Saltaire Summery

Governor Kathy Hochul is emphatically happy to be visiting Saltaire as she steps onto our dock last week. (Photo by Catherine O’Brien)

By Hugh O’Brien ~ History is made at Saltaire, at least this week. This Saturday, Aug. 20, Jim O’Hare, Saltaire’s favorite UVH – Unofficial Village Historian – returns with his first talk on village history since pre-pandemic days (a subject which itself will no doubt be the topic of a successor UVH sometime in the 2080s). As noted previously, this year’s theme bears the bracing title, “The Making of Modern Saltaire: How Deeds, Storms, Foreclosures and Zoning guaranteed the Spaciousness of the Village Today.” Put simply, it’s why most Saltairians are able to preserve a degree of privacy unknown in most other Fire Island communities.

            I’ve read some of Jim’s documents, and they’re fascinating. For one thing, and this is true, most deeds drawn up in the first half of the 20th century contained covenants effectively banning people from running bordellos on their property. Most of these covenants expired midway through that otherwise uneventful century, but some were renewed until a date so far in the future as to be inconceivable to most of the era’s mortals: Jan. 1, 2000. An infamous date which will not live in the memories of this year’s college grads. Anyway, before applying for a building permit for your new bordello, come see Jim Saturday morning at 11 a.m. in the Village Library. Representatives of two of Saltaire’s longest-running families will assist in bringing this part of our past vividly to life. Thanks to AVH (Actual Village Historian) Pat Hennessey and SCA Chair Kathy Shaw for helping make this possible. Time passes swiftly, and there may not be many more such occasions anytime soon, so grab this chance to learn where we came from with all the alacrity of a Saltaire speculator grabbing choice lots to flip to the rubes before Moses finishes paving over Ocean Prom for that highway he’s promised for 1930.

            Results of two other historic events, the Jogathon and the Perlberger Cup, will arrive by passenger pigeon (an historic conveyance) too late for this week’s deadline, but we’ll squeeze in mention next issue. But there’s another item of perhaps minor historical interest this past week, the arrival in town of the Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul.

Ms. H. was here for a fundraiser, and to give her an impetus to get to that affair quickly, she was met at the dock by a delegation of select Village officials, including most of the Board and a pair of officers from the SVFC – literally, visiting firemen. The guv was presented with a Fire Company T-shirt and cap (which I guess count as campaign contributions), and was quite pleasant and appreciative.