Culture vs. Covid-19

Once again the East End was spared the kind of catastrophic damage that hurricane force winds can inflict, receiving instead no more than a hard slap from Tropical Storm Isaias as it blew through on Tuesday of this week.

Awaiting Isaias AB
Awaiting Isaias; Tuesday, August 4, 11:20 a.m. —A. Botsford Photo

And yet, if the sustained 40 mph winds and gusts to 60 mph that came and went in a matter of a few hours can yield as many power outages, downed trees, sundered arcing electric lines, and scattered heavy branches as were left behind in the wake of Isaias, it is yet another reminder of the vital importance of paying attention and staying on top of preparedness. 

Isaias was a warning shot across the bow, a glancing blow that punched above its weight. Consider that Hurricane Dorian last fall had three times its strength and lingered over the northern Bahamas for almost 24 hours, and take it seriously. This year’s tropical storm season has almost four months to go.

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Storm surf; Tuesday, August 4, 5:10 p.m. —A. Botsford Photo

Another Cultural Highlight Falls to the Coronavirus 
Historically at this time of year, patrons and music loving residents of the East End would be receiving an invitation right about now to whatever delightful concert Quogue Chamber Music had planned for September.

Unfortunately, historical norms are out the window this summer, and QCM’s September concert has become yet another cultural casualty of the coronavirus pandemic. This week’s email blast from Quogue Chamber Music delivered the dark news with at least a small beam of light appended: “As has been the case with major orchestras and other cultural institutions, we, too, have sadly had to cancel our September concert. We have booked the same group for next September, in the expectation that by then it will be safe to gather indoors again to enjoy live music.”

Ever hopeful, QCM explored the possibility of presenting an outdoor concert this summer, in lieu of using the Community Hall. That idea came to naught, however, due to current prohibitions against gatherings of more than 50 people, the expenses involved, the risk that the weather might not cooperate, acoustic challenges, and the very reasonable reluctance shared by many to attend any sort of gathering where the risk of infection far outweighs the reward, no matter how great that reward might be.

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Beachfront post Isaias. —Lynn Joyce Photo

 Generous support from patrons and a grant from the Huntington Arts Council enabled Quogue Chamber Music to schedule three spring performances for elementary school children in Hampton Bays, East Quogue and at the Quogue School. All three concerts had to be canceled, or at least postponed, when the schools were closed in March. The group is currently exploring ways to bring chamber music to young children virtually, working with the same group of young musicians who were supposed to perform live at the schools.

That’s the way things are in the world of arts and culture and across the board as our village, our nation, and the world struggle to come to terms with Covid-19 and all the attendant devastating fallout. Some non-profits—such as the Quogue Library, the Wildlife Refuge, and the Quogue Historical Society—have been able to adapt somewhat to virtual platforms to offer a rich (albeit necessarily limited) program of offerings in order to maintain an interactive, though diminished, public profile. 

Others—like Quogue Chamber Music, the Hampton Theatre Company, and the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, to name only a few—have identities and missions that depend for their very existence on engaging with live audiences, typically indoors and almost always numbering way more than 50 people.  

It is a huge credit to Quogue Village residents and the greater East End community that all the nonprofits dedicated to enriching the cultural experience of living here, as well as those delivering critically important human services—the hospitals in Southampton and Riverhead, East End Hospice, local food pantries—continue to receive steadfast support, even when the pandemic makes it challenging or downright impossible for them to fulfill their missions. 

So, a hearty cheer and a round of vigorous applause to all the nonprofits that are soldiering on in these difficult times, and to all the supporters who continue to stand by them and keep them going. There’s a lot to be learned from the commitment and generosity of spirit on both sides of this equation. 

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

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This fallen tree stretched its cradle of power lines at the intersection of Beach Lane and Quogue Street. —A. Botsford Photo

Wildlife Refuge Program Today Is All About Bats
Probably still time to register for the Quogue Wildlife Refuge all-bats virtual program today, 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, and the various lifestyles—swinging, studious, ascetic, to name only a few—of bats from all over the world, including Long Island, and their ecological importance to the planet.Bats 

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, find the Events Calendar under Programs, and click on “Bats! (Virtual Program).” 

Please remember, too, 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 and click on Wild Night Appeal. 

All are also 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. 

Fiona Davis Up Next in Library’s Author Series
The third installment of the 2020 Conversations with the Author series on Sunday, August 9, at 5 p.m. will feature Fiona Davis, author of, most recently, “The Lions of Fifth Avenue.” 

Ms. Davis, who has four other novels to her credit, 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 Zoom audience to ask questions, relayed to the author by Quogue Library Director Jenny Bloom.

Fiona Davis —Deborah Feingold Photo

A graduate of the College of William & Mary now based in New York City, Fiona Davis—like last Sunday’s author, Amy Poeppel—began her career as an actress, working on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in regional theater. 

After earning her master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, switching from editor to freelance journalist before settling down to write historical fiction. Her previous novels are: “The Dollhouse”; “The Address”; “The Masterpiece”; “The Chelsea Girls,” all of which have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of “The Shoemaker’s Wife,” wrote that in the author’s latest novel, “The magnificent Fiona Davis has written a page turner for book lovers everywhere! I was on the edge of my seat as Laura Lyons, the ambitious essayist, breaks down social barriers and finds herself adrift in her own life at the end of the Belle Epoque in 1913 New York City.The+Lions+of+Fifth+Avenue

“Secrets are revealed eighty years later by her granddaughter, who found her way into the family business, working at the New York Public Library. This is a story of family ties, their lost dreams and the redemption that comes from discovering truth.”

The starred review in Publishers Weekly notes that “Davis delves into the history of the New York Public Library in this delightful mystery … The characters and story are stellar, but the real star of the show is the library, which Davis evokes beautifully.”

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 each week’s program at

The authors’ books are available for sale at 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. “The Lions of Fifth Avenue” can also be purchased by clicking here

The final author in this summer’s series will be Cara Wall, author of “The Dearly Beloved,” on Sunday, August 16. All Conversations with the Author programs begin at 5 p.m. 

For more information, email Quogue Library Director Jenny Bloom at

FPA Discussion Looks at U.S. versus Central America on Immigration
The Foreign Policy Association Great Decisions Discussion program, sponsored by the Quogue Library and moderated this summer on Zoom by Susan Perkins and David Rowe, will tackle the issue of “U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle”  at 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 8. To register, click here, or go to the Quogue Library website,, and click on the Great Decisions flier on the home page. 

Combating illegal immigration has become a priority of the Trump administration. A special target of the administration is the Northern Triangle of Central America—Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala—which holds the nations responsible for the most populous flow of migrants from Latin America to the U.S. Migrants on the move

For many years, migrants have cited the lack of even subsistence economic opportunity in their home countries as the principal reason for trying to emigrate to the U.S. That’s why, historically, the U.S. has offered economic aid to countries in the Northern Triangle: to address the root cause of so many people trying to make their way to the U.S. in search of employment. 

After a short video on the subject, Saturday’s discussion will examine this challenging question: Now that funds from the U.S. have been cut, how can the Northern Triangle countries be expected to curtail migration? 

This year’s FPA Briefing Book is available for purchase in digital form from the FPA website,, or by clicking here. The FPA website also has a complete list of topics for this year’s Great Decisions Discussions. 

The Foreign Policy Association Great Decisions Discussion program provides background information and policy options for the eight most critical issues facing America each year, serving as the focal text for discussion groups across the country. For more information, visit

Mercedes Matter Award for Artist Claudia Doring Baez
A painting by Quogue artist Claudia Doring Baez was recently selected by two noted New York City gallerists—Miles McEnry of McEnry Gallery and Gwenolee Zürcher of Zürcher Gallery—as the winner of a Mercedes Matter Award.

Claudia Doring Baez
Artist Claudia Doring Baez

The painting, titled “Brassaï, Paris—Gala At The Opera For Harper’s Bazaar 1935-37,”  is included in the New York Studio School Alumni Association’s “2020 Alumni Exhibition,” which has been extended on Artsy to August 30, 2020. The exhibition features works from every decade of the school’s history created by 216 alumni born between 1930 and 1993. 

Underscoring the significance of the annual alumni exhibition and the Mercedes Matter Awards, according to the school’s website, is the fact that one of its founding principles, espoused by both founding Dean Mercedes Matter and Dean Graham Nickson, was the understanding that it takes time and commitment for an artist to truly arrive at something significant. 

Other judges tasked with selecting this year’s Mercedes Matter Awards included Christine Berry from Berry Campbell, Paul Efstathiou from Hollis Taggart, and Catherine Bernath and Madeleine Mermall from Public Swim.

Gala Opera Claudia Doring Baez
Claudia Doring Baez, “Brassaï, Paris -Gala At The Opera For Harper’s Bazaar 1935-37,” 2020, Oil on canvas, 14 × 11 in. —Image courtesy of New York Studio School

Quogue Library Programs Crowd the Calendar
Even when limited to the virtual realm, August is still a busy time for Quogue Library programs. 

Exotic bugs, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals will all be part of the live animal show (on Zoom) on Friday, August 7, at 7 p.m., offered as part of the interactive virtual nature and science presentations of the Wildlife Diversity Series from the Center for Environmental Education & Discovery (CEED). 

Led by Ranger Eric Powers, the presentation will introduce his Animal Ambassadors and examine where in the world these creatures come from and the different special adaptations they have developed. 

The Adult Book Club meets on Zoom this Sunday, August 9, at noon to discuss “The Night Watchman” by Louise Erdich. 

The newly formed Anti-Racism Book Club will continue its Zoom discussion of “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo in meetings at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 11, and Tuesday, August 25. 

On Friday, August 14, at 3 p.m. the library, in association with the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, will host “Let’s Talk Hummingbirds.” The family program will offer information about local hummingbird species and offer tips on how to attract them to the backyard. 

To register for any of these programs, go to and click on the appropriate flier for Zoom login registration.

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Rising tide. —Rosemary Cline Photo

Justice Court Update: Vehicle Break-In Case Adjourned to September 8
The arraignment of Oscar N. Mayen-Orrego of Riverhead, on charges stemming from multiple incidents of petit larceny and attempted petit larceny on June 22, has been postponed for a second time.  

Originally scheduled for Monday, July 6, the arraignment date was changed to August 3 due to Covid-19 restrictions on the use of the courtroom. The case has now been adjourned to Tuesday, September 8, at 9 a.m. in the Quogue Village Justice Court so that Mr. Mayen-Orrego can obtain legal representation. 

Although an arrest was made and arraignment is scheduled, the investigation is ongoing. A Quogue Village Police Detective is still actively working on the case, and additional charges may be brought forward, pending results on some evidence submissions made to the Suffolk County Lab. Anyone with any information about the case is asked to call 631-653-4791, or email

Meanwhile, a QVPD spokesman reiterated this week the advice issued previously that residents be sure, at minimum, to lock their vehicles and house doors (including basement access) at night.

Masks QG Udell LM
CLARIFICATION: A photo in last week’s At Quaquanantuck showed Quogue Gallery owners Chester and Christy Murray and artist Patricia Udell without their masks on, which at least one reader found disturbing. Since they were holding their masks in their hands, the caption should have made note that they had doffed the face coverings only momentarily for the photograph, thus perhaps reassuring anxious readers that the Quogue Gallery remains committed to practicing safe social distancing and other coronavirus protocols at all times. At Quaquanantuck regrets the oversight. —Lulie Morrisey Photo

Quogue Gallery’s Patricia Udell Exhibition On View through August 13
Art lovers have one more week to check out “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. She started with a series of small bronze sculptures exploring the female form before progressing 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 then progressed to 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. 

For more information, call 203-321-9427, email, visit

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Sturgeon moon. —Ginny Rosenblatt Photo

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 9, at 9 a.m. All those wishing to obtain login information for the Zoom platform are requested to send an email to

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 ( 

Reverend Dannals will officiate at the Atonement’s Morning Prayer services through Sunday, August 16.

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  

Contributions Welcome
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 and ask to be put on the mailing list.

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