sort of a safety net zone, where so many folks stayed in their second homes, rented homes, and even the expensive hotels. NYC was a tragic location with deaths from covid and safety issues in the news every night on TV and every day on the internet. Smartly people chose to ride it out in the safety and beauty that is east end living actually all year round. However, now again things are changing.
A year ago, the then N.Y. State Governor Andrew Cuomo was holding daily noon news conferences with the covid numbers, things were that bad. A year later both the “then” very popular governor and the very bad covid news are now gone. Schools closed last year are already opened. Indoor businesses closed last year are again opened as are things like live music, and sports venues. Just this week there were people in the stands watching the U.S. Tennis Open and Yankee-Mets baseball games in record numbers. The threat of covid is not gone, but the paralysis it caused to our lives is easing back to a new safe protocol laden normal.
During the pandemic the phrase, “a man’s home is his castle,” became the theme of safety on the east end. It was “take-out, drop off” dining mostly behind the walls of these homes turned into castles. Ultra-expensive cars were diving in larger numbers around the towns of the Hamptons, while folks who obviously knew nothing about proper, safe bicycling seemed to be riding down the center of every winding road. All of that is changing back to the way it was pre-pandemic.
Every year on the Sunday before Labor Day I sail around Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton after sunset to see what I call the “festival of the lights,” because almost every light on every home is lit around this beautiful east end harbor. Last year it was like Christmas Eve, this year, not so much. In fact, on the way east on 27 from East Patchogue where I live, the Sunday before Labor Day traffic was horrific going “west.” It had to be because of both bad weather and an enthusiasm of folks heading west to their primary residents and places of work and where their kids go to school. In the covid time of 2020 most of those folks found reason for an extended stay on the east end. Many were negotiating to extend their rentals or worse wouldn’t leave. There is less of that this post summer season.
Now it is time “to do,” the things I put on pause for the summer. Fences to be fixed, porches to be painted, basements and sheds to be “reorganized.” I still will be swimming in the ocean and bays on those warm 80-plus degree days, but perhaps with my wetsuit! I was never a surfer, but what I did learn is the comfort of a good “shorty wetsuit” for springtime and Fall swimming.
I love to recall how 19th century east end historian Henry Hedges wrote about the fact that after the American Revolution ended, the occupying British Army stayed in the Hamptons for two additional years before leaving to go fight in India. He insinuated they kind of grew to love the place over time. That is something we all understand about the east end.