Well, maybe not forever, but At Quaquanantuck has definitely come to the end of its regularly scheduled programming.
With a nod to Lewis Carroll:
The time has come, the columnist said,
To speak of that and this:
Of news amassed
And email blasts
And deadlines I won’t miss.
Until 2017, At Quaquanantuck appeared weekly in the Hampton Chronicle-News (subsequently, and sadly, renamed The Southampton Press Western Edition) and since then—after the publisher saw fit to eliminate community columns—weekly on this website until 2020, for about 30 years total or some 1,500 columns. For the last two years it has been posted, generally, about every three weeks. After this week, as this scribe attempts to marshall his rapidly depleting energy resources for other writing projects, it’s not clear at this time when the next column might be posted.
Close readers will have noticed that there have been no requests for voluntary “subscriptions” for more than a year now. A few checks have come in unsolicited, and I am as grateful for those as I am for all the contributions from readers over the last couple of years since I first asked for help in keeping the website “free” and accessible to all. While this project has never been about making money for me, I have done my best to keep the column worthy of these free will donations.
I am grateful, too, for all the support I have received for this endeavor: from readers; photo and news item contributors; and all the organizations that the column covers. Taken together, all of these are a big part of what makes our village both special and unique, and almost always a pleasure to write about in this column.
Website administration, laying out photos and copy for an online platform, and preparing and launching email announcements for each posting have all posed big challenges for a writer and editor who started out with only a manual typewriter, a stack of copy paper, a pack of Pall Malls, and a big cup of 7-Eleven coffee on his desk.
While access to website analytics allowed me the joy of seeing that the column was being read (or visited anyway) by individuals in Singapore, Uganda, Hong Kong, Finland, Thailand, South Africa and other far flung locales, less encouraging was to see the increasingly anemic number of readers. There are 481 people signed up to receive an email blast from me every time a column is posted, and an additional 40 or 50 “followers” of the column who get an independent email version of every column posted. But nowadays only a little over 200 of these actually visit the column in the first three days after it is published.
Again, writing the column has been no more about getting and keeping a large audience than it has been about money. Still, it would be disingenuous to say that it’s not daunting to see the numbers falling.
Part of the reason for the decline may be connected to reduced need for what the column works to bring to readers. When the Press eliminated community columns and I launched At Quaquanantuck on my own in 2017, almost all the major programmers in our community were just beginning to build and administer better websites, develop email lists, and get started on social media. So this column was useful for readers as a clearinghouse for what was going on or coming up at the Quogue Library, the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, the Quogue Association, the Quogue Historical Society and, in the early days of the online platform (with help from Sarah Adams), over at the Quogue School.
Now, though, a lot of what is published in At Quaquanantuck is redundant, since these organizations and institutions have already notified residents of their offerings via email or their websites, and the Quogue School only communicates with parents and students and taxpayers directly. And, in all cases, this column can’t possibly be as comprehensive as these organizations’ own platforms.
There was a time, too, when readers used to send in wedding announcements and wedding photos; birth announcements and baby photos; graduations and other items referred to as “social” in newspaper-ese. Haven’t seen any of these in over a year.
Going forward, there are no plans to take down the At Quaquanantuck website, which means that visitors can still read columns in the archives going back to 2017. The AtQuaq@gmail.com email will still be active, and I am hoping people will still send in photos and even news or social items of interest. I’m open to and interested in the idea of running guest essays as future columns, or columns consisting of photos only, my own as well as readers’. And I may post an essay of my own or a more traditional column around the holidays or if the spirit or current events move me. So there is some kind of future for this platform; I’m just not sure at this point what that will look like. I do know it’s at least two months away, maybe longer.
In the meantime, I urge you all, dear readers, to stay connected. If you are not already a member of, or a donor to, the Quogue Association, the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, the Quogue Historical Society, the Quogue Library and Quogue Library Society, Quogue Chamber Music, the Quogue Junior Theater Troupe, or the Westhampton Garden Club, please connect to them right away, make sure you are on their email lists, and check their websites regularly. And remember to renew your membership every year. If you’re interested in the Hampton Theatre Company, you can get on their email list by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hats off to our new mayor, Robert Treuhold, who is continuing, and expanding in some ways, the practice started by Peter Sartorius of communicating with residents via open letters on email, which are then posted on the village website (www/villageofquogueny.gov) under Announcements.
Mayor Treuhold is including in his letters a fairly comprehensive listing of events of note in the community. For example, among the items included in the Final Days of Summer letter, which was posted to the village website on August 23 are: a Quogue Village Police Department free child car seat education and safety check on Sunday, September 4, at the Firehouse, with instructional seminar from 9 to 9:30 a.m. followed by car seat safety checks from 9:30 to noon; and a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of 9-11 at the Firehouse on Sunday, September 11, beginning at 10 a.m. Other items on Hizzoner’s list are addressed in this week’s column.
All residents should make a habit of checking the village website frequently, and readers who are not already on the village email list can sign up by writing to Village Clerk Aimee Buhl at ABuhl@villageofquogueny.gov.
Having written the column as part of my job for two different publishers and a couple of editors, I can say honestly that you, my faithful readers, have been the greatest boss I could have hoped for. I have assembled and written the column for you and you have been unfailingly supportive of all my efforts. While this is admittedly a very big change, it is not the end. Thank you.
Southampton Town Supervisor’s State of the Town
Next up on the Quogue Association’s civics centered agenda will be the state of the town address by Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman on Saturday, September 10, at 10 a.m. The plan is for Mr. Schneiderman to speak outdoors on the Village Green, weather permitting. In case of precipitation or high winds, the Supervisor’s address will be moved inside Quogue Village Hall.
Smart Phone Photographers, Here’s Your Chance
It’s a fact of contemporary life that pretty much everyone—from first graders (yikes!) to great-grandparents—has a smart phone these days. And perhaps the first corollary to ownership is the use of said device by each and every smart phone owner to take photos … of everything.
Recognizing this common thread woven through the human experience in the early 21st century, those clever folks on the Quogue Library Art Committee have come up with a September contest that will ultimately furnish the library art gallery with an exhibition that will close out the 2022 season.
The committee’s Smart Phone Portrait Contest and Exhibition will be judged and curated by professional photographer Lauren Lieberman, of LILA Photo. One hundred portraits will be chosen, printed and exhibited in the Quogue Library Art Gallery from November 19 to January 4, 2023.
Three winning portraits will be publicly recognized at a gallery reception open to the public on November 25.
Submissions are open from September 1 to September 30, and selected artists will be notified via email. Images selected that contain children under age 18 will require parental consent for public display.
The entry fee is $20, with up to two images allowed per entry. Entries should be high resolution, vertical orientation; human portraits only. Jpeg format preferred; alternate formats will be transferred to jpeg. Entry does not guarantee display in exhibitionFor details, click here or visit www.quoguelibrary.org. Inquiries may also be addressed to email@example.com.
Quogue Chamber Music Concert September 10
In June of 2021, Quogue Chamber Music brought the Manhattan Chamber Players to our village for an exciting and highly successful concert. Next week, at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, members of the renowned ensemble will be returning to Quogue for a program of Mozart and Brahms for clarinet and strings in the Quogue Community Hall on Jessup Avenue.
In accordance with protocols at Lincoln Center in New York, Quogue Chamber Music will no longer be requiring proof of vaccination, but patrons will be required to wear masks while inside the building and throughout the concert.
Tickets are $50 for the concert only ($5 for students); $110 with addition of the post-concert celebration. To purchase tickets in advance, patrons are asked to send checks payable to Quogue Chamber Music, Inc. to POB 1984, Quogue, NY 11959. Tickets may also be purchased on the QCM website, www.quoguechambermusic.org, or at the box office on the night of the concert.
The Manhattan Chamber Players are a chamber music collective of New York-based musicians who share the common aim of performing the greatest works in the chamber repertoire at the highest level.
Formed in 2015 by Artistic Director and violist Luke Fleming, MCP is comprised of an impressive roster of musicians who come from the tradition of great music-making at the Marlboro Music Festival, Steans Institute at Ravinia, Music@Menlo, Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival and Perlman Music Program, and are former students of the Curtis Institute, Juilliard School, Colburn School, and the New England Conservatory.
MCP has been praised in Strings Magazine for “A fascinating program concept … It felt refreshingly like an auditory version of a vertical wine tasting.” The article went on to applaud the musicians for “an intensely wrought and burnished performance…Overall, I wished I could put them on repeat.”
At the core of MCP’s inspiration is its members’ joy in playing this richly varied repertoire with longtime friends and colleagues, with whom they have been performing since they were students. Its roster allows for the programming of the entire core string, wind and piano chamber music repertoire—from piano duos to clarinet quintets to string octets. While all its members have independent careers as soloists and chamber musicians, they strive for every opportunity to come together and share once again in this special collaboration.
The program being performed in Quogue will include the Mozart Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, in A Major, K 581 and the Brahms Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, in B Minor Op. 115. Performers will be Yoonah Kim, clarinet; Siwoo Kim and Brendan Speltz, violins; Luke Fleming, viola, and Brook Speltz, cello.
As village residents have come to expect, the Quogue Junior Theater Troupe younger cast once again hit one out of the park with “The Little Mermaid.” At Quaquanantuck received this report from QJTT founder and Artistic Director Sue Prior: “Super enthusiastic audiences definitely helped the cast more than rise to the occasion. ‘Mermaid’ is an especially colorful musical show, with glow paint sets and very colorful under-the-sea costumes: our black lights really did their job. We had four sold out shows and lots of audience participation in the cheering department.”
Pond House Museum News; Maps Available for Walking Tours
This just in, literally, from the Quogue Historical Society: the Pond House Museum on Jessup Avenue will be open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon, and by appointment, in September and October.
For an added treat, after visitors tour the two levels of exhibitions on 350 years of Quogue history at the museum, they can pick up a map from the receptacle on the front door and take a self-guided walking tour of Historic Jessup Avenue, Quogue’s bustling commercial, cultural, and civic center. Maps can also be printed from the QHS website: quoguehistory.org/at-home-post/walking-tour-historic-jessup-avenue.
Also, be sure to save the date for the Historical Society 2022 Holiday House Tour on Saturday, December 10, from 2 to 6 p.m. And check the QHS website calendar regularly for more details.
New Honor for Wildlife Refuge’s Marisa Nelson
How wonderful—and how appropriate—that Marisa Nelson, the associate director of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, has been named one of the 2022 honorees in the Dan’s Papers Power Women of the East End program.
She joins a group of women who “make the East End the thriving and vibrant place it is to work, live and do business. When women support women, amazing things happen.”
All are invited to join Marisa and other honorees at a special Power Women of the East End event at The Muses, 111 St. Andrews Road, Southampton, 11968 on Thursday, September 8, at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.powerwomenee.com.
And, as always, to find out more about what’s going on at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org.
Great Decisions Looks at Outer Space Policy
The next Foreign Policy Association Great Decisions Discussion program on Saturday, September 10, at 5 p.m. will focus on the topic of “Outer Space Policy.” In an effort to provide the broadest possible access, the September 10 program will be hybrid and can be joined virtually by Zoom or attended in person at the Quogue Library.
Refreshments will be served. Virtual and in-person participants will view a video presentation on the topic before joining or listening to a live, 40-minute participant discussion moderated by David Rowe and facilitated by Susan Perkins.
Way back when, the Soviet launch of Sputnik 1 in October 1957 marked the beginning of the space era and the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the 21st century, there are many more participants in space, including countries such as India and China, and commercial companies such as SpaceX.
The September 10 program will address the question of “How will the United States fare in a crowded outer space?”
The 2022 Great Decisions Briefing Book may be purchased ($22) at the Quogue Library or digitally from fpa.org. Visit the FPA website here to join and receive notices of events and information about Great Decisions and other programs.
“High Society” Screening at Return of Film Feast September 17
The perennially popular Film Feast series is coming back to the Quogue Library on Saturday, September 17, at 6 p.m. with a screening of another Grace Kelly (and multiple other stars) film, “High Society.”
Directed by Charles Waters and released in 1956, this lively musical adaptation of “The Philadelphia Story” also stars Bing Crosby, Celeste Holm, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong. The film tells the story of a spoiled heiress who must choose, on the eve of her wedding, among three suitors: her jazz musician ex-husband, her stuffy businessman fiancé, and an undercover tabloid reporter.
As one critic wrote: “‘High Society’ doesn’t just have a voice; it has a heart and a soul as well.” A BBC review offered: “After opening with a calypso tune from the inimitable Louis Armstrong, ‘High Society’ really has nowhere to go but down, yet somehow director Charles Walters manages to keep this Technicolor musical sparkling through the next 100 minutes.”
The “price” of admission for the September 17 Film Feast will be a potluck dish to serve at least six people and a beverage to share. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 631-653-4224, ext. 101, to register or for more information.
Always remember to check the library website, http://www.quoguelibrary.org, to find out more about the myriad programs and activities on offer there.
So, that’s a wrap. Please keep in touch.