Islander's Blog

Archive for the ‘Nantucket Life’ Category

Goodman’s Gam

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

To join the conversation, click the link below
Last Friday evening I was on a beach out at the west end. There were dozens of people alongside of me, waiting for Earl to make landfall. It was a party atmosphere, much like one might find on a holiday weekend. This wasn’t exactly a celebration, but the mood was one of exhilaration as we watched huge rollers come crashing onto the beach.

We were watching the Ratner peninsula take the brunt of an angry sea. Even with immense sandbags in place, some of the spray from the waves was pouring down the roof. Most of those attending the event were expecting to see a house wash into the sea.

Had Earl not fallen apart, or the high tides come at the height of a real storm, their wishes might have been met. As it was, the house stood through the watery attack and is now surrounded by a moat on three sides. The sandbags are now standing free of the perimeter of Mr. Ratner’s Folly. (I have now found out that the house later partially collapsed).

This is a case of a self-centered man who feels no anguish at the damage he has caused by armoring his house. His sandbags have caused scouring of the beach on both sides of his refuge from the waves. In turn, a house to the left of him fell in the wash a few years ago. The house to his right is on the verge of losing the last 15 feet of land in front of it, before it’s going to be sitting on the beach.

Another problem with the sandbagging is that once they fall apart, the bags become a hazard to mariners. Were a boater to tangle with the floating fabric, it would effectively shut the engines down, what with the props being smothered by the dense nylon cloth. That’s exactly what happened to the M/V Eagle earlier this week. As yet, I haven’t heard of the origin of the offending sand bags.

We now have debris floating away from the scene and it’s likely there’s more to come. Should the Ratner house be destroyed, tons of lumber and other building materials would be unleashed on the surrounding beach and into the water. Would anyone care to guess who’s going to pay for the cleanup?

Now, for an unselfish act by someone that cares about Nantucket and our community. Michael Kopko has withdrawn his bid to become sheriff and has thrown his support to Jim Perelman. The race has numerous candidates and Michael’s act has simplified the choice for many voters.

Now that the election has been mentioned, please go to the polls at the Nantucket High School Sept. 14 between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. and cast your ballot. Just because this is a primary doesn’t mean it’s any less important than the general election.

The possibility of Earl and Labor Day had many vacationers clearing out before the weekend. As it turned out, all they missed was an overnight downpour. The important thing was that people were prepared for the worst and we escaped unscathed. After what happened to the island in 1991 and then watching the destruction Katrina wrought, we did all the right things.

Now for three community events that are fun as well as informative. First on the list is the third Elder Expo, brought to us by the Nantucket Council on Aging and the Nantucket Center for Elder Affairs. The Expo isn’t only for seniors. Over 50s (baby boomers) are part of the program. Stop by the Nantucket High School, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11.

There will be music, demonstrations of arts and crafts, health, beauty and fitness advice, along with other timely advice (pun intended) for oldsters. There will be medical screenings, speakers, snacks and lunch to be had. And, it’s free! Call the Saltmarsh Senior Center at (508) 228-4490 if you need transportation or further information.

The Nantucket Park & Rec Island Fair will be held over this upcoming weekend. This is always great fun. On Saturday, the gates open at 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. On Sunday, it opens at 11 a.m. and it wraps by 4 p.m. There are numerous contests, such as the largest pumpkin, vegetables, fruits and flowers, as well as best apple pie.

I’m looking forward to the incredibly tasty, but gut-busting fried fish, plus standard fair foods. There are going to be a couple of shows, pony-cart rides and many other activities. Come on out to Tom Nevers, you’ll enjoy catching up with friends that you haven’t seen over the past summer.

Next week, I’ll have information about the 2010 Maritime Festival (an event very similar the Seafest we used to enjoy). This will take place at Children’s Beach and a couple of other venues in the vicinity. It will open on Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. and will conclude that afternoon at 4 p.m. You don’t to miss this; it’s going to be huge!
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space, and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror.

Goodman’s Gam

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

To join the conversation, click the link below
Haven’t we had quite the weather shifts recently? Hot, then cool, cold, windy with torrential rain, and now it’s going to be hot once again. As long as the trees and their attendant branches and leaves aren’t adorning my car, I’m happy. I’ll settle for another month of summer.

Things look promising. One bonus that came with the rains were increased sales for local merchants. They need some good news. The past few years have been tough on them.
Boats not running made for a delayed exodus earlier this week. Look around and it’s obvious that there are fewer folks on hand. The day after Labor Day is when we will see just how many have departed for work and school on the mainland. I’ve never understood how the town clears out in a couple of days. We see it today and there’s no discernible difference from 35 years ago.

I was delighted to see that Bob Matthews has had a $2 million judgment he’s supposed to pay. Hasn’t he gotten away with too much already? It will be interesting if the three aggrieved contractors ever collect their money. I’m betting that buying a lottery ticket would be more likely to yield the money owed to them.

If you’ve ever dropped off debris at the C & D building at the Dump, you know why the massive fire there last week burned so intensely. I have yet to see anyone inspecting what’s being thrown in the maw of that building. Full cans of paint, MAPP and propane-gas canisters were littering the floor there a couple of months back.

The rest of the “green” facility is better than one would expect, but how we were picked as a recycling model for other communities astounds me. If this in one of the best, then I’d be afraid to see one that’s average, much less the worst of the bunch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for what we have. The place just looks nasty, and with the out of control fire – is. Our firefighters did a heroic job putting out the blaze.

I’m getting a kick out of the antics of our (alleged) Nantucket bank robber. Pamela Morgan, in her own off-the-wall way is much more fun than those masked men with guns. Not our girl Pam. No mask or gun for her. Also, no getaway plan in place. Talk about guts. She’s one tough mama.
To be serious, I was shocked to read that she was judged to be sane enough for trial. Why don’t they give her what she’s seeking? The term is “three hots and a cot.” Pamela wishes to be locked up and make license plates, or whatever it is prisoners do these days. Perhaps she could give penmanship lessons, seeing how well she communicated her thoughts to a bank-teller.

I was pleased to see that the small cluster of missing cobblestones in front of DeMarco has been repaired. That stretch of Petticoat Row/India Street seems to fall apart every few years. Tree roots under there can’t be helping the situation.

Channel 17 has a new presence on the web. Go to and you will see great interviews and other Nantucket scenes. What wowed me was how clear the transmission was and it didn’t have that herky-jerky look often seen on online broadcasts.

While walking through the Farmers’ Market on Cambridge Street a couple of weeks ago, I spotted the work of a favorite artist on display. David Lazarus had woodcuts, drawings and small watercolors. I’m not able to afford David’s work seen in galleries, but these pieces had every bit as much painting expertise, at a fraction of the price. I bought three pieces and will be back for more.

I was sorry to see that Johnny Damon won’t be coming to the Red Sox. Aside from his timely hitting and solid fielding, he’s a positive influence in the clubhouse. The Olde Towne Team isn’t out of it yet, but they need an extended win streak to think about overtaking Tampa Bay or the Yankees for the wild-card spot.

Wasn’t it thrilling to see Wes Welker on the field last week? He doesn’t look like he’s missed a step. The rest of the Pats weren’t bad either.
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror

Waterfront News

Friday, August 20th, 2010

I went to Monomoy last evening to catch one of the last sunsets of the summer. Monomoy is a great location to grab shots of the sunset with the town skyline as your backdrop. Check them out.
Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog.

Goodman’s Gam

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

To join the conversation, click the link below
By this coming Sunday, we should see a marked decrease in bodies and automobiles. Schools are opening their doors and vacations are ending, as is August. There was a time when Nantucket began filling up at Memorial Day and the sidewalks were rolled up by Labor Day.
Today, schools open earlier and close in early May. Beginning with Daffodil Weekend, people begin arriving. The population rises and by June, we’re not full, though there are many visitors who have made their way to the island. After June, any thoughts of privacy when out driving or walking in public have vanished.

Sean Hannity recently made another of his ridiculous calls last week in Florida. First he began by dumping on Michelle Obama for spending time in Spain and then followed up by saying that the family was heading for Nantucket. Sorry Sean, Nantucket Sound (Martha’s Vineyard) isn’t Nantucket.

Lately a number of conservatives have used the Grey Lady to knock Democrats that visit our lovely spit of sand. Some of them seem to forget that several very wealthy conservative donors and right-wing politician’s vacation here.

I’d love to tell you the crazy maneuvers I’ve seen that have taken place while driving and walking around town and beyond. Let’s recap some of my favorites. Walking or riding bikes two abreast on roads. Then there is the baby carriages built for two, same thing. I could have sworn that cars and trucks weigh a couple of tons, even on Nantucket. Many visitors believe that island vehicles are made of foam rubber.

On many occasions I’ve come around a bend in the road and faced people taking three to four feet along the asphalt. Usually, there’s a car coming from the opposite direction, so then I get to stand on the brakes to avoid running pedestrians over.

Then there are people crossing a street and are unable to make up their minds. I call this “the deer in the headlights” mode. They walk up to the curb, determined to cross, then can’t decide whether to continue onward. Just when you think they’re not going across and begin to go forward with your car, they suddenly walk out into traffic.

One frightening thing I’ve seen at least a half dozen times, mostly at the crosswalk by Main Street and Federal Street, are parents with several young children in tow. The adult (I use that term chronologically) walks across with the kids trailing behind.

Monday of this week, I watched a parent walk through with three children, all well behind her. Then out of nowhere a fourth child ran through, almost getting clipped by the auto that had stopped to let mom cross. None of the kids were more than 8 and the trailing child was the youngest of the bunch. I could go on, but I’m getting a headache just by rehashing this stuff.

Here’s some great news for a lucky family. The Habitat for Humanity House at 46 Okorwaw Avenue is just about finished. There will be a celebration on Saturday, Aug. 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. Over 200 volunteers gave their time to help out Katie Deras and her three kids have a new place to call home. Please stop by and see the “green” house.

Pleasant Street has sidewalks all the way from Main Street down to the mid-island Post Office. There is one exception, and the short stretch looks beautiful, but there’s no longer a sidewalk. Traffic along there makes walking extremely dangerous should you step onto the street.
Beginning at West Creek Road, down to Chin’s Way, what used to be a sidewalk has been gentrified with large planters and mulch. As I said, it looks great, but a sidewalk, it’s not. I’d hazard a guess that we (as in all of us) own the frontage and two businesses have taken it for their own purposes.

I’m happy to see MVP Dustin Pedroia back in the Red Sox lineup, and disappointed that Jacoby Ellsbury is back on the DL. We need the speed of Jacoby back patrolling the outfield, leading off the batting order and stealing bases.

The Patriots play their second pre season game tonight. The first tilt against Super Bowl champion New Orleans showed the Pats looking better than last year’s team. So far, so good.
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror.

Waterfront News

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Last hurrah? Summer is winding down. Fall is right around the corner. There is still a lot to see down at the waterfront. There’s always something interesting to photograph. Click here.
Martie Mack writes Nantucket’s Waterfront News blog

Goodman’s Gam

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

To join the conversation, click the link below

Over the years I’ve lived on-island, there have been some storms that have produced huge thunder boomers and amazing lightning strikes. Most of these episodes result in an occasional chimney blasted off a roof. So far this summer we’ve had quite a bit of damage to homes and institutions, complete with fires, accompanying the lightning strikes.

The past couple of storms seem to have caused more damage from lightning than I am able to remember. I have to wonder if this has something to do with chance, such as the storm coming directly over us, or simply lightning that’s more intense than usual.

Get ready folks, the Trustees of Reservations ia telling us what many beachgoers already know. Some of our seal population is aggressive and we need to take care around them. That is especially true of fishermen with a finny creature on the end of their line.

Mark my words, soon there will be beaches, (starting with Great Point) that will be seals-only. I haven’t bought a sticker to go out there for the past couple of years. Between bird closures, seal problems, too many rental SUVs and a hefty sticker price, it’s just not worth it to me. And, I’m not the only one who feels that way.

I wonder how much money was spent so that the Nantucket Police could have pictures taken of their marijuana haul. Every year, we see the same old bundles of weed stacked up by the station. At least they’ll have a new venue for next year’s photo album. More plants will be required, if they want to make it look like a big bust. With a new building, this years leafy take would seem paltry posed by the enormous brick edifice.

There’s a new bakery in town and it’s a good one. Not that I ever doubted Tiina Polvere could produce anything less than outstanding goods. Located on Centre Street, just shy of Broad Street, I arrived mid-morning on Saturday, and missed most of the snacks I had hoped for.

Mobs had bought most of what occupied the shelves and I made do with a baguette. The loaf was chewy and had great flavor. This is just what I need, more baked goods to load up on. I’m working on my Michelin Man look this year.

In the same vicinity is a great restaurant, Company of The Cauldron. Last Friday I dined there, and as always, was amazed at how wonderful the food was. Executive chef (and owner) All Kovelencik keeps getting better by the year. I first met All when he was cooking for Steve Bender at The Sandpiper, on Main Street, in the early seventies.

Last but not least on my food forays over the past week was a superb supper at The SeaGrille. E.J. and Robin Harvey have created an oasis for diners, with great food, huge portions and fine service. They both give back to the community in so many ways, that it’s impossible to relate them all here. Unless you’ve just arrived on Nantucket, their generosity and good deeds have probably touched you.

I’m all for the Dreamland rebuilding getting underway. There are plenty of people with the wherewithal to contribute four- or five-figure amounts to help the cause. At present, contributions from high-rollers and average folks are as they should be. The mid-level well-to-do have lagged behind. Instead of a new Range Rover this year, how about donating a chunk of change to create a landmark we can all be proud of?

On the other hand, the idea of the Dreamland people selling a couple thin slices of property to the Land Bank is a ridiculous idea. Pocket parks are ideal in a town, but the slivers that are proposed aren’t a good way to go. And, if a pocket park needs to go there, why shouldn’t the Dreamland people do it themselves?

The Land Bank has better ways to spend a couple of million dollars than this strange scenario. Trying to trade a seat on the Dreamland board for a land sale sounds like a bribe to me. At least they were up front about it.

One of my favorite artists had an opening last week and his work, ever good, was fantastic. David Lazarus continues to blossom with his paintings, yet his woodcuts and etchings still have that rustic feel. On Saturday morning, I ran into David at the market on Cambridge Street. He had a number of woodcuts, etchings and watercolors. I picked up a few and am going back for more. This is affordable art, and it’s evocative of Nantucket and our lives here.

I was in Boston for a couple of days this week and managed to get to a movie by the name of “The Kids Are All Right.” The 15-year-old boy in the picture was wearing a Nantucket T shirt in two scenes. Are we everywhere, or what?

I’d like to hear what you think, so here’s how to do so. My telephone number is 508-228-4325, email me at, or send me a letter at Box 1263, Nantucket, MA. 02554.

– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror.

Goodman’s Gam

Friday, August 6th, 2010

To join the conversation, click the link below
We’ve entered August. The following few weeks are going to be intense, horrendous traffic, too many entitled people and with any luck, beautiful weather to assuage some of the pressure. It doesn’t take too much to survive a summer on our favorite sandbar.

I’ve been meaning to get this on paper for better than a month. After driving the Milestone Road one evening, reflectors placed along the center line made the job of returning to town much more pleasant. The only state road on island is straight for the most part and tends towards boring one into submission while driving its length. Having the center line lit up makes the ride easy.

A Verizon repairman I ran across on India Street told me that the utility is now in the process of burying lines in the downtown area. Nothing will make me happier than seeing the overhead infrastructure disappear from sight. We have paid a surcharge for years and it’s time for those dollars to be put to work.

Nantucket has no neon lighting and the HDC (sort of) controls what buildings look like. Removing visual pollution from the electric, phone, and cable lines is another blight we need rid ourselves of. I can’t wait until there are only leaves and clouds to view when looking up at the sky, when I’m downtown.

A few weeks back, I mentioned how a downtown art gallery owner had some difficulty with a Community Service Officer. It seems her 12 pound dog has been singled out, because it sometimes walks out of her shop without a leash. Mind you, the dog never roams more than a couple feet from her mistress and is very shy. I know this dog and it is not an aggressive animal. When her owner does errands, the dog is on a leash.

Let’s get one thing straight, there is a leash law here. But, if the CSOs are going to enforce it, do so for everyone. There are several dogs, (all larger than the one I’m referring to) that are unleashed and live in front of downtown shops. Either go after them as well, or leave a tiny, gentle canine alone.

My personal take on the situation is that dogs that stay close to their owners and aren’t bothering others ought to be left alone. I see more nasty people around here than dogs. That includes a CSO, who seems to think he’s a cop. Please and thank you go a long way, when dealing with the public.

I attended The Simpsons Night of Comedy at Jetties Beach, last Thursday. The evening was full of laughter and I’ll guess that a few attendees learned some new language in those couple of hours. Mike O’Malley, host of the event, was sharp as could be, as were the other comedians on the bill. Next year, I plan on getting tickets to other events at the Nantucket Comedy Festival. It was a terrific show!

The following night found me at an art opening by M.J. Levy. She is one of my favorite people, not to mention an inventive and most talented artist. Every year, M.J. has new techniques to show off and that’s one thing I appreciate so much about her art. It’s ongoing, yet each new chapter appears as if she has been doing it forever.

I received several e-mails and direct comments regarding this column from last week. One reader wondered if the NRTA buses could extend one of their routes out Hummock Pond Road. That way the many visitors to Cisco Brewers and Nantucket Vineyards wouldn’t be navigating the shoulder of a narrow curvy road, with quite a bit of automobile traffic.

While this is a good thought, there are insufficient riders to warrant buses, most of the day. What is needed is the Hummock Pond bike path, which has been in the pipeline for many years. The path would remove most bikes and walkers from the shoulder. Having lived out that way, I’m all too familiar with the problems along there. Dodging bikes, walkers and other drivers should become a thing of the past, once a path is in place.

Other than a couple of cool, cloudy days, our weather has been lovely. I’ve gone and spent a few afternoons lying on a beach, a rare treat for me. This is the sort of activity I could easily get used to.
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space, and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror.

Waterfront News

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Here are a few scenes I grabbed over the last few weeks down at the waterfront.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog

Waterfront News

Friday, July 30th, 2010

The five-story motor vessel Copasetic was in port last week for a short stay. I have never seen her here before. She is an impressive vessel. I went down to the waterfront one evening while she was here and was able to grab a few shots although the lighting was not optimal.
– Martie Mack writes the Nantucket Waterfront News blog

Goodman’s Gam

Friday, July 30th, 2010

To join the conversation, click the link below
Maybe it’s just me, but when the temperature nears 80 around here, why do people begin complaining that we’re burning up? Last summer, some warm weather would have come in handy. I have zero complaints about Nantucket weather over this past spring and summer (so far). Most days when the thermometer has gone above 75, there’s been a mild breeze and life feels very comfortable.

There seem to be several cobbled streets in town where stones have erupted from their beds and said rocks are piled alongside the curb. Replant the stones, or at least stash them, before homeowners use them to enclose their driveway. I’ve picked up dozens of dirt-road cobbles for just that purpose, but would hate to see parts of our downtown streets being kidnapped for someone’s residence.

Recently I stopped and sat for a time in the Land Bank’s pocket park, at the corner of Main and Fair streets. It’s a peaceful spot with foliage and a view of town that can’t be beat. There’s a beautiful wrought-iron entry and a babbling fountain complete with stonework benches and deck. Why do people throw pennies into fountains?

Since that first time, I’ve returned to the park twice. Some kids used chalk and drew a hop-scotch court and some lovely, random designs. Seeing the court brought memories of elementary school and recess flooding back. So far, in three visits, there were not that many folks around. Maybe that’s good.

I had lunch at the Downy with two other “gentlemen” a few days ago. As we ordered, it was apparent that all three of us had ordered the exact same lunch we almost always do. Each of us ate a different dish than one another. We didn’t need menus and our waitress really didn’t need her order pad, as she’d figured out our (mostly) unvarying orders before we sat down.

The Nantucket Board of Selectmen has been asked to consider holding its weekly soap opera at the new Police Monstrosity (better get used to it, just like the water towers).

I’m conflicted with this possible step. The good thing is that the building is wired with a video feed, so the meetings may be televised and viewed in real time and there’s more room for the public and places to park.

On the other hand, moving the BOS meetings further destabilizes the downtown government center and that’s not good. Nantucket is in danger of losing year round downtown businesses to outer areas. A vibrant core district is imperative for us to truly remain a town. We already have the island/county part.

Wannacomet Water has once again told users that it’s fine to go back to watering their overly-green, far-too-fertilized lawns. We wouldn’t need new public wells if these systems were discontinued. I realize this is the classic “my lawn is lusher than yours” scenario, but if no one could use sprinklers, it could change our entire resource for the better. Does anybody really need a lawn on-island? If you play croquet regularly, you get a bye on this one.

This spring and summer, I have taken, or been taken, to Dune on four occasions. The food is superb and prices, for a first-rate eatery, are more than reasonable. Michael Getter produced wonderful food at American Seasons and he hasn’t lost a step by moving to Broad Street.

Speaking of that strip, a member of the Nantucket Town Association has single-handedly taken on the task of beautifying Broad Street, the first sight visitors on the Steamship Authority see upon driving off the boat. Actually, they’re no longer driven by steam, but one of them has the Nobska whistle, so all is not lost.

Not only has this saint of the strip planted vegetation on small plots there, but she’s spent countless hours drawing and researching ways to make that area more welcoming to everyone walking through there. Eventually this extension of the wharf could look less like a sideshow and more representative of what we are really about.

The Red Sox have certainly taken their lumps this season and they’re in remarkably good shape, considering the circumstances. August may be the month that tells us whether they live to play ball in late fall.

Even after trite rhymes, I’d like to hear your thoughts. I may be reached at (508) 228-4325, drop me a line at Box 1263, Nantucket, MA 02554, or e-mail me at Be nice, don’t make me blush.
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and periodically in The Inquirer and Mirror