Could everyone write one simple essay about something that once happened in Saltaire…that they saw or were a part of…and put it on one big website? Somebody should collect a lot of stories before we all forget. Otherwise it is like a line in “On The Beach” : The history of the war that now would never be written.” -(JO'H)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Myopic Motorboating:
Phil Keane Jr. on:

How Meegan and Me Almost Altered the Course of New York City History
by Phil Keane, Jr:
I've been starting to write down my stories lately. As they come back to me I'm reminded of more stories, and so on and so on. My kids have told me I had so many stories I should get them down, while I can. Nice huh?

But I just have these "adventures" as such, some no great shakes, just things that stayed with me over the years.Things I saw or happened at different times in different places. Some, maybe many, that I'm sure have been embellished with bullshit as time goes on. Like my neighbor who buried his car, a big old 40's something, in his back yard in the late 50's. (This I have confirmed with my brother and sister).

This is one:

Mike's was one of these stories that came about because something else that I remembered brought this episode back to mind.
I met Mike Keegan at Saltaire on Fire Island, where we our families spent the summers. We were about 13 or 14 that summer. Mike was called "Meegan" Keegan. Eveyone called him Meegan. I can't remember why. What I remember about Mike was that although he really needed to wear glasses, he was never seen with a pair on. Whatever he was doing, he was always sticking his head out and squinting real hard in front of him. But it didnt work very well for him, I dont think he could see more than 3 or 4 feet .
Mike had a boat. A 16 foot aluminum or fiberglass boat. Nothing fancy, 3 bench seats, and an outboard motor. It was great for running around in, fishing, crabbing all that stuff. One Sunday morning we were heading down towards Sunken Forest, Mike, myself and Allen Aherne. Staying pretty close to shore and avoiding the flats. We were cruising along at a good clip, Mike at the stern holding on to the throttle, leaning far forward, and squinting to beat the band. I was sitting in the bow, leaning over keeping an eye out for sand bars and shallow water that was flying by fast Out east that way it's a pretty deserted area, there were no houses or beach access to the ocean.
There was a cabin cruiser anchored off our port side, but we didnt see anyone on it, or anyone else around. I can't remember the name of the boat but at the time it sounded familiar. As we were cruising along I started hearing someone yelling. At first it sounded faint, then a little louder, then it sounded like it was right in my ear. As we ripped along I looked down off the starboard side right and right next to the boat and there was this old man waving his fists and cussing and screaming his head off. I could have touched his nose he was that close. There was something about him that seemed familiar, even in that split second. We never even slowed down. I had to yell to Mike that we had almost run someone over. He popped his head up, squinted around a bit, but we just kept on going.
It bugged me for a while that I couldn't place the face but some time later, I dont remember when, I saw a picture in the newspaper. There was our man standing next to his boat, all smiles. He was Robert F. Wagner, then the Mayor of New York City. We had almost killed the Mayor of New York City!

I dont know Mike or Allen will remember this, but its still a great one in my Saltaire memories.

---Phil Keane, Jr.


Anonymous said...

We want to hear about you and Allen Aherne in Morroco.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Nice work Phil. These days any politician worth a kickback is surrounded by huge numbers of bodyguards to make them feel important AND to soak up tax dollars that would otherwise be used for practical improvements.

THAT IS ONE COOL STORY! I thought the punchline was going to be that it was Robert Moses, but THAT boat was unmistakable--and I can't imagine him getting out and clamming, either.