After hosting burlesque shows in the historic Lexington Hotel last spring, Philadelphia nightlife impresario Philip Cohen is now buying the hotel. The town closed the shows by passing a tough anti-noise ordinance, but Cohen intends to fight it and bring the shows back next winter. On the border of Ulster and Delaware counties, developer Dean Gitter is seeking to build the $250 million massive Belleayre Resort, which will sit right on the watershed that supplies drinking water to half of New York State. In the Hudson River Valley, the fight over a proposed cement plant is in its sixth year, and the cement company continues to get creamed. In Woodstock, the town’s central meeting point, the Village Green, will soon be fenced off for renovations, incensing locals who are being petitioned by the town to pay for replacing the grass with dirt and stone—making it less the “Village Green” and more the “Village Concrete.” The Cayuga Indian Nation’s plans for a $500 million gambling resort in tiny Monticello are moving ahead full steam.
The East End of Long Island is Balkanizing, as hamlets and villages attempt to split off from the main town in a bid to keep taxes low and/or environmental regulations loose. The latest province demanding sovereignty: Montauk, which wants to be freed from the town of East Hampton. In Sag Harbor, preservation-minded residents are demanding that Gerry Mallow, owner of the Sag Harbor Cinema, return the iconic red neon Sag Harbor Sign to its original place on the front of the theater—he reportedly preferred buying a new sign for $13,000 to restoring the old one for $45,000. In Bridgehampton, near the monument that marks one of the Hamptons’ worst traffic bottlenecks, Target is opening a mini-superstore in the old Bull’s Head Inn as well as spreading out under three enormous white tents. Parking is expected to be a nightmare, to say nothing of the driving.
John Kerry, whose wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, owns a house in the center of activity in Nantucket, is planning to spend time there this summer. Locals worry about noise, traffic, and double-parked TV trucks, like what happened to Martha’s Vineyard when Bill Clinton vacationed there. The concern on the Vineyard, meanwhile, is about Scooters—an activist group called Mopeds Are Dangerous is attempting to have their use severely restricted. Other activist movements on the island include the effort to have the Town Jail moved out of the beautiful white house it currently occupies in the middle of fashionable Edgartown. And perhaps most controversial: In the latest sign of nonstop gentrification, the beloved Black Dog Tavern has hiked its prices—a clambake bucket for two is $78—and ended its free-salad policy.