A clothing store in expensive Westhampton Beach, L.I., is making what its owner calls a social statement in its window.
It's making its statement by display-smile on its face, its trousers around its ankles and its raincoat held wide open to the gaze of two female mannequins.
The flasher provokes looks of subdued shock on the painted faces of the female mannequins, but the dismay of some Westhampton Beach residents has been unsubdued.
"We want the town to understand that this is both a social statement and a fashion statement," says Todd Ricci who, with his wife, Evelyn, owns the store, Vittorio Ricci-Riding High.
"You can either be terrified by a flasher and have nightmares for three weeks or you can look and say I would not show that if I were you."
Ricci says he doesn't want to antaonize the whole town, but he thinks people ought to learn to look at life with a more humorous eye.
"Flashing isn't cool," Ricci says with a chuckle, "but if you laugh at it, it will go away."
Mayor Clayton Moore has visited the clothing and shoe store to make unknown the unhappiness that surfaced at a village board meeting this week. Moore, who is no relation to the Clayton Moore who played the Lote Ranger on television, says the town doesn't have any law that could force Ricci to remove the flasher.
Moore's life is made easier, however, by Ricci's intention to remove the flasher Friday in keeping with his regular schedule to window changes every two weeks.
His next window, Ricci says, will be two women arriving at a party wearing the same dress and getting into a ple-throwing fight. He promises that one more window this summer will have a sexual theme, but declines to describe it.
Ricci says he thinks the flasher attracting customers to the store. "Far more poeple say 'oh, wow, isn't that great' than complain," he says.
Ricci's only complaint is that some press accounts of his window have used his old name , Todd Finkel. He's in the process of legally changing his name from Finkel to Ricci, he says.
He sees himself as a trend setter and sees Westhampton Beach as a prudish community.
"Like icebreakers we sometimes suffer the chill," he says of his role.
"This is really an American story, a story about change. Westhampton is going through a change and the old guard doesn't like it."
Ricci alos notes that he has a store in Manhattan where the flasher window was on display for three weeks without causing anyone to bat an eye.
"In New York you can see there muggings and still go on eating your hot dog. I guess they haven't seen many muggings in Westhampton," Ricci says.