Every Hamptons sunrise is inherently dramatic. The future unfolds as a new day begins. It’s astonishing how, in the span of an hour, the starry night sky transforms into the sweet colors of dawn. Painters, photographers, and now drone enthusiasts often gather at sunrise to capture this magic through their art forms.
Living on the ocean in Montauk taught me the power of the sun rising in the east over the breaking waves. Often, seagulls would gracefully ascend to catch the first rays of sunlight of the new day. When they reached the point where the morning beams hovered above the Atlantic Ocean, the seagulls would burst into jubilant individual sounds, forming a chorus of euphoria. Even my beagle dog would momentarily abandon his sniffing and watch in awe.
Many people out east experience sunrise in their kitchens while preparing their coffee and breakfast. Some homes boast porches designed for celebrating the sunrise, while others have elevated decks perfect for sipping coffee and checking their phones as a new day dawns.
Indeed, there’s a stillness and acoustic subtlety that define the beginning of each new day. Some need to gradually ease into the flow of the day, while others, like myself, feel a surge of creative energy and thought immediately upon waking.
Throughout my life, both on the east end and in Manhattan, I had jobs or responsibilities that required me to witness daily sunrises while at work. The world would come alive as I punched in. As I mentioned earlier, I believe I’m a morning person. Perhaps this inclination traces back to my days as an “Altar Boy” at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Pelham Manor, Westchester. I served the 6:45 a.m. Mass for a year or two. In those days, parents didn’t chauffeur their kids around, so I either walked the two miles or rode my bike. Sometimes, it rained or snowed, but I can’t recall ever being late or missing the five very early mornings per week commitment. It instilled a strong sense of discipline in me. It’s still hard to believe that I was only in the third and fourth grade. The lesson was about the importance of punctuality.
It may sound unbelievable, but I did it, and the service was in Latin at the time. I still remember the Latin prayers to this day. No one else in my family served as an altar boy, even though I had three other brothers. My two younger siblings never attended Catholic school, and my older brother wasn’t particularly religious. I guess I was the true believer.
Driving on the east end at sunrise is, to this day, a similarly religious experience for me as it was trekking to church to serve Mass back in 1963-64. I served Mass on the very morning JFK was assassinated. Later, the entire school gathered in church before being sent home. I recall fetching my robes to be washed at home. Once again, in those days, we all walked home.
As for grappling with a new morning, most people have their rituals before embarking on their daily journey to work. Navigating the morning traffic grind to reach work on time can be torturous. If you’re driving east on Route 27, the rising sun is in your face. Many drivers have their preferred pit stops for morning coffee, whether it’s Starbucks, Hamptons Coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts, or a local gas station. I, for one, have always brewed my own coffee, and I still do. Many others out east do the same. After all, every new day out east begins with just another Hamptons sunrise.