03/08/14 5:00pm
03/08/2014 5:00 PM

Jitney

Occupying a space can be both a sign of power and a threat to power. This has been the case, it seems, since the beginning of recorded time.

Think of the folks who camped out for months near Wall Street during the worst of the U.S. financial crisis.  Think of the demonstrators who took over public spaces in Syria or Ukraine, or people packed behind walls in Berlin or Derry or more recently, Palestine.

The space itself is about who has power or who wants to challenge power.

In my own limited experience, I get to see how this basic struggle for space and power plays out on the local level.  I speak of riding the Hampton Jitney.

First off, I need to say that the Jitney is a great resource for those who live on eastern Long Island.  Instead of an interminable ride on the less-than-edifying Long Island Rail Road, or a long drive to an expensive parking garage in Manhattan, there’s the Jitney in all its wondrous predictability.  I

t usually arrives at its stops on time; it will store your luggage for you; a polite attendant serves you snacks; it has an onboard bathroom; it imposes tight restrictions on cell phone use; its drivers know how to circumvent traffic snarls.  Basically, it’s excellent.

Going to Manhattan, I board the North Fork Jitney in Riverhead near the Route 58 CVS, usually on a Sunday morning.  I know in advance that my fare will be the same as for those who boarded at Orient Point or Greenport or Southold or Mattituck.  Unfair as that is, I have reconciled myself to the fact that such a policy is unlikely to change unless the company were to feel some heat from those with power.

So a change in the existing rate structure seems not likely at all.

Boarding at Riverhead I look down the long center aisle for an empty seat.  There are lots of heads but there are usually available seats as well.  That is, there would be available seats except for what I call the Hampton Hustle:  seats occupied by jackets, purses, laptops, backpacks, or newspapers while the owners of those things stare grimly straight ahead, look out the window, or pretend to be profoundly asleep.

I readily admit that I too prefer two seats if I had the audacity to ignore my fellow creatures.  Frankly, my conscience bothers me if someone is looking for a seat while the seat next to me is occupied only by my belongings.

But I think there are those who see themselves as somehow more privileged than others, more godlike, if you will.  Should the new passenger insist on sitting there where all that stuff is piled, the owner often takes several minutes to step out into the aisle to store things in the overhead bin, drop some on the floor, and so create a delay before the bus can get underway again.

Meanwhile, looks are exchanged that signify how deep the struggle is over that particular space and how bitter the feelings of yielding it to another.

“This land was made for you and me,” Pete Seeger used to sing.  Oh yes, but “When will they ever learn, when will we ever learn.”

Catherine McKeen is a retired college teacher and a working historian. She lives in Baiting Hollow.

10/22/13 5:00pm
10/22/2013 5:00 PM

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Taste North Fork shuttle bus stops are now scheduled for 25 locations during Veteran’s Day weekend.

With less than a month to go, details of the first-ever Taste North Fork festival are falling into place with more than 50 local wineries, restaurants, hotels and shops signing up to participate.

On Tuesday, Hampton Jitney released the official list of more than 20 stops (see below) the free shuttles will be making on Veteran’s Day weekend.

The three-day event will feature a full range of activities celebrating local wines and foods across the region. Wineries, as well as local breweries and distilleries, will be invited to offer special tasting menus paired with foods from local restaurants.

The buses will run in a loop between Riverhead and Greenport. There will also be feeder buses from the Cross Sound Ferry and Long Island Rail Road. Stops will be made at each location approximately every 45 minutes during business hours.

The pilot program is being made possible through a portion of a $335,000 “I Love NY” grant, aiming to help promote agritourism on the East End. Since the East End Tourism Alliance, Long Island Wine Council and North Fork Promotion Council unveiled the plan in August the event has received an overwhelming response from local businesses and town officials, organizers said.

Southold, Greenport and Mattituck have all signed on to host their own “mini-festivals” in honor of Taste North Fork through the holiday weekend.

North Fork Promotion Council president Joan Bischoff said he hopes the shuttle program can continue next year for the entire summer season.

“We have to make sure it’s not a bridge to nowhere,” he said. “We would like some sort of annual event in the slow season to bring in tourists.”

The list of stops are as follows:

Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard

Bedell Cellars

Castello di Borghese

Clovis Point

Coffee Pot Cellars

Duck Walk Vineyards

Jamesport Vineyards

Jason’s Vineyard

Kontokosta Winery

Macari

Osprey’s Dominion

Palmer Vineyards

Pellegrini Vineyards

Pindar

Raphael

RoanokeVineyards

Sannino Bella Vita Vineyards

Sherwood House Vineyards

Sparkling Pointe

Waters Crest Winery

LI Spirits Craft Distillery

Greenport

Southold

Mattituck

Orient Point (Cross Island Ferry connection)

cmurray@timesreview.com 

08/19/13 8:00am
08/19/2013 8:00 AM

Jitney

The North Fork wine trail attracts thousands of visitors each weekend. With dozens of vineyards to choose from, getting to each one – especially after the bottles have been uncorked – takes planning.

To help take the guess work out and get people to their destination safely, the East End Tourism Alliance and North Fork Promotion Council are launching a pilot shuttle bus service to connect wineries this Veterans Day Weekend.

The pilot program is being made possible through a portion of a  “I Love NY” $300,000 grant, aiming to help promote agritourism in Suffolk County, according to Steven Bate, executive director of the Long Island Wine Council.

“The real transformative part of the project is to test out the feasibility of a free shuttle bus to facilitate tourist access for the huge New York metro population without their own cars,” he said.

The buses, which will be provided by Hampton Jitney, will run in a loop between Riverhead and Greenport. There will also be feeder buses from the Orient Point ferry and Long Island Rail Road. Stops will be made at each location approximately every 45 minutes during business hours, Mr. Bate said.

The groups behind the shuttle are currently planning a ‘Taste North Fork” festival to coincide with the pilot program on Veterans Day weekend. The three-day event will feature a full range of activities celebrating local wines and foods across the region, Mr. Bate said. Wineries, as well as local breweries and distilleries, will be invited to offer special tasting menus paired with foods from local restaurants.

Joan Bischoff of the North Fork Promotional Council said that he hopes the shuttle program can continue next year for the entire summer season.

The organizations are also now working with the towns on finalizing the exact shuttle route.

“We are very excited about this opportunity and very grateful to I Love NY for giving us the seed capital to launch what we hope will become an annual event that provides a significant seasonal boost to our local economy,” Mr. Bate said.

cmurray@timesreview.com

 

01/22/13 9:46am
01/22/2013 9:46 AM

Jitney

Hampton Jitney has opened up two new bus routes to run between the North Fork and New York City.

The Hampton Ambassador, a coach bus service, will now include a route along the North Fork on Friday and Sunday evenings, with stops along the North Fork.

The bus will run eastbound on Friday evenings and westbound on Sunday nights with stops from Greenport to the Tanger Outlet Center before heading into New York City.

The company had done trial runs of the new route previously, but recently added it permanently to its schedule, a Hampton Jitney employee said.

The buses feature wireless Internet and free movies during the trip, according to the company. Reservations can made by calling(631) 283-4676.

psquire@timesreview.com

01/09/13 3:00pm
01/09/2013 3:00 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Peconic Bay Water Jitney that had a trial run between Greenport and Sag Harbor last summer is unlikely to return this summer.

Hampton Jitney president Geoff Lynch, a partner with Mattituck businessman Jim Ryan in last summer’s Peconic Bay Water Jitney pilot program, reportedly told the Sag Harbor Village Board Tuesday night he doesn’t expect the water taxi that ran between Greenport Village and Sag Harbor to float a second season.

It would take an infusion of money from the federal government for the partners to continue the service, Mr. Lynch reportedly told the Sag Harbor Village Board.

He said while the ferry service was a huge hit with riders last summer, financially it was “a bust.”

It wasn’t the first time that Mr. Lynch made the comments about the unlikelihood of resuming water taxi service next summer. In September, he told the East End Transportation Council he didn’t envision a second season. Despite running five trips a day and carrying more than 15,000 passengers since it launched the passenger service in June, he said then, “It’s not a moneymaker.”

Barring investors showing an interest in underwriting the service, he said it wouldn’t be running again. The East End Transportation Council has been charged with exploring mass transit alternatives for the region and has representatives from the five East End towns.

At the time, Mr. Ryan denied that the ferry service wouldn’t resume in 2013. He was unavailable for comment today.

Greenport Village Board member Mary Bess Phillips said Mr. Lynch has asked to make a presentation to that group at either at its January 21 work session or January 28 regular meeting. But she had no information on the content of that presentation.

j.lane@sireporter.com

11/24/12 8:00am
11/24/2012 8:00 AM

Hampton Jitney’s proposal for a passenger terminal and bus maintenance facility on Edwards Avenue received site plan approval from the Riverhead Planning Board last Thursday, more than five years after it was first proposed.

The company, which currently operates out of a facility on County Road 39 in Southampton, seeks to build a two-story, 24,615-square-foot passenger terminal and office, and a one-story 22,028-square-foot bus maintenance facility on a vacant 13-acre site on the west side of Edwards Avenue in Calverton, just south of TS Haulers.

The company will continue to operate out of the Southampton facility but plans to expand its business with the Calverton site, according to Jitney president Geoff Lynch. He told the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency last year that the company has about 300 employees and expects to move 100 of them to the Calverton site, but that in the future, he foresees the Calverton site also having about 300 employees.

The Planning Board approval came with a condition that the passenger terminal and the maintenance facility be built at the same time. Planning Board members said they had gotten the impression at prior meetings that the Jitney planned to build the maintenance building first, while holding off on the passenger terminal.

“We intend, during the initial construction, to have a seated waiting area for passengers and a reception desk to sell tickets and give out info,” Mr. Lynch said last Thursday. “What we’re not completing until later is the food court and some of the other retail spaces.”

Hampton Jitney last year received tax breaks from the IDA for the Calverton project, despite opposition from representatives of the Riverhead School District, who said tax breaks were eroding the district tax base at a time when the district is facing cuts in state aid.

In the IDA ruling, Hampton Jitney will receive sales tax exemptions on materials used in the construction of its new Edwards Avenue facility, a mortgage recording tax exemption and a property tax exemption that applies only to the value of the new construction and starts at 50 percent of that value in the first year before gradually decreasing five percent per year over 10 years.

tgannon@timesreview.com