FORT ZINDERNEUF, EAST

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Most years "the season" begins in East Hampton on Memorial Day.

This year, long before this past weekend, we had everything out there but Judge Ito, G. Gordon Liddy and an annual encampment of the Michigan Militias.

First of all, the spate of magazine cover stories (Working Woman and New York) on Martha Stewart plus newspaper reports her neighbors up in Westport, Conn., were threatening to have Martha's house condemned if one more damned camera crew arrived. Since Martha also has a home in East Hampton, I drove over there Saturday morning expecting to see a re-enactment of the siege of Fort Zinderneuf with rampaging Touregs sniping away and the Geste brothers, sustained by Martha herself, gallantly holding out until the relief column under Major Beaujolais might arrive.

But all was calm on Lily Pond Lane. At Martha's house a lone chap, who appeared to be a gardener, was strolling about the lawn. I did note that Martha's shutters this spring are a sort of off-blue. Is this the season's new hue? I jotted a note reminding myself to inquire.

Along Further Lane, where I live, the excitements since last Labor Day are beyond all telling. Christie left Billy and went off and Jann left Jane and went off. Further Lane still has its rich and famous but you don't lose a Christie Brinkley and a Jann Wenner and not notice. But, as they say, the Lord giveth as well as taketh away.

British ad man and best selling author Peter Mayle has taken a cottage in East Hampton, which is said to be far grander than his digs in Provence about which he wrote all those wonderful books. He's quoted as saying he's fed up with the crowds in France and is looking for peace and quiet in East Hampton. As columnist Neal Travis suggests, he shouldn't hold his breath.

Lorne Michaels is feuding with East Hampton Town authorities. He wants to put up and operate what he calls a "sedate country inn" on Manin Street in Amagansett (one of the Town's villages). But the Town, having seen the plans, says what Lorne wants to do is run a hotel and they aren't buying. Not yet, in any event. Various local historical societies are opposing Mr. Michaels, who paid $720,000 for the 3.25 acre lot.

La Streisand has been visiting and looking, they say, at houses South of the Highway. Which, in East Hampton, is where you want to be. One place the agents offered, for a piddling four million or so, was reportedly rejected by Barbra in words reminiscent of Bette Davis: "What a dump!"

Billy Joel and his former lawyer (both of them East Hampton residents) have sort of resumed a feud most people thought was settled a couple of years ago. Now there are new disputes over whether attorney Grubman actually paid Billy a few million to settle the affair. He denies that he did; folks close to Billy insist a conciliatory payment was made. There are also rumors Billy may sell his wonderful Further Lane spread where he keeps all those antique wooden fishing boats.

Jerry Della Femina is also feuding, with a new spate of letters to the ed., tiffing with his longtime local bete noire, Larry Cantwell of the Village government. But all of Jerry's restaurants are up and operating.

Tony Bullock, who is Town supervisor, kind of our mayor, is raising funds for a possible run at Suffolk County exec. We all love Tony desperately but some of us hope he just stays in East Hampton and takes care of all of us (even of Jerry Della Femina!). Meanwhile, the Town Zoning Board of Appeals struck a blow at former New York Post Publisher Peter Kalikow. They'll allow him to build his floating dock at Star Island but won't permit the catwalk and ramp he needs to get out to it. A Solomon-like decision? Mr. Kalikow probably doesn't think so.

At a Town meeting Stuart Vorpahl objected to the presence of a cop in the room. "Nazi Germany started this way!" he declared.

Just to prove there's a loving side to East Hampton as well, money for pediatric AIDS care is being raised by a local group called "DISHES," which is helping organize the Summer Beach Games. "DISHES" stands for, "Determined and Involved Supermodels Helping to End Suffering." Out here, many of our finest supermodels pattern themselves on Mother Teresa.

John Argento, who owns the Manhattan club called Danceteria, said he will open a Hamptons Danceteria on Three Mile Island Road. Even more ominous for the neighborhood, Conde Nast editorial chief James Truman was quoted in a New York paper, the Observer, to the effect he is passing on the Hamptons for this coming season and will instead summer on the North Shore of Long Island. Why? Mr. Truman is quoted as saying (perhaps tongue in cheek) that he wishes to avoid our "obsession with the ocean" and is fed up with "running into your colleagues in their shorts."

So exhausted was I with all this, and Memorial Day not even yet arrived, I took the old canoe out onto Accabonac Harbor Sunday morning and enjoyed a rare old hour or so watching ospreys nest and a solitary egret amble along the shoreline. Didn't see many fish (one horseshoe crab) though at the bar of the Blue Parrot, Richard Ryan tells me blues and stripers are both moving toward us along the ocean beach. Oh, yes, Roland the Bartender says Christie Brinkley and her parents were in, Christie about to have the new baby. Or so says Roland.

Also the talk of The Blue Parrot, a front-page story in the East Hampton Star warning of "The challenges of hurricane damage, erosion and flooding along East Hampton's 110 miles of coastline." Especially alarming in a brand new Town report, this passage:

"During the '38 Hurricane the entire Napeague area was inundated, cutting off Montauk from the rest of the Town for nearly a week. Since then, many new homes have been built.*.*."

Is Martha Stewart aware of this? Does the Danceteria man know? Have the "determined and involved supermodels" been alerted?

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