Being a Pisces, I feel an affinity to being close to the water, where I live and play! This weekend I made my way to Westhampton, just about 90 minutes from Queens, and had a special time with my daughters.
Westhampton is what I call the “first” Hampton sitting on the Atlantic Ocean, offering soft, sandy, white beaches with comparatively calm waters; a charming village with places to dine and shop; and a first-class live theatre venue, the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. Formerly a movie theater, the revamped venue helped provide an influx of visitors to the town who come for the show, but stay to dine and shop
Another anchor of Westhampton is the remarkable Hampton Synagogue, founded 28 years ago by the charismatic Rabbi Marc Schneier. When I came to town, I decided to go to a Saturday morning service on the invitation of old friend, Jeff Weisenfeld.
The Hampton Synagogue is an Orthodox shul where women sit separately from the men. On my first visit, I was enthralled by the powerful prayers put to music and sung by the beautiful voices of the choir led by the talented cantor, Netanel Hershtik.
Every seat in the sanctuary was taken, with an overflow of congregants sitting on folding chairs in the contiguous gardens. The service was truly inspiring. After the last prayer, everyone was invited to an elaborate kiddish luncheon. During the service, Rabbi Schneier had announced the names of the people who underwrote the meal.
The congregation’s first donor/founder was Steven Spielberg, and the celebrity aura still surrounds the synagogue. It is a star-studded congregation of donors who continuously support causes locally and in Israel.
Without question, the Hampton Synagogue is a real star in the community.
When my daughters Elizabeth and Samantha joined me on the beach this weekend, I felt my heart soar, warmed me inside and out after spending a lazy day on the beach.
Samantha went home and Elizabeth, who stayed overnight, and I had dinner at Oakland’s, a restaurant at the easternmost end of Dune Road in nearby Hampton Bays.
The popular, handsome castle-like restaurant sits massively on the water. We found a space to sit in the crowded dining mecca along a ledge with two stools. We ate off the narrow space because there was a 1 ½-hour wait for a “real” table.
It didn’t matter — our plates of delicious seafood pasta and mussels fit in the narrow space. We were delighted to be served their fresh choices of appetizers and entrees without having to wait for a table. Our waitress Rachel worked non-stop, but never lost the smile on her face. It was a memorable meal and evening.
For me, Westhampton is a peaceful place to live on the ocean, a way to restore my energies, get away from the world, walk the beach and listen to the endless waves smashing the shore. When I bought the apartment in the Westhampton House one board member said, “You know, you just added 20 years to your life!” This place certainly has that effect on you.
Farewell to Pulse magazine
On a sad note, Pulse magazine held its last event for its last issue, a fundraiser for Stony Brook Children’s Hospital at the Vineyards at Aquebogue.
The party was given by Nada Marjanovich, publisher of Long Island Pulse magazine, who had announced that she would retire it to focus more on her work in running a nonprofit organization in Haiti. She had created a beautifully designed, quality monthly magazine covering and celebrating Long Island.
I wish her great success in her all her endeavors. She enriched and inspired the lives of all of us!