Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North, Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin.
That’s 36 states. Almost three-quarters of our nation. As of July 29, under Governor Cuomo’s latest Covid-19 Travel Advisory issued in conjunction with New Jersey and Connecticut, persons traveling to New York from any of these states are required to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. The list is updated regularly and the guidelines for self-quarantining at https://ny.gov/states.
For anyone who might have gotten distracted by summer recreational opportunities and the current low infection rate hereabouts, At Quaquanantuck offers this dutiful reminder of what should be glaringly obvious: This is serious, folks. And it’s not going away anytime soon.
In the early days of the pandemic, based on the horror unfolding right in front of us in New York City and the uncertainty born of the terrifying lack of knowledge about the virus and how it is transmitted (which continues to this day), appropriately fearful East Enders stayed home, washed hands, disinfected all surfaces, gloved up and donned masks when they needed to make a sortie, and generally took every precaution. They did this both to protect themselves and to do their part for the common cause of flattening the curve and relieving some of the strain on maxed out first responders and emergency medical services.
There was also the vague sense in those first weeks after the infection and death rates in New York started to taper off that there would, at some point, be an end date: a time in the indefinite future that things would open up again and slowly but surely return to what we had come to believe was “normal.”
Like movie footage shot through a telephoto lens, the end date continually appeared to be getting closer even as it remained at an indefinite remove in the future. We entered a “virtual” world for meetings, movies, music and theatre, which is to say an unsatisfactory simulacrum of the real thing. The arrival of summer and the phases of New York Forward, along with the sense that fewer and fewer people on eastern Long Island were getting infected offered hope of a return to something resembling normalcy, but look around:
We had Memorial Day and Fourth of July holiday weekends, but without parades, memorial services, or professional fireworks … not really. We can go to specialty shops again, but mask requirements and limits on the number of customers allowed inside drive home the fact that it’s anything but normal.
Professional golf tournaments end with the winner’s traditional fist pump … for cameramen, with no crowd roar or applause. The Boys of Summer of Major League Baseball returned for an abbreviated season in empty stadiums with cutouts of fans behind home plate staring out blankly at the pitcher, their silence practically shouting: “This ain’t the real thing.” And now, with 17 players on the Miami Marlins testing positive for Covid-19, the mutant season is already stumbling toward an epic fail.
Getting students back to school as soon as possible for in-person instruction is touted as the key to economic recovery, but no one feels confident about understanding the risks, or the safest way, or time, to do that.
And now the rate of infection in 36 states is high enough to require travelers arriving in New York to self-quarantine for 14 days. Every indicator tells us this thing is far from over, even if or when an effective vaccine is developed.
Last week, At Quaquanantuck briefly considered the idea of resilience, which is one of the qualities that is proving to be as essential as we struggle to make our way through this pandemic as it will be as we try to tackle issues of systemic racism, social justice, and inequality. But resilience alone can’t carry the day in either case. What’s needed now—once we accept that we’re in both these struggles for the long haul, that there will be no magical flip of a switch—is resolve.
Just because we don’t see anyone in our separate bubbles, or our village bubble, getting sick, it doesn’t mean that Covid-19 has gone away, or that it’s only a problem somewhere else. And the same is true for the toxic effects of long term ingrained racism. Each and every one of us has to resolve to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to be part of the solution. That’s the only way we can have any chance of eliminating any problem.
And so it goes in the days of the novel coronavirus today.
Sharks Everywhere You Look
As many readers indubitably already know, in an uncanny precision of timing that smacks of the mystical, right in the middle of the Quogue Library’s first annual Shark Week, a large shark was spotted on Wednesday morning in the ocean about 150 feet beyond the buoys at the Quogue Beach Club.
The sighting was made by Stuart Disston, who was on his paddleboard at the time. He thought at first that he had spotted a dolphin as there were several in the area. Then he saw the approximately 20-inch high distinctive dorsal fin knifing through the surface as the fish circled back toward him.
This was on the same morning that the Times and other news outlets were reporting a fatal shark attack in Maine, the state’s first, and there were reports of other sharks near the beach on the Long Island coastline to our west. All of which, added to the number of shark attacks last summer just a few miles to our north on Cape Cod, should serve to make ocean swimmers a bit wary, if not downright uncomfortable.
Meanwhile, as the colorfully decorated cutouts on Jessup Avenue and Midland will attest, the library’s first shark week is now in full swing. The library has launched a dedicated Shark Week web page, at www.quoguelibrary.org/shark-week, jam packed with links to shark resources, articles, and activities.
Today, Thursday, July 30, Miss Pat’s Shark Storytime and craft is scheduled at 11 a.m., and then there will be a “Sharks and Oceans Rock!” virtual under-the-sea tour at 4 p.m.
The “Sharks & Oceans Rock” program at 4 p.m. will offer an up-close view of animals and sea life, including “sharks, crabs, the blobfish and more.” Register and get Zoom login information by clicking on the flier at quoguelibrary.org. Blobfish?
These sharks will be summering in Quogue and on display through August, courtesy of the Quogue Library. —Lulie Morrisey Photos
As July yields to August, remember that the Quogue Library is sponsoring Leisa M. DeCarlo’s free Zoom fitness classes for adults, 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 August, the library is offering Zoom Yoga with Jillian.
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.
Amy Poeppel Up Next in Library’s Author Series
The second installment of the 2020 Conversations with the Author series on Sunday, August 2, at 5 p.m. will feature Amy Poeppel, author of, most recently, “Musical Chairs.”
Ms. Poeppel, the author of two other novels, “Limelight” and “Small Admissions,” will read from her work before engaging in a conversation with At Quaquanantuck columnist Andrew Botsford. Following the discussion, there will be an opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions.
Perhaps the best precis of her new novel that At Quaquanantuck came across was provided by Pamela Klinger Horn of Excelsior Bay Books, writing for Literature Lovers’ Night Out: “The summer holiday Bridget Stratton did not expect may turn out to be just what she needs. Bridget’s children have returned home, her musical trio is only a duet, her aging father has decided to re-marry, and the house is falling apart. A season of chaos may, however, strike just the right note in this game of life.”
New Yorker staff writer Hilton Als, the author of “White Girls,” described “Musical Chairs” as “trenchant, funny, and observant … as a prose artist Ms. Poeppel leaves nothing to be desired, except this desire: that she write more and more.”
This year’s series has been organized by Quogue Library volunteer Ellen de Saint. Phalle. Thanks to the generosity of this summer’s guest authors, participation in the 2020 Author Series programs is free and available by registering for the program at QuogueLibrary.org.
The authors’ books are available for sale at QuogueLibrary.org and at the library’s temporary location at 4 Midland Street during curbside service hours. A portion of the proceeds will support the library through the generosity of Bookhampton Bookstore. “Musical Chairs” can also be purchased by clicking here.
Mayor’s Corner: On the Water Front
In two recent emails to Quogue residents, Mayor Peter Sartorius has zeroed in—after taking a crack at an incontrovertibly impossible mission—on a few existentially significant water issues, both fresh and salt.
First, though, the impossible mission. While most adults around the village are clearly making an effort to wear masks and maintain at least a modicum of social distance, it seems apparent to even the most casual observer that young people by and large seem unable or unwilling to wear masks, keep any distance greater than two feet from each other, or to gather, chat, hobnob, walk, lie on the beach, or otherwise behave in any way other than they have always done when seeing their friends during the summer.
In a heroic effort to turn the tide of this generational recalcitrance, the Mayor offered a catalogue of convincing justifications for following social distancing protocols that he had received from a friend, listed as ways to complete this sentence: “When I wear a mask in public, or decline an invitation to a party or to come inside, I want you to know that:”
Space will not allow listing all of them here, but two favorites were:
“I don’t feel like the ‘government is controlling me;’ I feel like I’m being a contributing adult to society and I want to teach others the same.”
“The world doesn’t revolve around me. It’s not all about me and my comfort.”
The message from the Mayor’s friend concluded with what one hopes is a rhetorical question for those who would eschew the wearing of a mask or other social distancing protocols:
“When you think about how you look, how uncomfortable it is, or what others think of you, just imagine someone close to you—a child, a father, a mother, grandparent, aunt, or uncle—choking on a respirator, alone without you or any family member allowed at bedside. Ask yourself if you could have sucked it up. Was it worth the risk?”
At Quaquanantuck is hoping that readers of the Mayor’s email and this column will share these rationales, and that those with whom they share them will in turn share them with others. It may not be possible to overcome young people’s categorical belief in their own invulnerability, or to convince them to advance the safety and well-being of their families and society at large to the top of their list of priorities. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
The water related topics addressed by Hizzoner start with the most immediate issue, namely the current drought. Last week, the Mayor received the following message from the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA), for dissemination to village residents:
“A prolonged period of hot and dry weather is currently underway and the Suffolk County Water Authority is experiencing unprecedented demand for water. I am asking all village residents to help by immediately changing the settings on your irrigation controllers so they water every other day, not every day. I also ask that you adjust watering times so that your systems do not operate during the 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. hours. Also, please consider purchasing a rain sensor for your system so you are not watering when it’s not necessary to do so.”
As the hot and dry weather has continued, this week Governor Cuomo put Long Island and some other areas of the state on a drought watch, the first of four levels of advisories: watch, warning, emergency, and disaster. While there are no statewide mandatory water use restrictions in place under a drought watch or warning, all residents are strongly encouraged to voluntarily conserve water. Bear in mind that SCWA is permitted to impose water use restrictions depending upon local needs and conditions.
On the pressing saltwater issue of beachfront erosion, the Mayor reported in last week’s email that a major milestone had been reached for the Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) project by the signing of the Report of the Chief of Engineers of the Army Corp of Engineers. The principal elements of the report affecting Quogue are the planned periodic dredging to pass sand westward around the jetties at Shinnecock Inlet and the nourishment of the beach in East Quogue extending into the eastern part of Quogue.
The Mayor believes he has been successful in convincing the Army Corps of Engineers that the beach conditions around the Quogue Village Beach require attention and should be included in the project. If the Army Corps agrees to attend to erosion in this area, a necessary quid pro quo will be to allow some public access parking at the Village Beach to be agreed upon with the Town of Southampton.
While this is significant progress, there are still more steps to be taken and hurdles to clear before any dredging or beach nourishment will be done. Which likely means getting through at least one more winter before any FIMP remediation gets underway.
In this week’s email, the Mayor addressed saltwater issues on the bay side, namely the serious problem of poor water quality in local bays, mainly caused by nitrogen loading from septic systems and cesspools. One of several initiatives undertaken to address the problem is a study by Dewberry, an engineering consulting firm engaged by New York State to find ways to improve the water quality in western Shinnecock Bay, the area from Shinnecock Inlet west through Quantuck Bay and into Moniebogue Bay.
Dewberry considered 15 options ranging from dredging to different forms of water exchange to improve flushing between the Atlantic Ocean and the bay. So far, the Mayor reported, Dewberry has narrowed the field down to three options warranting further study. One involves a buried pipe under Dune Road to the east of Quogue creating a one-way flow from the ocean into the bay; two others involve actual cuts east of Quogue in the barrier island, one seasonal and one permanent.
Buried pipe alternatives nearer to or in Quantuck Bay appeared to be effective, the Mayor wrote, but were not considered viable because of the high level of developed private property in the vicinity.
The Pre-Screening Study Summary written by Dewberry is posted on the Announcements page of the Village website and can be accessed here: www.villageofquogueny.gov/polAnnouncements.cfm.
For complete details on these and other topics addressed in Hizzoner’s emails, go to www.villageofquogueny.gov and click on Announcements. Once again, to receive Hizzoner’s email blasts, send an email to ABuhl@villageofquogueny.gov and ask to be put on the email list.
Going Batty with Wildlife Refuge; Yoga in the Great Outdoors
There is big, capital letters LOVE for bats over at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge. Which helps to explain why the Refuge is offering an all-bats virtual program on Thursday, August 6, at 4 p.m.
The 45-minute “Bats!” Zoom program for children and adults will be all about bats, including their anatomy and amazing physical adaptations, the various lifestyles—who knew bats had lifestyles?—of bats from all over the world, including Long Island, and their ecological importance to the planet.
The program will also detail some important ways to help local bats. The fee is $5 per family; register by clicking here, or go to www.quoguewildliferefuge.org, find the Events Calendar under Programs, and click on “Bats! (Virtual Program).”
Don’t forget that Amy Hess will be offering “Earth Yoga Outside” in a socially distanced format at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesdays in August.
The one-hour class is held in a large outdoor space on woodchips overlooking the pond. Participants are asked to bring a sheet or blanket and as well as a yoga mat. Because the class is outdoors, participants should consider applying sunscreen and insect repellent and should dress appropriately for the meteorological conditions.
The Wednesday outdoor sessions are currently limited to nine people, and the fee is $15 per class. Class is weather-permitting and registrants will be refunded if class is cancelled. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required; register here or go to www.quoguewildliferefuge.org, find the Events Calendar under Programs, and click on the Earth Yoga Outside. For more information, call 631-653-4771.
All are asked to please remember that the Wildlife Refuge continues to struggle during the pandemic, like all the non-profits that create our special quality of life in Quogue. To make donations, click here or visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org and click on Wild Night Appeal.
All are invited to try out 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.
Patricia Udell Exhibition On View at Quogue Gallery
“Patricia Udell: Color, Space and the Female Form,” featuring the artist’s gouache paintings as well as her plaster reliefs, remains on view at the Quogue Gallery through August 13.
The artist’s body of work explores color, space and the female form across a variety of media. Starting with a series of small bronze sculptures exploring the female form, over time Ms. Udell progressed beyond the figurative in favor of more abstracted examinations of shape, line and negative space in a series of monochromatic plaster reliefs and painted reliefs of corrugated cardboard and wood.
The artist further distilled this concept into a series of colorful, flat gouache paintings. In compositions that echo her sculpture, she blurs the distinction between form and negative space by assembling vibrant bands of color running up and down the paper in what she describes as a “back and forth” between gesture and positive and negative space. Each band of color is separated by a thin white line, reinforcing the impression that the shapes are individual units rather than a cohesive mass.
Describing her work as a “visual breath,” Ms. Udell seeks to evoke an emotional response in viewers, stating that the joy she has for simplicity “allows the viewer to have a moment of happiness with nothing asked of them.”
Rev. Robert Dannals Leads Atonement Virtual Service Sunday
The Reverend Dr. Robert S. Dannals will officiate virtually at the Morning Prayer service of the Church of the Atonement on Sunday, August 2, at 9 a.m. All those wishing to obtain login information for the Zoom platform are requested to send an email to email@example.com.
Now in his 18th season at the Church of the Atonement, Rev. Dannals is Senior Associate Rector at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Jacksonville, Florida.
The Atonement, a mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, welcomes worshippers of all faiths. Atonement organist and choir director Patricia Osborne Feiler provides the 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).
Reverend Dannals will officiate at the Atonement’s Morning Prayer services through Sunday, August 16.
Remembering David Lawrence
At Quaquanantuck offers condolences this week to the family and friends of longtime Quogue resident David Lawrence, who passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Quogue on July 24.
David and his wife Hala first started coming to Quogue and fell in love with the village in the summer of 1978, as guests of one of his college classmates.
As his family wrote this week, and many among his wide circle of friends will remember, “David loved all that Quogue had to offer, especially playing tennis at the Field Club, afternoons at the beach, any and all cocktail parties, and dancing the night away with Hala on the Field Club dance floor. A devoted grandfather, he enjoyed teaching his grandchildren how to play tennis and swim in the ocean as well as cheering on the Leopards at Field Day.”
David, who was a very proud veteran U.S. Marine Corps officer, is survived by his wife, Hala; children, Phoebe and her husband John H. Erdman Jr., George, and David Bruce Lawrence Jr. and his wife Donna; his grandchildren, Anne Lawrence Wernig and her husband Patrick, Elizabeth Lee Erdman, John H. Erdman III, Henry M. Lawrence and Mimi Lawrence; and his great granddaughter, Jane Lawrence Wernig.
A private graveside service will be held for the family at the Quogue Cemetery and a celebration of his life is planned for 2021.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in David’s honor may be made to East End Hospice at www.eeh.org; the Quogue Wildlife Refuge at quoguewildliferefuge.org/; or to the Church of the Atonement (Quogue) at episcopalchurch.org/parish/church-atonement-summer-chapel-quogue-ny, or the charity of the donor’s choice.
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.
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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.