The Hampton Jitney apparently conducted several surprise landings with their new amphibious ferries on the Friday of Labor Day weekend, bringing eager motorists from Manhattan to the Hamptons directly to the beaches, rather than have to use the highways and roads.
Breathless sunbathers at a beach on Meadow Lane in Southampton, Sagg Main in Sagaponack and Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett all called the police on their cell phones to report these landing craft disembarking cars and passengers, but the police were at first not interested in responding, because they thought it was all a joke.
“There must have been 150 cars and trucks unloaded,” one amazed beachgoer at Cooper’s told a Dan’s Papers reporter. “It was all over in 15 minutes. Then they were gone. What an operation.”
Fortunately, at Sagg Main Beach, a newspaper artist, the sort of fellow who draws pictures of witnesses and the accused in courtrooms where photography is not permitted, was on the scene and able to act quickly and capture the event. He put a fresh canvas up on his easel (he had been down there painting a scene of the dunes), and quickly made an oil painting of what he saw—two giant LSTs, the sort of amphibious ships used by the Americans during World War II at Omaha Beach in Normandy—coming to a halt just offshore, the great steel gangplank unfolding and car after car coming off to splash through the surf, go up the sand and off down the highway to God knows where. At the urging of other beachgoers who had gotten nowhere trying to report this, he brought this painting to the police, who refused to see him, thinking it was just another part of the hoax phone calls they had been getting. The painter then took the painting to The New Yorker magazine, which put it on their cover.
“Apparently, our police department never responded to these calls,” said Hamptons Mayor Frank Chumley at a hastily called press conference yesterday. “If all these landings are true, then we’ve got a great scandal on our hands here at the police department. The police are not doing their job.”
“There have been a great many laws broken,” said Hamptons Police Chief John Ketchum. “And we missed all of it. I’m immediately opening an investigation of how we missed this. We’ll get to the bottom of it and punish those officers responsible for the failure to act. We already know who they are. They are already suspended from duty. With pay, of course. We don’t want their families to suffer.”
Among the violations that were missed included offloading cars at public beaches, getting too close to Piping Plover nests, driving on the beach without a beach sticker, beaching a diesel-driven ship, invasion of privacy, making engine noises and horn honks that exceed the legal allowed decibel level, ignoring the direct orders of lifeguards, shouting wahoo and whoopee repeatedly, transporting merchandise across state lines (several license plates on cars from Connecticut and New Jersey), obstructing public views, standing in a no parking zone, causing a public nuisance, and ferrying passengers and vehicles without proper permits from the FAA, the DEC, the FHA, the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security, CBS, FOX, the Triborough Bridge Authority, the Suffolk County Board of Health and the New York City Port Authority Long Shoreman’s Union #42.
“We could have written up all these violations,” Police Chief Ketchum said, banging his right fist into his left hand. “If only those nincompoops at the desks had thought to respond to these urgent calls. What do they think they are doing out there, just sitting on their butts drinking coffee and eating donuts? I don’t allow that in my department.”
He then turned to the Mayor, and on the spot and apparently on the spur of the moment, offered his resignation while wiping a tear from his eye, which was refused by the Mayor with a dismissive wave of his hand.
“Pshaw,” the Mayor said.
On the other hand, there were others who lauded what’s apparently a new service offered by the Jitney.
“Someone told me there’s a restaurant, a casino and a nightclub on board, when you get out of territorial waters where serving alcohol is legal,” one beachgoer said.
“This is a whole lot better than having to take a helicopter out to the Hamptons and then getting yelled at because of the noise,” said another.
“It certainly saves a lot of gas in my SUV,” said one beachgoer. “And it lightens the wear and tear on our roads. It’s GOOD for the environment.”
One beachgoer said he’d been told the landing craft are being tied up in New York City in the ground floors of some of those waterfront skyscrapers in lower Manhattan that were abandoned after Hurricane Sandy, and that the cars are boarded at one of the abandoned Coast Guard docks on the Battery. But it’s just a rumor.
The Hampton Jitney, a transportation company based in Southampton, offers round-trip bus travel between the eastern end of Long Island on the South and North Forks, going to Manhattan, Brooklyn, the airport connections, Florida and Boston, an option they offer in conjunction with the Bridgeport–Port Jefferson Ferry Company, which operates ferries between Port Jefferson and Bridgeport. They also offer a luxury coach service that includes not only attendants and snacks and restrooms as on the regular Jitneys, but also movies, captain chair seating, hot towels, and a range of food and drink occasionally including red or white wine; they also offer excursion event buses to places like Broadway, MetLife Stadium and CitiField.
An image of the cover of this summer’s Hampton Jitney bus schedule is included with this article. On the cover you can see happy people getting off a bus at a bus stop (one individual who looks like Dan is reading Dan’s Papers), but as you see, none of them are driving off in their automobiles. They don’t have permission to carry automobiles. Do they? They do? Oh my gosh.
“If they try this again next Friday,” Chief Ketchum said, waggling an index finger, “they will be in for a big surprise. We are organizing 12-man police SWAT teams to sit and wait in ambush every Friday at the back of every beach in the Hamptons. They may try to repeat these landings. But an amphibious assault can be driven off, and we will do exactly that, or, if they do break through, we will put into play our roadblock units to ticket the arriving motorist perps on the spot.”
A call put in to the Hampton Jitney was not returned.