'Affordability' Near Hamptons...Or Maybe Not

Long Island’s town of Southampton covers 295 square miles including a varied range of communities, some quite different from the village of Southampton that is familiar to seasonal visitors. One hamlet, called Riverside, is a pocket of relative distress, greatly Black and Latino-immigrant. It sits on the south side of the Peconic River, separating it from the more familiar Riverhead on the other side.

Sometimes Hamptonites lump the two together, though Riverhead is not part of Southampton town. That distinction has come to the fore as Southampton moves to bring development to Riverside—the first major such effort since Suffolk County opened a sheriff’s station, courthouse and jail there decades ago. Riverside has what so many East End communities say they need—“affordable” housing—and the town wants more of it there so as to contain the daily traffic throng to the Hamptons from points west (part of which, ironically, funnels through Riverside).

To do that it needs, among other investments, a big sewer plant. All well and good, but it turns out, as this latest useful report from the East End Beacon explains, this is not so welcome in Riverhead. There’s lots of news nowadays in these parts—the bridge between the affluent and preservationist South and North Forks of Long Island—and any transitions will merit further attention.