We like our duck just fine the way it is.
We like our duck just fine the way it is.

The rumors started making their way through Bay View Pines and Waters Edge a couple weeks back. A nosy reporter from some fancy newspaper out east was calling around to our Flanders neighborhoods asking questions for a story, she said, about how Flanders is the new Williamsburg.

We huddled at our mailboxes, chatting about the news, befuddled. Some of us wondered if that meant we’d all be dressing in colonial garb and reenacting the Revolutionary War. Some of us hoped our property values would go up if word got out that we were the next ex-Brooklynite hipster hub. And some of us thought the whole damn rumor was just plain stupid.

After all, we thought to ourselves, we’re just regular people. We live in modest little houses and we rake our leaves and mow our lawns. We walk our kids to the bus stop and tell them to keep watch on us because there’s some rumor making the rounds that some creepy guy is stalking middle aged women here. There’s no brew pub on any corner here, no bike/coffee/book shop, not too many recent college dropouts with weird facial hair and there’s no damn performing arts center. That’s just fine. We came here for the rural quiet.

But then, we got to thinking, what if Flanders, maybe, is the new Williamsburg. What exactly does that mean?

Upright pianos, pickup trucks, washer-dryer sets and rotting wood framed houses are among the many lovely things you can buy on the street in the hipster paradise of Flanders.
Upright pianos, pickup trucks, washer-dryer sets and rotting wood framed houses are among the many lovely things you can buy on the street in the hipster paradise of Flanders.

Well, the first thing we decided we need is a real hip coffee shop. And the next thing we need is to convert the Big Duck into a brewery. After all, Williamsburg wasn’t even on the map until the Brooklyn Brewery opened there. Well…it was on a map, but, well, whatever. We all look at different maps.

We are now ready to petition Fred Thiele and Jay Scheiderman and town hall and all the other people involved to try to convince them that a brew pub is a fair use of the Community Preservation Fund money used to buy the Big Duck land.

When we’re done with that, we’ll build a performing arts center behind the Duck, and it will have a neat-o fancy Three-D printer in the basement that we can use to print classic cars, designer pickles, wedding dresses, and fancy brass deck hardware that we can sell on Etsy to folks in Manhattan for three times what we can sell it for here.

On the morning the fancy article came out, some of our friends who don’t live in Flanders emailed us the link.

“Hey, look,” they said, “you guys down in Flanders are so damn hip.”

We skimmed the article. There was some stuff about some “tony” summer homes that were here in the 1870s, which is obviously a mistake, since there are far more summer homes owned by guys named Tony than there are tony summer homes.

There was also some of the tired old saw about how taxes in Flanders are high, a myth constructed by the media on the basis that we pay more than our fair share of Riverhead’s school taxes here. We do. But we don’t pay Riverhead’s sewer fees or their garbage pickup or the cost of Riverhead’s ineptly managed town budget, so we really come out ahead in the deal. But that’s a secret between you and me. If word gets out that we need to pay for a sewer for our brewery and performing arts center, we’ll probably want things to stay just the way they are. Ok?

There were also some pictures of some sculptures in some lady’s yard up on Pleasure Drive that we’ve never seen. There’s really nothing to see on Pleasure Drive. The owners of the historic whorehouses would like to keep it that way.

Then we got into our plumbing vans and painters’ trucks, put our tools in our mid-90s vintage Corollas, put our name tags on and went off to work, wondering how we should redefine our lives in light of our new-found status as media darlings. It won’t last. It never does. The media is like that.


Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

5 thoughts on “Flanders is not the new Williamsburg

  1. Remember – all Great Masters come from Flanders. It is also now evident that you Flemish (an answer to Sue’s “Flanderian” question mark above) are becoming cutting edge in other artistic endeavors…lol!

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