the sands of time

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/nyregion/at-the-american-hotel-in-sa g-harbor-tales-and-drinks-still-flow.html?_r=1&hpw

 

I was in Sag Harbor just around the time the Vietnam war was leading up to our present day love affair with that country manufacturing most of our sneakers and apparel, along with China of course and the ‘pacific rim’.

Back in the late 60’s it was ” hippie ” culture and young people making noise about what is right for America and our music reflected that. Some good music came out of that era, and a few good movies. I don’t pretend to have any connection to those good products… just an affinity.

A friend had a ” leather shop” on main street in Sag Harbor then..in 1968, when the rent was affordable for a young man and wife with talent to make leather goods…and candles etc. It was down the street from the American Hotel and across the street from the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, and a few doors away from the ” Black Buoy” ( a very disreputable whaling type bar of the sordid variety ).

 

The American Hotel at that time rented rooms for about $ 5.00 a night. It was a seedy but a sturdy building, dating back to the days of whales and fishermen. And the Revolutionary war etc. It had some harpoons on the walls, and some other artifacts scattered about the place, but basically it was a man’s bar that served men who wanted to drink off the day’s work and do what free society and our constitution admired most.  That is, if you wanted to you could smoke a cigarette and laugh and play and drink until you could hardly walk.

 

Mostly that was the “extreme” of freedom… we were not idiots. The leather shop was a great success in town, and many intellectuals and artists frequented the place from Long Island and NYC.

 

At that time Sag Harbor was where you went to ‘ avoid ‘ the Hamptons… a place that still had character and the spirit of what made places like that comfortable for everyone from the Captain of the ship, to the lowest sailor on his first whaling trip. When the American Hotel got bought by outsiders and closed for renovation, and eventually reopened to this monstrosity you see here… it was the end of an era for that town.  I hope they fare well, but really, this article and what you read about its cheap rooms and outhouses in the back yard.. is really not accurate. It was much more vital and beautiful before they turned it into a cheap imitation of a 4 star hotel in Cannes. Or whatever your mind considers ” classy”.

 

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