Debt of Gratitude

The Memorial Day observance honoring the men and women who gave up their lives in the service of our nation. The final production of the Hampton Theatre Company’s 2019-2020 season. Blockbuster professional fireworks extravaganzas to mark the Fourth of July.

The Wild Night for Wildlife fundraiser for the Quogue Wildlife Refuge. Gala benefit evenings for Stony Brook Southampton Hospital and East End Hospice, among other worthy causes. The Quogue Association Beach Party.

The Quogue Historical Society’s “Celebrate Art” party and Village Green art show. Live Quogue Junior Theater Troupe musicals at the Community Hall. The QA Duck Race. The season capping September concert presented by Quogue Chamber Music. The list goes on and on.

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Hot Dog morning. —A. Botsford Photo

It has been a summer of missing things, gatherings of every description that in the end all boil down to celebrations of community. Among those events most sorely missed is perhaps the most open-hearted celebration of community that we have: the annual Open House hosted by the volunteers of the Quogue Fire Department. 

As a mailer for the QFD pointed out, since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, department volunteers have been responding to twice the usual number of alarms, carefully adhering to safety protocols while doing their utmost, as ever, to protect our community. Required to complete more than 100 hours of training annually, the members of the department are residents volunteering to be on the front lines to respond to more than 200 types of calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year long. 

Like other nonprofits, the QFD has launched its 2020 fund drive without the anchoring event of the early August Open House, which traditionally has primed the pump to start donations flowing. While firefighting expenses such as new tools, gear (PPE) and apparatus maintenance are covered by village taxes, money raised in the annual fund drive enable the QFD Fraternal Association to underwrite such community activities as the Halloween Ghost Parade, a visit from Santa Claus, the Easter Egg sweep, Memorial Day ceremonies, fire safety education programs, and the annual Open House. 

Some of the funds raised also go to support a modest life insurance policy and family scholarships for QFD volunteers, both of which represent added incentives in new member recruitment and volunteer retention. 

The final paragraph of the department’s mission statement says it all: “To inspire love of country, good citizenship, civic virtue and self-sacrifice, and to perpetuate the spirit which from the earliest days has stimulated volunteer firefighters in the rendering of service of the highest type in the protection of life and property from fire or other life threatening emergency, without the motivation of fee or reward.”

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Volunteers of the Quogue and Westhampton Beach Fire Department circa 1922. —Image courtesy of the Quogue Historical Society

In the end, we owe the volunteers of the Quogue Fire Department a tremendous debt of gratitude, not only for their service in protecting our lives and our property but also for their example of civic responsibility and showing us the true meaning of community spirit. 

If you received the department mailer, please consider enclosing a generous donation in the return envelope provided. Didn’t get or can’t find the QFD mailer? Make out a check and send it to Quogue Fire Department, PO Box 792, Quogue, NY 11959.

The department, which has an active Explorer Program for community teenagers 15 and up “to prepare the next generation of firefighters,” is always looking for new volunteers. To find out more or to sign up, write to the QFD at PO Box 792, call 631-653-4620, or go to www.quoguefiredepartment.org and click on Contact Us. 

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Rainbow over Quaquanantuck; August 12, 7:10 a.m. —Lulie Morrisey Photo

Cara Wall Is Final Guest in Library’s Author Series
Writer Cara Wall will be the fourth and final guest in the Quogue Library’s 2020 Conversations with the Author series on Sunday, August 16, at 5 p.m. 

Ms. Wall will read from her debut novel, “The Dearly Beloved,” 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. 

“The Dearly Beloved” has been characterized as a poignant meditation on faith and reason, marriage and children, and the ways we find meaning in our lives. The novel follows two couples through decades of love and friendship, jealousy and understanding, forgiveness and commitment. Against the backdrop of turbulent changes facing  New York city and their church’s congregation, the four protagonists forge improbable paths through their evolving relationships, each struggling with uncertainty, heartbreak, and joy.

Cara Wall
Cara Wall

Fifteen years in the making, “The Dearly Beloved” has been called “a gorgeous, wise, and provocative novel that is destined to become a classic.”

Cara Wall is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Stanford University. While at Iowa, she taught fiction writing in the undergraduate creative writing department and as the founder and inaugural director of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio; she has also taught middle school English and history. Her writing has been published by Glamour, Salon, and The San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in New York City with her family. 

Writing for Entertainment Weekly magazine, David Canfield wrote:“‘The Dearly Beloved’ is the best book about faith in recent memory.” 

The Kirkus starred review includes this assessment: “Writing with restrained lyricism, Wall’s debut … offers a kind of literary chamber music, combining the viewpoints of a quartet of characters across multiple decades and events. ”

And Mary Beth Keane, author of “Ask Again, Yes,” wrote: “When I began reading ‘The Dearly Beloved’ I braced for piety, worried it might be a book only a believer could appreciate. Instead, I found myself carried along by Cara Wall’s luminous prose, and then by these characters and their stories. I saw myself in their doubts, in their hopes. An expansive narrative that draws in fifty years and two marriages, this is a novel to settle in with, to read slowly. 

“It asks the biggest question: where can each of us find meaning in this life? There is no moralizing here, only empathy. When I arrived at the end I felt absolutely lifted by the spirit of the story.” Dearly Beloved

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; register at QuogueLibrary.org

All 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. “The Dearly Beloved” can also be purchased by clicking here

Sunday’s Conversations with the Author program begins at 5 p.m. For more information, email Quogue Library Director Jenny Bloom at jbloom@quoguelibrary.org.

Junior Theater Troupe Gets Creative for Covid Summer
The young musical theatre actors, singers, dancers and tech crew of the Quogue Junior Theater Troupe—along with the directors, designers, tech specialists, and producer and founder Sue Prior—got a lot of firsthand experience in the-show-must-go-on-no-matter-what tactical innovation this summer.

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Olivia Robins, Grace Gramins, Anne Huffines, and Mary Kate Logler in a number from “We’re All in This Together.”

Given the restrictions on large groups gathering indoors and social distancing requirements, the QJTT team first transformed the interior of the theater at the Quogue Community Hall into a studio space set up for filming culminating performances. 

The older cast rehearsed seven nights a week for five weeks, working with an original script created specifically for this summer by the two directors, Mickey Nugent and Chris McKee. Titled “We’re All in This Together,” the show features classic and new Broadway show tunes, with performance rights purchased by QJTT.

From left: Grace Gramins at the keyboard; the tech crew for “We’re All in This Together”; an energetic masked dance number.


Last week, the final performance was filmed over the course of one afternoon and evening. The footage is currently being edited and will be available this weekend for online viewing (with a code) by cast families and donors. After the season ends, DVDs will be available for cast families. 

QJTT founder Sue Prior was beyond gratified by the way everyone pulled together to make the show both safe and a success. “With a great deal of effort and prayers, we managed to pull it off,” she wrote in an email this week. “The cast and staff had a blast and everyone stayed safe and well. We want to extend special thanks to our Mayor and Trustees for allowing us to use the theater space wisely.”

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Cast and crew for QJTT’s “We’re All in This Together.” —All photos courtesy of Richard and Sue Prior

The younger cast, rehearsing over a seven week period, will be following in the older cast’s footsteps in a few weeks, presenting for filming a different show with the same title, “We’re All in This Together,” with script created by directors Chris Kelly and Chris McKee and Broadway music purchased in the same manner.

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Black-crowned night-heron stands a watch. —Rosemary Cline Photo

Quogue Library Virtual Programs for Every Age and Interest
On Friday, August 14, at 3 p.m. the Quogue Library, in association with the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, will host “Let’s Talk Hummingbirds.”ruby t hummingbird The family program will offer information about eastern Long Island’s local hummingbird species, the ruby-throated hummingbird, and offer tips on how to attract them to the backyard. Appropriate for children 8 and up, teens and adults, the program will include a PowerPoint presentation covering a variety of topics about these wondrous birds. 

A pair of Quogue co-authors, Liz Gold Somekh and Stacey Maslin, will read their new book, “Dachshund Days: Meet the Gang,” in a virtual presentation sponsored by the library on Wednesday, August 19, at 10 a.m.
Characterized by the library as “perfect for children and dog lovers,” the book recounts an adventure featuring four next door neighbor pups who won’t let a fence stop them from building a lasting friendship. 

This summer’s “I Hate Classical Music” series gets off to a strong start on Saturday, August 15, at 4 p.m. with “Fate Knocking: Exploring Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.”
The three installments of the “I Hate Classical Music” series, offered on successive Saturdays in August at 4 p.m., offer lectures for those less familiar with opera and classical music.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven

Everyone logging in for the virtual program will get an inside look from the maestro’s perspective, while conducting along with an animated orchestra.
On August 22 at 4 p.m. the series will present “It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Mozart’s Symphony 40.” To register, email info@quoguelibrary.org and request the Zoom login information. 

To register for Quogue Library virtual programs, go to www.quoguelibrary.org and click on the appropriate flier for Zoom login registration. Clicking on the “I Hate Classical Music” flier will direct you to email info@quoguelibrary.org.  

“Eugene Healy: Recent Paintings” Opening at Quogue Gallery
On view from August 14 to September 30, “Eugene Healy: Recent Paintings” will be the final show of summer 2020 at the Quogue Gallery. An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 15, for the exhibition, which features 23 new paintings by the artist. 

Peter Hastings Falk, Chief Curator and Editor of Discoveries in American Art, has this to say about Eugene Healy’s work: “Many of Healy’s paintings are abstractions of shore scenes, being places that have evoked particular moods and feelings in the artist. And it is those feelings that he so effectively materializes with mediums ranging from oil, watercolor, encaustic, oil crayon, lacquers, and colored pencil applied to fragments of canvas, boards, and paper. Often, one delights in the subtle addition of beach sand, fragments of printed fabrics, and even pieces of window screens. 

“These are musical arrangements. Yet what is generally not known about the artist is that in the process of capturing those feelings just right, he returns to each work, over and over, almost obsessively making changes until he is certain his expressions sing … Collage is a melody he first heard as a 13-year-old growing up in Brooklyn, where he was born in 1948. Among his early primary influences, he cites Matisse, Vermeer, Diebenkorn, Rauschenberg, Hoffman, and the Fauve painters.”

Middle Beach Road, 2020, Mixed media on canvas, 40_ x 32_
Eugene Healy, “Middle Beach Road,” 2020, Mixed media on canvas, 40 x 32 in. —Image courtesy of Quogue Gallery

Starting in 1967, the artist began a long exhibition record with art museums and galleries throughout the country. He has also served as a curator, beginning in the late 1970s when he conceived and organized the popular traveling exhibition, “American Vision,” which was launched at New York University. Later, he served as Director of the National Artists’Alliance, and as exhibition designer for the Yale Center for British Art. Healy earned a BFA from New York Institute of Technology in 1972. 

As regular readers of this column know, the mission of the Quogue Gallery is to present a program of artistic excellence by showcasing the work of prominent, mid-career and emerging artists in the modernist tradition. Its core focus is on discovering and exhibiting figurative and abstract expressionist painters who are recognized historically as well as those of great promise whose work has not received the attention and critical response it so richly deserves. 

Since its founding in 2014, the Quogue Gallery’s place in the modern and contemporary art world has been widely acknowledged by the press. The gallery has been featured in many publications, including the New York Times, Dan’s Paper, Beach Magazine, Hamptons Art Hub, Artnet News, Southampton Press, and others. The gallery has also received critical recognition in reviews published by Hamptons Art Hub, Artnet News and other outlets. 

Quogue Gallery is at 44 Quogue Street, Quogue, NY 11959. Quoguegallery.com. For more information, call 203-321-9427, email info@quoguegallery.com, visit quoguegallery.com.

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Midsummer magnolia. —Lulie Morrisey Photo

Tracking the White Horse

From time to time, At Quaquanantuck receives requests for more information about specific aspects of Quogue history or the historical narratives related to different local landmarks. On more than one occasion, for example, readers have asked about the white horse standing sentinel at the corner of Montauk Highway and Route 104, also known as Quogue Riverhead Road. 

How lucky are village residents that we have the exceptional resource of the Quogue Historical Society and its dedicated curator Julie Greene to turn to for the answers to questions like these?

For most area residents—even those who have reached what is euphemistically referred to as “a certain age”—it seems there has always been a white horse on that corner. Thus far in her research, Ms. Greene has not been able to determine exactly when the original horse was installed. But what she has learned about the history of the property where it holds court offers some clues. 

The house behind the horse on the corner property was built by the Griffin family circa 1800. In 1923, Marcus Griffin sold the house to the Fitch family. According to Ms. Greene, it’s not clear whether it was the Griffin family or the Fitch family that gave the house the name Illahee, which the namers took to mean “the Homestead.”

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The latest iteration of the white horse that has long been a landmark at the corner of Route 104 and Montauk Highway. —A. Botsford Photo

 Side note: Cursory research by At Quaquanantuck indicates that “illahee” does not appear to be a Shinnecock word, as one might imagine. According to Wikipedia, it “means earth or country in the Native language Chinuk Wawa” spoken by indigenous people in the Pacific Northwest. Today, Illahee is the name of an unincorporated community in Kitsap County in the state of Washington. 

In 1924, the Fitch family opened the house as an antique, gift, and tea shop. The tea room was discontinued but the antique show continued until 1953, when the Fitch family sold the house to John Nilsson. 

Based on her research so far, Ms. Greene believes the house continued as an antique shop under the name White Horse Antiques until 1986, when South Bay Auctions held an auction there prior to the next sale of the property. While the white horse that gave the business its name was on the corner at the time of the auction, it is not clear, as noted above, when it was first installed. 

Over the years, the white horse has been through a number of changes. At Quaquanantuck recalls that there was once a tradition of seniors graduating from Westhampton Beach High School “riding” the steed prior to commencement. Damage from the riders and the vagaries of seasonal weather over the years necessitated at least one substantial overhaul. The horse that stands on the corner today is a replacement for a previous iteration, which was apparently stolen, according to what Ms. Greene has been able to learn. 

Quogue Historical Society at Home
A reminder that the QHS has put up an online exhibition, “Through the Lens of George Bradford Brainerd: Quogue, ca. 1875,” consisting of images that Mr. Brainerd captured of Quogue in the mid-1870s. Taken together, the images document a portrait of the village’s early days, barely recognizable from the vantage point of today. quoguehistory.org/qhs-home-exhibitions-online.

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Circa 1875 view of Quogue Street (looking west) from Old Depot Road. —George Bradford Brainerd Photo courtesy of Quogue Historical Society

Enjoy walking? Interested in history? Download a Walking Tour Map of Historic Jessup Avenue from the quoguehistory.org website, or pick up a map outside the QHS Pond House. The map provides an authoritative guide for a socially distanced walk around what the QHS is calling “Quogue’s bustling commercial, cultural, and civic center.”

And remember, now is the time to create or renew your membership and increase your donation to the Quogue Historical Society. Click here or visit quoguehistory.org/support/financial-contributions/

After Isaias blew through the village last week, the QHS thoughtfully shared stories and details of the Great Hurricane of 1938. With fingers crossed, At Quaquanantuck is planning to publish the QHS account closer to the 82 anniversary of the storm known as the Long Island Express on September 21.

Steve Alpert Open House Art Show Benefits Wildlife Refuge
Artist Steve Alpert and his wife Dorothy are hosting an open house art exhibition titled “Desire” on Saturday, August 22, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with 20 percent of proceeds from sales going to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge. Rain date for the outdoor exhibition at 29 Old Main Road in Quogue, at which all coronavirus protocols will be observed, is Sunday, August 23, also from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Steve Alpert, “Silver Linings,” Oil on canvas, 40 x 78 in. —Image courtesy of the artist.

A press release on the “Desire” exhibition explained the show’s title this way: “Desire for the beauty of nature. Desire for a better world through philanthropy. These tenets are the foundation of all the work of nationally renowned painter Steve Alpert, from his contemporary military paintings to his abstract landscapes that rejoice in the wonder of nature.” 

According to the release, the outdoor exhibition will feature “oil paintings such as ‘Desire,’ which was inspired by a trip to the Amazon region in Peru, and recalls Claude Monet’s Water Lilies cycle.” Also on display will be more recent works, such as “Duck,” “Summer Sun,” and “At Rest,” paintings  that “capture the magnificence and uniqueness of the East End’s landscapes.” 

Just prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Mr. Alpert closed out his 30-year career as a TV producer/director in New York in order to turn his attention to his lifelong passion for painting. His particular focus in the beginning was on extolling the virtues of those who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. Seven large paintings in the artist’s“Full Honors” series—based on his photographs of a full honors funeral ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery—have been on exhibition at the Pentagon for the last two years and are slated to hang there indefinitely.

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Artist Steve Alpert, his wife Dorothy, and the late Ray. —Linda Phillips Photo

In November 2003, following the crash of two Black Hawk helicopters over Northern Iraq, the artist initiated a series of paintings to honor the 17 soldiers lost in the crash. Proceeds from these works and others in his contemporary military oeuvre have gone to support veterans and their families. As an adjunct professor at Fordham University, Mr. Alpert teaches an art workshop for veterans as part of the Fordham Veteran’s Initiative.

Today, the artist is continuing to pay tribute to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. His latest initiative is “Proudly She Served,” a series of large portraits honoring “active duty military and veteran women who exemplify courage, strength, and selfless service, and who inspire the generations of young women following them,” according to the artist’s dedicated website for the project. (www.proudlysheserved.com

Meanwhile, partly in response to the global disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the artist  has “turned his attention to where he began: nature,” according to the release. 

Some 21 years ago, Mr. Alpert and his wife Dorothy came to Quogue, where they live on the east shore of Quantuck Creek. “We are a short walk to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge and have enjoyed its unique year-round splendor ever since,”the artist said, noting that during these days of stay at home orders and quarantine, the Refuge has been “as much a sanctuary for people as the animals it protects.”

“Recognizing that this summer season is going to be difficult for many non-profit organizations that depend on special fundraising events to help meet their operating costs, and that a number of local art shows have been cancelled,” Mr. Alpert said, “it seemed a perfect fit to have an open house art exhibition at our home and commit to 20 percent of all sales to go to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge.”

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Steve Alpert, “Desire,” Oil on canvas, 40 x 68 in. —Image courtesy of the artist

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 16, 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

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). 

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.  

Share Your News and Photos
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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