Holiday Display Yields Ticket in East Hampton Village

Elie Tahari 'surprised' by reaction to holiday window display, but will remove it to comply with village code.

The holiday display at the Elie Tahari clothing store in East Hampton Village is illegal and it must come down, according to village officials.

A neon light installation was installed earlier this month on the store's interior and can be seen through the shop's windows on the corner of Main Street and Newtown Lane in the heart of the business district.

Larry Cantwell, the village administrator, said on Tuesday that the company received a notice of violation on Dec. 3 and could receive a possible fine of up to $250 per day until it is removed.

"They violated a section of the code prohibiting neon and neon-type lights and signs including those within a building directly visible to any area outside of the building, Cantwell said on Tuesday. The company will have to answer the summons in East Hampton Town Justice Court. 

The lights were still glowing bright on Tuesday evening, but the company said there are for it to come down.

“The Elie Tahari East Hampton stores has always been a productive and supportive member of the East Hampton business community and although we are surprised by the reaction to our holiday window display there are plans to amend it in order to comply with Village zoning rules," said Laura Lapitino, a public relations manager at the high-end designer's corporate offices in New York City.

Asked to describe the light installation, Lapitino said: "The light display is a non-denominational modern take on the idea of using light to celebrate and commemorate the holiday season."

  • RELATED: Lights Draw Criticism from One Blogger

What do you think of the display? Tell us in the comments below.

Jimbo December 13, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Sam's sign is the only LEGAL neon sign in the village and it belongs to a by gone era that I am so fortunate to have grown up in! MERRY CHRISTMAS to all forget happy holidays!
LocalBub December 13, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good Light!
LocalBub December 13, 2012 at 01:26 PM
And what about the "White House" on the corner? Distracting? Come on people stay real please.
DasK December 13, 2012 at 02:24 PM
New Parish Museum is the best thing that has happened in Southampton in decades! I guess we should take your comment on the lights from whence it comes....
Ross MacKae December 13, 2012 at 02:24 PM
I agree. This is an example of Stuck on Stupid. East Hampton may not feel the recession as bad as it is felt in a non 1%er environment but all of the citizenry feels the impact. The village will want to raise taxes as revenues fall. The more vacant buildings in the downtown mall the less revenue. And as one resident of this community, I find empty buildings a far greater "eye soar" than an avantgarde Holiday Season window display. I wonder if there would have been a citation issued had the display been a neon Cross or a neon Star of David? Either way, a window display is not outside signage which is a legitimate ZBA issue. May everyone's Yule time season be a joyous one.
bonacbabe December 13, 2012 at 02:29 PM
This is another reason why we left Bonac because the Bonac that we grew up in is no longer in existence. It disappeared many years ago.
Ross MacKae December 13, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I should have read farther before responding. I was unaware that Eli Tahari owns the building. So I guess they probably won't sell it at a loss over the ZBA issue, but the rest still applies... Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, festive Yule, and peace in our hearts to all!
DasK December 13, 2012 at 02:31 PM
The Tahari display is in ALL his stores in many special locations. In SoHo a strictly landmarked place there has only been praise for this NON RELIGIOUS addition the end of the year holidays. But then again, SoHo is far more sophisticated about art and artistic expression then most of the townies in EH. OH and yeah,,...one more example of "WE have OUR rules!". And we are going to show YOU...even though you support US and our Economy!
Cathy - Amagansett December 13, 2012 at 02:42 PM
I'm not downing the idea of the art, the non-religious factor it may play or how tourists effect our economy. I just believe that it is such a bright display that it causes a distraction, you can't help but see it glaring and turn to look to see what it is.
DasK December 13, 2012 at 02:47 PM
YEAH.....Every one has to be protected from EVERYTHING by our watchful and interfering government.
mj15 December 13, 2012 at 03:23 PM
PLEASE... don't we have more important things to be upset about? It's the holidy season! Time for bright lights and good cheer. Lightnen up (pardon the pun).
Solusipse December 13, 2012 at 03:31 PM
De gustibus non est disputandum, and the lights are non-denominational and raise no constitutional issues . So, setting aside matters of aesthetics and religious sensitivities about which the law should not rule, there is a law, whether you agree with it or not that prohibits neon signs and lights, even if interior, if visible from the outside. Accordingly, it would seem that an expedited appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals, which presumably exists to address the occasions where a general law adopted to address a broad array of situations and places fails to equitably apply to a specific one where the test is a balancing of the desires of the applicant against both any detriment to the community and maintenance of the integrity of the law. In that LIGHT, perhaps the ZBA could find that a temporary display with reduced wattage, perhaps partially shielded from passing vehicular traffic, would warrant a special permit or variance thereby allowing a festive celebration of the season benefitting both the proponent and the community while protecting the community's legal and practical interests. Just sayin...
Preliator December 13, 2012 at 04:09 PM
What, ugly concrete walls, garish lighting more fit for JFK? I am sure the inside is nice but the outside looks like crap. Plant some trees or hedge to hide that eyesore.
nicole c December 13, 2012 at 04:59 PM
typically East Hampton, the only town where the people complain about everything and stick there nose in everything. Happy Holidays to one and all!!!
DasK December 13, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Ross MacKae December 13, 2012 at 05:38 PM
"De gustibus non disputandum est" is apropo in most things which are East Hampton. For clarification on the legalese, supra, a "law" is defined by the case law which clearly establishes a causeway with each side defined in such clarity that a person may traverse without running afoul of said law. Just because persons with personal agendas get a rule codified into an ordinance does not make it truly a law until it is tested in the courts sufficiently to establish it as a law. This community as most pass far more resolutions than common sense would dictate and many do not pass Constitutional muster. Sadly most of the citizenry lack the time and finance to put these local nuisances to the necessary legal tests. That said - I think we should find better things to do with our time, especially this time of year, than looking for ways to curtail the holiday spirit in others...
Preliator December 13, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Does not matter if the stores are vacant or occupied, the owners still pay their taxes, no change to revenue.
Katy Casey December 13, 2012 at 06:03 PM
I have loved neon as an art medium since the first time I saw an artistic application in the 1970's. I noticed (coveted) them right away when they went in and I know it violates code but I did not make the connection. If the store manager is looking to get rid of them I am volunteering to adopt them...I promise to install them somewhere in my home not visible through window. The corporation probably should have known they would violate code but in my opinion the "...non-denominational celebration of light.." is inspired.
Katy Casey December 13, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Have you been in the new Parrish? It is a beautiful space. We went opening weekend and spent about 4 hours there - could have easily stayed 8. I haven't seen a film there yet but its on my list. I love the new Parrish.
Preliator December 13, 2012 at 08:14 PM
I am sure it is quite nice on the inside but the exterior looks like a concrete retaining wall and all the lights...you can see it from space. And the lights in ET (strangely appropriate) junk that belongs in the Nightmarish Museum where pretentious people can ooh and ahh. The blinding 'art' will blend in with the blinding 'museum'.
Mauro Filicori December 13, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Good Grief! The "lights" patrols, the "religeous" zeleots.... the "strict code"enforcers..... the "why have fun" brigade.....the "store windows" revisionists.... the "cannot talk to you now" blinded drivers.....the "Dan Flavin" neonistas.....the "Bonacs Xmas" lights decorators.....the are all out in full force! Merry "something" Charlie Brown!
bonacbabe December 14, 2012 at 01:31 AM
It's a wonder that there are any people left alive in NYC with all those bright lights blinding them and causing fatal accidents. LOL.
Rushwind December 15, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Me, I am glad the lights are getting the boot. The last bastion of civility in this town was the off season when the streets are commanded by pickups and not Mercedes and Porsche SUVs. Lights for the holidays should be festive and not ostentatious. I miss the days of being able to get all my holiday shopping done on Newtown and Main Street.
peter dayton December 15, 2012 at 07:22 PM
hey Robin cant an old punk get upset these days? Bad design pisses me off! what where you doing in the early 80's
Katy Casey December 17, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Merry Christmas, Mauro.
DasK December 21, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Great,...the arbiter of taste has spoken!!!
David Buda December 21, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Don't be silly!
DasK December 22, 2012 at 06:43 PM
That's YOUR problem "DUDE". Most of us have lives, The ones with stupid, inane and just plain dumb comments hear...don't
DasK December 22, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I actually only comment here to respond to and point out stupidity
DasK December 22, 2012 at 11:11 PM
funny, I thought YOU were the redneck here!


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