Relay: Singing the Cell Service Blues

Now that I’m back traveling the South Fork daily, I’ve come to one very simple realization: The cellphone service out here is really not so great.

I don’t mean to return and immediately start complaining — those who know me best, please refrain from a snarky laugh. I am really quite happy to be back at The East Hampton Star, which has become my home away from home in my affiliation with the paper, which dates back 17 years. I missed East Hampton, the people, the ocean, and so much more. 

The commute from our home in Flanders is, of course, something I did not miss when I was working on the North Fork. The drive is scenic. There is something to be said for passing the farm fields and giving a wave to the farmer up on the tractor. I break up the drive with stops along the way, whether it’s my favorite coffee spot or my firehouse in Bridgehampton. Coming to work in a historic building right on Main Street, walking distance to the village and next door to the library, has a certain charm. 

But, what’s with the cell service? Is it me, or has it gotten worse? I have AT&T, but I’m curious if those with Verizon or T-Mobile are faring any better. What’s it going to be like in the summer when the crowds arrive? 

I’m one of those people who talks so much on the phone for work that when it comes to my friends and family, I’d rather they text. However, my drive — which can sometimes last more than an hour — is the one time I don’t mind the conversation. I have Bluetooth in my car, so don’t worry, I’m hands-free. 

I’ve come to know the bad spots and dead zones well. On my commute west, service is worst by far around CVS and the Red Horse Market in East Hampton Village. No one can hear me pretty much until I get to Wainscott. Sagaponack used to be worse, but appears to have improved. Then, by the Bridgehampton School, the signal strength trails off again, only to improve in downtown Bridgehampton and go out again just as you pass the Bridgehampton Commons. As you get into Water Mill, the service begs off yet again, until you come out of the curve and get near the Parrish Art Museum. The conversation can continue fine pretty much until you hit P.C. Richard & Son, and then it’s trouble pretty much all the way to Sunrise. 

Don’t get me started on the reception on Flanders Road. 

I’m not going to pretend to understand the ins and outs of cell reception, but it’s 2018. Shouldn’t we be able to make a call and keep the call as we travel a major route? 

If I’m asking too much, feel free to tell me. But I do wonder if people in these dead spots have ever experienced issues dialing 911 in an emergency. As someone who traverses this route several times a week, that has me thinking. 

I do suppose it could all be worse. I could be traveling to work underground in a hot subway with nothing pretty to look at out my window when the call drops. 

On second thought, just text me after all. I’ll read it later. 


Taylor K. Vecsey is The Star’s deputy managing editor.