Saltaire Summery

Saltaire SummeryBy Hugh O’Brien The events of the past week are nothing if not depressingly Orwellian, straight out of Oceania’s Ministry of Truth: history discarded and rewritten, duckspeak from intellectual heavyweights like Scott Baio, and of course the requisite Two-Minutes Hate, stretched to four days: a trumped-up future by way of 1933. A staunch Republican, formerly associated with this very paper, allowed that the facial expressions and body language of The Donald reminded him of those of The Benito. To the balconies!So back to the carefree escapades and escapes of a Saltaire summer. First, two of the biggest events of the year proved once more to be two of the biggest hits of the year: the Fire Department Parade on July 16 and the House & Garden Tour on July 23, each benefiting from sizable weather and sunny crowds. Another great success was the Maggie Fischer Memorial Great South Bay Cross Bay Swim on July 22. The complete list of participants and their times may be found at where you’ll see a bevy of familiar Saltairians on the roster. Participation was limited to 100 and as usual they filled this quota quickly, but I saw a 101st name at the bottom of the page. Someone snorkel in undetected?SVFC ParadeThe next big thing is the SCAA’s rechristened Saltaire Festival on Saturday, Aug. 6, but new name notwithstanding it’ll still feature the usual array of events, arts, crafts, music and watermelon seen every year, capped by the bayfront chowdown and fireworks for an added glow that evening. Stuff starts at 10 a.m., and thanks to overseers Allison Williams and Rich Montero.But before the fun, a civic imperative. Some of you may recall a hurricane we had here a few years ago, you know, that minor catastrophe that permanently redirected the course and shape of this island? Although the intermediate beach restoration project, familiarly known by its endearing acronym FIMI, is underway and has already refurbished Saltaire’s beachfront, most of it still remains to be completed, and dimly but definitely over the horizon looms the much larger, more all-encompassing FIMP, a long-term restoration and maintenance project that will, if undertaken and completed as planned, provide a decades-long level of higher protection for Fire Island. It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that this is a subject of concern to all islanders, and if you want to learn more you should come to the annual meeting of the Fire Island Association at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 30, at the Ocean Beach Community House. Principal speaker will be Col. David Caldwell, commander of the New York District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Complimentary – that means FREE – water taxi service will be run from and back to every community. Departure time from Saltaire should be posted on the village bulletin boards, or call the water taxi at 631-665-8885.Now, last issue I said I was expecting some vital information from Connie Lawler at any moment. Behold the power of the printed word! From Connie, both verbatim and exactly as she wrote it, except as edited to comply with FIN form:“Hi Hugh, we need some publicity. Bridge in SALTAIRE by Connie Lawler has started off the season on Monday nights at the Saltaire Yacht Club. Mini lesson in Play of the Hand starts at 6 p.m. till 7 p.m., followed by Duplicate Bridge beginning at 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Reservations are required for both sessions, 631-583-7694. The sign-up sheet is located on the bulletin board at the fifth tennis court. Thanks, Connie.”I don’t want to know what that “play of the hand” business is but go, well, play your hand, courtesy of Connie.Remember that integrated calendar, the unified schedule of events held within the community? It’s extremely useful, listing everything throughout the year, with links to the various sponsoring organizations (VOS, SVFC, SCAA, softball, camp, library). Click on to access all and sundry. But there is one odd entry. According to Master Calendar, the Landlubber race is scheduled for Sunday, July 31…at the firehouse. Now that’s a sailing race I have to see. Not sure if it’s being held in the kitchen sink or the mop bucket but either way we can accommodate all entrants, assuming the boats are helmed by the likes of Stuart Little.Lastly, Sam Wood (appropriately for a man with the same name as a prominent 30s and 40s director) reminded me of the Cherry Grove festival featuring films made on Fire Island. The recent News article on the topic mentioned such films as “Last Summer” and “Longtime Companion,” though it bears pointing out that actor Bruce Davison appeared in both movies, Oscar-nominated for the latter. (Cathy Burns was Oscar-nominated for the former.) It noted that the Lighthouse posed as the Truro, Massachusetts, post office in “Men in Black II,” but omitted noting that “Men in Black 3” was also shot locally, magically converting Robert Moses Field 4 to a stand-in for Cape Kennedy. Among some other FI flicks that were MIA is “Irish Whiskey Rebellion,” a 1972 rum-running saga starring William Devane, Richard Mulligan and Anne Meara, mostly lensed right here in Saltaire. The Dietrichs’ house on Bay was used for interiors, and there are lots of shots around town – St. Andrew’s, Broadway, the field, dock, etc. Shooting took place in the fall of 1971 and while the film’s theatrical release was limited to the raincoat circuit it regularly turned up at 3 in the morning on channel 9 well into the 80s. But it’s since vanished into the dead of nitrate, without a celluloid trace, despite the best efforts of Bob Mason, Mark and Gregg Dietrich and myself to track it down. I’d put it on our Thursday night schedule if anyone could ever cadge a copy. Hey, we might even get Scott Baio to introduce the thing.Any Saltaire news and happenings you wish to discuss with Hugh? Email him at