August 17, 2009 at 5:32 pm by Robert Bullock
For us Saratoga residents, there is not just one phase to our summer season, there are many.
As the summer begins, there is the early season. Kids have just finished school. People are still in their respective homes. Ballet is about to begin and we are looking forward to evenings on the SPAC lawn. Folks have arrived from central and South America for polo. Overall, the energy is still manageable. We residents still own the town.
As the ballet concludes and the race meet gets ready to begin, the energy changes. The mood is now frenetic. Many neighbors head for vacation homes and give their houses up to renters. Traffic on Broadway gets more than a little crazy and the parking lots fill with downstate and out of state plates.
Unquestionably, the first day of racing signals the time when the town is no longer our own. Summer residents demand what they believe to be their rights. Yet, despite this tug of war that exists between the summer people and us year-rounders, we Saratoga residents take a certain pride in the fact that our city is a destination for the world’s elite.
For the first two weeks of the meet the energy builds, then pauses as we prepare for the Travers. Travers weekend is like opening day all over again. And despite the fact that we locals have been known to negatively reflect upon our inconvenience, secretly Saratogians take pride in complaining about the days when SPAC and the Race Course bring 80,000 plus to town. We give a knowing wink to restauranteurs as we walk by crowded entrances, knowing that just two weeks hence we will have them all to ourselves again.
Ironically, during the last week after the Travers, while we are delighted that the crush is almost over, we are also sad. Indeed, on Labor Day, as we watch the desperate race to load up the moving vans at the track and head for Belmont, we lament the fact that the circus is over again for another year.
As we point toward our last three weeks of summer, let’s enjoy the insane traffic, the crowded restaurants, the too hot days at the Race Course, the endless afternoons at the Victoria Pool, beautiful mornings on the golf course, the wondrous nights at polo, and the last evenings of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Isn’t this all -the good and the bad- what make Saratoga, Saratoga?
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