A Step Back in Time



Tom Twomey, an attorney with Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo, a well known East End law firm, and his 1926 Flint Motor Car in front of the American Hotel. Both photos by Eliot Hess.

I love days like yesterday because it took me back to the time when we all weren’t so connected. Oh yes, we were connected, but in a much different way. We actually went to the local candy store to hang out, spent hours talking on the phone to our friends, and wrote letters to our loved ones.

A trip to Sag Harbor, smack in the middle of the Hamptons, is not exactly yesteryear, but it is a small village that frowns on using wireless communications equipment during restaurant meals and doesn’t put TV sets in their hotel rooms.

Dawn, the manager at the front desk at The American Hotel (a favorite of Keith Hernandez and Billy Joel), told me, “We really encourage guests to wind down.” She admitted that they are wired for the Internet but keep it on the quiet side.

Not everyone realizes this, but more public places than not lack cell and Internet coverage. It has always been a problem in the Hamptons. The town folks don’t want any part of it because they like their peaceful existence. They are not interested in hearing some advertising manager screaming slogans on his cell in the vegetable section at King Kullen. They also refuse to expand the width of Montauk Highway, the main road that goes from west to east. It is their way of saying “Go back home you city slickers.”

Most of the weekend homes have their own wifi connections. The same thing is true in Silicon Valley. Clients and friends have complained for years that the corridor south of San Francisco, home to Internet billionaires, has spotty connections. The main thoroughfare, Route 101, where millions of folks travel hours to and from work, has no coverage.

The Hamptons and Silicon Valley are like time machines. One minute you have the world at your fingertips, the next you wish phone booths still existed.