High Street Lowdown

Everyone—well, lots of residents and visitors anyway, and a fair number of recent theatergoers from elsewhere—wants to know what’s going on with Jessup Avenue: What’s the rationale? What’s with all the dry wells? Why now? Will the whole street be repaved, all the way up to Otis Ford? When will the work be done? 

Let’s go to the last question and the good news first. The sidewalk in front of the stores has been rebuilt, replacing uneven, cracked and crumbling concrete and correcting the tilt away from the storefronts to bring the walkway into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Another ADA compliant improvement is the addition of a half step in front of each store entrance. 

Autumn surfcaster’s sunset. —A. Botsford Photo

Now that the sidewalk is done, the east side of Jessup was being prepared on Wednesday for the first course of asphalt paving. The original target date set by low-bidding South Fork Asphalt (SFA) for completion of this first layer on the east side was November 24, and—pending weather and proper drainage in a couple of wet areas—it looks like this phase of the project will be coming in right on time, or very close to it. 

Anyone who has watched the days, weeks and months tick off the calendar while waiting for completion of any type of renovation project on their home cannot fail to be impressed by the way SFA seems poised to meet its self-imposed mark. 

While it’s still unclear at this stage when the section of Jessup in front of the firehouse will be getting its initial paving, the good news is that the sidewalks are in good shape and the street in front of the stores should be open to two-way traffic and parking for most, if not all, of the busy season between Thanksgiving and the December holidays.

Now to the other questions: 

What’s the rationale? Jessup is one of two roads in the village (the other is Scrub Oak) that still has concrete paving dating back to about the 1930s. Not only was the section in front of the stores in need of a major overhaul for many years, but a better drainage system (the new chain of linked dry wells) was needed to prevent stormwater flowing directly into the bay, and the ancient curb and problematic square gutter system was responsible for tripping up and in many cases injuring numerous pedestrians.   

The idea of an overhaul was broached by the Village Board a few years back, but that plan called for widening the street, which would have required getting rid of the trees on Jessup. That idea, perhaps understandably, met with passionate resistance from a legion of Joyce Kilmer fans in the village. So the Trustees shelved that plan and opted to concentrate instead on fixing up the Village Green. 

Of course, the condition of the street continued to deteriorate and so the overhaul plan resurfaced, if you will, this year. 

Hydrant family out for a stroll. —Lynn Lomas Photo

Why now? In his May 24 email to village residents, Mayor Peter Sartorius announced that the board would be seeking bids for reconstruction of Jessup Avenue and some of the sidewalks between Quogue Street and the Police Station, with work to be done in the fall. In his September 7 email, the mayor alerted residents that—as indicated by signs around the village—work would begin on September 13 and “should be completed before Thanksgiving,” noting that “a final coat of asphalt will be added in the spring.” 

This week, the mayor told At Quaquanantuck that the timing of the project was tied to a couple of factors, namely the seasonal nature of working with asphalt—i.e. not in the winter—and the dates of the “high season” hereabouts, when there is the most activity. Getting at least the initial repaving done between Labor Day and Thanksgiving was the better option, the mayor pointed out, because the earliest the work could be done in the spring would be in April, which would result in the street being torn up through the Memorial Day weekend and into June.  

More good news: the repaving project will only involve the section currently being worked on; no work is currently planned for the section from the Police Station north to Otis Ford.

At this time of giving thanks, At Quaquanantuck is grateful to the mayor for providing some clarity about the project, and thankful that Jessup, from Quogue Street to Midland, will be open in both directions during the holiday season. This means that everyone will be able to shop local and patronize all the wonderful shops and services that make up the village’s lovely business district. 

Please support our local businesses. They are a large part of what gives Quogue its special character. 

For just one example, consider Double Rainbow. Proprietor Grace Davidson recently checked in with At Quaquanantuck, in the midst of overhaul of the sidewalks and the street in front of her shop. “I do want the community to know I am open for business,” Grace wrote, “fully stocked with new Lego sets, Bruder trucks, jigsaw puzzles and board games, including the very hot Schitt’s Creek Monopoly and The Sopranos Monopoly. I could even take orders from the local community and deliver to their homes if they are unable to come to town.” How nice is that? 

Hydrant family reclining, a la M.C. Escher. —A. Botsford Photo

While we’re on the topic of village services, readers should be aware that the Village Highway Department began picking up leaves on November 1. As in years past, leaves—and only leaves—must be on the shoulder of the street by December 15 in order to be picked up. 

Do not pile leaves around fire hydrants or utility equipment. Do not use plastic bags; they will not be picked up, and will have to be removed from the roadside. No brush, such as twigs and branches, or lawn cuttings will be taken away, and mixing this debris with leaves will result in the leaves not being removed. 

Brush with branches up to 3 inches in diameter may be taken to the Westhampton recycling facility free of charge from through December 31. For more information on this option, go to www.southamptontownny.gov. Also, property owners and landscapers who take leaves (only) from a Quogue property may make arrangements with the Quogue Highway Department to dump them at the highway yard. That can circumvent the problem of having piles of leaves in front of a property blowing back onto the lawn before the village crews come around to pick them up.

Leaving the Leaves: the Go Native Option
Seems like a good time to remind readers of the Go Native option detailed in the last At Quaquanantuck, which you can scroll down to see just below this week’s column. 

The gist would be to consider doing garden and lawn cleanup in the spring instead of the fall, as leaves can be left to decompose or raked into hedges, foundation plantings and garden beds. They can also be added to a compost pile, or mulched with a lawn mower to speed the decomposition process and create nature’s perfect fertilizer. The leaf litter also provides protection for overwintering insects—vital to nourishing the birds and stemming the tide of their frightening population decreases. 

There are myriad benefits to leaving the leaves, not the least of which is negating the need to use any noisy, polluting, and annoying leaf blowers. Time to walk the walk, Quieter Quogue adherents.

Autumn egret. —A. Botsford Photo

Season of Gratitude and Many Delights at Wildlife Refuge
Among the many things to be thankful for, now and throughout the year, is the blessing of being able to live here, on this land that was first home to the Shinnecocks, whose language gave us, among much, the names of areas, streets, bodies of water, and many kinds of marine life.

It is apt that the Quogue Wildlife Refuge is in the forefront of recognizing the incredible debt we owe the Shinnecocks, offering programs and activities throughout the year providing education and insights into Shinnecock Nation culture. 

One such program is coming up over two days this weekend. On Friday, November 19, at 4 p.m. all are invited to come to the Refuge to learn more about, and create, a Traditional Talking Stick. The talking stick is a tool used in many Native American traditions; it is passed from person to person as they speak, and only the person who has the stick may speak.  

Considering the cacophony that can accompany Thanksgiving, perhaps bringing a traditional talking stick to the family gathering could be just the ticket. The fee is $20 per person for this program for adults and kids 8 and older, who must be accompanied by an adult. 

On Saturday, November 20, join Shinnecock Nation tribe members outside at the Wildlife Refuge at 10 a.m. for a Native American Blessing of the Earth, a guided traditional dance, and a Collaborative Art Project

After the blessing and dance, participants can take part in the collaborative art project by writing a message, wish, or note of gratitude on a branch, which will be added to the giant nest installation at the Refuge. Register for these programs by visiting quoguewildliferefuge.org or calling 631-653-4771.  

The Wildlife Refuge gains an eerie beauty during the Light the Night Winter Trail Walks. —Photo courtesy of QWR

Two weeks from now, on Saturday, December 4, it’s time once again for a magical Light the Night Winter Trail Walk and the wonderful Outdoor Holiday Market. Both programs are in-person and outdoors; reservations for the Light the Night walks are available between 5:30 and 7 p.m. The rain date is Sunday, December 5.  

The Light the Night Winter Trail Walk, for adults and families, is a self-guided, peaceful stroll through the gently illuminated forest trails. Participants are asked to remember that this is a quiet walk. The fee is $15 per person, or $10 for kids 12 and under. 

Shopping at the outdoor Holiday Market for meaningful gifts that support QWR and local vendors is free for all. QWR pewter ornaments, hats, sweatshirts, and fun stocking stuffers are just some of the swell Refuge gifts that will be available; plus hand poured soy candles by Seatuck Cove Creations, Gigi’s Jewelry handmade bracelets by the charming and talented Stephanie Wagner, natural soaps by Stepping Stone Soaps, children’s books and more. Tickets for Light the Night Winter Trail Walks can be purchased on the QWR website, quoguewildliferefuge.org; more information at 631-653-4771.

Among the treasures available at the outdoor Holiday Market at the Wildlife Refuge will be QWR sweatshirts with animal tracks on the sleeve, and handmade bracelets from Gigi’s Jewelry. —Photos courtesy of QWR

“Pavarotti” Screening at Library Film Feast on Saturday
As detailed in the last At Quaquanantuck (and repeated here) the next in-person Film Feast at the library is coming up on Saturday, November 20, at 6 p.m. when the featured film will be “Pavarotti,” the 2019 documentary on the legendary Italian tenor directed by Ron Howard. 

Created from a combination of Luciano Pavarotti’s genre-redefining performances and never-before-seen footage, the film provides what critics have called “a stunningly intimate portrait” of one of the most beloved opera singers of all time.

As a reflection of the singer’s rock star status, commentary in the film comes from such diverse voices as Bono, Clive James, José Carreras, Kofi Annan, Luciano Pavarotti himself, Nelson Mandela, Nicoletta Mantovani, Phil Donahue, Pl, Princess Diana, Spike Lee, Stevie Wonder, and Zubin Mehta.

Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times called the documentary “a warm, emotional and completely involving film about the celebrated tenor.” 

Writing for The Wrap, Todd Gilchrist said, “Howard’s film is a love letter to the icon, but ultimately “Pavarotti” is a more of a celebration of the individual behind that façade and a reminder that it’s as much his humanity as his talent that made him a star.”

And The Austin Chronicle’s Steve Davis wrote: “This love letter dedicated to opera’s biggest rock star, the larger-than-life Luciano Pavarotti, achieves something most documentaries about the deceased rarely do: It brings a man back to glorious life.”

The “price” of admission for this international Film Feast will be an Italian potluck dish to serve at least six people and a beverage to share. Masks required. Email info@quoguelibrary.org or call 631-653-4224, ext. 101, to register or for more information.

Exhibitions at Library and Quogue Gallery Celebrate Local Artists
Opening receptions will be the order of the day on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 27, celebrating the work of local artists on view at the Quogue Library and the Quogue Gallery.  

East African Crane by Garrett Chingery

At the Quogue Library, East Quogue artist Garrett Chingery will present a selection of new paintings from his portraiture series entitled “The Ark” from November 20 to January 4, 2022. The exhibition will feature images of wild and domestic animals from around the world. 

Zebra by Garrett Chingery

Paintings are affordably priced, according to the artist, making them accessible to collectors as well as “wonderful gifts for the holidays or any special occasion.” All are welcome to the Artist’s Reception on Saturday, November 27, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Masks are required. 

In a statement, Mr. Chingery noted that “The endless variety of size, shape, color and pattern found in the animal kingdom never ceases to amaze me. Plus, the abundance of creatures that inhabit this Earth provides a wonderful opportunity to explore in depth my fascination with portraiture, which is not only a quest to achieve a physical likeness but also a challenge to endow the subject with an emotional intelligence and a life of its own.”

All of the works in the exhibition are original acrylic paintings made on 11- by 14-inch canvas panels. All are individually hand painted by the artist, and are “in no way any form of printed reproduction.”

“Initially, I’m painting three very similar versions of the same animal,” Mr. Chingery wrote, “to give several buyers the opportunity to own their favorite one. Based on demand, I may alter the number of images I create of the same subject.” 

Mixed media on canvas works by Anne-Céline Grandury will be on view in the “Quogue in Common” exhibition opening on November 24 at the Quogue Gallery and running through December 31. —Image courtesy of Quogue Gallery

On November 24, the Quogue Gallery will open its traditional Thanksgiving show of local artists, “Quogue in Common.” The opening reception will be held on Saturday, November 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. Masks are required. 

Artists featured this year are: Maggie Cardelús (oil and charcoal on photography, crude oil and ink (yellow) on rice paper, and jewelry), Margot Carr (metal print), Susan Cushing (painting), Anne-Céline Grandury (mixed media on canvas), Robin Koffler (painting), George Motz (photography) and Patricia Udell (sculpture).

“Quogue in Common” will remain on view at the Quogue Gallery through December 31.

Metal print works by Margot Carr, left, and paintings by Susan Cushing, right, will be on view in “Quogue in Common.”

Quogue Library in Step with the Season
True to form, from now through December 12, the Quogue Library is collecting items in support of two worthy organizations and causes. 

The first is Maureen’s Haven, an organization that assists in providing homeless men and women with supportive services, access to case management and programs, and a safe place to stay during the winter months. (Items sought include: toiletries, underwear, socks, winter clothes, gloves, scarves, sweaters, blankets, reusable bags.)

The second is the Family Service League’s Project Toy, an effort that brings joy to more than 3,000 children who live in Suffolk County, ages newborn to 18, through the donation of new, unwrapped gifts. (Items sought include: board games, stuffed animals, puzzles, building blocks, art supplies, notebooks, paints, coloring books, crayons, bikes, baby toys, video games.) 

Here’s an idea: While readers can readily find most of the items being sought at stores and shops in nearby villages and hamlets, there is one shop right here in our village that can supply almost all of the gifts needed to make the library’s collection for Project Toy a success.

At Quaquanantuck encourages every reader of this column to stop in at Double Rainbow between now and December 12 and pick up at least one toy to donate to the current library drive. Here’s a chance for a classic win-win: we can support a local business while bringing some happiness to children who typically operate at a deficit in that department. It’s also a great way to get your motor started in the holiday spirit department.

Also true to form, lots of great in-person and virtual programs on the schedule at the library. Some highlights include:in-person pilates classes on Mondays and virtual cardio classes via Zoom on Tuesdays in November and December with Leisa Taylor. All classes are at 10 a.m. and the fee is $10 per class. 

Upcoming virtual programs include: a virtual “Winter Wonderland” adult Paint Party with Marie Camenares on Friday, November 19 at 7 p.m., $10 fee, pick up supplies in a kit at the library; Chef Rob Recipes available through November at www.quoguelibrary.org/chef-rob-november-recipes, with hard copies available at the library front desk; an Edible Holistic Wellness virtual workshop led by Alicia Randolph-Lucchesi on Tuesday, November 30, at 7 p.m.; and a virtual discussion of the holiday classic film, “It’s a Wonderful Life” led by Brian Rose on Sunday, December 5, at 3 p.m.

The inimitable Rori from Flowers by Rori will be on hand for an in-person Holiday Trees decorating workshop on Saturday, December 11, at 3 p.m. The $30 fee for the workshop includes all supplies needed. Another of the popular Family Movie Nights will be offered on Saturday, December 4, at 4 p.m. All are invited to bring a blanket, pick a spot, and “camp out” at the library to enjoy a classic family film, “Night at the Museum.”    

Quogue Library staffers Arie “Morticia” and Ian “The Grimefighter” get into the spirit of Halloween.—Elizabeth Caputo Photo

“Write America” Now Crowdcasting from New Home
Now headquartered at Byrd’s Books in Bethel, Connecticut, “Write America”—the virtual reading and discussion series founded by Roger Rosenblatt, late of this village—continues to Crowdcast programs aimed at bridging some of the widening divisions currently eroding the foundations of our republic. 

Upcoming programs on the regular schedule of Monday evenings at 7 p.m. include Russell Banks and Ishmael Angaluuk Hope on November 22; Amy Hempel, Jim Shepard and W. Todd Kaneko on November 29; Jennifer Chang, David Lynn and Edward Zwick on December 6; and Juan Felipe Herrera and David Tomas Martinez on December 13. 

Special programs coming up include Roger Rosenblatt in conversation with Academy Award-winning lyricist Alan Bergman on Wednesday, December 1, at 7 p.m.; and Richard Ford and Bruce Weber honoring the late E.L. Doctorow.on Tuesday, December 14, also at 7 p.m. 

More information and registration information is available at byrdsbooks.com/write-america-reading-our-country

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.comNews Items 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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