Saltaire Summery

Before Summer Descends: Saltaire in Bloom on a Spring Day. (Photo by Catherine O’Brien)

By Hugh O’Brien

Yep, here we are, summer of ’22 and back at the same old fruit stand, which reminds me, the fruit standing in the Saltaire Market is excellent, and that’s not a plug for a private business, although you can also find plugs in the houseware section, which is not an effort to gin up sales, but yes, you can buy gin at Sun Spirits right next door. It’s okay, Patrick advertises with us and runs the only game in town, so enough stuff about foodstuffs.

It’s that time of the rolling year when we have to pony up for the privilege of living here. Dues, fees, taxes, prepare to pay, pal. (Yikes! More product placement!) The under-new-management Yacht Club is open, and if you’re one of those early birds who shrewdly paid your dues last month in Bitcoin, your membership for the year totals about 28 cents. That’ll help offset those other expenses, with enough left over to buy a baguette, a banana and a bottle of Boodles at the local emporium.

The big news is the retirement of three-term Mayor John Zaccaro Jr. In six years John’s set a pace that would tax anyone (other than the taxpayers), pushing through major undertakings such as changing Lighthouse Prom from cement to wood, Bay Prom’s phone lines from overhead to underground, and the view from Mario Posillico’s office from south to north, while guiding us through assorted crises, from Cove to COVID. A dizzying ride. Truthfully, few mayors have worked harder, more incessantly, than John, and he leaves behind a tangible legacy of achievement that’ll be tough to match.

This being a year ending in a numeral, Village elections will be held this Friday, May 27. Polls are open in the Library from noon to 9 p.m. Three first-rate candidates are vying for two trustee seats – incumbents Alex Chefetz and Frank Wolf, and challenger Susan Skerritt – and this writer is the lone candidate for mayor; there’s also a referendum on shifting election day to August starting next year … all of which emphasizes the need for every eligible voter to cast an informed and productive ballot. As Pal would have testified if only wagging one’s tail could be admitted into evidence, never take anything for granted in Saltaire elections.

And we have a new playground in the offing. The company designing it is called “APE” but nobody knows what those letters stand for; even their own brochure doesn’t say. We thought maybe American Playground Equipment, except they’re a German outfit. Anyway, they’ve devised an excellent layout boasting innovative equipment, though you’d think a company with an acronym like APE could at least have added a reliable set of monkey bars. Funding and building a new playground isn’t something we can let slide, but thanks to the SCA’s leadership and Saltairians’ generosity, there’s little doubt we’ll be able to swing it.

Saltaire Summery

By Hugh O’BrienSorry I was gone so long, I had something on the stove…now where were we?Oh, yes, as I recall the last thing I said to you was, “The village will be ready for you when you need it once again.” Back in August, 2012, that was. Didn’t quite work out that way thanks to an intervening event, but we’ve all been doing our best and, with some super-sized band-aids, jury-rigging of the kind not frowned upon by Mr. Justice Markus, and much persuasive chit-chat with the powers what oversee this here patch of sand, we’re getting there. And I got a summer off.But I guess need has outweighed vacation time, as my reserve unit has been activated and I’ve been asked to return as the F. I. News hits the actual, not virtual, stands once more after two years. I got the call, or by this time I guess it constitutes a calling, just the other day and it was agreed that on such short notice a full column wasn’t feasible. So this is just sort of a wake-up alarm, you know, like the recently unplugged and immensely popular fire horn, alerting you to the fact that the paper is back (which most of you have seen) and that yours truly has now been hauled aboard the ark with it. From what I’ve seen and heard the paper and its future look bright under the new management, and I’m pleased to again be a part of this 57-year-old juggernaut, to which I’ve been contributing for 74 years. That’s in Fire Island News columnist years, of course.Since we don’t have the time this time to recall past times I’ll just use my time to tell you about a couple of looming events you may want to take time for yourself. (I was going to throw a couple of “newsweeks” in there to break the monotony, but then look what happened to Newsweek.)First, on Saturday, June 28, the SCAA is holding its annual meeting, at 4:00 PM at the firehouse meeting room, to make its reports and transact business for the coming year. Chair Pat Hennessey has been doing yeoman work and deserves a promotion to at least 2nd lieutenant, and as always the organization has not only been making our community better but, in the past eighteen months especially, it’s played an important part in helping rebuild our spirits, so please attend if you can, and if you haven’t yet joined, well, do that too.Elsewhere on the civic front, the Village Board will hold its next meeting the following Saturday, July 5, at the same firehouse site, so if you attend the SCAA meeting please help out by not littering. Meanwhile the SYC opens full-time this coming week, overcoming the usual two-month-long opening-night jitters with a full season at hand, thanks to the staff and board helmed by Commodore Geoff Meluso, held over by popular demand for an unprecedented but well-deserved third year at hard labor as the Club also struggles back. The camp opens the first week of July, and the Fire Company has gotten into the swing of things with its parade and some other public events scheduled for the summer. So we have some catching-up to do…and we’ll get to it, next issue.