Past and Present Are Prologue

Last week at this time, the world was waiting for Hurricane Florence to strike. This week, the world can see that, while the winds were much less strong than originally predicted, the effect of rainfall of as much as 36 inches over four days can be equally, or surpassingly catastrophic.

At Quaquanantuck has noted that Google is matching donations up to $1 million for Hurricane Florence relief. And the American Red Cross has a site set up for donations dedicated specifically to Hurricane Florence relief efforts; visit the Red Cross donation site by clicking here.  

It is hoped that everyone who is able to make a donation without suffering undue hardship will do so. And then At Quaquanantuck hopes that everyone will look long and hard at the destruction—of property, of businesses, of the environment, of people’s lives—in the wake of this storm … and then will look at their own backyards and neighborhoods and try to envision the impact of a similar storm here.

On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the Hurricane of 1938, it’s more important than ever to keep these images in mind and to do some planning in advance, before the next time the call goes out to make storm preparations, or to evacuate. You don’t have to be a Boy Scout to understand the critical importance of being prepared.

SYC 0911
When normal new moon spring tides come up this far, the prospect of a storm surge from a hurricane becomes more alarming. —Lulie Morrisey Photo

“Hurricanes: Forecasting, Communication, Response” at Wildlife Refuge
Timing may not be everything, but its significance can’t be overestimated. Apropos of the introduction to this week’s column, representatives from NY Sea Grant, the National Weather Service, Suffolk County Emergency Management, and other local experts are coming together for an informational program at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge today, Thursday, September 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Hurricane Florence
Hurricane Florence prior to making landfall.

Topics for discussion include: how hurricanes are forecast; the difference between a watch and a warning; how to prepare for an approaching storm; how to stay safe during a storm; and what to do after a storm impacts a residential area (like the one in which you reside).

As most folks know, the Quogue Wildlife Refuge is located at 3 Old Country Road. Registration is encouraged, even at this late date, by visiting and searching the keywords “Hurricane Forum.” For more information, contact Sea Grant New York’s Kathleen at

Other programs coming up at the QWR include an Autumn Forest Hike at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 22, and a Full Moon Night Hike on Monday, September 24, at 7 p.m. Visit for details.

Illustrated Talk on Hurricane of ’38 at Library September 22
Still on the topic of hurricanes, and the big one that walloped Quogue and Westhampton Beach in 1938, the Quogue Historical Society will present an illustrated talk on “The Hurricane of 1938: 80 Years” on Saturday, September 22, at 3 p.m. at the Quogue Library.

Hurricane '38B
The storm surge in 1938 pushed houses off the beach and into the bay. —Photo courtesy Quogue Historical Society

QHS Curator and Southampton Town Historian Julie B. Greene will offer images and details of the Hurricane of ’38, which tore across the East End on the afternoon of September 21 with sustained Category Three winds of 100 miles per hour. And with no websites like or smartphones with apps like Dark Skies and Weather Underground to issue alerts, the storm blew in with almost no warning, causing massive damage and loss of life.

The QHS talk will look back 80 years at the devastating storm that day-after newspaper headlines named “The Long Island Express.” To register, call the Quogue Library: 631-653-4224, ext. 101.

“Some Like It Hot”: First Film Feast of Fall at Library Saturday, September 22
The first Quogue Library Film Feast of the fall is scheduled right at the time of the 2018 autumn equinox, on Saturday, September 22, with the reception and feasting get underway at 6:15 p.m.

That’s right: it’s time once again to join friends, neighbors, and other cinephiles for an evening of fine food and a terrific film at the library’s monthly Film Feast, this week featuring the Billy Wilder classic: “Some Like It Hot.”

Some Like It Hot

Directed by Wilder and released in 1959, this black and white romantic comedy set in 1929 consistently tops critics’ lists as one of the greatest films of its kind. When two male musicians witness a mob hit resembling the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women … and then predictable and unpredictable complications arise, with hilarious results.  

The three stars—Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe—are highlights of the film, supported by stars in their own right Pat O’Brien, George Raft, and Joe E. Brown.

Since the film is being screened at the library, film buffs might want to inquire as to whether the staffers, or the Libby app, can locate a copy of Laurence Maslon’s great book: “Some Like It Hot: The Official 50th Anniversary Companion.”

Featuring never-before-seen photos of Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon, this book celebrates Wilder’s classic film, voted the number one funniest movie of all time by the American Film Institute. Granted full access to the MGM vaults, author Laurence Maslon offers a fully illustrated companion guide of memorabilia and behind-the-scenes tidbits just right for anyone who loves comedy, jazz, and American film.

The feasting begins at 6:15 and the film will be screened at 7:15. As always, admission is a beverage to share and a dish that serves at least six. Best to call the library at 631-653-4224 to let them know you’re coming and to determine what kinds of dishes would be most appropriate: there are few whose diets can withstand showing up for a dinner featuring eight desserts and one plate of hors d’oeuvres.

Goergen Matching Gift Challenge Is Met
This news just in from helpful community correspondent (and former Quogue Library board president) Lynda Confessore: “Great news for the Quogue Library’s Capital Campaign. The Goergen $300,000 Matching Gift Challenge was met—dollar for dollar up to $25,000—by the September 15 deadline!

“Now starts the big push to the finish line as the fund-raising campaign continues. For those who haven’t had a chance to donate, there has never been a better time to be part of this exciting project. Drop by the Campaign Headquarters next to the Post Office or stop into the library to pick up a pledge card, view the plans and have your questions answered.

“This is a once-in-a-generation chance to make a true difference in the vibrant life of Quogue. Gifts of $5,000 and up will be on the central Roll of Donors plaque. All donors will be recognized in a Commemorative Book displayed in the Library.

“Community support has been the foundation of the Quogue Library’s development from its 1897 founding to its 5-Star Library national recognition today.”

Quogue Library trustees and staff continue to be on hand to answer questions and review the library’s expansion and renovation plans at the Quogue Library Capital Campaign Headquarters on Midland Street next to the Post Office.

The Capital Campaign office also hosts workshops demonstrating the programs and services the library offers via the patrons library card, focusing especially on free online resources and books/audio books available through the Libby app.

All local residents are invited to come in to have questions answered and learn something new about the library’s services at the same time.

Garden Club Hosting Paul Cowie and Story of 9/11 Memorial Trees September 24
For its 2018 public lecture, the Westhampton Garden Club will host a presentation by Paul Cowie on “The Story of the 9/11 Memorial Trees” at the Quogue Community Hall on Jessup Avenue on Monday, September 24, at 1 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public; refreshments will be available at no charge.    

From 2005 to 2011, Paul Cowie + Associates worked as design team specialists to landscape architect Peter Walker & Partners on the design and implementation of the tree planting at the National September 11 Memorial at Ground Zero in New York.

9-11 Memorial by P Cowie (1)

Redevelopment of the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan has been described as one of the most complex construction projects in New York’s recent history and design of the Memorial park plaza was, understandably, very emotionally charged.

The presentation on September 24 will provide a review and insights into the design requirements for the trees, the complex challenges the design team faced, and the highly specialized arboricultural techniques that were employed to meet those requirements.

Though many of the techniques and intricate detail used to prepare trees for the National 9/11 Memorial go far beyond what might be required elsewhere, all were based in simple, sound arboricultural principles that should be addressed in every project. These included carefully selecting tree species that met the Memorial design objectives and would be suited to the difficult site conditions; designing a site to ensure that the trees’ growth requirements would be met over the long term; locating, evaluating and procuring quality planting stock; manipulating tree growth rates and perfecting tree form; minimizing transplant mortality; and ensuring long-term sustainability.

Based on his intimate involvement in the process for six years—from development of the project specifications  through procurement and preparation of the trees to the start of planting—Mr. Cowie will share a wide range of photographs, stories, and technical review from each step of the process.

Following the presentation, all are invited to to view the Westhampton Garden Club Bench Flower Show at the QFD firehouse, next door to the Community Hall. Visitors are also encouraged to venture across the street from the firehouse, where the Lily Pond Garden planted and maintained by the Garden Club features drought tolerant plants as well as deer-proof plant material.

More information is available at

PTA Schedules 11th Annual Golf & Tennis Outing for Friday, September 28
The 11th annual Golf & Tennis Outing and Cocktails and Dinner Party sponsored by the Quogue School PTA at the Quogue Field Club is scheduled this year on Friday, September 28. The annual event benefits the Quogue PTA Scholarship Fund.

Tee off is at 1 p.m. for golfers; the tennis round robin will begin at 3 p.m., with the cocktail party, awards presentation and dinner following at 5:30 p.m. The cost for participation is: golf and party, $800 per foursome; golf only, $600 per foursome; golf and party, $200 per individual; golf only, $150 per individual; tennis and party, $120; tennis only, $50; cocktails and dinner only, $90.

Sponsorships are: event sponsor, $2,500; cocktail party sponsor, $2,000; awards and prizes sponsor, $1,500; course refreshment sponsor, $500; sponsored tee sign, $75. The PTA is also accepting donations to the Silent Auction to be held at the cocktail party. All purchases and donations are tax deductible.   

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

wild grapes sebonac
A moment of zen: wild grapes found near Sebonac Creek. —Florence Morrisey Photo

Cemetery Conservation Workshop Now Slated for Saturday, September 29
The Quogue Historical Society’s Quogue Cemetery Conservation Workshop originally scheduled on Saturday, September 8, has been rescheduled. Stone conservator Joel Snodgrass will now be undertaking the restoration of centuries-old headstones in the cemetery on Saturday, September 29, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In this informative workshop, Mr. Snodgrass will demonstrate “best practices” in the restoration of monuments at the Quogue Cemetery, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Opened in the mid-1700s, this sacred and historic Colonial-era site preserves the headstones of Quogue’s early settlers.

All are invited to come for as long, or short, a stint as they wish to observe the techniques used to help preserve these fragile monuments. Reservations are not necessary. For information, call 631-996-2404 or

Fall, winter and spring hours at the QHS headquarters, aka Pond House, at 114 Jessup Avenue, are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment (631-996-2404 or email

The Pond House features exhibitions highlighting 350 years of Quogue history and a Reading Room with books on Long Island and Quogue history.

At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email and ask to be put on the mailing list.

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