Court says yacht club must end tradition

A recent decision by a New York State Appeals Court has nearly silenced the Harlem Yacht Club cannon that at one time was fired nightly. Members of the yacht club and some City Island residents believe the tradition?s moratorium should be revaluated. The club says it is a widespread tradition for yacht clubs to fire a cannon at sundown to honor the flag. In 2000, upset neighbors signed a petition asking for the club to cease usage of the cannon. Following the petition, members say the city hit them with fines for noise violations. Commodore Tex Stephenson argues that the club is simply carrying on a tradition and that the blasts are not as loud as some neighbors complain they are. Stephenson also says the club has tried to scale back the noise level and only use a shotgun shell with a half load in it to keep the shot quiet. One resident, Gerry McCormick, believes the people upset by the noise shouldn?t have moved to the area. ?If people really don't like it, they shouldn't buy a house near a yacht club,? he said. Though the court did say they would consider allowing the cannon to be fired if the noise was made less jarring, Stephenson believes the city?s gauging of that quality is too subjective.