Rolled up and stored in a mailing tube, lying for decades in a New England attic, the canvas had collapsed onto itself at one end. There was water damage, too, effectively gluing together two sections of the roll. When it was finally stretched out, the paint had pulled off both sides, leaving foot-long white scars.
Forty years ago this summer, two and a half hours west of here, a heat wave brought an already intense summer to a boil. New York City, litter-strewn and struggling, had declared bankruptcy. The blackout of 1977, lasting 25 hours and hitting most of the city, led to looting and torched storefronts. The Yankees were battling their way out of the blighted Bronx to win a championship. It was the summer Star Wars lit up the screen. It was the summer of Sam.
This daily morning walk is how I take the pulse of the place, and my own. The daily miraculous seldom gets attention. We are too busy, insecure, and - mainly - blind to the exquisite.
Sag Harbor's African-American beachfront communities share a rich history, dating back nearly 200 years to the dawn of the whaling era. Now, their unassuming homes are being razed and replaced by a developer and his wealthy client, one of New York's biggest investment managers. As the pace of change quickens, long-time residents fear their sanctuary is in danger of losing its soul.