Independence Day

Another major summer holiday weekend, another victim of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

And, sadly, it’s not just the joyful, rockets red glare celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of our nation that’s been taken off the table by the coronavirus. The spread and resurgence of the virus after the initial flattening of the curve seem to have exposed dangerous fault lines in the foundational principles of the Declaration, most glaringly in the notion that we are purporting ourselves to be the united states of America. 

dog man dip AB
A man, a dog, a morning dip. —A. Botsford Photo

One doesn’t have to look far beyond the heroic efforts of the medical professionals, first responders and essential workers to see the dysfunction and disarray laid bare by the terrifying rise in the number of new infections in places where mixed messages, splintered political affiliations, economic fears, and denial of scientific evidence have led to a woefully inconsistent response. 

Now citizens are actually coming to blows over the issue of wearing masks, which scientists agree is one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. A story in The New York Times on Wednesday on the phenomenon headlined “Fighting Over Masks in Public Is the New American Pastime” reveals just how badly divided Americans have become. 

But here’s the thing: Science is real. Numbers aren’t coy, they don’t exaggerate, they have no agenda, and they don’t lie. So what could possibly be the rationale for not wearing a mask and maintaining social distance? As one astute reader said to At Quaquanantuck, “The people who won’t wear masks are the ones clamoring to get back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible; if they’d just put on the masks, we’d be over this already.”

Well, maybe not over it, but certainly doing a lot better than we are today. Readers can be forgiven if they are as tired of seeing At Quaquanantuck’s entreaties as this writer is becoming of making them. And I understand that the calls to action presented here are, for the most part, a lot like preaching to the choir. But with so much brokenness and disunity threatening to drag us all down, it seems unconscionable not to speak up. 

So, one more time, At Quaquanantuck is urging everyone to seize the opportunity presented by this most patriotic of holidays to declare our independence from any ideologies, philosophies, loyalties or affiliations that prevent us from coming together to take on, as a unified nation, the pernicious common enemy of the Covid-19 pandemic. True patriotism means putting our country—the well being of all its states and all its people— first, joining together as the founding fathers envisioned, as the United States of America. 

Happy Fourth of July. Please keep safe and stay healthy.

And so it goes in the days of the novel coronavirus today.

Gulls Canon AB
Flock of seagulls. —A. Botsford Photo

More Graduates; More Heroes
It’s so gratifying to see the ongoing response to At Quaquanantuck’s request for information about high school and college graduates in the historic Covid class of 2020. Last week’s column listed a few (scroll down to last week’s post to view), and there are more to celebrate this week. 

Administrators and faculty are to be applauded for the yeoman job they’ve been doing of coming up with innovative, and safe, ceremonies and celebrations for these graduates: social distancing seniors some 8 to 10 feet apart on the sidewalk of the Ponquogue Bridge for a congratulatory drive-by; videotaping the conferring of diplomas or degrees on individuals in cap and gown for later viewing by friends and family, for just two examples. 

Still, the Covid cancellation of traditional commencement exercises and all the other gatherings and celebrations associated with moving up the educational ladder—or moving on beyond it—has robbed this class of so much. Not only are they missing the beautiful bonding and identification of sharing as a group one of life’s most significant transitions, they are going through what should be one of the most triumphant moments of their young lives in what is essentially a vacuum, devoid not only of pomp and circumstance, but also recognition and support from the wider community. 

So, once again, At Quaquanantuck invites readers and all in the community to join me in saluting and applauding all the graduates in the class of 2020 (not just those listed in this space) and their families: all are heroes. 

Alex Brown, son of Tori and Sandy Brown, graduated from Taft this spring and will be going on to Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. 

Will Detwiler, son of Lisa Detweiler Cramer, graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. 

Margot Healy, daughter of Jenny and Don Healy, graduated from the Convent of the Sacred Heart School in New York and will be going on to the University of Pennsylvania.

Lachlan Spence
Lachlan Spence

Lachlan Spence, daughter of Quogue residents Paula and Peter Prentis, graduated from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. 

Andrew C. Heller, the grandson of Mel and Ruby Heller, graduated with honors from Syosset high School in Woodbury, where he earned a perfect SAT score. He will be attending Vassar College in the fall.

Nelle Lightbourn, daughter of Suzanne and the late Barrett Lightbourn, graduated from Northeastern University in Boston with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Psychology. She is now working remotely for a startup in New York City.

Jasmine Singh, daughter of Farida Khan and Ramesh Singh, graduated from Chapin in New York and will be going on to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Sky wings GR
Wings above the sea. —Ginny Rosenblatt Photo

Police News: Arraignment Set July 6 in Vehicle Break-In Case
As most readers know, stories have been circulating over the past two weeks about a spate of vehicle ransackings and at least one home invasion in the early morning hours of June 22. Now, thanks to Lieutenant Daniel Hartman of the Quogue Village Police, At Quaquanantuck is able to share the official account of the case up to this point. 

On Monday, July 6, at 9 a.m. 21-year-old Oscar N. Mayen-Orrego of Riverhead will be arraigned in Quogue Village Justice Court on charges of: Criminal Possession of Stolen Property 5th, Petit Larceny, Possession of Burglar Tools, and Resisting Arrest—all Class A Misdemeanors; as well as multiple counts of Attempted Petit Larceny, a Class B Misdemeanor, and Trespass, which is classified as a Violation. 

The suspect was arrested after officers of the Quogue Village Police Department responded to a call at 2:53 a.m. of a person going through vehicles on Niamogue Lane. Upon canvas of the area with the assistance of officers from the Westhampton Beach Police Department, the suspect was located on a property on Niamogue Lane. When officers attempted to interview him, he fled on foot. 

The officers were able to apprehend and detain the suspect a short time later, and subsequent investigation indicated that the man in custody had gone onto several properties and entered several vehicles in the area in an attempt to steal property. Multiple victims were located throughout the area in the following 24 hours, on Niamogue Lane, Ocean Avenue, Old Depot Road, and Old Meetinghouse Road.

The suspect was also found to be in possession of suspected stolen property, and was in possession of burglar tools. After the officers on the scene were able to positively identify the suspect as Oscar N. Mayen-Orrego, he was subsequently arrested and charges were filed. 

It’s important to note that although an arrest was made, the investigation is ongoing. Additional charges could be added if more victims come forward. Victims should contact the Quogue Police immediately if they have any suspicion that they were affected by this incident; call 631-653-4791, or email DHartman@villageofquogueny.gov.

Prickly Pear FM
A Long Island prickly pear in bloom. —Florrie Morrisey Photo

Quogue Historical Society: The Station Wars of Quogue
As promised in a previous column, this week At Quaquanantuck brings you some colorful history of the days when trains actually stopped in Quogue, as compiled by Southampton Town Historian and Quogue Historical Society Curator Julie Greene. 

June 8 was the 150th anniversary of the inaugural run of the Long Island Rail Road (known then as the South Shore Branch) from Manorville to Bridgehampton through the eastern villages. At that time, the railroad was not contractually bound to build stations and so several of these eastern villages built their own, so passengers wouldn’t have to wait for trains exposed to the elements.

Here in Quogue, the building of a station was no simple matter. Several months before the inaugural run in June, railroad commissioners inspected the area and selected a site for the train to stop halfway between Atlanticville (renamed East Quogue in 1891) and Quogue, a site that would serve both villages. The stop was located on the west side of Lewis Road, north of the tracks on Old Country Road, “consisting of a few boards set upon posts made into a platform with the sky above and the sand below on all sides.”

rr station
F. W. Beers Map detail of Quogue and East Quogue, 1873. Original train depot in Atlanticville (East Quogue) circled, just west of Lewis Road.

Residents of Quogue, though, wanted their own stop, and so in defiance they built a small depot on Post’s Road (now Old Depot). In response, and as a demonstration of his power, Long Island Rail Road President and first class martinet Oliver Charlick refused to have the train stop there.

RR station spat QHS
New York Times, June 28, 1871.

It should be noted that Charlick was not held in high regard at the time. In 1871 a Washington [D.C.] Star reporter wrote: “The most unpopular [railroad] president in the United States, for his length of line, is Oliver Charlick of the Long Island R.R. Of course, he is outranked by President Garrett of the B&O Road, who surpasses everyone in the country in this respect, but then he has much longer line to spread his cussedness over. For roadway of less than 100 miles, Charlick carries the belt, and probably will as long as he lives.”

The people of Quogue and the Long Island Rail Road continued to quarrel over the location of the depot, and the QHS account refers to local lore claiming that early one Sunday morning the first depot at Quogue that had been built by residents was removed by a LIRR railroad crew and dumped in the woods.

Oliver Charlick died in 1875 and in June the railroad’s new president, Henry Havemeyer, settled the dispute by building a two-story wooden frame depot at Quogue on the “George Post’s” road to replace the original built on that site by Quogue residents. The Atlanticville station on Lewis Road continued as a stop for East Quogue residents and visitors. Charles Hallett of Riverhead was the builder of the new Quogue depot, freight house, and platforms.

Q railroad c1876
Quogue railroad station on Post’s Road (now Old Depot), built in 1875, photographed by George Bradford Brainerd, ca. 1876. —Courtesy Brooklyn Museum.

 Just seven years later, in 1882, the LIRR abandoned the depot at Atlanticville, and the Quogue depot was moved east to Station Road, off Rte 104, as the new stop. There is an interesting, if unfamiliar, use of the word “excited” in the Brooklyn Eagle account of the consolidation of the two stops:

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Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 1, 1882.

.Because the people of the two villages were now compelled “to travel out of their way to get to a train or to ship freight,” it seems safe to assume that “excited” can be taken to mean, in this context, “pissed off.” The station house that had been moved to the new “exciting” location was replaced in 1906 by a brick one, which many Quogue residents of a certain age remember fondly as the place families drove to in order to meet the Cannonball and flatten pennies on the tracks. The place where weekends really began—and sadly ended—for those who worked in the city during the week.

Q railroad sta QHS
Quogue Station, built in 1906, seen here in a circa 1912 postcard image. —Courtesy Quogue Historical Society

This charming station was ultimately demolished in 1964 and replaced in turn by what was little more than a bus stop-size metal lean-to with one pay phone and a couple of street lights, suggesting a suitable backdrop for a music video of Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row.” 

Given the bleakness of the site, it’s no surprise that when the LIRR wanted to expand the size of the parking lot in 1998, the Village would have none of it. Never averse to playing the Grinch, the LIRR retaliated by discontinuing the stop on March 16 of that year, effectively ending the depot dispute for good.

Many thanks to Julie Greene and the Quogue Historical Society for providing all the research, the narrative thread, the newspaper clips and quotes, and the wonderful images that bring this history to life. 

Watch for more Quogue history in a future column specifically relating to the Box Tree of the eponymous road and the white horse statue at the southern end of Route 104.

Making the Most of History in the Present
This weekend, two new initiatives from the QHS make it easy to steep yourself in some of the 350+ years of Quogue History without breaching any virus safety protocols:

The first one, QHS At Home (quoguehistory.org/qhs-at-home), can be enjoyed safely in the comfort of your own abode, or at an appropriate distance. This update of the QHS website features a roster of virtual opportunities to explore Quogue history. Throughout the summer, the Historical Society will be adding online exhibitions, virtual tours, children’s activities, videos, and more.

The second new offering is a QHS map-guided walking tour of Jessup Avenue. Maps loaded with historical fun facts and lore will be available at the Pond House as of Saturday, July 4, for this stroll through what the QHS is calling “Quogue’s bustling commercial, cultural, and civic center” on Jessup Avenue. An online version of the map will be posted on the QHS website. As restrictions ease, the Historical Society will explore the possibility of conducting walking tours for limited numbers of participants with appropriate safety measures. 

In the meantime, in recognition of all its marvelous contributions to enriching the experience of living in Quogue, why not create or renew your membership now and increase your donation to the Quogue Historical Society? Like all the other nonprofits, the QHS has been forced by the pandemic to cancel (or recast in the virtual realm) its principal fund-raising events; now more than ever the Society needs all of our support to continue its mission “to collect, preserve, and interpret the history of Quogue in order to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the rich cultural and architectural heritage of the Village.” 

Create or renew your membership by clicking on or visiting quoguehistory.org/support/financial-contributions/. You’ll have the option to complete the Membership Reply Form and mail a check, or click on the donate button to pay with a credit card or PayPal.

Sunset perch EC
Sunset perch. —Elizabeth Caputo Photo

Get Tickets Now for a Virtually Wild Night for Wildlife
With the cancellation of this year’s Wild Night for Wildlife, the Quogue Wildlife Refuge has lost its biggest fundraiser of the year, which has traditionally provided more than one third of the QWR’s operating budget. 

This is why it is critically important for all the residents of Quogue and the surrounding area to step up and purchase a “virtual ticket” or make some kind of contribution to the Wild Night for Wildlife Summer Appeal. 

The Conservator Award recipient for 2020 is Edwina Von Gal. Honorary chairs are: Sandy and Anthony Bonner, Jim Cramer and Lisa Detwiler, and Bill Ritter and Kathleen Friery. 

As Refuge Executive Director Michael Nelson has noted, all donations will help “to ensure that the Refuge is able to continue to provide quality care for our animals, and priceless experiences in nature for the community.” To purchase virtual tickets and to make donations, click here or visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org and click on Wild Night Appeal. 

And please remember, too, the new Quogue Wildlife Refuge “text to donate” app for smart phone users. Donations to the QWR can now be made from anywhere simply by texting QWR2020 to 202-858-1233. The new app leads users to a very simple donation form, right on their cell phones.

This year’s virtual affair will feature a special celebratory YouTube video premiere at 7 p.m. on the night originally scheduled for the gala, Saturday, June 11.

Taking Flight AB (2)
Taking flight. —A. Botsford Photo

Zoom Your Way to Fitness and Serenity via Quogue Library Classes
Courtesy of the Quogue Library, Leisa M. DeCarlo will be offering a continuation of her free Zoom fitness classes for adults in July and August, with a Pilates Mat class offered on Mondays at 10 a.m. and a Sculpting + Cardio series on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. 

Meanwhile, at 10 a.m. on Fridays in July and August, the library is offering Zoom Yoga with Jillian.

Leisa DeCarlo
Leisa DeCarlo

Aimed at lengthening and toning muscles with low impact and high result, the Ms. DeCarlo’s Pilates Mat full-body workout on Mondays uses customized sequencing and “fun” variations to cultivate long, lean lines and a deep mind-body connection. Modifications are offered to give every individual, from beginner to advanced, the tools to feel energized and empowered, with each class tailored to build muscle, control, and range of motion while remaining attentive to form, breath, and mindful, effective practice. 

The beginner Sculpting + Cardio series on Tuesdays encourages everyone to become “more comfortable, safe, free, and confident in their own bodies, while developing a commitment to the lifelong health and wellness benefits of movement,” according to a previous library description. No previous dance experience is required; no equipment needed.

Zoom Yoga with Jillian on Fridays is aimed at reducing stress, eliminating toxins, and helping participants to “simply relax,” according to the library. The calming and fluid yoga sequencing is designed to deepen the mind-body connection. 

To register and obtain Zoom login information for any of these programs—or other virtual programs offered by the library—patrons can go to the library’s home page at www.Quoguelibrary.org; click on the flier image of the program for which they wish to register; fill in the requested information; scroll to the bottom of the page (remembering to check “I am not a Robot”) and hit Register. A confirmation email with Zoom login information will be sent to all registered patrons. 

For more information, visit www.quoguelibrary.org, or contact info@quoguelibrary.org.

Golden lining Ella W
Golden lining. —Ella Wilson Photo

Virtual Service Sunday from Church of the Atonement
The Reverend Dr. Richard D. McCall will officiate virtually at the Morning Prayer service of the Church of the Atonement on Sunday, July 5, at 9 a.m. All those wishing to obtain login information for the Zoom platform are requested to send an email to churchoftheatonementquogue@gmail.com for the Zoom meeting ID number and password. 

The Atonement, a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, welcomes worshippers of all faiths. Atonement organist and choir director Patricia Osborne Feiler will provide music for the virtual Morning Prayer services. This Sunday’s 9 a.m. service will be recorded for later viewing on the church’s website (Quoguechurch.org). 

Rev. McCall, now in his 21st summer with the church, will also officiate at the Sunday services at 9 a.m. on July 12 and 19. The Reverend Dr. Robert S. Dannals will officiate at the Atonement’s Morning Prayer services from  Sunday, July 26 through Sunday, August 16.

Remembering George Mathys, a Pillar of the Community
Former Southampton Town Republican leader and longtime Quogue resident George Mathys died on May 8, his 84th birthday. 

Entrepreneurial insight, grit and hard work enabled him to rise from making rounds as a milkman to the founding of George’s Sanitation and East End Recycling, as well as the creation of the Midhampton Business Park in Quogue.George Mathys caddy (2) 

Brooklyn born, he moved with his family to Hampton Bays in the 1950s and started working for Schwenks Dairy, delivering milk. While on his milk route he noticed many of his customers had overflowing cans of garbage that were not being picked up regularly or taken to the dump. Recognizing an entrepreneurial opportunity, he purchased a pickup truck and offered to pick up garbage for area residents after completing his early morning milk route. 

He gave his customers free garbage cans and a guarantee that, if his service was not satisfactory, they could terminate the service and keep the cans. The new company, George’s Sanitation, quickly grew to be the leading garbage service on the East End at that time. 

Possessed of abundant community spirit, he volunteered with the Hampton Bays Fire Department and was instrumental in establishing the Hampton Bays ambulance service.

George Mathys Mary Anne (2)
George Mathys and his wife Mary Anne after another croquet tournament victory.

He became president of the East End Chambers Association, which included the chambers of commerce of all five towns, president of the Lions Club, and production manager in the early days of the Hampton Players theatre group, where he made his acting debut in “Plaza Suite” and went on to earn accolades for his gifts as a thespian. 

As Southampton Town Republican Chairman he was selected as a New York State delegate representing the five East End towns at the Republican National Convention in 1992. 

Well-known for his love of vintage cars, he offered them for use in the Southampton 4th of July parade for many years, as well as for other events. An avid croquet player, George won many tournaments. Dividing his time between Quogue and Palm Beach, he was for several years the Mar-A-Lago Club Croquet Champion. 

Other club memberships included the Shinnecock Yacht Club, the Metropolitan Club, the Westhampton Mallet Club and the National Croquet Club. 

He is survived by his wife, Mary Anne, his daughters Debra Giuffre, Donna Mathys and Nancy Raynor, and his stepsons Bruce and Craig Dalessio. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews, among them, Greg Sullivan, who worked with him for many years. 

Donations in his memory may be made to East End Hospice, PO Box 1048, Westhampton Beach, NY 11978, www.EEH.org.

George Mathys QFD DS
Members of the Quogue Fire Department line the street to honor the late George Mathys during a procession to his home on May 13. —Dana Shaw Photo

Condolences to the Family of Edward Hudson Jr.
Former Quogue resident Edward William Hudson died on his 82nd birthday on June 10, under Hospice care in Melville. 

Husband of the late Joan Hudson, he worked as a contractor on the East End and the couple raised two sons, Edward William Hudson III and Christopher Hudson, in East Quogue and Quogue among many of the homes he built in the area. He ended his career at Liberty Iron Works in Southampton. 

He enjoyed spending time with his family at home, in Lake George, and on ski trips to Vermont, as well as golfing, fishing, and hunting. Perhaps his greatest joy, his family said, was spending time with  his grandchildren—Bailey Joan Hudson, Brady Christopher Hudson, and Harper Grace Hudson—and watching them grow. He rarely missed a dance recital or a ball game, and he enjoyed catching sea robins with them on his boat (while dreaming of bass) and roasting marshmallows with them in their backyards. 

Described as a man who could “brighten up any room with his friendly and happy personality,” he most loved spending time with family and friends. 

Blessed to have found another love and companion in a lifelong friend, Gerry Doherty, 15 years ago, Mr. Hudson enjoyed trips to Florida, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Aruba during the couple’s retired years together. 

In addition to his sons Edward and Christopher and his daughter-in-law Tara Hudson, he is survived by his three grandchildren, his sister Joan Schult of Florida, Gerry Doherty of Amityville, and many nieces and nephews. 

Condolences go out to all his many friends and his family.  

Your Comments Welcome
At Quaquanantuck is happy to provide a forum for civil discussion of village issues and initiatives and welcomes all comments. All are encouraged to share observations, ideas and opinions by writing to AtQuaq@gmail.com.  

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—or the world. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list.

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