What is that?


If you know, let us know. Send your responses to [email protected] or phone (631) 749-1000, extension 18.

Peter Stamberg wrote us about last week’s photo (see below): “It is, to the best of my knowledge, the only traffic light on Shelter Island. I wish it was turned on more often. I love pointing it out to first time visitors, along with the bustling airport up on Cartwright Road.”


There were a few others who really know their Island and weighed in. Ronald Jernick identified “the sole stoplight,” adding that “it was at the east landing of South Ferry.” Cynthia Michalak wrote to say the traffic light “was at the old Shelter Island marina and fishing station property,” and Art Barnett III had some fun divining its purpose: “That’s the light that keeps people from driving into Smith Cove too quickly.”

Mary Ann McGinn called to say she thought the stoplight was put up at the original South Ferry landing to signal drivers when to board a boat.

Georgiana Ketcham summed it up for a lot of readers: “Our Island has a traffic light?”

Evidently yes, Georgiana.

But how did it come to the Island?

The traffic light was photographed about 200 yards from the original South Ferry landing, where boats used to come in before Route 114 was built. It was also the site of Skip Tuttle’s boatyard.

A few years ago, Skip told us a tale going back four decades of friends of his who owned a bar and restaurant in Sunnyside, Queens.

One day a man came in and wanted to play a practical joke on a friend, using a traffic light. A patron of the bar who worked in the traffic department of New York City got his friend the stop light, while another rigged the box to work.

“I had it at my boatyard and then gave it to my cousins,” Skip said. “I thought it should stay in the neighborhood.”