Islander's Blog

Goodman’s Gam

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A front page-piece in the I&M regarding the Jared Coffin House really caught my attention last week. The main building is closed, due to fewer rooms being rented over the winter months. I’m not the least bit surprised by this. For several years the JC House has cut back on a number of amenities formerly available from past owner/operators Phil and Peg Read.

The manager says that they are doing some painting and refurbishing over the winter months. That’s all well and good, but there are other reasons all is not well at the corner of Centre and Broad streets. Christmas decorations that used to adorn the landmark have been minimal, not welcoming as in past decades. The industrial-looking sign on the fence out front, saying they’re closed, should never be able to pass HDC approval.

Without food service (except for Chinese for a couple of summer months) why would one opt for staying in the main hotel in the off-season? The loss of the dining room is one strike and disemboweling the Tap Room is a large loss for both the hotel and the entire community. Not having in-house food service might be one clue as to why business is slow.

The Tap Room was a warm, cozy spot to settle in for a nice lunch, a solid dinner, or a late-night libation with friends. Many nights there was live music and on most Wednesdays, the Board of Selectmen had their second meeting of the evening in those confines. When I first moved here, there were two places in town to go to at night in the off-season: the Jared Coffin House and Cy’s. At least we now have a Cy’s back on-line. The Tap Room is empty, the lights are out and nobody’s home. What a shame.

A few months back several people e-mailed, wrote and spoke to me complaining about the new water tower on Wannacomet Water Company land off the Polpis Road. Now I heard a gripe about the new tower in Sconset.

I’m not totally happy with these new edifices dedicated to the overuse of our ground water. I believe that huge houses and the attendant sprinkler systems have fueled the need for huge tanks towering over our landscape. Wait until summer-dwellers return and see immense structures on the horizon. How many letters to the editor will pour in complaining of the towers that they themselves wrought?

Please don’t forget to vote for a new United States senator next Tuesday at Nantucket High School. The polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. For those folks who need an absentee ballot, you have until 5 p.m. Friday to obtain one from the town clerk’s office. Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Town offices will be closed and by then it will be too late to get an absentee ballot.

This is an important election and most voters seem to be unaware that it’s even on the horizon. There are three candidates on the ballot, with Martha Coakley, a Democrat; and Scott Brown, the Republican, vying for Ted Kennedy’s former seat. There is Joseph Kennedy, a Libertarian running as well, though he’s far behind the pack.

All three of the candidates have very clear differences between them, so this ought to be a fairly easy choice for citizens who are up to date on the issues. Martha Coakley appears to be a little less liberal than Ted Kennedy was and Scott Brown is more conservative than former Republican senators from the Bay State, and is a Bush/Cheney throwback. Joseph Kennedy has some ideas that sound good, but as a Libertarian (polling in the single digits) a vote for him (in my mind) is equivalent to a non-vote.

Once again, the Atheneum is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to receiving money from the town. By law, Nantucket (and every other municipality in the commonwealth) must fund a library. Around here, we get off with paying approximately one third of the budget for a facility that serves our community with services which go far beyond what many libraries offer.

Today the numbers of people using the Atheneum have increased by 11 percent, while the town is paying them at a level barely above that in former years. The library could lose their accreditation from the state if funding from the town is insufficient. I know times are tough right now, but this is one area that shouldn’t be cut as it would greatly impact so many islanders.

Our school children need the Atheneum, as does the general public for research, use of computers, lectures, movies and the simple pleasure of reading a magazine or a book. We need the Atheneum. If you haven’t been there lately, go in and take a look. You’ll be impressed.

From everyone I’ve spoken with, cutting back on the number of summer specials has met with great approval. Quality over quantity would make all of us feel better. I think about the money a SS is going to cost the town (in reality our insurance carrier) for his insensitive comments to some kids a couple of years ago.

Taking away some of their (already) minimal powers is a smart thing to do. What we need are ersatz cops to give directions to lost tourists and call the real gendarmes when trouble arises. With a couple weeks of training, they aren’t equipped to make sound, on-the-spot judgments in most cases. Either get some more full-time peace officers, or use the SS as hall monitors. Hall monitors, it is.

The Nantucket versus Martha’s Vineyard football game is back. On Nov. 20, the Whalers will be stomping grapes over on the other island. The following year, they’ll do battle here. A one-year hiatus without the Island Cup contest was more than enough.

Saltwater licenses are now going to be required for anglers, beginning this year. Click here to register. It’s simple, takes no time and the best part is that it’s free (this year).

The Patriots lost and lost badly last week. They never looked as if they were really in tune on Sunday. In five weeks, pitchers and catchers report to the Boston Red Sox spring training camp. Four days later the rest of the squad will join them. On March 3 they’ll play their first Grapefruit League exhibition game. Between that, the Celtics and the Bruins, we have something to look forward to. I’m ready.
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and monthly in The Inquirer and Mirror

One Response to “Goodman’s Gam”

  1. Kenny B Says:

    Hi there David – Regarding the Tap Room at the JC. I soooo miss it. The atmosphere was cozy and ‘old Nantucket.’ The decor was classic. Think of those wonderful prime rib nights. Sure the price went up over the years but it was still a wonderful spot for us winter folks to congregate.

    Talking about that, there was an actress from Maine on Letterman the other night. She commented on people telling her, “Yes, we have ‘summered’ in Maine for so many years.” How nice.

    Glad you have summered there (here) but until you winter, you are just a frill. Winter is when character is built and you can never have too much character.

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