A Manhattan corporate attorney is leading a group of wealthy Hamptonites who want to tear down a Water Mill road sign honoring a nun killed in a 2012 hit-and-run — because, he whines, he’s tired of repeating her depressing tale to guests.
“Every time someone visits, I am forced to recount this tragedy because they ask who Sister Jackie was,” John Carley, a former counsel to rental-car giant Avis, said in a January letter to Southampton Town officials.
“While I have no doubt Sister Jackie was a wonderful person and deserves to be remembered by those who knew her, her tragic death while visiting us is not an event residents wish to recall.”
Town highways boss Alex Gregor had installed a blue sign that reads “Sister Jackie’s Way” above the normal green street marker last summer to memorialize Sister Jacqueline Walsh, 59, who was killed walking near the Sisters of Mercy convent on Rose Hill Road in July 2012.
Since the majority of rich denizens of the road have now officially voted to remove the sign, town officials will comply with the request in order to lift all those heavy, unspiritual spirits.
Among those demanding that the memorial to the nun be torn down is Pia Lindstrom, who is married to Carley. A former NBC reporter, she is a daughter of late actress Ingrid Bergman, who famously starred as kindly Sister Mary Benedict opposite Bing Crosby in The Bells of St. Mary's.
|The Anti-Nun Nonentities|
You might think that Lindstrom, the anti-nun, would be auditioning for the role of La Belle Dame Sans Merci. But she's really just a critic, and not only of street signs that interfere with the shallow chitchat at her garden parties. Here's one of her blurbs for New York Magazine's annoying "The Best of Everything" feature:
If you walk along Flying Point Beach in Water Mill, there's a warm inlet of water where children can play because it's shallow. Also, there's never anybody at all on Wyandanch beach in Southampton.It's as quiet as a nun without a street sign memorial to spoil the ambience.
Right next to Lindstrom's beach blurb is an entry from one Lizzie Grubman, who raved, "Everybody goes to Gibson in Sagaponack, a sceney beach that feels public, even though it's private."
You may remember Lizzie as the socialite who created quite a sceney scene when she mowed down 16 people with her Mercedes SUV at a Hamptons bar way back in 2001 and served all of a month in jail on multiple felony counts, including drunk driving, reckless endangerment and assault. (To be fair, she had nothing to do with the hit and run of the nun.) Lately, she has become notorious in the Hamptons for stiffing her servants out of their wages and bouncing checks. It must be like there is never anybody at all in the world except Lizzie Grubman and Pia Lindstrom.
|One Too Many Days On A Shallow Beach: La Lizzie|
Gregor, the Sister Jackie highwayman memorialist, is sanguine about the latest brouhaha:
“I guess rich people, especially around here, get annoyed pretty easily,” he said.
Easily annoyed.... and, it turns out, very easily depressed. Hoi polloi, both dead and alive, are causing the phone lines of Hamptons psychotherapists to light up this summer. The New York Times, keen chronicler of the crowd that "summers," is on the tragedy:
The East End of Long Island has long been one of the most sought-after summertime escapes, one generally out of reach for the average vacationer as fishing villages and farms have become playgrounds for the rich. But the democratizing power of the Internet has turned more Hamptonites into prospering landlords, given visitors many more options and brokers many fewer, and left local officials busy trying to keep a cork on all the new activity.
Websites like Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO and even Craigslist are vastly reshaping the seasonal market, letting renters and owners transact for as little as $75 a night in an area where six figures for one month is not extraordinary. But as in New York City, where some sites, notably Airbnb, have come under scrutiny, in the town of East Hampton, which includes the villages of Sag Harbor, Amagansett, Springs and Montauk, many listings blatantly violate local laws severely restricting short-term rentals.
Street signs honoring merciful nuns. And now Craigslist? Oh, the humanity. Somebody, call Pia Lindstrom's husband, pronto! Alert Lizzie to get the Merc out of the 10-car garage!
“If you’re staying for a month or two, you probably want to behave yourself and be a good neighbor, but if it’s just for a weekend, it’s probably just to party,” Fran Donovan, a local mental health therapist, said on Thursday while enjoying an iced tea at the Golden Pear Cafe on Newtown Lane. Ms. Donovan said one of her patients’ top anxieties these days was the explosion of short-term rentals.
Somebody call Doctor Freud, before their pampered dispirited heads explode.A house down the block from hers has already been rented out online to large parties twice this season. “Does my business benefit from people coming out? Of course,” she said, referring to her seasonal clients. “But it seems like everyone’s trying to ride the gravy train, and if they’re not careful, it’s going to crash.”
On second thought, somebody call a Hamptons yoga instructor named Erika Halweil, who infuriated New York Times readers when the "Vows" section ran a story last year recounting the "spiritual awakening" she herself experienced when she accidentally struck and killed a child with her car, resulting in a better life for Erika Halweil, who was changed for the better by the sight of the victim's spirit leaving the body. So don't get mad, rich people. It is absolutely possible to get even more self-fulfillment at an Ayn Rand Yoga Center in a tony neighborhood near you.
On third thought, somebody call Doctor Piketty and have him give a lecture to these rich assholes. They need to be reminded that all this record wealth inequality is hazardous to their health, too. There's Affluenza, there's an epidemic of narcissism, but there's also TB and MERS and Ebola. So if they're not careful about reining in their greed, and sharing a little wealth with the teeming masses, they're liable to go crashing down just like Sister Jackie's sign.
And they will be shown no mercy. And nobody will ever dream of naming a street after them.
|Not Intimidated by Depravity: Alex Gregor (photo, N.Y. Post)|