A fish from Wikipedia
A fish from Wikipedia

Now I’m a north fork native (note the lower case. this is nothing to be proud of), and this is the time of year when us north fork natives begin to get cranky because we are subsisting on pickled herring and the last of last year’s mealy potatoes. And when north fork natives get cranky, they start telling you about the pet peeves they’ve bottled up all year.

Non-north fork natives call these bottled pet peeves “value-added agricultural products” but that’s just horse feathers and nonsense, as those funny-talking Bonackers say. There’s no value to pet peeves and people who insist on peevish behavior should be shot with horse tranquilizers. Really.

One of my biggest pet peeves is people you don’t know who write letters to you that begin with the word “Hey.” If you don’t know me, don’t ever start a letter to me with the word “Hey.” Please. It’s just plain rude and it has to stop.

If you work in public relations and you think you might have talked to me once before, don’t send me a letter saying “Hey, it’s been a while. I know you only hear from me when I want something from you.” That’s just about the most rude thing you can do to another human being.

Earlier this year, the President of the United States even got in on the act. He began sending me emails with subject lines like “Hey, Beth, have you signed up for health care yet?” and “Hey, Beth, want to join me for beers in the Rose Garden?” I sent him back an email telling him to stop calling me “Hey” but all I got was an autoreply message saying his mailbox was full:

Hey, Barry, I really appreciate that you killed Osama Bin Laden, and I’m very grateful for this health care because now I can have the wart removed from my brain, but I really wish you’d just wear some spectacles and sit by a fire in the Oval Office and tell me in a reassuring tone that everything is going to be ok. I don’t want to have a beer with you, and you sure as hell are not going to find me out at the Patricofs’ place when you come here stumping for Hillary next year. That’s all just not so very hopey-changey of you.

I was in a fine mood earlier this week, until Twitter sent me a message saying someone was trying to talk to me directly on Twitter. This has never happened before and I don’t like it. If you want to talk to me, call me. If you don’t have my phone number, look for it on my Facebook page. Thank you. It will be great to hear your voice. Don’t text me. I’m driving. Always.

Right now, the alewives are swimming upstream to spawn. They do this every year and they need to do it in order to come back out in the bay and join the herring that us north fork natives eat all year.

There’s a story about these alewives on The Beacon’s website this week, and I was unfortunately un-social media savvy enough to post it on Twitter.

Now, some joker with the Twitter handle @edibleeastend began pinging me while I was trying to open up a fire hydrant at a drill down at the firehouse, asking me if they could come fish for alewives with me.

“Hey, are you going fishing?” they asked, “Is this place a good photo op?”

I told them to read the story, and then they asked me how to capture the fish.

Now, I don’t have a clue who @edibleastend is, because I know the people who started that magazine are fine folks who would never ask such stupid questions. And I’m certainly not going to take a stranger fishing with me, even less a stranger from another news-gathering organization. I don’t even fish, but that’s beside the point. Here is the point:

1. Don’t ever fish for alewives when they are swimming upstream. How cruel is that? If you don’t know this, there’s a big sign by the river that says not to catch them.

2. Don’t ever ask a north fork native to reveal to the press where they are fishing. Sheesh.

3. Not all of the east end is edible. Take it from me. I’ve tried to eat all of the east end. Alewives are not one of our finest edible products. There’s a reason the Native Americans named their cousins, the menhaden, after fertilizer.  You’d be better off eating Kentucky bluegrass. Other parts of the East End that are inedible include: jib halyards, Hampton Jitneys, newspapers and tourists.

I was ready to just laugh this off, when the next morning I received an email from a nice girl who said she wanted to write for The Beacon. She didn’t start her letter with the word “Hey.” I thought that was really swell. Nice girls should always write. I asked her what she wanted to write about and this was her reply:

“To fit the feel of your site and the experience I have in that area I’d like to write an article with the following: “First time in the Hamptons? Don’t miss out on the five things you must do the first time you visit.” Is this something you might be willing to publish? Please let me know!!!!!”

Now, I don’t even know where to begin with how much this peeves me, so I’m just going to give you all my own Hamptons to-do list so I don’t have to pay someone else to write a crappy to-do list for me:

The correct perspective on East End summer beachgoing. And also, rocks are not edible.
The correct perspective on East End summer beachgoing. And also, rocks are not edible.

The Five Best Things To Do In Summer In The Hamptons (in two years this list will also be applicable to the North Fork):

1. Hide in your house.
2. Don’t read the news.
3. Don’t drink and drive. The entire east end press corps is burned out from having our summer weekends ruined by your sorry-assed perp walks and by having to interview grieving widows. We don’t need our bylines on the horrorshow of your lives.
4. Stock up on groceries in Riverhead.
5. Find a beach that no one knows about where you don’t need a sticker.

I’m sorry if I sound cranky, but I feel the season coming over me. If you need to reach me after Memorial Day, I’ll be huddled down in the old Young family compound at the Riverhead dog pound on Young’s Avenue, next to my family’s ancestral town dump. See you in the fall.


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

4 thoughts on “Hey, All of the East End Isn’t Edible, Ok?

  1. I thought I was the only Eastender who hibernated during the summer. Your article has given me validation, for which I thank you. Growing up on a farm out on Northville Tpke in Riverhead (sort of the north fork, or at least the crotch of the forks…even worse than being an armpit) we used to watch the paraded of cars that were traveling to and from the Orient ferry, clean up the front yard where city people (all tourists were “city people) would throw the trash out of their cars, and decide that Saturday was not the day to go shopping. Once married I lived in Eastport (aka “Gateway to Westhampton Beach and all roads East”) and in the twelve years I lived there I only ever went into WHB one weekend to see the funny animals (excuse me…city people). I trained my children to stay away from the roads on weekends and be especially careful during the summer, because Mercedes and “Beemers” always have the right-of-way, even in the case of stopped school buses and crossing children. I never went to the beach as an adult, except when my kids had swimming lessons. As kids we used to ride our bikes to Iron Pier but that is much too life-threatening to attempt now. My beach moments now occur off season. There’s nothing like a nice brisk wind off the Sound to put color in your cheeks! Anyway, Beth, I know your pain. I’m back in Riverhead again and the memories and the traffic on 58 will keep me sitting in my a/c this summer and shopping on Tuesday nights. Maybe I’ll see you at Stop N Shop 🙂

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