Column: The Times(Review) they are a-changin’

by |
11/23/2010 8:06 PM |

A few weeks back I got my first look inside the new Dark Horse Restaurant at the corner of Peconic and Main in Riverhead.
In addition to opening quite the classy eatery, owner Dee Muma did one helluva job restoring the building, a three-story 1920s beauty in the heart of downtown Riverhead.
The tour she gave included a peek at the gorgeous new two-level condos upstairs. Unit 5 is a light and airy space with a great Main Street view, quite different from the last time I saw it. Some 30 years or so ago I worked there as a cub reporter for the old Traveler-Watchman newspaper. With its dark paneling, red shag carpet and pressed tin ceiling, the place then had the look of a bordello to it.
What I mean is, how I imagine a bordello might look, if I ever imagined such things, which of course I never have.
Last Saturday, my hunt for assorted holiday accoutrements took me to Route 58. Heading west, I couldn’t help but notice the work going at the old Suffolk Life building, soon to be a Lowe’s home improvement supply store.
Then it hit me: In the not-so-distant past we lost two historic newspapers, both community cornerstones. So what, right? It happens. Remember the original Long Island Press or the short-lived Suffolk Sun? The Brooklyn Daily Eagle?
Still, it’s a sobering thought when you work for a newspaper company, one that recently decided to cease printing our northeastern Brookhaven flag, the North Shore Sun. After Dec. 3, the Sun will shine only on computer screens as a web-only news source.
So what does that mean for Pleistocene-era creatures such as meself, who actually worked on — gulp — a typewriter and thought the telephone was the marvel of modern communication?
How the heck should I know?
This much I do know; The times they are a-changin’. Even I have one of them fancy smart phones, a laptop and a Facebook account. But the Mrs. keeps telling me to put down the damn phone lest my mind morph into tapioca. And truth to tell, I can’t divine the meanings of half of the Facebook updates I get. Postings like:
“What they say b true, didnt believe til now.”
Huh? What?
Wonder how many comments I’d get for “bordellos b x-spensiv.” Not that I really know, you understand.
Sure, news isn’t delivered the way it once was. But to say newspapers are a thing of the past is like arguing that the demise of Pontiac and Oldsmobile spells the end of the automobile.
Will there come a day when all newspapers stop printing on paper? Maybe. Heck, if I knew for certain, I’d soon be richer than Bill Gates and the woman who wrote those Harry Potter books. I do know that, without a web presence, news organizations run the risk of going the way of the Edsel and the Packard. With that in mind, we recently upgraded our website and created a web news team. Ah, those crazy, tech-savvy kids! LOL!
Me? I still like the feel of a paper newspaper. One afternoon during our first trip to Dublin, the Mrs. retired for a nap and I ambled down to the hotel pub and settled in a quiet corner with a copy of The Irish Times and a, um, beverage. Ah, ’tis grand altogether. And when in Maine there’s nothing better than starting the day with a breakfast sandwich from the general store, a hot cup of tea and the Portland Press-Herald. Hey, will ya look at that! A lobsterman pulled in a rare golden-toned lobster. Only one of every 30 million lobsters is that color? Now that’s news. While I’m up there, anyway.
Not all news is breaking news, and I know of no one who’s signed up for real-time updates from National Geographic or The New Yorker.
Anyway, who said it has to be either/or?
What’s wrong with both?
I mean, there are places where it might not be appropriate to check a smart phone or laptop. Like a bordello, maybe.
And I’m just guessing here.
[email protected]