Ice Cream, Etc… East Hampton Cracks Down on Eating on the Street Standing Up

Many years ago, there was a dress shop on Jobs Lane in Southampton called Ninna Murray’s. Ninna was an elderly dowager and considered herself, from the moment she opened her shop, to be the defender of good breeding, good manners and what she considered the right behavior for the very exclusive Village of Southampton.

She wrote letters to the editor of The Southampton Press almost every week, describing the alarming behavior of what passed for the general public strolling by her store every day. There were people wearing Bermuda shorts. Women wearing halter tops. Children eating ice cream on the street. Some people were even taking pictures of one another.

She passed away after several years of this, but her legacy lives on, even to this day. There are still signs at the entrances to the village, on Hampton Road and on North Sea Road, announcing WELCOME TO SOUTHAMPTON, PLEASE OBSERVE OUR DRESS CODES.

Indeed, there is a dress code still on the books. A sort of antique item. Dress in downtown Southampton must not reveal any part of a person’s body between the upper part of the aureole (the dark area surrounding the nipple) and halfway between the hip and the knee. I don’t think it is enforced, but it could be.

All of this came to mind last week, when it was announced in East Hampton Village that an application by Dylan’s Candy Bar for a special permit to serve ice cream cones in its candy store on Main Street had been met with strong opposition.

The Village Board cited a law in the village code, passed in 2008, that attempted to make the selling of fast food illegal in that place. The definition of a FAST-FOOD RESTAURANT OR DRIVE-IN is defined in the code as follows:

“A type of restaurant or store which contains a drive-in or walk-up window or which contains no indoor dining or which prepares individual portions of food on site and serves food or beverages over the counter in a ready-to-consume state, including but not limited to products such as ice cream cones or beverages in paper or plastic containers, without table service by waiters or waitresses, either as a primary or accessory use.”

This buckshot law, in my view, is badly written and would prevent, should they close, replacements for such places as Scoop du Jour, Golden Pear, Starbucks, Fierro’s, Villa Italian by the railroad station or even possibly the indoor café counter at Citarella (which are grandfathered in), not to mention the outdoor area with the umbrellas.

You won’t be able to get a damned thing to eat standing up in that village.

This ordinance dramatically over-defines fast food and drive-in—unless, of course, that was their intent. It does help in keeping food from smearing on the expensive clothes being sold in all the boutiques.

Either way, Dan’s Papers objects to this law. And we intend to do something about it.

Protest efforts are currently underway. And though I have not had a chance to talk with organizers in much detail, my understanding of it is that there has been talk of an ice cream flash mob, and maybe even a nighttime demonstration of marching formations of protestors assembling at town pond, carrying ice cream cones.

There will be one formation of 10 rows of Chocolate Chip eaters, another of Butterscotch Swirl eaters, still another of Moose Tracks eaters. Each formation will be accompanied by torch bearers.

The march will have to be at night because the traffic police are off duty. Also it has to be chilly out, which it sometimes is at night, or the ice cream will melt before the march is completed down the Montauk Highway to
the Veterans of Foreign Wars building at Abraham’s Path.

Follow Dan’s Papers on Twitter for updates on protests, marches, ice cream flash mobs and other events.

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