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Classic cars in Bridgehampton as the Circus comes to the Parrish Art Museum

Originally Posted: October 08, 2004

Debbie Tuma

Bridgehampton was packed with shiny, restored classic cars last Saturday, as the annual Bridgehampton Road Rally drew hundreds of contestants from all over the country. Starting at about 9 a.m. on Saturday, beautiful Packards, Studebakers, Triumphs, and even Rolls Royces paraded around the streets and back roads, following a route where they clocked in at diiferent locations. This contest was a combination of time, distance and speed.

After a full day of "racing," these cars ended up at the lawn of the Bridgehampton Historical Society, which organized the rally, and parked so the public could come and view them. In the late afternoon, an awards presentation party was held across the street at the Bridgehampton Community Center.

John Eilertsen & Jim Shelley

John Eilertsen, director of the Bridgehampton Historical Society, said in past years, this ceremony was held under a tent on the Historical Society lawn. "But the impending rain on Saturday prompted the race organizers to move the event indoors," he said. "Luckily, however, the weather held out, and it was a beautiful day for racers, their friends of families."

John Gruen, owner of the Vignoli Gallery in Sag Harbor, and former owner of Gruen Optika eyewear chain both here and in Manhattan, was one of the lucky racers. "We had a great time out their on the race circuit, and we're happy the rain held off for us this year," he said as the silver trophies were being handed out. This year's all over winners were Richard Weintraub and Gerard Jebbrey, who won first place for their 1955 MGTF, with a silver tray.

Dr Fred Pescatori

The racers traded stories over an open bar and plenty of great food, following the race. This entire event was televised by WVVH-TV Channel 78, the official station which covers it every year, and this year it will be broadcast in November for all to see who missed it.

Some of the car lovers who came to browse over the beautiful classic cars were the famous Hamptons Diet doctor, Dr. Fred Pescatori, who had held a great event himself in Southampton last June, to kick off the sale of his popular new book. "I love this Packard," he said of the pale blue model in mint condition. Jim Shelley, owner of Georgica Getty, who sponsored this event and acted as rally master, was also present. Car lover Jack Keogh, owner of "Sign Language" in East Hampton, dropped by, as did Sam Guillory, an eye surgeon of Manhattan.

Greg Milstein

The Parrish Art Museum of Southampton was having an unusual event last weekend, with the arrival of the "National Circus Project." On the museum grounds were jugglers, clowns, acrobats, and even chinese yo-yos and plate spinning, with talented performers by this group, which is based in Westbury, Long Island.

Greg Milstein, director of the National Circus Project, was juggling cups and joking with great humor, in front of an audience. He explained later that his group is an arts in education outreach program, that teaches circus skills as a physical education and arts experience to 600 schools around the Northeast. "We have about 20 staff members, who teach circus skills, and we recently appeared at the Hampton Classic Horse show, on Kids Day," he said. His group also does performaces on the trapeze, and rope spinning. The National Circus Project also does international outreach programs for kids, and they recently went to Russia, visiting hospitals with a clown program there.

This entertainment was part of the Parrish Art Museum's Fall Family Festival. The museum, located on Job's Lane, is open year-round with various arts and educational programs.

Last Sunday, another unusual sight took place, with several big dogs walking into church in Water Mill. It was the annual "Blessing of the Animals" at the Incarnation Lutheran Church on Main Street there.

Reverend Rose Vita

Reverend Rose Ann Vita held out her hand and blessed several pets who were brought in by their owners. In the church, prayers were said to Saint Francis of Assisi, the saint of the animals. A reception followed, for people and their furry friends.

Speaking of animals, or at least sea creatures, some very interesting work is being done with local sharks, by Southampton scuba diver and videographer David Nadal. Although Nadal is often seen behind his video camera, catching celebrities at Hamptons parties for local TV show, he has also taken up a cause to observe and preserve sharks off Montauk. He has been going out on Chuck Wade's boat, where he is lowered into the ocean in an actual shark cage, camera and all.

'I've been feeding the sharks off Montauk, in order to see and video them in their natural environment," he said. "My video partner Bob Beres and I have gone out and created a show on these sharks, which is still running on WVVH-TV," he said. "Although it's dangerous, my purpose is to show that these are valuable creatures, who scavenge the ocean bottom, and should not be randomly destroyed by shark hunters," he said. "I think too many people kill them needlessly, and I want to educate people about how good they are for our waters." He said sharks eat the sick and dying fish on the ocean floor, and they are also being studied by medical science for their inability to get cancer, thus the product "shark cartillage," available in health food stores. He also has an underwater show, "David Nadal Presents," on Channel 20, on Monday nights. Nadal winters in the Bahamas, where he continues to dive in cages and observe shark behavior.

Another local person who is no stranger to local waters, and who designs boats when he's not playing the piano, is our own Billy Joel, who tied the knot last weekend (October 2) with longtime girlfriend Kate Lee, whom he met at Jeff Eddie's Restaurant in Sag Harbor, several years ago. They were married at Joel's estate in Nassau County. Congratulations to the happy couple.

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