Spring Forward, With Care

It’s an intoxicating mix. As we set the clocks ahead one hour on Sunday, March 14—extending the benefits of glorious daylight that smiles on snowdrops already in bloom and charms daffodils to rise through the warming soil—there’s no denying the gathering energy of renewal that is the perennial gift of the vernal equinox.  

At the same time, after more than a year of the immeasurable horror, tragedy, and economic and social disruption of a pandemic affecting every nation on the planet—a plague that served to compound the hellish effects of natural disasters on an unprecedented scale in wildfires and seasonal storms—there are signs that the darkest days may be behind us. Every day, thousands more Americans are being vaccinated and this week the CDC issued an easing of a limited number of social distancing and mask wearing restrictions for small groups of vaccinated adults. Signs of rebirth are everywhere. 

Here they come … —A. Botsford Photo

It can be difficult to remember, especially after a year spent in the unfamiliar fetters of these strange days, that intoxication can lead to missteps and poor choices. The giddy impulse to rejoice and celebrate newfound freedom can too easily blind a person to the pitfalls and dangerous road conditions that still lie ahead. And, really, who wants to think of those now? But as individuals, families and communities thankfully make the most of the beautiful positive energy that this spring is bringing, it’s more important than ever to remember the difficult lessons of the last year. 

The only way to secure a workable way forward to a future that is brighter for everyone is for each of us to continue to pay attention, find ways to work together and help each other, and make responsible choices for the good of others as well as ourselves. These are heady days in still uncertain times. And while it’s important to draw on the spirit of spring as we move ahead, we should never forget the immortal caution that some readers will remember from “NYPD Blue”: Let’s be careful out there.

First tracks. —A. Botsford Photo

The Mayor’s Corner: On Covid Front, Caution Is Key
After a warning about the return to our fair village of car thieves (with a particular fondness for Audis), and a reminder to dog owners to responsibly complete the process of canine sanitation by properly disposing of feces capture bags rather than leaving them on the street, in his March 2 email blast Mayor Peter Sartorius offered his usual clear-eyed assessment of CIQ (Covid in Quogue):

“Many Quogue residents have advised me that they have been successfully vaccinated,” the Mayor wrote. “The locations have varied greatly, but many people went through Barth’s Pharmacy in Westhampton Beach. Thank you, Barth’s.” Hizzoner’s gratitude to Barth’s was echoed in praise for pharmacy proprietor Lou Cassara from village residents this week, and in an article in The Southampton Press last week: “Westhampton Beach Pharmacist Leads Charge to Get Locals Vaccinated Against COVID-19.”(Click here to read the article.)

“That’s all good news,” the Mayor continued, sounding a note of caution, “but this is still no time to let our guard down even among the vaccinated—you can still possibly spread the virus even if you do not get sick. We have all read or heard about the variants that are present on Long Island. Also, the cumulative reported case count in Quogue is up to 60 vs. 48 a few weeks ago. If you are still looking to get an appointment for a vaccination, the Suffolk County website contains a variety of links. Try https://suffolkcountyny.gov/vaccine.”

As indicated at the top of this post, At Quaquanantuck concurs completely with the Mayor’s call for maintaining all defenses against Covid-19. Expanding on Hizzoner’s shoutout to Barth’s, it should be noted that Mr. Cassara’s heroic drive to vaccinate more than 1,000 people in one day would not have been possible without the gracious hospitality and coordination provided by the members of the Westhampton Beach Volunteer Fire Department. 

A Hero’s Welcome and Birthday Celebration for Lee Fadem
Residents in the vicinity of Ice Pond Estates might have been alarmed by the blaring sirens and steady stream of fire trucks and police vehicles in the area on Sunday, February 28, had not neighbor Steve Fadem alerted them in advance that it was all part of a birthday salute to his father, Leroy “Lee” Fadem, a bona fide World War II hero who just happened to be celebrating his 100th birthday that day. 

Steve Fadem and his father, Lee, who celebrated his 100th birthday in Quogue on February 28. —A. Botsford Photo

A lot of attention has rightfully been paid to the senior Mr. Fadem this year, in many cases through the efforts of his son Steve, a second home owner in Quogue for the past 22 years who now lives principally in Chicago during the winter months. It was at Steve’s request that Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois wrote a congratulatory letter to Lee offering thanks for his service, and it was through Senator Durbin’s intercession that President Joe Biden wrote his own letter to Lee. Newsletter writer Robert Hubbell offered a special tribute to Lee in one of his Daily Briefs. 

It was Steve who got the mayor of Lee’s hometown of New Rochelle, Noam Bramson, to declare February 28 “Lee Fadem Day” to honor both his heroism and his 100th birthday. But Lee wasn’t in New Rochelle on his special day, having been brought to Quogue to spend his birthday with Steve and his wife and two daughters. And that’s where the people of our village and the surrounding community, the Quogue Village office staff, the volunteer fire departments and police officers showed their true colors in ways that should make all residents both grateful and proud.

It only took one call to get things started. When Steve reached Assistant to the Mayor Stephanie Wagner in the Village Office and told her a little about his dad and asked if Mayor Peter Sartorius might offer some recognition, she immediately “got very excited,” according to Steve. She shared the story with the Mayor, who immediately wrote the requested letter, and with Ordinance Inspector Chris Osborne, who went into instant overdrive and contacted QFD Chief Ben Hubbard in order to have the Quogue Fire Department buy a brick commemorating Lee’s service in the Pacific during World War II that could be made up in time for a ceremony at the village memorial monument on February 28. That led Steve and his family to buy another brick to honor his dad’s centenary birthday. 

Lee Fadem, center, at the ceremony to mark the installation of two bricks in his honor at the Memorial monument in front of the firehouse.

Then now ex-Fire Chief Osborne reached out to Quogue Village Police Chief Chris Isola and neighboring departments to help him organize a surprise drive-by salute to Lee on his birthday, shortly after the brick ceremony. In the event, some 20 vehicles were involved representing the Quogue Fire Department, Quogue Village Police, East Quogue Fire Department, Westhampton Beach Fire Department, Westhampton Beach Police Department and Southampton Town Police. 

Why all the fuss? It wasn’t just about a 100th birthday; it was to honor the very special man who was celebrating it. A quick read of a brief bio that Steve prepared gives an idea of how special he is: 

“Leroy (“Lee”) Fadem (pronounced FAY- dem) was born on February 28, 1921 in Brooklyn, NY.

“Of all his accomplishments in life he is most proud of his service to our country during WWII.

Lt. Senior Grade Lee Fadem, circa 1945.

“Dad enlisted in the Navy at the outbreak of the war. He was a Plankowner (part of the initial crew) on a Fletcher Class Destroyer, the USS Stevens, DD 479; he served as its Torpedo Officer, Assistant Gunnery Officer and Catapult Officer. As for the latter, the Stevens was outfitted with an experimental airplane catapult to launch scout planes that could get far behind enemy lines and Dad was the only active Catapult Officer on a destroyer in the Pacific during World War II. 

“One of my favorite stories he has told is that as part of the training he gave to the crew on the catapult, he once decided to demonstrate its power and sat in a bucket and had the catapult shoot him high into the air and into the sea. For this he earned the moniker “Fearless Fadem” from the awestruck crew! 

“One night in 1944, deep in Japanese territory,  manning the con (the bridge) as the officer in charge, he heard the dramatic ping of an approaching torpedo and after yelling “General Quarters” to the crew immediately steered the ship to avoid being hit and saved the ship and crew. He tells how the protocol is to turn the ship toward the incoming torpedo to make the ship’s profile a smaller target, and as the Captain arrived on the bridge the two men watched as the torpedo passed by the ship with only feet to spare.

“While on the Stevens he earned five Battle Stars on his Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon, and the Combat Action Ribbon, among his eight decorations.

“He went on to become a Plankowner of LST 871 [in a conversation, Lee quipped that LSTs were  nicknamed by Navy sailors Large Slow Targets] and started as its Executive Officer and Navigator, later becoming its Commanding Officer. In that capacity he accepted the surrender of the Japanese garrison of some 900 soldiers at HaHa Jima in December 1945, very possibly the last official surrender of Japanese troops after the end of the War. As part of the surrender Dad accepted the Japanese Commanding Officer’s sword, which he recently donated to the National Museum of the Pacific War.”

Lee Fadem gets a fist bump from QVPD Sergeant Jason McMunn.

In an interview at Steve’s house on March 2, Lee downplayed his heroism, shushing Steve as he tried to tell different stories. But he had many other stories of his own to tell, both from the time of his service from 1942 to 1946, and from a trip he made with Steve back to the Pacific theater of battle where he served, organized for veterans by the National World War II Museum based in New Orleans. 

A lot of his present day stories have to do with the kindness he has been shown in Quogue over the years he has been visiting here for a few weeks each summer. Like the way the lifeguards at the Village Beach will help him over the dunes in their special buggy on those few occasions when he has needed some assistance. Or the time Village Police Sergeant Jason McMunn helped him fulfill a lifelong dream of flying at age 99 by letting him take the controls of his plane during a ride that included a series of touch-and-goes at Gabreski Airport (with Jason taking over for the “touches,” Lee noted with a smile).   

Although he’s not a full-time or even a full seasonal resident, it’s clear that Lee loves the village that clearly loves him back. Which makes for happiness on both sides. As he concluded with a signature smile and sparkle in his eyes, “Fortunately, I know someone who lives here.” 

New Fire Department Officers Instated
A new slate of officers for the Quogue Volunteer Fire Department was instated on January 15. Now serving the department are: Chief Engineer Ben Hubbard (in his second year); 1st Assistant Chief Mike Nelson; 2nd Assistant Chief Dave Schaffauer; 3rd Assistant Chief Paul Insalaco; Captain Company 1 Mike McMahon; Captain Company 2 Todd Bandrowski; Lieutenant Company 1 Tom Mullen; Lieutenant Company 2 Gerry Volz; Company 1 Wardens Chuck Karpovek and Cliff McKennett; Company 2 Wardens Dave Turinski and John Sipala.

At Quaquanantuck congratulates the new officers, and all the members of the QFD and joins all in the village in thanking them all for their service.

Westhampton Garden Club members Catharine (Ki) Nobiletti, Alicia Whitaker, Melissa Morgan Nelson (President), Peggy Veziris, and Nancy Lombardi got together for a photo and discussion of the WGC Orchid Sale fundraiser at the Quogue Library, site of the future Pollinator Garden being donated to the library by the WGC.

Westhampton Garden Club Orchid Sale
Ever on the lookout for projects that will enhance the quality of life and bring a greater appreciation and understanding of the world of flora in Quogue and Westhampton and the greater environs, the Westhampton Garden Club is planning to install a Pollinator Garden at the newly renovated and expanded Quogue Library. And, happily, just in time for Passover (March 27) and Easter (April 4), the WGC has organized an Orchid Sale as a fundraiser for this appealing project. 

Available for purchase will be lovely Phalaenopsis Orchid plants, each with two stems of blossoms in a terracotta pot, from what the Garden Club is calling “Long Island’s premiere orchid grower.” Fresh from the greenhouse and loaded with buds and open flowers, the orchids are available in two colors: white (in large 6-inch pots or small 3 1⁄2-inch pots) and the somewhat startling “Surprise Me!” in varying pinks and purple (in 6-inch pots only). 

The deadline for ordering is March 15; orchids can be picked up on Saturday, March 20, at the Quogue Firehouse (with some limited deliveries available). To order, click on or go to the Westhampton Garden Club website: www.westhamptongardenclub.org, or call 914-646-2367.

If, like At Quaquanantuck, you are wondering what a “pollinator garden” might be, here’s a quote from an Ecological Landscape Alliance discussion of the subject: “Pollinator Gardens are a recent concept. Reminiscent of the Victory Gardens promoted by the government during World War I and II, the Pollinator Garden effort is intended to help cover food shortages, only this time, for insects. The goal of the effort is to provide sufficient food (nectar and pollen) to reverse the decline of pollinators, bees in particular, and to provide habitat (milkweed) for monarch butterflies.”

Want to know more about what your purchase of orchids will support? Here are two more links to peruse: www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/documents/AttractingPollinatorsV5.pdf and https://extension.psu.edu/planting-pollinator-friendly-gardens.

A Reader Remembers: Nando’s Caesar Salad
As long as we’re on the subject of flora, how about a brief trip down memory lane to the flower of East End restaurants back in the day, Nando’s Miramar, which readers of a certain age will fondly remember as the oasis of fine dining and genial hospitality in the omphalos of Quogue at the address that is now the site of the Quogue Club. 

Under the title of “That’s Not a salad. Now That is a salad… (Nando’s Miramar, Quogue, L.I. 1968)” reader Carol Meeds sent this “comment” to At Quaquanantuck last week: 

“Recently I went to a new and popular restaurant here in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. It is called “Grow” and features organic and locally grown vegetables. The menu is only two items: salad or bowl. The clientele is young and slender. The view is spectacular. One would think that with only two items on the menu the salad would be something special. Well, it wasn’t and I was reminded of the most spectacular salad I ever experienced. 

“We were newly married and visiting the Hamptons. I don’t know why we went to Nando’s Miramar in Quogue, Long Island, New York. It may have been a wedding present, or a late honeymoon treat. I remember looking at the menu and exclaiming to my new husband, “Look at this! There is a salad here for three dollars and fifty cents!” Up until then the most expensive salads we had seen anywhere were 75 cents. We ordered it. What an experience. 

“The waiter/chef came out with a table on wheels and everything to make the CAESAR SALAD at our table. The garlic clove was cut and rubbed on the inside of the enormous wooden salad bowl. An anchovy was mushed into the bowl, good olive oil, shredded Romaine lettuce and pepper ground at the table with one of those huge grinders, salt too! Lemon squeezed, parmesan cheese shredded in the coddled egg yolk, too. A quick mix and served on a chilled plate. Was it worth it? It is over 50 years later; it is the salad that other salads can only hope to be as rewarding!”

At Quaquanantuck, being ancient, can still recall, mouth watering, at least two other dishes prepared tableside with dramatic flair in Quogue and at the southern Nando’s outpost in Palm Beach: the delectable Steak Diane and, of course, the heavenly Crêpes Suzette. 

Taking a cue from the thoughtful Ms. Meeds, readers are invited at any time to share reminiscences of Quogue in earlier days by sending them to AtQuaq@gmail.com

Quogue Shop Hosting Children’s Party April 3
While the Quogue Fire Department, citing safety protocols, has cancelled this year’s Easter Egg Hunt (or perhaps more properly “scramble”) traditionally held on the Saturday before Easter, there is some good news for the little ones: The Quogue Shop at 144 Jessup Avenue is extending some pre-Easter hospitality to all children ages 2 to 12 with a “Bunnies and Baskets” party on Saturday, April 3, at 2 p.m.

The fun and festivities will include prizes for all and proprietress Theresa Fontana has alerted At Quaquanantuck that “of course, we will feature our socially distant candy chute.” Of course. 

Some of the best sellers at the shop, she added, are Quogue Hoodies, Beach Cruisers and “our newest addition: custom Quogue Stationery.”

Theresa also offered a reminder that the Quogue Shop is open seven days a week from noon to 4; Saturdays until 5.

Two young wildlife enthusiasts and their friendly dog Dash wish a grey seal a happy return to the sea. —Alan Meckler Photo

Quogue Wildlife Refuge Kickin’ It for Spring
First things first: The Quogue Wildlife Refuge was the very happy recipient on March 3 of a $50,000 grant from the Marilyn Lichtman Foundation. 

This general support grant is wonderful news not only for the Refuge, but also for all in Quogue and the wider East End community who benefit from the blessing of having this natural and historic jewel in our midst as well as all the enriching and educational programs offered there. The $50,000 will go directly towards the Refuge’s $784,000 annual operating budget.

Left to right, QWR Executive Director Michael Nelson; Robert Brull, president of the Marilyn Lichtman Foundation; QWR Associate Director Marisa Nelson; and Tim Norton, the Refuge supporter who introduced QWR to the grant opportunity.

Meanwhile, as part of the QWR staff’s ongoing quest “to bring peace and enjoyment to guests,” they have recently created a Winter Inspiration Walk in the forest. Visitors can now follow numbered and arrowed posts to enjoy inspirational nature quotes along the way. The first of the 19 quotes will be found at the start of the green trail. Visitors are reminded to please only visit the trails between sunrise and sunset. 

Virtual programs coming up at the QWR include a talk on the Spring Equinox & Night Sky next week on Tuesday, March 16, at 7 p.m. Hamptons Observatory Senior Educator William Francis Taylor will explore the way the sun returns to the northern hemisphere and the ceremonies in different cultures held to celebrate the March equinox. 

Mr. Taylor, a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador since 2014,  will also point out the constellations of the spring sky, from a pair of bright galaxies in the head of the Great Bear to a whole cluster of them in the arms of Virgo. He’ll also provide a sneak preview of an April shower of shooting stars. To register on Zoom, click here, or visit the QWR website at www.quoguewildliferefuge.org and click on the March 16 Spring Equinox program on the Events page calendar.

Moving to the great outdoors, the Refuge will offer an Almost Full Moon Night Hike on Friday, March 26, at 7 p.m. This celebration of the beginning of Spring for adults and families with children over 9 will consist of a guided hike through the forest up to North Pond with opportunities to look and listen for nocturnal creatures and enjoy some night vision activities under the light of the moon.

The cost is $10 for members or $20 for non-members; reservations and payment are required at least 24 hours in advance, or as soon as possible as space is limited. Masks and social distancing are required and flashlights are not permitted during the hike. Visit the QWR website at www.quoguewildliferefuge.org or call the Refuge at 631-653-4771 to register. 

For the younger set in grades K through 5, happily there’s still time to sign up for the Spring Wildlife Camp at the Refuge, being offered this year Tuesday through Friday, March 29 through April 2 from 9 a.m. to noon each day.  

As always, campers are promised “a great experience of wildlife, education, and fun!” with each day including a hike, a craft, and meeting animals. Children should be dressed for the weather, masks are required, and campers should arrive with their own individual snack and drink each day. 

The cost is $60 per session or $220 for all four sessions; registration and payment are required in advance. Parents and guardians are asked to note that the program will be completely outdoors and will be held in light rain. If extreme inclement weather (heavy rain, high winds) cancels the program, refunds will be provided as applicable. For more information and to register, visit the QWR website or call 631-653-4771. 

Coming up at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 8—the date for the next installment of At Quaquanantuck—the QWR will offer another virtual program, this time on the subject of “Tracking Coyotes on Long Island.” Check the Events page of the QWR website for details and to register. 

While At Quaquanantuck may not have the stature of Good Housekeeping, still this column will make bold to award the highest seal of approval to the tasty partnership between the QWR and nearby  Homeslice Pizza. Readers who visit order.homeslicepizza.co and use the code WILD at checkout receive a 10-percent discount on truly delicious fully-cooked, frozen wood-fired pizzas that reheat in just 5-8 minutes at home. Homeslice in turn donates 10 percent of each code WILD sale to support Quogue Wildlife Refuge. Readers can enter their address at checkout for Saturday delivery, or pick up their pies right here in Quogue. The offer is valid through March 31, so make some space in the freezer and load up now. @homeslicepizza.co

Another wonderful intersection of interests in support of the Refuge is coming up on Tuesday, May 11, in “Golfing with the Owls at Sebonack Golf Club,” honoring longtime supporter and champion of the Refuge Quogue Village Mayor Peter Sartorius. 

In the invitation to friends and supporters to take part (which appears at the top of the Events drop-down on the QWR homepage) Refuge Executive Director Michael Nelson points out that the charity golf outing will allow golfers to support the Refuge while taking advantage of the very rare opportunity to enjoy the exceptional Sebonack golf course and its “breathtaking, panoramic views of Great Peconic Bay and Cold Spring Pond.” As many avid golfers already know, Sebonack is ranked No. 39 on Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses of 2019-20, and was host to the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open. 

“Golfing with the Owls” will begin at 10:30 a.m. with registration and continental breakfast in the clubhouse, followed by a shotgun start at noon, BBQ lunch at the turn, and a 4:30 p.m. Awards Reception with cocktails and sandwiches. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet and greet some of the non-releasable wildlife cared for at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge.

As Mr. Nelson notes on the invitation: “This event provides crucial funds that will allow the Refuge to carry out its mission of responsible stewardship of the 305 acres of protected preserve, as well as to provide quality care for the resident injured wildlife, and teach year-round environmental education programs. We appreciate your support of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge in this exciting event!”

Complete details on Golfing with the Owls sponsorship opportunities and golfer registration (with discounts for Early Birds) are available on the QWR website. Fore!

As always, readers should be sure to check the Events page of the QWR website (quoguewildliferefuge.org) regularly for all the details on programs coming up between now and the April 8 posting of At Quaquanantuck. 

As the sun sets, the moon rises over the Quogue beach. —Doug Peters Photo

Quogue Market Keeps Gourmet to Go Going
To the delight of take-out enthusiasts, the fine folks at the Quogue Country Market are continuing to expand and switch up their daily take-out menu offerings. Considering the likelihood that they might come up with some specials around Easter time, it would be a good idea for any readers who are not already on the Market’s email list to sign up by emailing quoguemarketllc@gmail.com to receive the menu. 

If you miss the email or don’t have access to the menu, call the Market at 631-653-4191 and they’ll let you know what’s available.

Quogue Library Builds on the Pillars of Modern Life
Count on the Quogue Library to keep things fresh, with programming devoted to all the pillars of contemporary life: food, fitness, best practices with technology, literature and the creative arts for the adults, and a host of fun and educational activities and programs for the younger generations, right down to the toddlers. 

For fitness this month, the current schedule offers a continuation of Pilates on Mondays at 10 a.m. and Sculpting and Cardio Dance for all ages on Tuesdays at 10 a.m., both with instructor Leisa DeCarlo; and Yoga with Jillian for adults and youngsters 8 and up on Fridays at 10 a.m. 

On the food front, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Chef Rob Scott will host a March Food Fest on Saturday, March 13, at 3 p.m. on Facebook Live. Chef Scott will be sharing his secrets for preparing: Irish Soda Bread Muffins, Slow -Cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage, Peppermint Milkshakes, and Mint Chocolate Brownies. 

The Sunday, March 14, virtual meeting of the library’s Adult Book Club at noon will feature a discussion of “Transcendent Kingdom” by Yaa Gyas. The book is described as “a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief—a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut novel, “Homecoming.” 

The focus shifts back to food again on Monday, March 15, at 7 p.m. when the library offers a virtual program on “Plant Yourself: Understanding Plant-Based Nutrition.” The aim of the program is to demystify whole foods, plant-based diets and teach participants how to make a positive impact on their health. 

“Plant Yourself” will also dispel the common misperception that a plant-based diet consists only of leafy greens and raw vegetables while helping participants learn about eating tasty and satisfying foods in a way that people have thrived on for thousands of years. Some of the foods under discussion will include ingredients commonly used to make familiar dishes such as pizza, mashed potatoes, lasagna, and burritos.

Everything you want to know about modern tech and personal computing will become clear in “Technology Devices Explained with Russ” on Saturday, March 20 at 10 a.m. With so many tech choices available, how can people tell whether they need a laptop computer, a desktop, or just a tablet or a smartphone? And no matter what device is chosen, what’s the best way to keep it safe and protected? 

As ever, the library’s tech guru stands ready to answer all of these questions, and more in this one-hour plus Q&A program.

On April 9 at 7 p.m., the library will offer a Virtual Painting Class led by artist Marie Camenares. Participants will create a bird scene on an 8- by 12-inch canvas. All supplies will be provided to those who register in a kit to be picked up at the Quogue Library the week of April 1.

For more information and registration instructions for any of these programs and a host of offerings for children, visit the Quogue Library website at quoguelibrary.org and click on the program flier on the home page. Remember that new programs are added regularly, so check the website often to make sure you don’t miss out. 

Last lines of defense at the Quogue Village Beach. —Elizabeth Caputo Photo

Authors Continue to Write America
The new Write America weekly program dreamed up by writer, teacher and Quogue resident Roger Rosenblatt is consistently offering engaging readings and insightful conversations between talented writers on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. on the Crowdcast channel hosted by the Huntington independent bookstore Book Revue. 

Paul Harding will read with Linda Pastan and Juan Felipe Herrera on March 15.

At a time when spirit-sustaining live readings are not possible, At Quaquanantuck has enjoyed all of these very different virtual programs, and salutes and gives thanks to the writers and the series creator.

Coming up in the “weekly readings and conversation about how books and art might bridge the deep divisions in our nation”are: Linda Pastan, Paul Harding and Juan Felipe Herrera on March 15; George Howe Colt, Anne Fadiman and Carl Phillips on March 22; Kirsten Valdez Quade and Nick Flynn on March 29; and Kurt Andersen and Amy Hempel on April 5. 

Amy Hempel will read with Kurt Andersen on April 15. —Vicki Topaz Photo

“Write America is an organization of writers concerned about the divisions in our country that have evidenced themselves and deepened over the past few years,” Mr. Rosenblatt wrote in describing the mission of the series. “In this project, then, we have come together to read our work in the interests of life’s nobler values … The nation is injured. We hope to contribute to its healing.” 

As noted, Write America runs weekly, every Monday at 7 p.m. EST on Book Revue’s Crowdcast channel. All events are free; registration is required at bookrevue.com/write-america-series. A selection of signed titles will be available for purchase with each Write America episode; Book Revue ships worldwide. For more information, click here or visit bookrevue.com/write-america-series.

In response to a request from photographer Paula Prentis to identify this vertebra found on the Quogue beach, Quogue Wildlife Refuge Associate Director Marisa Nelson referred At Quaquanantuck to QWR member and supporter (and possessor of “great skeletal knowledge”) Joe Napolitano. Here’s his response: “I’d say that whale vertebra is a very safe guess. Although I can’t tell its exact size from the photo, there simply isn’t anything else around here that would have vertebrae that large. As for what type of whale, I couldn’t say for certain; I’ve seen humpback and fin whale carcasses on the south shore, both of which would likely have some vertebrae that size. It probably wouldn’t be too hard to get a DNA analysis done, if you’d really like an ID. I don’t know if anyone had plans for this particular specimen, but it’s worth mentioning that all marine mammals are federally protected, so their parts can only be legally possessed by those with the proper permits (even if those parts came from an animal that was found dead).” Thanks, Joe, for sharing this helpful and well informed speculation.

Whaling Tales of Marital Adventures on the High Seas
At Quaquanantuck was beyond gratified to receive three responses to a request in the February column for fictional scenes depicting Capt. Henry Gardiner and his wife Polly aboard a whaling ship in 1827. Then there was even greater joy when a direct descendant of the real life Capt. Henry submitted some non-fiction material detailing the couple’s relationship dressed up for the stage, as you shall see. 

The first response, and the only one to honor the word limit (but who’s counting?), was a tasty metaphor from At Quaquanantuck reader and frequent Quogue visitor Frank Campion: 

SCENE: DUSK ON THE OCEAN. THE CAPTAIN’S CHAMBER ON THE WHALING SHIP PANDEMIC. CAPTAIN HENRY GARDINER ENTERS. HIS WIFE, POLLY, LOOKS UP FROM HER SCRIMSHAW. 

POLLY: Henry … I’m going out of my mind … I haven’t been out in weeks …

HENRY: We talked about this … 

POLLY: I miss my friends … I miss being with people … I miss going out to dinner … 

HENRY: There isn’t much I can do … 

POLLY: And every day it’s the same … Another wreaking carcass on deck … More blubber … More oil … I can’t smell anything but that … I weary of the stench … 

HENRY: Have you been wearing your mask? 

POLLY: I can’t breath with that thing on … 

HENRY: Well at least we haven’t been eternally stove and sunk … 

POLLY: Day after day … The relentless motion of the ocean … The same awful grub … The nasty grog … That gnarly crew … 

HENRY: Well, have you checked the Hulu? The Netflix? What about the Zoom? How about that Amazon Prime? Surely there must be something … 

POLLY: The damn satellite is down again … No Ebay … No Zoom … No Facebook … 

HENRY: Well, dinner’s almost ready at least … You’ll feel better after you’ve eaten … 

POLLY: What’s on the menu? 

HENRY: Well, we have a choice … Blubber burgers, blubber stew, blubber cakes, blubber blinis, blubber salad, blubber steaks, stir-fried blubber, blubber with bacon, baked blubber … blubber omelets … 

POLLY: Oh, my God …

Hand-colored lithograph, Baleen & Toothed Whales, 1870, published in Stuttgart, Germany. —Image courtesy of Pi Gardiner

The second response came from Quogue writer, director, musician and man about town Roger Moley:

FADE IN 

CHYRON: Winter 1826.
A ship, buffeted by gale-force winds, navigates the whitecapped waters off Cape Horn. Manning the helm stands CAPTAIN HENRY GARDINER, eyeing the dark horizon with grave concern. A SEAMAN is precariously perched in the crow’s nest, searching for signs of whales. 

CAPTAIN GARDINER: [to himself] ’Tis weather fit for neither man nor beast! Would we were free of this turbulent hornets’ nest. [Louder, up to the SEAMAN] Keep on the lookout for spouts, man! 

A HATCH opens and his wife, POLLY GARDINER, stumbles on deck, grasping at railings for support. Her floral petticoats are frayed and coated with oil, and her hair, so beautifully coiffed at the start of the voyage, hangs raggedly down her shoulders and back. With considerable effort she makes her way up the narrow steps to join her husband at the helm. 

CAPTAIN GARDINER: Polly! Get thee below deck this instant! 

POLLY: I cannot, Henry! Me stomach’s in knots and me breakfast’s in me throat! The lurching and leaning has made me ill, most grievous! I fear I need to heave. 

CAPTAIN GARDINER: Then heave and be done with it, woman! Ye can’t be up here! 

POLLY: Oh husband, dear husband – what are we doing in this God-forsaken place? I long for Long Island … the serenity of Quogue! A short voyage to Block Island – was that not enough for ye? This be madness! And for what? A few barrels of oil? 

CAPTAIN GARDINER: The spoils we’ll reap from the sea will one day fill all of Quogue’s lamps – and buy us a handsome home on Quogue Street that generations of Gardiners will be proud of! Now go!

POLLY: Hear me out, Henry! This quest of yours is doomed. You did well enough as a Shinnecock fisherman, blues and fluke galore! We should have turned for home when we reached the shores of Santa Catarina. A whaling voyage is no place for a gentlewoman. 

CAPTAIN GARDINER: (eyes glazing over, envisioning a distant prize) We’ll return to Quogue, my love … once I’ve harpooned the beast!! 

POLLY: (exasperated) Leave Moby-Dick to the Pequod, and to younger and hardier whalers! And don’t forget how close you came to meeting the Lord when last you set out on that whaleboat. 

CAPTAIN GARDINER: Nonsense! I spent but a moment in the drink, and was soon back aboard! I was ne’er in real danger; the whale only knocked the wind out of me. 

POLLY: I was sure I’d be widowed, and the scurvy savages that serve as crew would have their lascivious ways with me! I entreat you, dear husband, turn this ship around! Return us to our beloved Quogue! There are no adventures out here I wish to be part of! (wringing her hands) If only I’d married the blacksmith!!!

[Overcome by nausea, POLLY retches violently, throwing up on her husband’s boots. Aloft, the SEAMAN cups his hands excitedly

SEAMAN: Thar she blows!!!

The third response was submitted by a shy writer who requested to remain anonymous:

Hand-colored lithograph, 19th century. —Image courtesy of Pi Gardiner

Polly and Henry Gardiner at Sea: 

Dinner time. She kept her focus on the pleasant sounds and sensations of the rocking ship: the helmsman and first mate laughing and talking beyond the closed cabin door; the ocean sloshing along the waterline. A timid knock and the cook entered and set down pewter plates. 

Henry smiled at her across the table—the swinging lantern cast a rhythmic light on his face. She smiled, picked up the cup with her measure of grog, and took the first sip. 

The grinding inside her skull began. Oh God, oh God, oh God—it began with his first mouthful. She hated the way he chewed; hated the sound of his chewing. His curled lips circled the outstretched tongue reaching under the laden fork. He cocked his head sideways as he shoveled in another bite. Some invariably did not cross the threshold of his moustache. How could she not have noticed this when they were ashore at home in Quogue? She controlled the urge to down her whole cup. 

The mouth was never empty; the eyes never lifted. When the plate was clean he leaned back with a grunt and used his fingers to wring the gravy from his moustache. The NAPKIN, you fool; she raged within. He caught her eye, locked on the food in his teeth—never fear: here came the tongue and finger to dig out each bit and deliver it to join the rest. She took another sip and smiled. 

“Happy Valentine’s Day, my beautiful, sweet and so lovely wife. I am forever grateful to you for accompanying me on this voyage—you cannot know the solace I derive from your company. Happy Valentine’s day; you are my angel.” 

He lurched around the table, catching his belly on the corner. He looked at her, embarrassed, then bent down to kiss her on the mouth. She maintained an uplifted face, certain that she could differentiate the stink of dinner’s boiled cod from the ever-present stench of whale oil. 

“And happy Valentine’s Day to you, Henry.” Her thin smile faded as he walked out on deck. That night, like every other night, she dreamed of her children tucked up in bed back home in Quogue.

Steel engraved print with original hand colouring, 1833, unsigned. Dictionnaire Pittoresque d’Histoire Naturelle et Des Phenomenes de la Nature, Guerin, Félix-Edouard, editor, Paris. —Image courtesy of Pi Gardiner

So, three different takes on what it might have been like for Polly to accompany her husband on a whaling voyage. And now, the real story of the couple’s truly loving relationship, shared in actual letters from Captain Henry to his wife by none other than Captain Henry’s great great granddaughter and Quogue Historical Society board member Pi (Margaret Halsey) Gardiner: 

THE FIVE LETTERS
Cast: Polly Hallock Gardiner; Capt. Henry Gardiner
Set (channeling “Our Town”)
No curtain. No scenery. The audience, arriving, sees an empty stage in half-light. 

Polly (center stage): For those of you still enduring the sufferings of temporal concerns, the year is 1829. Surely, it should be no surprise that I chose to accompany my devoted husband, Henry, on this voyage. His last expedition to the South Seas kept us apart for three long and joyless years. 

My beloved was steadfast in writing to me at every opportunity – when he chanced upon a home-bound ship at sea, or in a port along the way. I kept and cherished these five letters, which told of his devotion and abiding love for me, as well as ship-board news, naturally – a storm he named a “masterpiece” – and off Cape Horn the ship’s cook died! Through the blessings of Divine providence, the cook on our voyage remained in good condition. But I hear my Henry now. Let him speak of his eternal love for me. 

Henry (walks on stage, Polly moves to the back, stands to the side):
June 1, 1821, “Off Sandy Hook.” 

My Dear Wife, Little did I expect this morning when I left
that it was my last parting with you
but in the midst of a squall we got under way & the Pilot said go to sea
I therefore with a heavy heart said so be it
May God almighty prosper us
& send me as soon as possible to the arms of my love
Polly I feel now what I never felt before
my heart bleeds to think we must so long be departed
and I shall write every possible chance
Excuse my bad writing & blots
it is tears which is the Cause. 

July 21, 1821, “Off the Island of Terceira Port of Angra” 

God knows I never knew what it was before
to have a wife
you are scarce ever out of my mind when I am awake
& when I lie down it is nothing but Polly, Polly runs through my brain 

I am sometimes led to think my attachment is too great toward you to be durable
but God forbid it seems to grow more & more strong
it has all my thoughts & heart

May the all wise providence grant me a speedy voyage
& short return to the arms of my love
Had I felt before what I now feel
I think I should hardly have undertaken so long a voyage
but I shall try to pluck up courage
& live in hopes I shall if my life is preserved
never again so long have to leave you 

February 6, 1822, “Port of Callas, 10 Miles from the City of Lima” 

Polly I never had any idea before this voyage of the effect
& attachment a man could have for a wife he loves
Never do I lay down nor rise but you are constantly before me
& it appears to grow more & more so
you are always uppermost in my mind

I seem to forget there is any body else I have any regard for
Oh good god how I long to see you
The captains here that have wives as well as myself laugh at me
& say I am a fool
they stay on shore night after night with other women
but I cannot do it

I shall never be willing to leave you again 

November 19, 1822, “Woahoo one of the Sandwich Islands”

My Dear Wife I am in hopes
that I shall be amply paid for the long absence from her I love
by the comfort & satisfaction I shall receive
when we shall once more meet 

I am in hopes never to part more this side of Eternity
God only knows the tedious months I spend
I never lay me down nor rise but my wife is the first thing that occupies my thoughts
perhaps you don’t realize it but it is so 

September 25, 1823, “James’s Island one of the Gallapagos” 

My Dear the probability is you will receive this in 4 months
& I shall at the farthest be home in six
so that I shall soon follow

I now hope we shall soon after this be enabled to meet
& see one another face to face
& oh God it appears to me the sensation will be in the superlative degree

(Polly walks from the back of the stage, stands next to Henry, takes his arm

Polly: You mortals have the five letters. Our love has been preserved. It is deathless. 

Voice from off stage: Polly died in 1841, ten years after their return home to Quogue. She was just 44. We can only imagine the depth of Henry’s loss.

Finis

__________________________________________ 

Postscript: When the couple went to sea together, theirs was an ill-fated voyage. It seems the ship owner’s insurance company disputed the claim, all the way to the Supreme Court. From the case: 

“It appeared in evidence that the vessel sailed on 29 December, 1827, and on her outward passage struck upon a rock at the Cape de Verd Islands, and knocked off a portion of her false keel, but proceeded on her voyage, and continued cruising, and encountered some heavy weather, until she was finally compelled to return to the Sandwich Islands, where she arrived in December, 1829, in a very leaky condition, and upon an examination by competent surveyors, she was found to be so entirely perforated by worms in her keel, stem, and stern post, and some of her planks, as to be wholly unnavigable, and being incapable of repair at that place, she was condemned and sold.” 

“Presumably,” Pi concluded her tale, “Henry and Polly caught a ride on an Uber ship heading home.”

Many thanks for all the submissions, which suggest that this is an exercise that bears repeating in the future. Stay tuned. 

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.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.

Turn to the Light

Maybe it’s the fact that the light is now holding back the shadows by lingering just a little bit longer every day. Or maybe it’s that these noticeably longer days point to the time one month from now when we’ll be setting the clocks ahead and getting a whole, blessed extra hour. And the knowledge that that day, March 14, is just one week away from the vernal equinox and the official beginning of spring, no matter what the groundhogs saw or didn’t see on February 2. 

Setting later every day now. —A. Botsford Photo

Maybe it’s the weird but wonderful historic occasion of a poet who inspired thousands at the recent Presidential inauguration being invited to read an original poem honoring honorary captains for their service before Super Bowl LV. Perhaps it’s because, however haltingly, the Covid vaccines are starting to roll out and new cases are finally declining after the horrifying recent spike. 

Or maybe it’s the fact that the holiday next Monday, February 15, reminds us that the office of President of these United States is the highest honor and privilege for a public servant that should be revered and never reviled. 

Whatever the reason, At Quaquanantuck is feeling, with no small amount of trepidation, the first tingling sensation of hope, dormant and numb for so long, starting to come back to life. Battered into unconsciousness by all the calamitous events of the past year, it is a fragile sensation. And, things being what they still are, it will be a long while before hope can really flourish and grow. So, to help it along, this month’s column is dedicated to the powerful Maori proverb: “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.” 

The road ahead is far from being paved with sunshine and filled with unicorns and rainbows. But At Quaquanantuck, at least for this month’s column anyway, will be focusing on the good news and positive efforts of those in our community. Because that’s where the light is. 

Peace in the gloaming. —Elizabeth Caputo Photo
First freeze, illuminated by the setting sun. —A. Botsford Photo
All quiet on the Quogue Canal. —Geoff Judge Photo

QHS Illustrated Zoom Talk on LI Whaling History
One of the great bits of good news in Quogue this week is that there’s still time to register for a fascinating illustrated Zoom talk tonight on “The History of Whaling on Long Island” sponsored by the fabulous folks at the Quogue Historical Society. The talk begins this evening, Thursday, February 11, at 7 p.m.; register in advance by emailing info@quoguehistory.org requesting a confirmation email and Zoom link. The QHS will send a reminder email one hour before the presentation. 

As island dwellers around the world have always known, their identity is defined as much by the waters surrounding them as anything that happens on land. Locally, for hundreds of years both before and after the arrival of European settlers, the hunting of whales played a monumental role in shaping Long Island’s history. 

“South Sea Whale Fishery,” from a wood engraving by English-born American artist William James Linton (1812-1898) after an 1834 painting by William John Huggins (1788-1845). Huggins’s painting was engraved by his son-in-law, Edward Duncan, and published as a print in London in 1834. It was re-engraved for the Illustrated London News in 1847. 
Herman Melville judged Huggins to be one of very few artists able to portray a whale convincingly. Melville advised that “the only mode in which you can derive even a tolerable idea of his living contour, is by going a-whaling yourself; but by so doing, you run no small risk of being eternally stove and sunk by him.” The sperm whale pictured is “in his flurry” (dying). 
—Image and research courtesy of Pi Gardiner

In this evening’s presentation, Bill Bleyer, author of “Long Island and the Sea: A Maritime History,” will explore whaling in the 18th and 19th century, from offshore whaling by Native Americans to the first American whaling companies in Southampton. The discussion will also cover the rise of industrial-scale whaling in Sag Harbor, Greenport, and Cold Spring Harbor, and whaling captain Mercator Cooper’s remarkable voyage in 1853 to the then-closed society of Japan. 

Mr. Bleyer will also explain how the Gold Rush, the Civil War, and the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania led to the demise of the whaling industry, which at its height was the fifth largest sector of the American economy.

A Pulitzer-prize winning former staff writer for Newsday, Mr. Bleyer is also the author of “Sagamore Hill: Theodore Roosevelt’s Summer White House”; “Fire Island Lighthouse: Long-Island’s Welcoming Beacon”; and co-author, with Harrison Hunt, of “Long Island and the Civil War.”

To register for tonight’s Zoom talk, click here or email info@quoguehistory.org.

But wait; there’s more! The Quogue Historical Society and QHS Curator and Southampton Town Historian Julie Greene have provided some wonderful local context for tonight’s Zoom talk, outlining “The Golden Age of Whaling in Quogue.” 

Henry “Hank” Gardiner, the great grandson of Capt. Henry Gardiner, charted Capt. Henry’s three-year whaling voyage from June 2, 1821 to April 1824. —Image courtesy of the Quogue Historical Society and the Gardiner family.

As Ms. Greene wrote: “Beginning in 1790 as the population of whales close to home declined, the chase for whale oil broadened to the Pacific and Arctic. A number of Quogue families bought shares in these deep sea voyages. Some men joined as crew and quite a few became captains, including Henry Gardiner, Frederick M. Hallock, Edward Stephens, and members of the Cooper family. These men made long trips—years at a time—sailing down the Atlantic, around Cape Horn, and into the waters of the Pacific. Many were extremely successful, amassing fortunes and building grand homes in Quogue.”

“Capt. Henry Gardiner sailed the Ship ‘Dawn’ out of New York City on several voyages, including one in 1826 with his wife Polly, considered to be the first woman to accompany her husband on a whaling voyage.” More on this revelation later. 

Ms. Greene also included this startling entry from Capt. Henry Gardiner’s Whaling Log from the Ship “Dawn,” 1821-1824: “I for the first time in my course of whaling got knocked out of the boat, I got a good thump from a whale under water, however getting no further damage, thank God.”

Hard to say which is more unnerving: the truly terrifying and life-threatening incident being reported, or the matter-of-fact, ho hum tone of Captain Henry’s entry. 

Capt. Henry Gardiner’s home on Quogue Street, purchased in 1825 following his successful
three-year whaling voyage to the South Seas, 1821-1824. —Image courtesy of Quogue Historical Society

Providing further context, in a late addition to the announcement/reminder of tonight’s Zoom talk Ms. Greene gave this account of “The Art of Scrimshaw,” starting with this description from The Encyclopedia of American Folk Art. London: Routledge, 2003:

“Scrimshaw is the whalers’ art of making decorative and practical objects out of sperm whale teeth, skeletal bone, walrus tusks, and baleen. This genre of maritime folk art arose during the 1820s and was only one of many diversions to alleviate boredom at sea, but it typifies both the genesis of sailor diversions in occupational circumstances, and the characteristically practical aspect of nautical arts. 

“Long voyages, infrequent landfalls, and chronic over-manning in the whale fishery, and the fact that hazardous hunting and butchering operations could be accomplished effectively only in daylight, created an overabundance of leisure time. Many captains were grateful for any harmless amusements that kept idle crews out of trouble and occupied.”

Scrimshaw knife sheath in the Quogue Historical Society collection. —Image courtesy of Quogue Historical Society

Ms. Greene added: “The Quogue Historical Society’s collection of scrimshaw, donated over the years by the whaling families of Quogue—Gardiner, Post, Cooper, Stevens, and Hallock—attests to our Village’s strong whaling heritage. The collection includes whale teeth and tusks, as well as more than 20 utilitarian pieces, from sewing and embroidery needles, fids, jagging wheels and swifts, to fanciful carved pieces, a silk embroidered fan, ladies’ parasols, and men’s walking sticks. The scrimshaw craft reached its peak during the years 1830-1850.”

Scrimshaw pie crimper in the Quogue Historical Society collection. —Image courtesy of Quogue Historical Society

Now, let’s get back to that voyage in 1826 when Capt. Henry Gardiner took his wife Polly a-whaling. At Quaquanantuck doesn’t know much more about whaling in the 1800s than could be learned from reading “Moby Dick.” Still, it seems clear that a long voyage on any sailing ship in 1826 would be a trial and a challenge for any wife, let alone months at sea with zero comforts in all weathers, spent in the company of men hunting and butchering whales and “trying” the oil out of their blubber over fires on the deck. Not to mention the “no small risk of being eternally stove and sunk” by an understandably pissed off whale.

Because such a voyage, and indeed such a marriage, is, in fact, almost impossible to conceive of from our present-day vantage point, At Quaquanantuck, in honor of Valentine’s Day, is inviting readers to engage their imaginations, go a-whaling in their minds, and submit a short scene (no more than 250 words) between Capt. Henry and his wife Polly, say midway through their historic whaling voyage together. They can be anywhere on the ship at any time of day; you decide. Please send scenes (as a Word document) to AtQuaq@gmail.com by the first week of March for consideration to be published in the March 11 edition of the column. 

Whether or not readers opt to create and submit a short scene, with Valentine’s Day coming up on Sunday, the timing might be right for a bit of role play. Readers with partners can take turns playing Capt. Henry and his brave and adventurous bride Polly and try to determine who is really in charge … of the ship, that is. Ahem. 

The February 1 winter storm stripped away the stairs at the Quogue Village Beach. —Paula Prentis Photo

First February Storm Stole Stairs from Village Beach
Shortly after the first major winter storm of the season cut across the country and pounded Long Island on February 1, Quogue Mayor Peter Sartorius acknowledged in an email to village residents what many had feared: the stairs at the Village Beach had been swept away. 

As a result, “the beach is not accessible at the Village Beach and will not be until well into spring,” the Mayor wrote, further asking residents to “Please use common sense and do not go out on the walkway or climb out on the dunes or on the sandbags. You will only make a bad situation worse and could get seriously hurt. You can still go to the Village Beach and enjoy the view from the deck.”

The good news from Hizzoner is that residents can still access the sandy shoreline of the beach on foot via the cut at the southern end of Beach Lane adjacent to the Surf Club. As last year, the “No Parking” status will be suspended on that public road for beachgoers, but all are asked to “please take care not to block the overpass, which is used by vehicles having the necessary beach driving permit and equipment.”

The complete text of the Mayor’s February 4 email is on the Announcements page of the Quogue Village website,  www.villageofquogueny.gov.

Quogue Village Police Award Recipients
Right in line with the February theme of increased light and positive energy, At Quaquanantuck was delighted to receive from Police Chief Chris Isola the announcement of this year’s Quogue Village Police Department award recipients. 

Quogue Village Chief of Police Chris Isola, right, presents the Officer of the Year award to Officer Ronan Seltenreich. —Image courtesy of Quogue Village Police

The Officer of the Year for 2020 is a five-year veteran of the force, Ronan Seltenreich, who also received two Life Save awards and one Exceptional Police Service Award 2nd Degree in 2020. “All of our officers are outstanding and do terrific work every day,” Chief Isola said. “Officer Seltenreich was our standout this year and was very deserving of this year’s award.” 

Additional award recipients for 2020 included: Sergeant John Galvin, two Life Save awards; Sergeant Daniel Bennett, one Life Save award and one Headquarters Commendation; Officer Robert Hammel, one Life Save award and two Exceptional Police Service award 2nd Degree; Detective William Gladding, three Exceptional Police Service Awards 2nd Degree and one Exceptional Police Service Award 3rd degree; Lieutenant Daniel Hartmann, Headquarters Commendation; and Administrative Assistant Jennifer Vargas, Headquarters Commendation.

At Quaquanantuck joins with the entire village in saluting the award winners, Chief Isola, and all who serve in the department, with gratitude for their exceptional service during an extraordinarily challenging year. 

The Quogue Wildlife Refuge shows a gentle January face. —Marilyn Di Carlo Photo

Fun-Filled February at Quogue Wildlife Refuge
The shortness of the month and winter weather (not to mention that pestilence that shall not be named) are no deterrents to creative thinking, fun for kids, and engaging programs for all ages over at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge. 

Halfway through the month already and still ahead are: a webinar today at 4 p.m. on Creating a Wildlife Refuge at Home; the perennial outdoor Winter Wildlife Camp timed to coincide with the Presidents Week school recess; cool virtual programs about turtles, bats, and animal tracking open to all; two premium programs (on February 17 and 24) for QWR members; and two live outdoor programs: a Full Moon Night Hike on February 26 and Winter Birding with Group for the East End on February 27.   

The good news is that this year’s Winter Wildlife Camp for children in grades K through five is going forward on Tuesday through Friday, February 16-19. The not-so-good news for aspirational campers who have not already signed up is that the camp is already completely full

Box turtle. —Image courtesy QWR

There’s better news, though, in that there’s plenty of availability for the impressive lineup of virtual programs coming up, beginning with All About Turtles on Tuesday, February 16, from 3 to 3:30. This program for children and adults is all about turtles, yes, but also about terrapins and tortoises. Attendees will get to meet a variety of live turtles and tortoises that are cared for at the Refuge. 

Chelonian anatomy and physical adaptations will be discussed, as well as what types of native turtles can be found on Long Island. The lesson will include a PowerPoint presentation, as well as the presentation of artifacts such as shells and eggs. Cost is $5; register here or go to quoguewildliferefuge.org and click on Events. 

The All About Bats virtual program on Wednesday, February 17, also from 3 to 3:30 p.m., will teach children and adults all about the anatomy and amazing physical adaptations of these too often maligned creatures, the various lifestyles of bats from all over the world, including on Long Island, and their ecological importance to the planet. 

The presentation will include a PowerPoint presentation, as well as various artifacts such as taxidermy bats, a bat skeleton, posters, and a bat fossil replica. Cost is $5; register here or go to quoguewildliferefuge.org and click on Events. 

The Animal Tracking and Signs of Wildlife virtual program follows on Thursday, February 18, also from 3 to 3:30 p.m., showing children and adults how to track and identify different animals from their footprints and other evidence of their presence or their passage. Cost is $5; register here or go to quoguewildliferefuge.org and click on Events. 

The good news for QWR members is that there are two more premium programs just for them, both virtual, coming up as part of Members Appreciation Month. The first is a 15-minute American Kestrel Encounter on Wednesday, February 17, at 4 p.m. Members will be introduced to Moxie the American kestrel and the presentation examine in depth this smallest of all falcons and explain why Moxie resides at QWR and why she is non-releasable. 

Female American kestrel. —Kevin Ferris photo courtesy of QWR

The next premium program will be a Virtual History Tour of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday, February 24, from 4 to 5 p.m. Members who register for the program will learn why and how the QWR was created as a waterfowl sanctuary 87 years ago; the early history of the Refuge and why it was awarded first prize in a National Waterfowl Contest in 1938; how ice was harvested at the Refuge and distributed around the world in the days before refrigeration; and much more, all accompanied by enthralling historical photos. 

While both these programs are for 2021 Members only, readers are reminded that it’s never too late to join. Click here to become a member or to renew a membership. To find out more about becoming a 2021 Member of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, or to check the status of your membership, call the QWR office at 631-653-4771. 

The Full Moon Night Hike on February 26 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. will be a celebration of the second full moon of the New Year for adults and families with children over 9. The evening guided hike through the forest up to North Pond will provide opportunities to look and listen for nocturnal creatures, and to enjoy some night vision activities under the light of the moon. The cost is $10 for members or $20 for non-members; reservations and payment are required at least 24 hours in advance. Masks and social distancing are required and flashlights are not permitted during the hike. 

Capping off the month will be Winter Birding with Group for the East End, a free program for adults and families with children age 7 and older. Steve Biasetti, Director of Environmental Education at Group for the East End, will lead a hike through Refuge trails looking and listening for local birds of the forest. Masks and social distancing protocols will be in effect. To make the required reservations, call 631-653-4771. 

In these days of taking advantage of any and all take-out dinner options, the QWR is teaming up with new neighbor and community partner Homeslice Pizza for a great deal. Readers who visit order.homeslicepizza.co and use the code WILD at checkout will receive a 10 percent discount on fully-cooked, frozen wood-fired pizzas that reheat in just 5-8 minutes at home. Then Homeslice will donate 10 percent of each code WILD sale to support Quogue Wildlife Refuge. Readers can enter their address at checkout for delivery, or pick up their pies right here in Quogue. This dandy offer is valid through March 31.

Timing is everything: a cross-country skier’s view of the Refuge on February 8. —Judith McDermott Photo

As always, readers should be sure to check the Events page of the QWR website (quoguewildliferefuge.org) regularly for all the details on programs coming up between now and the March 11 posting of At Quaquanantuck. 

And, finally, while our village may not be teeming with individuals with the very specific skill set and educational background required for the Animal Caretaker/Environmental Educator job opening at the QWR, readers are invited to email info@quoguewildliferefuge.org to obtain the complete job posting in case they know someone, or someone who knows someone, who might be qualified and interested in applying for the position. 

Love is in the air: Captured in Quogue just in time for their appointment with Valentine’s Day. —Paula Prentis Photo

Quogue Market Ready with Gourmet to Go and Valentine’s Special
While continuing to expand and switch up their daily take-out menu offerings, the folks at the Quogue Country Market have come up with a very special four-course prix fixe Valentine’s Dinner for Two. 

Priced at $99.88 plus tax, the dinner features a first course of soup for two, Lobster Bisque with Sherry, and a second course of salad for two: Mesclun, Romaine and Arugula lettuces, tossed with dried cranberries, toasted walnuts and assorted fresh vegetables, served with mixed berry vinaigrette house dressing. 

Diners can select one of three entrée selections, all of which are prepared for two: Seafood and Chicken Paella for two; ChateauBriand with Red Wine Demi-Glace for two served with scalloped potatoes and roasted seasonal vegetables; or Roasted Rack of Lamb for two, served with asparagus and julienned carrots and parsnip mashed potatoes. 

The dessert, also for two, naturally, is a chocolate lava cake. 

Diners wishing to take advantage of the offer are requested to make reservations today, Thursday, February 11, by calling Peter or Angela at 631-653-4191 or stopping in at the Market. 

Any readers who are not already on the Market’s email list can sign up to receive the menu by emailing quoguemarketllc@gmail.com. If you miss the email or don’t have access to the menu, call the Market at 631-653-4191 and they’ll let you know what’s available. 

Love is in the air: a man and his gull. —Florrie Morrisey Photo

Quogue Library Keeps the Virtual Fires Burning
While awaiting the finishing touches on the extensive renovation and expansion project at the Quogue Street headquarters, the folks at the Quogue Library are busy as ever serving the community with a wide array of interesting, educational, and quality of life enhancing virtual programs for all ages. 

First off, in terms of real, physical world considerations, the library is collecting for the Long Island Cares Inc. Harry Chapin Food Bank for the month of February. Thanks to the generosity of a number of patrons, several boxes of non-perishable food items have already been collected. Donations may be dropped off at the Midland Street office, where a list of items needed is posted.  

In the virtual programming department, the current schedule continues to have plenty of options. Popular ongoing exercise classes include Pilates on Mondays at 10 a.m. (except on the February 15 holiday) and Sculpting and Cardio Dance for all ages on Tuesdays at 10 a.m., both with instructor Leisa DeCarlo; and Yoga with Jillian for adults and youngsters 8 and up on Fridays at 10 a.m. 

Coming up on Saturday, February 13, at 11 a.m. there will be a virtual Poetry Workshop hosted by a former colleague of At Quaquanantuck’s at Stony Brook Southampton, Grace Dilger.  Ms. Dilger will examine the difference between a lyric and narrative poem and this exploratory writing workshop will determine how the abstract and concrete become allies in making meaning. The class will review basic techniques of poetry writing followed by prompted writing time and a guided group discussion.

A follow-up class with Ms. Dilger originally scheduled for March 13 has been cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later date. 

Roger Rosenblatt

There are two library sponsored Author Talks coming up in the next few weeks. The first, scheduled on Friday, February 19, at 6:30 p.m., will be Roger Rosenblatt reading from and discussing his most recent book, “Cold Moon:  On Life, Love and Responsibility,” and the lessons that life teaches over time. Mr. Rosenblatt, Distinguished Professor of English and Writing at Stony Brook Southampton, is  the author of six off-Broadway plays and 15 books published in 13 languages. He is also the recipient of the 2015 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement, among many other honors.  

The second Author Talk, scheduled on Saturday, March 6, at noon, will feature local author Janet Lee Berg discussing her most recent book, “Restitution,” as well as a previous book, “Rembrandt’s Shadow.” Both books are loosely based on the experiences of her family during the Holocaust. 

With the class already completely full, registration has closed for the February 12 virtual Paint Night with artist Marie Camenares. There is still space available, though, in chef Rob Scott’s Chinese New Year Cooking Class on Saturday, February 13, at 6 p.m. The class will zero in on the preparation of Dragon Noodles with Vegetables and (optional) Chicken. Ingredients needed are listed on the Zoom registration link here

On Sunday, February 14, the library’s Adult Book Club will be discussing the latest work by Elena Ferrante, “The Lying Life of Adults” in a Zoom meeting slated at noon. Also on Sunday, all are invited to enjoy “Universal Love Songs” performed by Sheri Miller in a Facebook Live presentation at 2 p.m. 

And kids in kindergarten on up can enjoy some special surprises from Ms. Pat during a session of Valentine’s Day Bingo on Sunday, February 14, at 6:30 p.m. 

For more information and registration instructions for any of these and other children’s programs, visit the Quogue Library website at quoguelibrary.org and click on the program flier on the home page. Remember that new programs are added regularly, so check the website often to make sure you don’t miss out. 

Ice floe adds a new wrinkle on the Quogue Canal. —Peter Prentis Photo

Write America Starts Strong
This week, as the world watches the replay of hundreds of jarring images being screened as evidence in the second impeachment trial of now former President Donald Trump, Write America, the new weekly program dreamed up by writer, teacher and Quogue resident Roger Rosenblatt, had the second of its first two installments. 

Courtesy of Book Revue, the independent brick and mortar bookstore in Huntington with a sizeable cyber reach, the series of “weekly readings and conversation about how books and art might bridge the deep divisions in our nation” (offered via Crowdcast every Monday at 7 p.m.) opened on February 1 with two former Poet Laureates, Rita Dove and Billy Collins. This week the featured writers were novelist, short story writer, essayist and critic Francine Prose and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon

Alice McDermott
Russell Banks

For the Book Revue web page dedicated to Write America, Mr. Rosenblatt wrote this about the mission of the new series: 

“Write America is an organization of writers concerned about the divisions in our country that have evidenced themselves and deepened over the past few years. We see a torn America these days, jeopardizing basic principles of justice, freedom, fair play, and equality. 

“These principles are important to writers, felt passionately if shown indirectly. They undergird our poems, novels, essays, memoirs, every form in which we attempt to reach out to our human family through the quiet power of art. A writer’s words are a tacit call for people to gather round and discover or rediscover their connections to one another. Writing makes justice desirable, evil intelligible, grief endurable and love possible. 

Major Jackson

“In this project, then, we have come together to read our work in the interests of life’s nobler values … The nation is injured. We hope to contribute to its healing.” 

Asked this week about his reaction to the first two installments, Mr. Rosenblatt wrote in an email: 

“Of our first two episodes, so far, so very  good, and very different. We could not have hoped for  a warmer welcome than Rita Dove and Billy Collins gave everyone. Their poems were characteristically strong and beautiful, and their conversation made one feel good about the hopes and ideas we have in common. This, of course, is the aim of Write America.

Garry Trudeau will be featured with Patricia Marx on February 22.

“Francine Prose and Paul Muldoon, both gorgeous writers as their readings showed, got more down to  the nitty-gritty of the nation’s threats and needs. And the discussion of their respective writing processes was a mini master class in the art. So, two different approaches hovering over the same feeling that we need to look to one another for beauty, usefulness, help, and peace.

“Write America evolves. I have no idea what Alice McDermott, Major Jackson and Russell Banks  will give us next Monday, but I’m sure it will be a doozy. And my job is easy. Like any good basketball coach, I put All-Stars on the court, sit back, and look like a genius.” 

Alan Alda and Arlene Alda will be featured on March 8.

While At Quaquanantuck will reserve judgment on what exactly Mr. Rosenblatt looks like, this columnist is in complete agreement with his appraisal of the first two installments and is looking forward to all the many insights, colors and textures that future writers will bring to the discussion. 

As noted, Write America runs weekly, every Monday at 7 p.m. EST on Book Revue’s Crowdcast channel. All events are free; registration is required at bookrevue.com/write-america-series. A selection of signed titles will be available for purchase with each Write America episode; Book Revue ships worldwide. 

The schedule through the beginning of March includes: February 15, acclaimed novelist Russell Banks, award-winning poet Major Jackson, and National Book Award-winner Alice McDermott; February 22, New Yorker writer Patricia Marx and Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of Doonesbury Garry Trudeau; March 1, Academy Award-winning songwriter Alan Bergman and New Yorker essayist Adam Gopnik; and March 8, Emmy Award winner and author Alan Alda and award-winning writer Arlene Alda

For more information, click here or visit bookrevue.com/write-america-series.

The eternal search for the next meal. —A. Botsford Photo

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.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.

Coming of Age

As I pulled up the December edition of At Quaquanantuck in preparation for putting together the first post of 2021, I read the first line and realized, sadly, that I might just as well start the January column with the exact same sentence: 

If there is one thing that everyone can agree on these days, it might be this: These are dark days. 

The only qualifier might be that, in the wake of the events of January 6 and as the pandemic continues to surge, these first days of the new year are ostensibly even darker. 

And yet. And yet. 

Playing rough. —A. Botsford Photo

As the northern hemisphere tilts inexorably back towards the sun, there is a tiny bit more daylight every day. Despite the many obstacles to production, delivery and mass inoculations that must be overcome, the promise of vaccinations for all allows a shaft of light to penetrate the Stygian darkness of a coronavirus pandemic still raging out of control; a scourge that continues to cripple not only the economy but also our cultural and social lives as well as our confidence in the abilities of so many different communities to fully recover. 

Although it might be a bit harder to make out in the fog of despair surrounding the breaching of the Capitol by a violent mob last Wednesday, there is some glimmer of light to be seen in the belated acknowledgement in at least some quarters that the presidential election was legitimate and that the fomenting of lies and disinformation for political gain almost inevitably and invariably leads to dire consequences. 

It is devoutly to be hoped that there is now sufficient light to allow for a peaceful transition of power next Wednesday and an end to the political gamesmanship and internecine warfare that for too long have kept us from applying all our energy to surmounting the growing, monumental challenges facing our nation and the world. Certainly there should be enough light now to clearly reveal the damage done and to show us, finally, that we cannot hope to prevail until we allow our opinions to yield to facts and agree to act not in the service of our own particular point of view but in the best interests of our country as a whole, and all its people.  

Southeastern glow at sunset. —A. Botsford Photo

Following the global Y2K anxiety on the eve of its birth, this century suffered a traumatic infancy with the terrorist attacks of September 11 in 2001 and their aftermath in seemingly interminable warfare. Around the world, its childhood was marred by ethnic cleansings, civil wars, unprecedented refugee crises, and the economic collapse of 2008. 

As climate change continued to accelerate, the century’s early teenage years were marked by the rise of celebrity culture empowered by the internet, smart phones, and mainstream and social media, turning politics into a mirror of some of the worst elements of high school: power based on popularity; the tribalism and branding of the jocks versus the nerds and raucous fan mentality; the identity crises; the fearful struggle to “fit in” and the bullying and isolating of the “other.”

Adolescence is always a minefield, and so it was perhaps predictable that 16 to 20 would be tumultuous years for this young century. Seen from this viewpoint, painfully, it’s not surprising that warnings about the danger of a global pandemic went unheeded. And now the multitudes of horrors and tragedies of the pandemic—and the fragmented, disjointed and conflicted response to it—are shining their own peculiar light on so much of what is broken in the world today, precipitated or exacerbated in large measure by all the dysfunction of the century’s early years. 

This month, the century turned 21. As with young people reaching their majority, it is beyond unrealistic to expect an overnight shift into responsible adulthood. Still, for democracy and yes, humanity to prevail, we can—we must—all work together to provide the kind of illumination and example that will provide the clear view we need to find a more mature path forward.  

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

Sun breaking through. —Elizabeth Caputo Photo

QHS Sponsors Illustrated Talk on History of Refuge
Going with the most timely near the top, At Quaquanantuck is delighted to report that two of the village’s most beloved institutions are teaming up for an illustrated Zoom talk on the “History of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge” today, Thursday, January 14, at 5 p.m. EST. 

Established in 1934, the Quogue Wildlife Refuge has a fascinating history, beginning with ice harvesting for the international refrigeration market and a nationwide waterfowl conservation movement.  

Banding a duck. —Image courtesy of Quogue Wildlife Refuge

In this virtual program, Wildlife Refuge Environmental Educator Cara Fernandes will tell the story of the sanctuary’s wild past and the changes that have taken place over the past 86 years. 

Readers can register in advance for this program by clicking here or clicking on or visiting https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYrfuGvrT0rHtzT_zcFYffzrXhMMJ-kFf-P. After registration, a confirmation email will be sent with information about joining the meeting.

Coming up on Saturday, January 16, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. will be the sixth annual installment of the “Light the Night Winter Trail Walks” at the Refuge. The rain date for this social distance program with masks required will be Saturday, January 30. 

A “Light the Night” trail at QWR.

Adults and families can call the Refuge at 631-653-4771 to schedule an arrival time between 6 and 8:30 p.m. for a self-guided, peaceful stroll through the gently illuminated forest trails. Masks and social distancing are required; flashlights are not permitted during the walk. 

The fee is $15 per person, or $10 for kids 12 and under; payment is required at the time of reservation.

Current (2021) members of the QWR can enjoy the same social distance program on a night set aside exclusively for them on Saturday, January 23, also scheduling arrival between 6 and 8:30 p.m. Call the Refuge at 631-653-4771 to set up arrival time and make payment. And all should be sure to check the Events page of the QWR website (quoguewildliferefuge.org) regularly for all the details on such programs as: a Full Moon Night Hike (social distance program) at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 27; Winter Birding with Group for the East End (social distance program) at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 30; and the All About Groundhogs (Zoom) program on Tuesday, February 2, at 4 p.m. 

The Quogue Wildlife Refuge will present an “All About Groundhogs” Zoom program on Tuesday, February 2, at 4 p.m. —Image courtesy of Quogue Wildlife Refuge

Quogue Market Still Rocking Gourmet to Go
Following up on their successful catering service for holiday dinners and the introduction of Gourmet to Go prepared meals to carry out, the fine folks at the Quogue Country Market are continuing to expand and switch up the menu offerings. 

General Manager Pete Gragnano and Chef Mike Nicholson are now sending out regular “what’s in the case” emails with details on what Gourmet to Go specialties are available. The January 11 eblast, for example, listed two Soups of the Day, cabbage and chicken and vegetables, and a range of Gourmet Meals to Go with all the trimmings, including chicken pot pie, beef stew with a buttermilk  biscuit, miso glazed Chilean sea bass, brisket and gravy, rotisserie chicken, and Italian meatballs, to name only a few.  

Also on the menu were a Pasta of the Day (penne alla vodka with prosciutto); two Healthy Options (grilled marinated chicken breast and a Vegetarian’s Delight); a Hot Pressed Panini (Philly cheesesteak); a Double Star Sandwich (smoked salmon and cream cheese on a bagel with red onion and capers); two Quiches in two sizes; and separate soups and sides. You get the idea. 

Those readers who are not already on the Market’s email list can sign up to receive the menu by emailing quoguemarketllc@gmail.com. Missed the email or don’t have access to the menu? Call the Market at 631-653-4191 and they’ll let you know what’s available. 

If ever there was a season—or a year—for treating yourself to delicious meals and comfort food that you don’t have to prepare yourself, this is probably it. Enjoy!

Holding the line. —Jim Wilentz Photo
Two storms later, the line can’t hold. —Lulie Morrisey Photo

Though Theater Is Dark, HTC Is Still Celebrating
The Hampton Theatre Company made the happy announcement last week that the accomplished musician, writer, filmmaker, longtime producer of the Quogue Quips at the Quogue Field Club, and man about town Roger Moley has graciously accepted an invitation to join the company’s board of directors. 

New board member Roger Moley pitches in on the HTC’s adopted stretch of highway in Westhampton Beach.

A longtime supporter of the HTC, Roger has joined members of the company for a number of staged readings, including December’s “Miracle on 34th Street,” and worked with director Diana Marbury on the selection of projection images used to set different scenes in the 2019 production of “Ken Ludwig’s ‘Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure.’” 

Expressing deep and heartfelt gratitude, the HTC board also announced the tremendous success of the company’s end-of-year appeal, noting that by their donations large and small patrons have now ensured that the HTC will have a future when restrictions are finally lifted and actors and audiences can safely return to the theater. 

 Meanwhile, in this time when the theater is dark, the members of the company are keeping busy and exploring any and all avenues for continuing to make theatre. Patrons, theatre lovers and the merely curious are urged to check out (and “like”) the company’s posts on Facebook (@hamptontheatre; facebook.com/hamptontheatre); Instagram (hamptontheatre; instagram.com/hamptontheatre) and YouTube (youtube.com/channel). 

Almost ready. —Ginny Rosenblatt Photo

Quogue Library Seeks Input on Winter Programming
Ever on the lookout for ways to tailor services and programs to the changing schedules and priorities of the community they serve, the Quogue Library board and Director Jenny Bloom are seeking input from patrons in order to make sure that programming aligns with their needs. 

Patrons who have not already filled out the survey, which takes about 10 minutes, can access it by clicking here, or by visiting the Quogue Library website, www.quoguelibrary.org, and clicking on “Complete Survey” near the top of the home page. 

In the virtual programming department, the current schedule continues to have plenty of options. Popular ongoing exercise classes include Pilates on Mondays at 10 a.m. and Sculpting and Cardio Dance for all ages on Tuesdays at 10 a.m., both with instructor Leisa DeCarlo; and Yoga with Jillian for adults and youngsters 8 and up on Fridays at 10 a.m. 

Adult programs coming up include: “Tips and Tools to Handle Stressful Times” on Thursday, January 14, at 4:30 p.m.; “3D Snowflake Painting” pre-recorded story and craft video on Friday, January 15; an Author Talk with Krisin Joy Lavin, author of “The Butterfly Promise” on Sunday, January 17, at 4 p.m.; “From ‘The Jazz Singer’ to ‘A Star Is Born’: A History of the Movie Musical” on Friday, January 22, at 7 p.m.; a “Grad and Go Craft: 3D Polar Bear” with kit pickup on Monday, January 25; an Author Talk with Christie Leigh Babirad on Tuesday, January 26, at 4 p.m.; and “Rocking Hollywood: Rock & Roll and the Movies, from Bill Haley to the Beatles” on Friday, January 29, at 7 p.m. 

For more information and registration instructions for any of these programs and other children’s programs, visit the Quogue Library website at quoguelibrary.org and click on the program flier on the home page. Remember that new programs are added regularly, so check the website often to make sure you don’t miss out. 

Twilight flood tide. —A. Botsford Photo

Roger Rosenblatt Enlists Writers in a Healing Campaign
About a week after this year’s presidential election, celebrated author and Quogue resident Roger Rosenblatt was growing more worried than usual, which, despite his typical devil-may-care demeanor, is saying something. Two months later, the assault on the Capitol would prove his worry well founded. 

A writer and teacher who has always been fascinated by the timeless motivation for setting down words and the uses of writing, he wanted to figure out a way that he and other practitioners of his craft could help build bridges over the ever-deepening fault lines breaking the country apart. The current political, philosophical, economic and spiritual climate—and the American experiment itself—seemed to beg for putting into practice the principles he outlined in his book, “Unless It Moves the Human Heart.” 

In that book, which came out of the “Writing Everything” course he was teaching in the Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Creative Writing program, Rosenblatt suggested that the purpose of writing is “to make suffering endurable, evil intelligible, justice desirable and love possible.” 

And so on November 11, he sent out an email to several groups of his writer friends and associates; the elisions are mine:  

“Dear friends,” he wrote, “What would you think of creating an organization of writers (allowing for that contradiction in terms), the aim of which would be to work for national stability, unity, and inspiration … from what one saw in the demonstrations on the very day of Biden’s election, the country seems to be in for a rough time of noise and clashes. So I was wondering if we writers might consider making  a little noise of our own, more like a joyful noise celebrating the best aspects of American life, and shooting down the worst.

“Writers can’t do much that is observable in the world, but we can put feelings into words. And the country may need to be reminded of its best feelings right now, along with the generous and fair-play principles that have allowed the unwieldy republic to survive … and attempt to realize itself again.

Roger Rosenblatt

“And I don’t mean that we should only preach to the choir (or preach at all). It is equally astonishing and chastening that 70 million people preferred Donald Trump to Joe Biden as President … they belong to the same country as we do, wish it well as we do, and believe in similar standards of decency. They, too, would be our audience, and we should seek out ways to reach them.

“In terms of structure, I was thinking of nothing more original or complicated than an interactive  Zoom meeting where we might do readings and hold conversations from our homes. If there is enough interest,  we could do this once a week … 

“Does such a venture interest you? We’d need a name for our group. Given that  it’s writers who will be wrangling about this, coming up with an agreed-upon name shouldn’t take us more than a year or two. But assuming we can get a name and set up the apparatus, would you care to  contribute to such an effort? Add your name to the list? That’s all you  need to tell me now. No further commitment until we see that we really have something. 

“I know it sounds corny, but at this tense moment of our history, I think ‘Uncle Sam Needs You’ and me and all of us who try to move the human heart with words. I think we might do some good. What do you think?”

Scores of his writer friends signed on almost immediately, and after working out the logistics and technical considerations, establishing a format and teaming up with a host, Write America was born

Book Revue, the independent bookstore that staged and live-streamed an all-star virtual roast of Rosenblatt on the occasion of his turning 80 in 2020, will host the new series, as outlined in a release going out this week:  

“Book Revue, Long Island’s largest independent bookstore located in Huntington Village, announces Write America, a new literary series spearheaded by award-winning Long Island writer Roger Rosenblatt featuring award-winning, nationally-renowned authors, alongside new and emerging writers, in weekly readings and conversation about how books and art might bridge the deep divisions in our nation. The series, which is scheduled to run online on Book Revue’s Crowdcast channel through September 2021, kicks off on Monday, February 1, at 7 p.m. with former United States Poet Laureates Rita Dove and Billy Collins.” 

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove will read with Billy Collins on February 1.

Writers who will be taking part include: Alan Alda, Natalie Diaz, Paul Auster, Amy Hempel, Carlos Fonseca, Grace Schulman, Major Jackson, Garry Trudeau, Vijay Seshadri, Paul Muldoon, Russell Banks, Molly Gaudry, Alice McDermott, Juan Felipe Herrera, Tyehimba Jess, and many more. 

“Write America is an organization of writers concerned about the divisions in our country that have evidenced themselves and deepened over the past few years,” Rosenblatt wrote for the Book Revue release. “We see a torn America these days, jeopardizing basic principles of justice, freedom, fair play, and equality. 

“These principles are important to writers, felt passionately if shown indirectly. They undergird our poems, novels, essays, memoirs, every form in which we attempt to reach out to our human family through the quiet power of art. A writer’s words are a tacit call for people to gather round and discover or rediscover their connections to one another. Writing makes justice desirable, evil intelligible, grief endurable and love possible. 

“In this project, then, we have come together to read our work in the interests of life’s nobler values. Normally, in the course of our profession, we keep our distance. We create, publish, and say with Chaucer, ‘go little book,’ to a remote receiving world. With our readings for Write America we will try to bridge that distance in a gesture of bonding. The nation is injured. We hope to contribute to its healing.” 

The Book Revue release also includes quotes from two of the featured authors about the new series. 

“A writer’s voice in silent communication with a reader, both seeking to discover what it is we all share,” wrote National Book Award winner Alice McDermott, who will be featured on February 15 with Russell Banks and Major Jackson. “What better way to right a skewed and scattered nation?” 

Alice McDermott will be featured with Russell Banks and Major Jackson on February 15.

“There are at least two ways to think about language,” wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, who will read on February 8 with Francine Prose. “One involves the use of language as a tool, the other involves being used by language. The first allows a politician to instruct the people towards his ends, the second allows the language to instruct the poet—and, by extension, the people—towards its ends.” 

Write America will launch on February 1 and run weekly, every Monday at 7 p.m. EST on Book Revue’s Crowdcast channel. All events are free; registration is required at bookrevue.com/write-america-series. A selection of signed titles will be available for purchase with each Write America episode; Book Revue ships worldwide. 

The Write America schedule through February includes: February 1, Rita Dove and Billy Collins; February 8, Francine Prose and Paul Muldoon; February 15, Russell Banks, Major Jackson, and Alice McDermott; February 22, Patricia Marx and Garry Trudeau. For more information, click here or visit bookrevue.com/write-america-series.

Pavilion sunset. —Jennifer Beccia Photo

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.  

News 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.

Return of the Light

If there is one thing that everyone can agree on these days, it might be this: These are dark days. 

The timing smacks of something poetic, if not downright cosmic: Just as the changing angle of the Earth’s axis subjects us in the northern hemisphere to more and more hours of darkness, the entire planet is still under siege by a coronavirus pandemic that continues to tighten its grip and has already claimed more than 300,000 lives in the U.S. alone. 

Winter on the way. —A. Botsford Photo

While the approval and rollout of vaccines is providing a tiny bit of illumination to help us make our way forward, that little bit of light is almost being extinguished by the politicization of the response to Covid-19—driven by self interest and with zero compassion for the sick, the health care workers, the grieving families, the teachers and students, and the millions of Americans struggling and going under because of the stricken economy.

Meanwhile, a populace already horribly divided—the depth of the division determined in large measure by which source of “information” they trust—is being needlessly and heedlessly exhorted to reject the outcome of the presidential election while still accepting the fairness of voting on every other office on all the ballots across the country. 

And, as if that were not distressing enough in itself, the sprouting of these dark seeds of doubt in our democracy can’t help but make it that much harder for the next administration to make inroads in conquering the pandemic and move on to tackle the other major challenges our nation, and the world, are facing. 

Golden hour. —A. Botsford Photo

But At Quaquanantuck refuses to yield to the darkness. The darkest hour is just before the dawn, they say, and this is the reason why so many cultures down through the years have organized celebrations to welcome the return of the light around the time of the winter solstice. So let it be with us this year as we mark the solstice and all the holidays that dot the calendar in this period.  

It certainly helped to restore this writer’s faith in brighter days to come when I learned this week that I will no longer need to ask for voluntary subscriptions to the column because I will be receiving almost $58,000 in Covid-19 relief funds from a United Nations commission. While I might ordinarily question why the United Nations would offer this kind of relief to a struggling columnist in Quogue, I have to believe it’s true because it’s right there in the email I received last week: 

“Re: Covid-19 Benefits
Flores, Monica<[Monica.Flores@dubiousemailaddress (.gov)]>
You are selected to receive $57,800 as United Nations Compensation Commission Covid-19 Relief fund. Write to with [sic] the below agent to file your claim.

Grace J. Prisco
to office@[dubiousandlikelydangerous_emailaddress (.org)]
Stay Safe! 

Monica Flores  UNCC Covid-19 Response Team” 

Now, since it’s the United Nations, I’m guessing I’m not the only Quogue resident who will be receiving this generous relief package. And while I’m not about to speculate on what any readers might wish to do with their money, At Quaquanantuck intends to embrace the spirit of the season and get the jump on bringing back the light by giving back to the local community that sustains this column and makes this village such a special place to be a part of.  

Wreaths and fresh colors of the season at Flowers by Rori. —Ginny Rosenblatt Photo

Shop Local for Gifts, Goods and Good Food
First of all, I’m heading downtown. The Jessup Avenue business district is as vibrant as ever at this time of year. For starters, with Christmas just a few shopping days away, Homespun is open seven days a week; Double Rainbow is open six days a week; Quogue Liquors is open seven days a week; and Flowers by Rori is open six days a week. 

Theresa Fontana let At Quaquanantuck know that the Little Q-Quogue Shop is open seven days a week right through Christmas Eve. “We arrive early and stay late,” Theresa wrote in an email. “Many beautiful holiday gifts for all. As always, local delivery and festive wrapping is our pleasure.” 

Just down the street, Theresa’s other enterprise, Beautiful Beach House, will also be open seven days a week through Christmas Eve. This shop has “fun gifts for all, specializing in unusual ornaments and housewares with a splash of men’s accessories,” Theresa says. “Our best sellers are bicycles: the Quogue Cruisers! 

“Our bikes come with our guarantee, free air and lite repairs for life! Women’s bikes available  in baby pink, powder blue, nautical navy and ocean green. Men’s bikes available in chocolate brown.”

After the holidays, both stores will be open year round and by appointment, the proprietor noted. 

Dressed in its holiday finery. —A. Botsford Photo

Meanwhile, the fine folks at the Quogue Country Market are wishing everyone in the village a Merry Christmas and suggesting that residents “spend your time with your family and friends and leave the cooking to us.” 

The Market and Chef Mike Nicholson have put together a mouth-watering menu for a “market-made to home served” Christmas Eve dinner menu. Featured are a wide array of hot and cold appetizers, entrées, potato and pasta sides, hot vegetables and salad. 

All items will be picked up cold and oven-ready. Deadline for ordering is Monday, December 21, and the catering pickup window will be on Thursday, December 24, from 7 to 11 a.m. If you are not already on the QCM email list, contact the market at quoguemarketllc@gmail.com and ask for a Christmas Eve dinner menu. You can also stop by the market and pick up a hard copy; then call or come in to reserve your order with Peter or Angela, 631-653-4191. 

Speaking of victuals, word has reached At Quaquanantuck that a recent Facebook post indicates that Cor J’s Seafood store down by the Ponquogue Bridge will be closing for renovations on December 31 and reopening on or about February 10. The post also has this, my FB informant tells me: “In keeping with the Cor J Seafood tradition, Jimmy Coronesi will continue to select and buy the freshest fish for Lighthouse Seafood, which is the new name as of February.”  

Kathy Lomas, left, and Sally McGrath at the Westhampton Garden Club Tailgate Topiary on December 7. —Joy Flynn Photo

Westhampton Garden Club Stages Tailgate Topiary
The Westhampton Garden Club is an organization that is dedicated to bringing light and life to the community at all times of the year. As dedicated correspondent Lynda Confessore writes: 

“Unable to hold their annual topiary decorating workshop for East End Hospice patients indoors at the Quogue Firehouse, determined members of the Westhampton Garden Club created an alternative on Monday, December 7. Club president Melissa Morgan Nelson and Topiary Chair Barbara Sartorius organized an outdoor tailgate workshop in the parking lot. 

“Two lines of cars with hatches raised served as supply stations supervised by member elves Kathy Lomas and Sally McGrath, or as spaces for masked members to bedeck the topiaries with ribbons and holiday ornaments. The finished topiaries are distributed to patients throughout the East End and at the Kanas Center for Hospice Care.”

Dreams of Summer Bring Light to Winter Days
Lynda was also kind enough to share with At Quaquanantuck another lovely project of the WGC. 

“Nature offers beauty in every season, but now that winter is closing in, visions of summer can be an antidote to grey days. With that in mind, the Westhampton Garden Club has produced a video celebrating the private gardens of its members that can inspire at any time, simply by visiting www.westhamptongardenclub.org/tour.html

Kathy Lomas brightened up this wheelbarrow that belonged to her husband Lynn’s grandfather. —Joy Flynn Photo

Featured in the video are three different gardens. While Ine Wiijtliet’s historic home was built in the late 19th century, over the years she has added new character to an old garden. Her plantings and design embrace her attention to composition and color, a daily practice for her as an artist in her painting studio.

Kathy Lomas’s garden tells the story of generations of gardeners going back to her husband Lynn’s grandfather. Amid beautiful plantings that create several private spaces, a veggie “Victory Garden” benefits from the couple’s devotion to composting practices, which Kathy demonstrates in the video.

Dorothy Hom and Michael Straus are the club’s “Rose Whisperers” serving as a resource on all things roses. Their garden is a visual textbook of the results of proper soil, feeding cycles, stimulants and the aesthetic mix of scale and fragrance.

Ine Wiijtliet with her faithful garden elephant. —Joy Flynn Photo

Historical Society Seeks Funding for Schoolhouse Restoration
At Quaquanantuck is hoping to share a substantial portion of its United Nations windfall with the Quogue Historical Society, in support of the QHS initiative to restore Quogue’s 1822 one-room Schoolhouse, said to be the oldest surviving schoolhouse building on the East End of Long Island. 

As pointed out in a recent mailing from the Historical Society, this charming structure is “indisputably the most important historic public building in the Village. The 198-year-old Schoolhouse is not only a rare example of its type and form, it preserves a remarkably high degree of architectural integrity, including original pine floors, plaster walls and ceiling, wainscoting, and 12 over 12 windows. As such, it is a remarkable historic document for learning about education in early America.” 

The Schoolhouse, listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing resource in the Quogue Historic District, was in use for 71 years, from 1822 to 1893. During those years, it was the only public building in Quogue; when school was not in session, it was used for Sunday school and mid-week prayer meetings. From 1822-1876, the Schoolhouse stood at the edge of Quogue Street where Old Depot Road begins. In 1876, when Old Depot Road (then called Post’s Road) was opened, leading to the new train station, the Schoolhouse was moved about 400 yards north. 

The Quogue Schoolhouse is at left in this George B. Brainerd photograph, ca. 1875, courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum.

In 1893, after a larger, two-room school was built on ]essup Avenue (the site of today’s Quogue Fire Department), the 1822 one-room Schoolhouse was closed and abandoned. It was rescued in the early 1900s by Abram Post, who moved it to his property just east of the Quogue Library and used it as a workshop. 

In 1947, the Post family donated the Schoolhouse to the Quogue Library to be used as a museum operated by the library’s newly formed Historical Committee. In 1948, it was moved (for a third time) to the grounds of the Quogue Library and, in 1949, opened as a museum. In 1977, the Quogue Historical Society was organized as a separate nonprofit entity, successor to the Library’s Historical Committee, and in the 40-plus years since, the Historical Society has maintained and operated the Schoolhouse as a museum open to the public offering changing exhibitions, as well as tours for school-age children and adults. 

Since opening as a museum in 1949, repairs and restoration of the one-room schoolhouse have been ongoing, including installation of electricity in 1962; new cedar posts in 1969; a new foundation in 1975; and a new roof in 1979. The exterior was re-shingled in 1987, and the roof in 1997. 

The Schoolhouse Museum in 1947. —Photo courtesy of the Quogue Historical Society

It has now been more than 20 years since the last major restoration project, but in 2019, as part of the Quogue Library renovation and expansion, the Schoolhouse was relocated on the Library grounds, offering the Historical Society an opportunity to undertake critical repairs and restoration work on the exterior and interior of the building. A full history of the 1822 Schoolhouse, with historic images, is on the QHS website: quoguehistory.org/at-home-post/1822-schoolhouse-history/. 

The total cost of the major Schoolhouse restoration project is estimated to be $240,000. So far, the QHS has received donations and pledges of approximately $90,000 from the members of the Society’s board and close friends of the Historical Society. To fund the remaining cost of approximately $150,000, donations are being solicited from members of the Quogue community. And to acknowledge the generosity of those who give $2,500 or more, the Society will list the names of those donors on a bronze plaque outside the Schoolhouse. 

As village resident Cephas Foster wrote in January 1822: “We have had a busy job, a few individuals, to build a SCHOOL HOUSE. We got it completed and I do not hesitate to say that it is the best now in the County.” 

In 1947, the original “Appeal for Restoration Funds” letter to Quogue residents had this: “This worthy community enterprise … should appeal to all interested in the traditions, standards, and historic values that have made Quogue notable.”

Schoolhouse Museum mid-restoration in 2019. —Photo courtesy of the Quogue Historical Society

To find out more about the current restoration project, visit quoguehistory.org/at-home-post/1822-room-schoolhouse-2019-2021-restoration. To find out more about making a dedicated donation to the Schoolhouse project, contact info@quoguehistory.org

And readers should remember to renew their memberships in the QHS, or join now, by clicking on the Support tab on the QHS website at www.quoguehistory.org

Support Quogue Wildlife Refuge Annual Appeal
Whilst we are in the giving mode at this time of year—and reaping some useful write offs at the same time—another great organization to support is the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, which is currently raising funds via its annual appeal. 

As Executive Director Mike Nelson wrote in a recent mailing: “We couldn’t have imagined a year like this one— but through your continued support we’ve been able to continue our mission, providing a sanctuary not only for our resident animals and wildlife but for the community and visitors seeking the great benefits of the outdoors. 

Ice Pond in winter light. —Marisa Nelson Photo

“In the spirit of gratitude this season, we are indebted to the wilderness of the Refuge itself. Beneath tall pitch pines, on a carpet of earth, we were still able to host summer camp and educational programs throughout the fall. Old Ice Pond provided a place to paddle and explore while safely distanced, and the trails have given many of us a place to roam freely. As we head into cooler weather, our inspired staff has come up with ways to keep folks outdoors, and when we’re not able to connect in person, we are thankful to be able to ‘see’ you in virtual online programs. 

“Most of all we are grateful for you. Your generosity makes all of this possible as we creatively navigate this new terrain together. Please consider making a contribution to our 2020 Annual Appeal today.”

As At Quaquanantuck has noted before, support for the Quogue Wildlife Refuge is always a win-win, whether you are becoming a member or donating to the annual appeal (quoguewildliferefuge.org/get-involved/become-a-member-today), adopting a bench (quoguewildliferefuge.org/bricks-benches-bee-hives), or buying some QWR gear or an ornament for a gift (quoguewildliferefuge.org/gift-ideas).

And always check the QWR website, quoguewildliferefuge.org, for upcoming programs. 

Hampton Theatre Company Readies Virtual Performance
At Quaquanantuck also considers the Hampton Theatre Company another organization that deserves some portion of my $57,800 relief funds. Members of the HTC have wrapped filming of their socially distanced performance of the “Lux Radio Theater Miracle on 34th Street.” Filmmaker Sydney Sheren is now editing the footage shot on December 16 with an eye to getting the production posted on the HTC website, HamptonTheatre.org on December 19 in conjunction with the company’s end-of-year appeal. 

Left to right, Rebecca Edana, George Loizides, Andrew Botsford, Rosemary Cline, Roger Moley, and Terrance Fiore after completing filming of the “Lux Radio Theater ‘Miracle on 34th Street’.” —Sydney Sheren Photo

This show within a play features seven (socially distanced) actors, including Maureen O’Hara (Rosemary Cline), John Payne (Andrew Botsford) and Edmund Gwenn (George Loizides), reprising their film roles for a “broadcast” in 1948 of an adaptation of 1947’s newly minted Christmas classic, “Miracle on 34th Street.” Also in the cast are company regulars Rebecca Edana, and Terrance Fiore,  and a newcomer, Roger Moley. 

With no ticket and concession sales or program advertising over the past nine months, the future of the HTC is now entirely dependent on patrons’ support. This year though, for those who are planning to include the Hampton Theatre Company in their end-of-year giving, the donation could be thought of as buying a ticket: 

For all donations of $25 or more, donors will be emailed a link for exclusive one-week access to the show as soon as the edited film version is posted on December 19. On December 24, the show will be made available to all on our website.

There’s no telling when live performances indoors will be coming back, but in the meantime the members of the Hampton Theatre Company are determined, with patrons’ support, “to keep making theatre on whatever platforms and in whatever venues we can.” To make a donation/buy tickets to the filmed performance of “Miracle on 34th Street,” visit www.hamptontheatre.org. And remember, patrons, theatre lovers and the merely curious are urged to check out (and “like”) the company’s posts on Facebook (@hamptontheatre; facebook.com/hamptontheatre); Instagram (hamptontheatre; instagram.com/hamptontheatre) and YouTube (youtube.com/channel).

Visitors appreciate works in the “Lauren Lyons: A Bender of Fiction” exhibition at the Quogue Gallery. —A. Botsford Photo

Lauren Lyons Exhibition at Quogue Gallery through December 31.
“Lauren Lyons: A Bender of Fiction,” featuring 12 large scale provocative photographs from highly stylized shoots that the artist conceived and styled over the course of the past 20 years, will remain on view at the Quogue Gallery at 44 Quogue Street through December 31.  

Ms. Lyons is a self-taught photographer who got her start decades ago photographing musicians in Philadelphia and New York City. Over the years, she has made photographs for album covers, promotions, concerts, and festivals and worked with record labels, magazines, concert promoters, A&R scouts, and advertising agencies. 

Her photographs represent a vision that is uniquely her own, from the original conceptualizing to scouting and choosing unusual locations, deciding on wardrobe or coming up with physical modifications for nudes, scene and model styling, and adding props. 

Doug Lewis, left, and Lauren Lyons, who have been quarantining together, at the opening of “Lauren Lyons: A Bender of Fiction” at the Quogue Gallery. —A. Botsford Photo

Sabrina De Turk, an Associate Professor with the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University in Dubai and a friend of Ms. Lyons, wrote this about the artist’s work:

“The power of observation is overwhelmingly present in the work of Lauren Lyons. Her intense photographic portraits capture emotions both fleeting and timeless. Context and scene are important components of the image, yet, in the end, it is the haunting and evocative characters in her work who are the most compelling…”

Born in Southern Delaware in 1969, Ms. Lyons moved to Philadelphia about 30 years ago. As a result of her love of music and her involvement with the music industry as a photographer for many years, she was selected to be a voting member of the Grammys and held that distinction for 18 years. The artist lives and works in Philadelphia and Quogue. 

For more information, visit quoguegallery.com.

Quogue Library Offers Array of Virtual Programs
Quogue Library Director Jenny Bloom is keeping the faith, on completion of the library’s renovation and expansion and on what she hopes the future holds. As she wrote this week in an email:

“I am really hopeful that the new year will bring new opportunities to connect with each other. The library construction continues to move forward, but there are many pieces yet to fall into place. We are estimating a March opening time frame now. I am not sure what service will look like at that time, but we are moving through what we all hope is the worst of Covid, and that the end of winter will be the start of so much reconnection. It will be entirely true at the Library, too.” 

“Staff and board are looking ahead,” she wrote, “but in the meantime, the library is here for you in whatever way we can help. And we miss our community. Please call if there is anything we can help with.” (631-653-4224. 

Morning bay. —Elizabeth Caputo Photo

In the virtual programming department, the library is keeping things busy. Popular ongoing exercise classes include Pilates on Mondays at 10 a.m. and Sculpting and Cardio Dance for all ages on Tuesdays at 10 a.m., both with instructor Leisa DeCarlo; and Yoga with Jillian for adults and youngsters 8 and up on Fridays at 10 a.m. 

Adult programs coming up include: a presentation by Chris Paparo, of Fish Guy Photos, as he takes participants into the World of Falconry; “Feng Shui with Laura Cerrano” to harmonize and balance your home at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 7;  another Virtual Paint Night program to create a “winter wonderland” scene on an 8- by 10-inch canvas with artist Marie Camenares on Friday, January 8, at 7 p.m. All supplies will be provided in a kit to be picked up at the Quogue Library on Midland on January 2 during library hours. The next meeting of the Anti Racism Book Club will be on Tuesday, January 5, at 7:30 p.m.; discussion will focus on the “The New Jim Crow: Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander. 

For more information or to register for any of these programs, visit the Quogue Library website at quoguelibrary.org and click on the program flier on the home page. Remember that new programs are added regularly, so check the website often to make sure you don’t miss out. 

Gift Ideas for Literature Lovers
For the readers on At Quaquanantuck’s gift list, high on the list would be “Cold Moon—On Life, Love, and Responsibility” (Turtle Point; November 3, 2020; 104pp) by Quogue literary light Roger Rosenblatt. 

The simple fact is this: gift givers can never go wrong with anything that Roger has written, and the reviews so far for “Cold Moon”—characterized in one as “memories and musings from the winter solstice of a life”—are consistently excellent.   

A key quote from the book reveals the theme: “Better to know where to go than how to get there. I wander from thought to thought, having learned but three things from my long night’s moon. I believe in life. I believe in love. I believe we are responsible for each other.” 

Next on the list would be a book of poetry, a new collection by a sometime visitor to Quogue, former two-time U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. “Whale Day: And Other Poems” is the title of the new collection, and for those who may be unfamiliar with the author, these are poems for poetry lovers, poetry agnostics, and people who have always thought they might like poetry but have been intimidated by its opacity. 

Penguin Random House describes the new collection this way: “Billy Collins’s new collection brings together more than fifty poems and showcases his deft mixing of the playful and the serious that has made him one of our country’s most celebrated and widely read poets. 

“Here are poems that leap with whimsy and imagination, yet stay grounded in the familiar, common things of everyday experience. Collins takes us for a walk with an impossibly ancient dog, discovers the original way to eat a banana, meets an Irish spider, and even invites us to his own funeral.”

Both these books do what writing does best: they help readers integrate the mundane and the mystical in the human condition and meander gracefully along the perplexing pathways of the human experience. 

Police departments from all over eastern Long Island were represented at the funeral procession down Jessup Avenue for Detective Michael Fruin on Tuesday. —A. Botsford Photo

Remembering Village Police Detective Michael Fruin
Along with other readers of Mayor Peter Sartorius’s regular emails, At Quaquanantuck learned this week of the passing of Quogue Village Police Detective Michael Fruin, a tragic loss for his family, for the Police Department, and for all of us who call Quogue our home.  

As the Mayor wrote: “On Sunday, Detective Michael D. Fruin of the Quogue Village Police Department suffered an apparent heart attack while at home and passed away.  He was 50 years old. 

“Mike joined the Quogue Village Police Department in 1992 as a part-time officer, and he became a full-time police officer the following year.  In 2005 he was promoted to become the Department’s Detective, and he continued in that capacity for 15 years until his untimely death.  

“Many [village residents] no doubt ran into him while he was investigating a matter, on one of his occasional patrol tours as a substitute for another officer, or while he was supervising the parking at a local party.  Unfailingly, Mike was an affable spirit while at the same time being highly professional and competent in his job. We will miss him a great deal.

“Mike is survived by his wife, Susanne; a son, Robert; a daughter, Jennie; and a granddaughter, Violet, to whom we send our deepest condolences. We are anticipating that a memorial service will be held at a later time.”

At Quaquanantuck joins the Mayor and so many others in the village and surrounding area in sending condolences to the family, and in expressing gratitude for Detective Fruin’s truly magnificent record of service to our community. His loss represents a real tear in the fabric of our community. 

Officers of the Quogue Village Police created this image for the department’s annual holiday card this year.

At Year’s End, Grateful for Your Support
This is the last column of 2020, a year beyond any imagining in which village residents and institutions came together to try to sort out the day-to-day and maintain some semblance of some of the touchstones of life in Quogue as we have known it. 

Thanks to readers’ support, encouragement, and generosity, I have been able to keep the column going and two months ago, successfully shift to a (primarily) once a month schedule. 

Unfortunately—since on reflection I doubt that I will be endangering my identity or exposing my computer to all manner of spyware and toxic viruses by trying to collect my $57,800—I am making one last appeal for voluntary subscriptions to help me defray some of the costs of time and expenses. So, if you have the wherewithal, the column continues to have value for you in the monthly format, and you’d like to support keeping it a free resource for the community, please consider taking out or renewing a voluntary subscription (i.e. contribution) of $60 … or more … or less. 

Contributions may be made using PayPal by clicking here; with Venmo to user name Andrew-Botsford-1; or by check made out to Andrew Botsford and mailed to PO Box 1524, Quogue, NY 11959. 

Regardless of whether or not you have made or make a donation, I’d like to express my gratitude for all the kind words and support that have come my way over the past twelve months. I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to try to reflect some of what makes this community so special back to readers who appreciate the attempt. I’d also like to thank all those readers who sent beautiful photographs, not all of which were published, and news items and comments: All of these help to keep the column vital and connected. 

I hope that all readers and all in the extended family that is our community can keep safe, stay healthy, find joy in your connections to family and friends, make new connections and be open to different points of view, and maintain faith in brighter days to come. Happy solstice, one and all. 

Village Dock sunset. —Geoff Judge Photo

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.  News 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.

Gratitude

Honoring a promise made to the late Quogue Village Historian and keeper of the flame Pat Shuttleworth, At Quaquanantuck is happy to share once again—even if it’s not in newsprint that can be put up on the refrigerator anymore—its annual reflection on just a few of the many things for which all of us who are lucky enough to spend time in this blessed community can be truly grateful.

Canal sunset. —A. Botsford Photo

With so many challenges confronting us on all sides in this year’s perfect storm of pandemic and politics, along with a volcanic eruption of natural disasters and molten social issues, it is more important than ever that we understand just how fortunate we are to be living in Quogue, so that we might better show compassion and generosity to those who are not so blessed. 

With beachfront erosion even under the best of circumstances a constant threat, we can all be extremely thankful that 2020 was another off year for hurricanes making a direct hit on the eastern seaboard. Still, we must always honor the lessons of the past by remaining vigilant, heeding evacuation warnings, and following safety protocols when a major storm has the East End even tangentially in its sights. And bear in mind that there have now been 30 named storms — 13 of them hurricanes —in 2020, breaking a record set in 2005. It’s not a question of if another major storm will hit Long Island, only when. 

Inlet dune. —A. Botsford Photo

We can be thankful for, and humbled by, the courage and community spirit of the members of the Quogue Volunteer Fire Department and all first responders, ready to make whatever sacrifices are called for to ensure the safety and protect the property of all residents.

And we can be grateful for the certainty that once we get past the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the fire department, which has continued to give fire safety lessons to Quogue School students, will resume all the activities and programs that help give our village its identity and that have been sorely missed this year: the Halloween Ghost Parade, support services for Santa’s visit to the Village Green, the Easter Egg hunt, the annual Open House, and the traditional pancake breakfast at the firehouse on Thanksgiving weekend. 

It’s true: Heroes work here. Heroes also volunteer at the Firehouse next door; still more heroes work in the Village Office and on village crews. —A. Botsford Photo

Likewise we can be thankful that we are blessed with the talented teams of people who work for the Village of Quogue and serve in village government, in the Village Office, on the police force, and out on the roads and bays: their dedication to helping us all keep safe through the pandemic and their community spirit translate into the best possible quality of life for all of us.

We can be grateful that our beautiful Community Hall has been, and will be again, a center for the performing arts on eastern Long Island, home to the Quogue Junior Theater Troupe and the Hampton Theatre Company as well as the Quogue Chamber Music series and special Westhampton Garden Club programs, all possible because of the support of the fine folks in Village Hall, donors, subscribers and volunteers,  and the creative people dedicated to making theater and presentations of the highest quality to honor this support. 

Ryan Fay and Quogue School students get ready for their turn in this year’s in-school edition of the Hudsy Run to benefit heart healthy activities at the school. Students in all classes took part in the run on Friday, November 20.

We can give thanks that the Quogue School has been certified as one of the best on the East End—and in all of New York State—courtesy of the caring and committed teachers, administrators, support staff and the Parent Teacher Association all working together to create a truly superlative and nurturing educational experience, all while meeting or exceeding the highest standards of elementary school education.

The Quogue Pond on Jessup Avenue in its summer attire. —Shirley Kennedy Photo

Our village is blessed, too, with the fantastic Quogue Library, which has never missed a step in serving as the cultural beating heart of the village, even while the major makeover of the library building has been underway: first by presenting live programs at the Firehouse, courtesy of the QFD, and then, when the pandemic hit, switching to the virtual realm. 

Quogue Library Director Jenny Bloom’s vision of the Quogue Librarian as a scarecrow.

Give credit for that to an enthusiastic and thoroughly engaged board of directors and an accomplished and helpful staff. The overwhelming support and vote of confidence that the library received for the project was clearly offered in recognition of the vital role the library has in binding our community together, across generations, different viewpoints and disciplines.

Another jewel of our village is the Quogue Historical Society, managing and curating the artifacts and accounts of Quogue’s storied history dating back to the 17th century for the benefit of young and old, today and for generations to come.

Pennimans Point. —Margot Carr Photo

On the northern border of our village sits another reason to be thankful: the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, where—thanks to the Southampton Town Wildfowl Association, the village, the town, and thousands of supporters since 1934—all are welcome to wander and experience and learn about the unspoiled natural beauty of this area, the flora and fauna and hundreds of direct links to the spirit of Quogue’s past. 

Although the Westhampton Garden Club doesn’t have our village name in its title, Quogue is clearly ever-present in the hearts and minds of its members. The WGC established and maintains all the public gardens in Quogue, including the flowers and greenery at the Village Green; the historic garden at the Quogue Library; and the Butterfly Garden at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, calling attention to “The Pollinators” and threats to the monarch butterfly and bee populations, among others. The WGC has also brought renowned speakers to the village, offering engaging and compelling programs that have packed the Community Hall. 

The Village Dock at the end of Quogo Neck may soon overtake Key West in the category of “site of the most photos taken of the sunset.” —Lynn Lomas Photo

Need more? How about the Quogue Association? Nothing inspires gratitude like the efforts of a group of people who get together to inform, educate, do good works, and throw great parties based on a shared love for the place where they live. It is incumbent upon all of us who care about our village—and is there anyone who doesn’t?—to join or donate to the Quogue Association, or if you are already a member, to renew your membership right away, at quogueassociation.org.

The beautiful, tree-lined “business district” of our village, on Jessup Avenue and out to Montauk Highway, has never been more vibrant, with a wondrous makeover of the Quogue Country Market, which will now be open year-round, and shops like Double Rainbow, Homespun, the Little Q Quogue Shop, Quogue Liquors, Blown Away Dry Bar and Salon, Flowers by Rori and Jen Going Interiors offering a range of goods and services to delight all ages and tastes. The beautiful private Quogue Gallery is another jewel in the necklace of our business district; a socially distanced opening reception for “Lauren Lyons: Bender of Fiction” is scheduled this weekend, on Saturday, November 28, from noon to 7 p.m., with only five visitors allowed in the gallery at any one time. Masks and social distancing required. 

Summer sunup. —Elizabeth Caputo Photo

Continue with the checklist: The Post Office, the Board of Election volunteers, the Village Dock and boat launching ramps, the expanded Village Beach facility and the drawbridge that provides access to it, the Quogue Cemetery Association: all of these places and institutions and the people who work for them and who make them work so well: all of  these contribute essential and cultural services, texture and color to make Quogue truly beautiful, and unique. 

At Quaquanantuck is aware that these are the most obvious elements of life in our village that prompt our gratitude. Photos and news items regularly sent in to this column by readers over the course of the year offer a more nuanced picture. It is hoped that readers will continue this practice; please send news and social items, comments and observations, and photos (in Large size if taken on a smartphone) to AtQuaq@gmail.com

On a personal note, At Quaquanantuck is sincerely grateful to all the people who have shown their appreciation for this column by sending in payments for voluntary one-year “subscriptions,” so that the column, now posted monthly, can continue to be accessed for free by all who care to read it. 

Seeing the health crisis and economic havoc wrought by the pandemic in our nation and around the world, seeing so much conflict and so many forced to flee their homes in countries around the globe, and seeing so many challenges facing so much of the world today, may we all be ever mindful of all the natural beauty and all of the many blessings we share in this village as we celebrate this holiday of gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!

Mirror ripples. —A. Botsford Photo

Giving Thanks

At Quaquanantuck has been thinking recently about a brief scene in the David Mamet written and directed film “State and Main” from 2000. 

After a spectacular and dramatic car crash, the movie star character in the film played by Alec Baldwin is pulled from the now upside down vehicle. Befuddled, inebriated and basically unscathed, he surveys the situation and without missing a beat he laughs and declares matter of factly, “So that happened.” 

Dunes at dusk. —A. Botsford Photo

While the recent presidential election, by all accounts of the secretaries of state, was well run and essentially free of irregularities, everything that has happened since—all the destruction of faith in how our democracy is supposed to work—certainly qualifies as an ugly, slow motion and somehow unending car crash from which it remains to be seen whether the republic can emerge in one piece.

Once again, as with the health care crisis and economic devastation brought on by the pandemic, as with the long overdue reckoning with systemic racism that flared after the killing of George Floyd, as with the evidence in wildfires, hurricanes and floods of the horrifying impact of climate change, we are prevented by our divisions from squarely facing these tremendous challenges and doing, as a nation, what must be done to overcome them. 

This is not news; it’s all anybody talks about anymore: our divided nation. But what will it take, how much of a cataclysm must we suffer, before we finally step away from self-interest and loyalty to “our side” and actually do something about it? 

It has to start with an agreement of some kind. If we can agree on our gratitude for living in this beautiful if troubled country, that could be a start. If we can agree about a basic set of facts—that the coronavirus is not “like the flu,” for example, but a deadly disease and scientists actually know how to stop its spread—perhaps we can get to a place where we can agree that we can only snuff it out if we listen to the scientists and all work together. That we need to put the interests of the whole nation ahead of our own. 

It’s simple arithmetic: a fraction of our nation can’t possibly surmount the challenges we face, right now or in the years ahead. We need the whole thing, as stated in the pledge: one nation. We have to work together if we hope to get out of this wreck. Division is subtraction; it makes us less. 

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

Olcott Pond. —Elizabeth Caputo Photo

Time to Give Thanks by Taking Action
It has often been observed that perhaps the best way to show sincere gratitude is by truly honoring the gifts and blessings that we have received. And so it is with the extraordinary blessing—especially during the daunting days of the coronavirus pandemic—of being able to shelter in place in the beyond beautiful bubble that is Quogue. 

Honoring the myriad benefits of living in this place means showing our appreciation by supporting all the people and institutions that help to make our community so special, from the businesses and stores on Jessup Avenue and Midland to the personnel of village government, the Police Department and Fire Department; from the Quogue Library, Quogue Wildlife Refuge and Quogue School to the Quogue Association, the Quogue Historical Society, the Westhampton Garden Club and Quogue Chamber Music, Hampton Theatre Company and Quogue Junior Theater Troupe. And the list goes on. 

Autumn beach panorama. —John MacWilliams Photo

Fortunately for all of us fortunate residents, each and every one of these institutions makes it easy for us to give our support, always demonstrating that they love this community just as much or more than any of us and always working overtime to be sure they contribute more to our exceptional quality of life than could ever be measured by our support. 

Let’s look at our vibrant downtown business district. From Beth’s Cafe, the Quogue Gallery and Jen Going Interiors at the south end of Jessup Avenue right down the street and around the corner to Blown Away Dry Bar and Salon and Flowers by Rori on Midland, Quogue residents are indeed blessed to have such a great array of shops and services. 

New Quogue Country Market General Manager Pete Gragnano, left, and Chef Mike Nicholson. —A. Botsford Photo

With Best Market in Westhampton Beach now closing indefinitely on November 26 before morphing into a Lidl store (one cashier suggested a six-month hiatus), the Quogue Country Market has now become even more essential. How gratifying, then, that the QCM is now planning to stay open through the winter.  Guiding the transition into year-round operation, Peter Gragnano, left above, is the new general manager. Mike Nicholson, right, is the new chef, and he has already won over many fans with his ready made dinners and fresh soups—minestrone, chicken tortilla, and mushroom bisque, to name a few—daily. 

Chef Mike says his menus tend to be “vegetable centric, root to stem.” Examples of recent winners include: Atlantic salmon with rice-quinoa pilaf and roasted vegetable medley; chicken rollatini stuffed with goat cheese and asparagus, with roasted shallot red pepper sauce; seared Greek chicken topped with Kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, pepperoncini peppers and feta cheese; homemade chicken pot pie; shrimp scampi over pasta with peas, olive oil and garlic; and old fashioned meatloaf and gravy, to name just a few. 

This week Chef Mike said he was going to be making “meatless meatballs.” 

For those interested in having someone else do the cooking for Thanksgiving, stop by the market and check out what’s on offer. The deadline for ordering is Friday, November 20. Email quoguemarketllc@gmail.com

Homespun at 142 Jessup Avenue will be open seven days a week starting November 23, noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. —Lulie Morrisey Photo
Double Rainbow is open six days a week, noon to 4 p.m. , Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Tuesday. —Lulie Morrisey Photo
Quogue Liquors is open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. —Lulie Morrisey Photo
Flowers by Rori is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. —Lulie Morrisey Photo
Proprietor Theresa Fontana strikes a pose in front of the Little Q Quogue Shop. Signs in the windows of Little Q and Beach down the street indicate that both stores are “on a break, gearing up for a ‘fab’ holiday season.” Both stores are set to reopen on Wednesday, November 25, at 10 a.m. —Lulie Morrisey Photo

Hudsy Run Going Virtual for 2020
Organizers of the Hudsy 5K Run/Walk—the annual event honoring the late Joan Hudson that funds heart-healthy activities at the Quogue Elementary School—were not about to let the coronavirus put the kibosh on this well-loved tradition. Instead, like many other determined souls before them, they are going the virtual route. 

Participants of all ages will still be actually running and walking, but instead of doing it all together on the same day at the same time, they will be doing it from November 21 to November 29 on their own terms, their own time, and in many cases on their own 5K course that they choose or set for themselves. 

With a nod to the face-covering world we now inhabit, instead of special t-shirts this year, the first 150 participants will receive a Hudsy 5K buff/gaiter. Keepsake bibs (not required for participation) will be mailed out to all registrants; allow 3-5 business days to receive.

The savvy folks at events.elitefeats.com/hudsy20 have got all the technical details well in hand, and will guide registrants through the process, including choosing your distance and your course, the right apps to use on your smart phone to record your run, and when and how to submit times. And if running or walking are not your thing, there is a space on the registration form to make a straight up donation; no exertion of any kind required. 

To find out more and to register, right up to November 29, visit or paste into your browser events.elitefeats.com/hudsy20. For more information, call Ryan Fay at 631-653-4285. 

Left to right, Officer Anthony Comito, Chief Chris Isola, Lieutenant Daniel Hartman, and Officer Ashleigh Trotta of the Quogue Village Police Department with the non-perishable food items collected so far in the Thanksgiving Food Drive undertaken by police departments and schools and students in Southampton Town. Residents can donate food in the front lobby public area of the police station through Friday, November 20. —A. Botsford Photo

Quogue Chamber Music Making the Most of Grant Funds
Like so many other cultural arts institutions around the world and right here on the East End, the members of the Quogue Chamber Music board of directors were beyond crestfallen when the pandemic forced the cancellation of first the June concert and then the September concert, in other words, the entire 2020 season. 

Showing the kind of resourcefulness that cultural arts presenting organizations are more and more becoming known for, though, Quogue Chamber Music has found a way to make good use of grant funds awarded in the fall of 2019 by the Huntington Arts Council for use in 2020. The cancelled school concerts planned for last March are now being replaced with virtual programs for the children of the Quogue, East Quogue and Hampton Bays elementary schools. The good news is that these virtual concerts will reach many more children than would have been possible with live performances.

QCM President Jane Deckoff reported that, happily, “the musicians we have engaged for previous children’s programs, all graduates of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, have agreed to put together two programs for the area children, to be ready later this month. So the funding from the Huntington Arts Council will not be allowed to  fall through the cracks.”

Members of the Manhattan Chamber Players are scheduled to perform in the Quogue Chamber Music concert on June 19, 2021.

The QCM schedule for 2021 features concerts on June 19 and September 11. As Ms. Deckoff wrote: “We are eager to be reunited with you, our wonderful audience, and we sincerely hope that the circumstances will cooperate with our plans … On behalf of the musicians and the Board, here’s to you … to music … and to brighter times ahead!”

For more information, check out the updated QCM website, www.quoguechambermusic.org.

Historical Society Offers Glimpses of the Past … and Great Gifts
At Quaquanantuck  sincerely hopes that all readers have joined—or will join—the Quogue Historical Society so that they may reap the many rewards of membership. At a time when so many of us are sheltering in place, just the QHS at Home page of the quoguehistory.org website alone is worth far more than the nominal cost of an individual or household membership.

Online exhibitions here include: “Quogue’s Early 20th Century Postcards’; “A Moment in Time: Photographs of Quogue Streets, 1942”; “Quogue Through the Lens of George B. Brainerd, ca. 1875”; “1822 Schoolhouse: 2019-2021 Restoration” and “1822 Schoohouse: History.” Other lovely features of the QHS at Home page include Talks Online via Zoom, Virtual Tours, and Children’s Activities.

Early postcard of Louis Muley’s successful automobile repair shop on Jessup Avenue, c. 1907.

Another wonderful benefit of joining the QHS is getting your email address on the list to receive beautifully timed illustrated nuggets of Quogue history researched and presented by Historical Society Curator and Southampton Town Historian Julie Greene. Recent offerings include: a fascinating look at the 1790 Census in Quogue; “1950s Halloween on Jessup Avenue”; “The Election of 1836: Daniel Webster for President” and, arriving on Veterans Day, “The Admirable Admiral,” about naval officer, strategist, author and historian Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914). 

Admiral Mahan is accurately described by Ms. Greene as “without a doubt the most influential and historically significant figure ever to reside in Quogue. (Daniel Webster comes close, but was just a visitor.)” Heady stuff. 

One of the recent emails sent to QHS members, with the subject line: “Quogue Book with a View,” focused on a charming viewbook of Quogue and also pointed the way to some lovely gift ideas. 

Front cover of viewbook.

As Ms. Greene wrote in that email: “In the late 19th and early 20th century, before cameras were portable, travelers purchased picture postcards and postcard-sized viewbooks to remember the places they visited. 

“The souvenir viewbooks had distinctive eye-catching covers and featured photographs, lithographic images, engravings, and charming illustrations. Not only mementos of vacations, they were also popular with businessmen and real estate investors, who often gave them to clients to encourage property investment in certain areas.” 

Interior page, Quogue cottages.

Ms. Greene went on to recount how Louis Muley, owner of Muley’s Garage and Machine Shop on Jessup Avenue and known in the village as the “car doctor,” put together “Pictorial Views of Quogue, On the Sunrise Trail, Long Island, New York,” a 22-page souvenir book of photographs and sketches of notable Quogue streets, landscapes, cottages, and commercial buildings.

“Pictorial Views of Quogue” was printed and published, ca. 1917, by the Albertype Company, of Brooklyn, originally known as Wittemann Brothers. This Quogue’s viewbook was available for purchase at Muley’s, A.A. Tuthill’s drugstore on Quogue Street (now Beth’s Café), and other village locations.

Back cover, Muley’s newly renovated auto shop.

Today, these once-affordable viewbooks are sought-after collectors’ items. Village residents can be grateful that “Pictorial Views of Quogue” has been reproduced and is available for collecting or gift giving at a still-affordable price on the Quogue Historical Society website, quoguehistory.org.

Visitors to the History page of the website will also find some other great Quogue-centric gifts in the Society’s Collections. In “Voices of Quogue: A Small Village Remembers the Way We Were,” author Meredith Murray documents 20th century life in our village through the reminiscences of 14 of Quogue’s longtime residents. “Quogue’s Heritage Road” was prepared for the QHS by Melissa Cook, Dick Gardner and Frances Ryan and published in June, 2009; revised and reprinted November 2011.

“Notes on Quogue: 1659-1959” by Richard Post was published by the Quogue Tercentenary Committee in 1959. Other titles include: the oral history collection “Quogue As We Remember It: A Collection of Memories”; “Hurricane of 1938, Vol. I” and “Hurricane of 1938, Vol. II.” For more information about purchasing, visit the website or email info@quoguehistory.org

Quogue Gallery Opens “Lauren Lyons: A Bender of Fiction” November 24
Serving as the launching point for a very promising career with collectors and in galleries, the Quogue Gallery will present “Lauren Lyons: A Bender of Fiction” from November 24 to December 31, featuring 12 large scale provocative photographs from highly stylized shoots that the artist conceived and styled over the course of the past 20 years. The exhibition opening next week represents the first time these photographs are being exhibited formally together in a gallery.

A socially distanced and responsible reception for the artist will be held at the gallery at 44 Quogue Street from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 28. 

Lauren Lyons, “Lauren” (1/5), 2008, Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemühle German Etching Paper, 42 x 42 in (106.68 x 106.68 cm). —Image courtesy of the Quogue Gallery

Ms. Lyons is a self-taught photographer who got her start decades ago photographing musicians in Philadelphia and New York City. Over the years, she has made photographs for album covers, promotions, concerts, and festivals and worked with record labels, magazines, concert promoters, A&R scouts, and advertising agencies. 

In a telephone interview this week, Ms. Lyons said that her fine art photography was born out of her complete immersion in shooting for the music industry. She was captivated, she said, by the “tawdry, somewhat seedy, edgy demimonde of club life, which is not at all who I am,” and she started thinking about ways to create provocative images that could render some sense of the attitudes and sensibilities of that offbeat and avant garde world. 

Each of the resulting photographs represents a vision that is uniquely her own, from the original conceptualizing to scouting and choosing unusual locations, deciding on wardrobe or coming up with physical modifications for nudes, scene and model styling, and adding props. “The only thing I don’t do,” she said with a laugh, “is hair and makeup.”   

Sabrina De Turk, an Associate Professor with the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University in Dubai and a friend of Ms. Lyons, wrote this about the artist’s work:

“The power of observation is overwhelmingly present in the work of Lauren Lyons. Her intense photographic portraits capture emotions both fleeting and timeless. Context and scene are important components of the image, yet, in the end, it is the haunting and evocative characters in her work who are the most compelling…

“Often single figures occupy the picture frame, sometimes staring out at the viewer, even defying the camera’s lens. And when the interaction is more subtle, when the subject seems to have been taken unaware, there is a powerful sense of human presence and the viewer understands that they are privileged to occupy a position as spectator … We do not necessarily understand the dramas or psychic conditions of her photographs—indeed some scenarios beg further explanation—yet we are drawn to watch, to see more, and if not to know, then to imagine.”

Lauren Lyons, “Amy” (1/5), 2001, Archival Pigment Print on Hahnemühle German Etching Paper, 42 x 42 in (106.68 x 106.68 cm). —Image courtesy of the Quogue Gallery

Born in Southern Delaware in 1969, Ms. Lyons moved to Philadelphia about 30 years ago. As a result of her love of music and her involvement with the music industry as a photographer for many years, she was selected to be a voting member of the Grammys and held that distinction for 18 years. The artist lives and works in Philadelphia and Quogue. 

Quogue Gallery is at 44 Quogue Street, Quogue, NY 11959. For more information, visit quoguegallery.com.

Wildlife Refuge Embraces the Spirit of Giving
Support for the Quogue Wildlife Refuge is always a win-win, packing tons of fun into fundraising and giving immeasurable value for any and all contributions, whether you signed up for a Walk for Wildlife in honor of National Hiking Day, ordered bird seed in the annual sale, tucked in to a benefit dinner, place an order for cool gear or a holiday ornament from the online gift shop, or make a gift of a QWR membership, an animal adoption, or an engraved brick in the Butterfly Garden.  quoguewildliferefuge.org/gift-ideas

Left to right, Quogue Wildlife Refuge Executive Director Mike Nelson and Assistant Director Marisa Nelson (with screech owl) with Chris and Joanne Richards of CJ’s American Grill in Mattituck.

Just last week, for example, Assistant Director Marisa Nelson reported that the Refuge “raised over $1,000 thanks to the generosity of CJ’s American Grill in Mattituck. Pasta Night on Veterans Day was a success, with most folks choosing take out on the rainy day, and some enjoying the open-air, beautifully illuminated and festive tented dining area.” 

“One of our permanently injured resident screech owls came along,” Marisa wrote, “and folks loved meeting him and learning about this native species. Chris and Joanne Richards, owners of CJs (where Chris is the chef), were going to be our Gala caterers this past summer; they are very generous throughout the entire East End community and their food is delicious.”

Marisa attributed some of the success of this year’s bird seed sale to the fact that “more folks are out east, and many folks are working from home, finding enjoyment in bird watching and feeding their feathered friends.”

A sample of some of the excellent gifts available in the QWR online shop (quoguewildliferefuge.org/shop) would include such items as: embroidered fleece and quilted apparel; QWR hats in a range of colors; the super sturdy Seed Bunker all-season bird feeder; water bottles; plush Audubon birds that play the bird’s real song when squeezed; and the beautiful, hand-crafted, 100 percent lead-free pewter QWR ornament, to name only a few. Shopping is conveniently online only, with curbside pickup easily arranged. 

Readers are urged to remember to check in frequently at quoguewildliferefuge.org/events/ for more information and details on upcoming virtual and in-person socially distant programs. Coming up in November, for example, are: “Winter Waterfowl of Long Island” (virtual program) on Friday, November 20, at 4 p.m.; “Turkey Talk & Craft” (virtual program) on Saturday, November 21, at 10 a.m.; and a “Full Moon Night Hike” on Monday, November 30, at 5 p.m.  

Get all the details and register at www.quoguewildliferefuge.org

Beach scraping. —Andrew Cirincione Photo

Courtesy of Quogue Library, Virtual Programs Abound
Of the many things to admire about the Quogue Library—its tireless staff, its board of directors, its volunteers—one of its most extraordinary strengths these days is its momentum. Look at the wide array of virtual programs sponsored by the library, and you’ll see it is way past overcoming inertia. 

Looking ahead, popular ongoing exercise classes include Pilates on Mondays at 10 a.m. and Sculpting and Cardio Dance for all ages on Tuesdays at 10 a.m., both with instructor Leisa DeCarlo; and Yoga with Jillian for adults and youngsters 8 and up on Fridays at 10 a.m. 

Adult programs coming up include a Virtual Paint Party to create a “winter wonderland” scene on an 8- by 10-inch canvas with artist Marie Camenares on Sunday, November 29, at 7 p.m. All supplies will be provided in a kit to be picked up at the Quogue Library. The next meeting of the Anti Racism Book Club will be on Tuesday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m.; discussion will focus on the Ta-Nehisi Coates book, “Between the World and Me.”  

Family programs on the calendar include another program led by Wildlife Biologist and Naturalist Eric Powers of the Center for Environmental Education & Discovery, “What Makes a Mammal a Mammal?” on Thursday, December 3, at 4:30 p.m. The program will examine this diverse and fascinating group of animals, ranging in size from the smallest shrew to the giant blue whale, investigating locomotion, body structure, biology, and more, with special appearances from live mammals.

Children’s programs include a Thanksgiving Story and Pine Cone Turkey Craft  on Saturday, November. 21, at 10:30 a.m., with craft supplies available to pick up at the Midland office through Friday, November 20.

There will also be a Thanksgiving themed Zoom Bingo session on Tuesday, November 24, at 6:30 p.m. 

For more information or to register for any of these programs, visit the Quogue Library website at quoguelibrary.org and click on the program flier on the home page. Remember that new programs are added regularly, so check the website often to make sure you don’t miss out. 

“Dad, I really think these masks you got are waaay too big.” —Liz Byrne Photo

Library Will Welcome Snowmen to Replace Scarecrows on Jessup
Meanwhile, the scarecrows on Jessup Avenue may be coming down, but not to worry: Quogue Village Mayor Peter Sartorius has approved the library’s “Snowmen Stroll” event. 

Registration and pickup of snowmen templates will begin on December 7, and the last day to return finished projects to the Midland library office will be December 19. All participants are asked to inform the library if they wish to keep their snowmen after the “stroll” ends on January 22. 

The “Snowmen Stroll” from the area around Jessup Pond and down Jessup Avenue begins on December 21 and continues through January 22. The snowmen will be taken down on January 23 and available for pickup by their creators on January 24 at a location to be announced. 

With two weeks to go until the templates can be picked up, it’s not too early to start dreaming and designing your snowman now. 

As for the library’s ongoing renovation and expansion project at its headquarters on Quogue Street, Quogue Library Director Jenny Bloom wrote this week that “the library is anticipating opening in January or early February. Still lots of daily progress, but still much work to be done.” 

The current goal, Ms. Bloom wrote, is to schedule a grand opening of the updated and expanded facility on June 26. 

Common cormorant, a member of the pelican family. —Florrie Morrisey Photo

Hampton Theatre Company Readies Virtual Performance
Members of the Hampton Theatre Company, denied the opportunity to present a live holiday show this year, are working on a socially distanced performance of the “Lux Radio Theater Miracle on 34th Street.” The performance will be filmed on December 16 and then posted on the HTC website, HamptonTheatre.org on December 19 in conjunction with the company’s end-of-year appeal.

Essentially cut off by the coronavirus from audiences and longtime patrons since last March, the HTC has been upping its game lately on social media. Patrons, theatre lovers and the merely curious are urged to check out (and “like”) the company’s posts on Facebook (@hamptontheatre; facebook.com/hamptontheatre); Instagram (hamptontheatre; instagram.com/hamptontheatre) and YouTube (youtube.com/channel). 

And keep an eye on social media and the HTC website, hamptontheatre.org, for information about the upcoming “Lux Radio Theatre Miracle on 34th Street” and the company’s end-of-year appeal. 

From Stage, to YouTube, to Your Kitchen
Rosemary Cline, the vice president of the Hampton Theatre Company board of directors and one of the company’s principal actors, has been instrumental, with HTC General Manager Terry Brennan, in the aforementioned updating of the HTC’s approach to social media. 

When last spring’s May production was cancelled due to the pandemic, she decided to take on a different role, launching a new enterprise, Essenza di Gusto, all about food as joy: “seasonally oriented, passionately driven.” 

In addition to posting upbeat Italian cooking instructional videos on the Essenza di Gusto YouTube channel, Ms. Cline and chef Christopher Tattanelli have also been offering beginning-to-end meal preparation in clients’ homes, as detailed on the Essenza di Gusto website, essenzadigusto.com

Now, with the gift-giving season upon us, Ms. Cline and Chef CT are creating Essenza holiday boxes “for that special client gift, or to treat yourselves.” Check out essenzadigusto.com for details on the holiday boxes and information on how to order. 

Early Review Praises Rosenblatt’s “Cold Moon”
A Kirkus review slated to be published December 1 has high praise for another great gift idea: the latest book by Quogue literary light Roger Rosenblatt, “Cold Moon—On Life, Love, and Responsibility” (Turtle Point; November 3, 2020; 104pp). 

Characterizing the new book as “memories and musings from the winter solstice of a life,” the reviewer begins with a quote that lays out the central theme of “Cold Moon”: 

“‘Better to know where to go than how to get there,’ writes the veteran essayist and author of fiction and nonfiction. ‘I wander from thought to thought, having learned but three things from my long night’s moon. I believe in life. I believe in love. I believe we are responsible for each other.’” 

The review goes on to note: “In brief passages connected by association and with the improvisational feel of jazz, [Rosenblatt] moves fluidly among memoir, philosophy, natural history, and inspiration, riffing on everything from the migration of the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle to the landscape photographs of Oleg Ershov and the plot of a movie he saw in 1946 [when he was 5] called ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ 

“Though much of the book is a meditation on aging, it is illuminated by childhood memories … one more charming and emblematic than the next. In another passage, the author recounts walking into a stranger’s house and sitting down to play their gorgeous Steinway, which had ‘the gleam of a black stallion.’ When the neighbor escorted her 6-year-old visitor home, she commented to his mother on his fearlessness. ‘It’s the way he is,’ his mother replied. ‘He thinks the world is waiting for him to walk in and play the piano.’ Nearly 75 years later, he hasn’t changed a bit.”

The reviewer’s final judgment on the new book could just as easily be an assessment of the author himself: “A tonic for tough times filled with plainspoken lyricism, gratitude, and good humor.” Congratulations, Roger. 

Quantuck sunset. —Inger Mejean Photo

Fall Leaf Pickup Now Underway
Protocols for having the Village pick up leaves are identical to last year’s rules (as outlined on the November 6 posting on the Announcements page of village website at www.villageofquogueny.gov). To wit: 

“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 you will have to remove them. 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 November 15 through December 31. In addition to the foregoing, 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 will avoid having piles in front of your property waiting to be picked up and blowing back onto your lawn.” 

Morning on the marsh. —Rosemary Cline Photo

Quogue Family in Search of a Kidney Donor
As we give thanks at this time of year for all the abundance that surrounds us and all our many blessings, our gratitude can’t help but be magnified when we remember how many there are who are in desperate need.

Such is the case for Cathy Lee Gruhn, daughter of the much-loved Quogue couple Don and Judy Gruhn, whose advancing chronic kidney disease dictates that she seek a living kidney donor in order to extend her life. 

As Cathy wrote this week: 

“A kidney, from a living donor, will provide me more freedom and the ability to live a longer, healthier, more normal life. Asking people to consider donating a kidney is difficult for me, but I know it will greatly improve my chances of living. I’m completely aware of the magnitude of this ask and words cannot express my gratitude if a kidney comes my way. 

“A transplant will give me more cherished time with my wonderful family and friends, time to watch my niece grow up and watch her achieve her dreams as well as give me time with my beloved pets. I’ll be able to continue my passion for baking, have the energy to use my spin bike, as well as plant vegetables and plants in my garden.  

“The challenge is finding a kidney. There are more than 100,000+ people on the waiting list for a deceased donor. Time isn’t on our side as many of us will wait for years; many of us will die while waiting. The average wait time is eight-plus years. My best hope is to receive a kidney from a living donor. 

“You might not be familiar with living donation and I understand many are afraid of surgery and what living with one kidney will mean for them.  Here is some basic information that may be helpful:

  • You only need one kidney to live a healthy, long life.
  • Most donor surgery is done laparoscopically, meaning through tiny incisions.
  • The recuperation period is usually fairly quick, about two to three weeks.
  • 100% of the cost of your evaluation and surgery is covered by the recipient’s insurance.  The hospital can provide you extensive information on this.
  • You will have a separate team of healthcare professionals to evaluate you as a living donor. Their job is to help you understand the risks and benefits and look out for YOUR best interests.

“If you’re interested in learning about becoming a living kidney donor and/or possibly donating to me, please visit: Yale New Haven Transplant Center – Center for Living Organ Donors at www.ynhh.org/organdonation, or you can call: 1-866-925-3897 (you must have the correct spelling of my name: Cathy Lee Gruhn).  

“I now ask you to please share this, my story, with everyone, including but not limited to your family, your friends, your family friends, your friends of friends … Please help me by using social media and its connections so I can find a kidney and continue living to my fullest. 

“I don’t believe in regrets.  I believe there are reasons for everything.  It’s important to smile and laugh daily and to see life with the “glass half full,” not “half empty.” I’m more spiritual than religious; I do, however, believe we aren’t given more than we can handle.  None of us were promised life would be easy, but I think we can all agree that life is very precious; and I hope to continue mine so I can help others. cathyneedsakidney@gmail.com

As neighbors, it is incumbent upon us to do whatever we can to bring Cathy closer to receiving a donation. Our blessings come with the responsibility to honor them. 

Suspended animation. —Patricia Prentis Photo

At Quaquanantuck Grateful for Your Support
I’d like to once again offer my sincere thanks to all those who have responded so generously to my request for donations in the form of voluntary subscriptions to help me defray expenses and keep At Quaquanantuck always free for all who care to read it. 

Readers have so far sent in donations ranging from $30 to $300 (the equivalent of five voluntary annual “subscriptions” at the suggested “price” of $60) to support this free online publication, now being posted monthly. 

Meanwhile, I am continuing the appeal through the end of 2020. So, if you have the wherewithal, the column continues to have value for you in the monthly format, and you’d like to support keeping it a free resource for the community, please consider taking out or renewing a voluntary subscription (i.e. contribution) of $60 … or more … or less. 

Contributions may be made using PayPal by clicking here; with Venmo to user name Andrew-Botsford-1; or by check made out to Andrew Botsford and mailed to PO Box 1524, Quogue, NY 11959. 

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.  

News 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.

Just Do It

And, we’re back. It would beggar the meaning of the word understatement to say that a lot has happened since this column was last published a month ago on September 24. Curiously, though, a case could be made that in these surreal and continuously challenging days of the novel coronavirus, little has changed. 

Casting for clouds. —A. Botsford Photo

Some 32 weeks in, the virus continues to surge, now in even greater numbers, across the country and around the world, at latest count closing in on claiming a quarter of a million lives in the U.S. alone. Yes, a quarter of a million lives. The terrible health costs, withering economic travails, and brutal education challenges associated with the pandemic for everyone still continue to be borne disproportionately by Black, Latinx, and low income Americans. 

With a presidential election ramping up the stakes—and emotions and anxieties—and both sides working tirelessly to control the narrative, social media and also major media outlets continue to turn massive profits by mining rich veins of disinformation and inflammatory rhetoric, with their artificially intelligent algorithms continuing to drive the wedge of division ever deeper into the country’s political and social consciousness. (See: “The Social Dilemma.”) The once-bright, illuminating candle of civil discourse based on agreed upon facts continues to gutter and seems in constant danger of being permanently extinguished. 

So, what to do? When the only change that seems to be occurring is that things are getting incrementally worse, how can we as individuals help to effect the change we’d like to see in the world? How can we, as the U.S. Constitution intended, strive to put aside self interest for a clear-eyed moment and advocate for the greater good for all Americans? You probably know what comes next: We can vote. We can honor the gift, the blessing, the privilege, the honor, and the right that by dint of much struggle over many years is granted to all citizens: We can vote. 

October monochrome. —Ginny Rosenblatt Photo

While casting a vote is in itself the most important thing and first priority, it is hoped that no vote is ever cast thoughtlessly or solely as a reflexive act of party affiliation. Like marriage, the act of voting should not be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, and soberly. Don’t rely on what the candidates and their supporters say about themselves, nor on what their opponents and their supporters say about them. Look at the facts, and not the spin, of their records. 

Never rely on a single news source; few—beyond PBS perhaps—still seem as strongly committed to providing what used to be called “fair and balanced” coverage, or offering equal time to different viewpoints so that voters can decide for themselves whose values most closely align with their own. Everyone needs to do their best to drill down through all the layers of spin, disinformation, opinions, and misinformation to the actual facts about all the issues, including perhaps most especially the Covid-complicated process of voting this year. 

In the end though, it bears repeating that the act of casting a vote is the most important thing. With all the clamor and confusion about mail-in and drop box voting this year, in person voting, whether early or on Election Day November 3, seems like the choice inspiring the most confidence that your vote will be counted without being subject to any potential controversy or litigation. And while coronavirus fears are understandable, Quogue seems a reasonably safe polling site (at the firehouse on Jessup Avenue from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on November 3) if voters continue to observe social distance protocols and wear a mask.

For those who would still prefer to vote by mail or drop box, complete information is available by clicking on or visiting www.ny.gov/early-voting-and-absentee-voting-mail-or-dropbox

For registered Quogue voters who wish to vote early in person, the nearest locations are at the Riverhead Senior Center, 60 Shade Tree Lane in Aquebogue, and the Stony Brook Southampton campus, 70 Tuckahoe Road in Southampton. Early voting begins on Saturday, October 24; the hours are the same at both locations, shown below. 

The hours for early voting in person at the Riverhead Senior Center in Aquebogue and at the Stony Brook Southampton campus.

Southampton Press to Videotape Goroff-Zeldin Debate
The 100 free “tickets” for the October 26 Express News Group Congressional Debate on Zoom were all snatched up just moments after they were made available on Wednesday, but do not despair. Video footage of the event will be posted at 27east.com afterward and will be available for viewing right up to Election Day. 

Nancy Goroff

That means that even those who intend to vote early will still have a chance to see the debate as soon as October 27 before heading off to one of the two nearby early voting locations. 

The debate will feature 1st Congressional District challenger Nancy Goroff (D) squaring off against the incumbent U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin (R), who is seeking reelection. Executive Editor Joseph Shaw will moderate the “roundtable” conversation, which will dispense with time limits and other restrictions to allow a more freeform conversation about the issues. 

Lee Zeldin

There is evidence indicating that political debates at the presidential level have historically had little effect on voters changing or making up their minds. Even so, At Quaquanantuck believes that when it comes to candidates vying to represent our district in Congress, it is immensely helpful to hear what they have to say and to see how they comport themselves. And there is benefit, too, in hearing how they defend themselves against the attacks previously levelled at them from a safe distance by their opponents prior to the debate. 

Be a better informed voter. Check out the video of the debate at 27east.com, which should be posted by Tuesday, October 27,  before you vote.


Septober sunset. —A. Botsford Photo

At Quaquanantuck Grateful for Your Support
This seems like a good place to offer my sincere thanks to all those who responded so generously to my request in the September 24 column for donations in the form of voluntary subscriptions to help me defray expenses and keep At Quaquanantuck always free for all who care to read it. 

Taking me at my word that no amount was too small or too large, almost two dozen readers have already sent in donations ranging from $30 to $300 (the equivalent of five voluntary annual “subscriptions” at the suggested “price” of $60) to support this free online publication, now being posted monthly. 

Meanwhile, I am continuing the appeal through the end of 2020, although it will be printed less obtrusively going forward at the bottom of the November and December columns. 

So, if you have the wherewithal, the column continues to have value for you in the monthly format, and you’d like to support keeping it a free resource for the community, please consider taking out or renewing a voluntary subscription (i.e. contribution) of $60 … or more … or less. 

Contributions may be made using PayPal by clicking here; with Venmo to user name Andrew-Botsford-1; or by check mailed to PO Box 1524, Quogue, NY 11959. 

And now, back to the news. 

Coming into their own. —Judith McDermott Photo

Albany Guidance Nixes Halloween Ghost Parade
This week’s e-missive from Quogue Village Mayor Peter Sartorius (now available on the Announcements page of the village website at www.villageofquogueny.gov ) is chockablock with New York State Covid-19 updates and advisories as well as helpful resources and information about voting. But perhaps the most significant information for Quogue’s youngest residents (and their parents) was the guidance on trick-or-treating and the fate of the annual Quogue Fire Department sponsored Halloween Ghost Parade down Jessup Avenue to the firehouse. To wit: 

“Halloween guidance arrived from the Governor’s office earlier this morning:  coronavirus.health.ny.gov/seasonal-celebrations. Traditional trick-or-treating is discouraged but not prohibited. Quogue will allow it, but people should follow the guidelines. Kids over age 2 must wear a cloth or surgical mask but not in combination with a Halloween-type mask. Stick with members of your own household only, but if you do run into others maintain a social distance. 

Double, double toil and trouble. —Elizabeth Caputo Photo

“Homeowners should bag individual packages of their commercially-wrapped treats and leave them outside in a row where they can be picked up singly, not in a bowl. Families should bring hand sanitizer and use it and wash hands immediately when arriving home.  

“The usual Fire Department-sponsored parade for kids will not be held this year, unfortunately, because of the mass gathering restrictions limiting them to 50 people.”

Hizzoner concluded his discussion of Halloween with a scary thought, writing: “The Governor increased the fine for violating these restrictions to $15,000, by the way.”

The Ghost Parade and gathering of costumed revelers at the firehouse may be two more casualties of the coronavirus, but it is hoped that parents and children will find ways to keep the Halloween spirit alive, fueled as ever by the consumption of delicious, sugar filled treats.  


“Halloween Ha Ha” at Quogue Shop October 31
Always in step with the spirit of each successive season, the Quogue Shop on Jessup Avenue is holding a safe, social distance “Halloween Ha Ha” on Saturday, October 31, at noon.

Bare bones. —Elizabeth Caputo Photo

Plenty of tricks and plenty of treats are promised, and there will be snacks and prizes for all. All ages are encouraged to dress in their Halloween best and meet up at The Quogue Shop at 144 Jessup Avenue.


The renovation and expansion project at the Quogue Library is closing in on completion. —A. Botsford Photo

Library Director Offers Update on Renovation and Expansion Project
Quogue Library Director Jenny Bloom was kind enough to share with At Quaquanantuck this week a brief progress report on the extensive renovation and major updating of the historic library building on Quogue Street. 

“The renovation work on our Library is moving along beautifully; progress happens daily,” Ms. Bloom wrote in an email. “We do not yet have an opening date as many elements need to fall into place in order to open the library doors to [the public]. The homestretch includes installation of finishes, furnishings, technology and the book collections.” 

“Covid has complicated our renovations, and will continue to complicate our service, but we are monitoring the state guidelines and anticipate being able to open for in-person service in some capacity this Winter.

“The next few weeks’ efforts will include lots of exterior work,” she wrote, “including seeding and landscaping. We can’t wait to welcome the community back to the library.”

And the community can’t wait to be welcomed, to be sure. 


Members of the Westhampton Garden Club masked up to gather at the Lily Pond Native Plants Garden on Friday, October 16. Second from the right, kneeling, is Sue Avery. —Lynda Confessore Photo

Garden Club Tends Native Plants Plot by the Pond
Courtesy of faithful correspondent Lynda Confessore, At Quaquanantuck has the following report:

“Members of the Westhampton Garden Club gathered at the Native Plants Garden, established by the club on the Lily Pond in Quogue, for a fall cleanup and winterization on Friday, October 16.  Sue Avery, the environmental chair of the Federated Garden Club of New York and head of the Long Island Native Plant Initiative, had helped with the initial design and was on hand again on Friday to discuss potential additions and the educational value of the garden. 

“WGC president Melissa Morgan Nelson noted that the garden is part of the club’s mandate to conserve native plants, woodlands and open spaces in our region.  The cleanup was followed by a plant and seed exchange for members to share and then try new plants and seeds in their respective gardens. WGC will also contribute to a propagation project exchange at the Garden Club of America’s annual meeting.”


Refuge Seed Sale Order Deadline October 22
Speaking of seeds, today, October 22, is the last day to get orders in for the annual bird seed sale fundraiser for the Eastern Long Island Audubon Society and the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, made possible through the generosity of Eastport Feed. 

The idea is to start the season off with plenty of seed so you can enjoy observing the birds at your feeders all winter long. Drive-through curbside pickup will be on Saturday, November 7, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge.

Click here to download the mail-in (or drop-off) order form, or complete the order form online by clicking on or visiting quoguewildliferefuge.org/event/annual-seed-sale-fundraiser-6.

And remember to check in frequently at quoguewildliferefuge.org/events/ for more information and details on such programs as the Earth Yoga Outside (social distance program) on Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m.; the “Creatures of the Night” (virtual program) at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, October 28; and the Full Moon Night Hike at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 30, to name only a few.

Turn, turn, turn. —A. Botsford Photo

Scarecrows and Virtual Programs Keep Quogue Library Lively
The second annual Quogue Library Scarecrow Stroll was installed on Jessup Avenue this week, to impressive effect. The creative figures will be hanging around until November 9 so be sure to go downtown to look them over. Maybe ask one to dance at the Quogue Shop’s Halloween Ha Ha on October 31. 

Librarian scarecrow designed by Quogue Library Director Jenny Bloom. —MaryAnn Scuderi Photo

Meanwhile, the library’s virtual calendar is still jam-packed with stimulating and engaging programs. In addition to yoga classes with Jillian and exercise programs with Leisa DeCarlo, consider: “The Grand Masters of American Comedy” on Friday, October 23, at 7 p.m.; a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” dinner and cooking workshop led by chef Robert Dell’Amore on Friday, October 30, at 6:30 p.m.; “How the Internet Changed Media” on Friday, November 6, at 7 p.m.; and the Foreign Policy Association Great Decisions Discussion Series on “Artificial Intelligence and Data” on Saturday, November 7, at 5 p.m.

The background for the FPA discussion involves the fact that policymakers in many countries are developing plans and funding research in artificial intelligence (AI). As global growth started to slow, even before the pandemic, many policymakers turned to AI, hoping it might provide a magic solution. To protect users, the EU, Brazil, and other Western countries have adopted regulations that grant them greater control over their data and require that firms using AI be transparent about how they use it. Will, or should, the U.S. follow suit?

For complete details on the library’s virtual programs, and to register, check the library website, www.quoguelibrary.org. Remember that new programs are added regularly, so check the website often to make sure you don’t miss out. 

Helen Frankenthaler, “Mary, Mary,” 1987, Color screenprint and offset lithograph, 41 x 31. —Image courtesy of Quogue Gallery

“Meeting of Masters” on View at Quogue Gallery
“Figurative and Abstract Expressionism: A Meeting of Masters” is the title of the current exhibition on view at the Quogue Gallery at 44 Quogue Street. 

On view through November 23, the exhibition brings together such historically recognized masters as Helen Frankenthaler, Adolph Gottlieb, Joan Miró, Ray Parker, and Emerson Woelffer with some of their peers whose significance has been reassessed and brought to light in recent years. These include Harry Bertschmann, Fay Lansner, Norman Carton, Sam Glankoff, Raymond Hendler, Vincent Pepi, Ben Wilson, and others. 

This show pairs household names with rediscoveries in order to help collectors better understand the notion of artistic excellence during the second half of the 20th century, a period characterized in a release from the gallery as “a tumultuous era in which both figurative and abstract painters pushed the limits of expression.” 

Adolph Gottlieb, “Orange Oval,” 1972, Original Serigraph on paper, 28 x 36.5. —Image courtesy of Quogue Gallery

The exhibition is in line with the avowed mission of the Quogue Gallery, which 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.” 

For details on the exhibition or more information about the Quogue Gallery, click on or visit quoguegallery.com.

Aids to navigation. —Paula Prentis Photo

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.  

News 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.

Season of Change

Right at the top this week, lest any readers miss it, At Quaquanantuck is announcing a change in publication schedule, shifting to once a month from now until at least March of 2021. After this week’s post—barring any cataclysmic turn of events—the next column will be posted on October 22. 

September morning surf. —A. Botsford Photo

Working first as co-author and editor, and ultimately sole author, this writer has borne major responsibility for the weekly Quogue community column for 30 years, or approximately 1,500 columns. For 26 of those years, the column was published by The Southampton Press Western Edition (formerly the Hampton Chronicle-News). Ever since that paper’s publisher decided to cancel all the community columns at the end of 2016 (save one or two personal favorites in the Eastern Edition), with the encouragement and support of faithful readers I have been writing and posting the column online weekly since January 2017. 

Although transitioning to the world of digital media involved (and continues to involve) an array of challenges for a longtime print journalist, I have been happy to take these on to keep the column going. My motivation has always been to describe, support and celebrate the unique and very special community that makes Quogue so much more than just another Hampton. If that motivation was boosted a bit by my interest in spiting the publisher, so be it; no apologies. 

For the first two and a half years of publishing the column myself—believing then as I do now that the column should always be free to all and there must never be a paywall—I posted the column without any remuneration. In May of 2019,  I asked readers with sufficient wherewithal to consider making voluntary contributions to partially cover time and expenses, suggesting that a $60 donation, or voluntary subscription, would break down to $5 a month, or a little more than $1 a column for one year. 

Windshield watchers. —A. Botsford Photo

Before the coronavirus changed everything, my plan was to make another appeal for voluntary annual subscriptions (donations) a year later, in May of 2020. But the combination of the new pandemic reality and a large influx of new readers thanks to a recommendation from Mayor Peter Sartorius made the timing of a request for new “subscriptions” and “renewals” of contributions seem problematic.

 I am recounting this history only to provide the context for my decision to change the publishing schedule to once a month, and to reassure readers that it is not based on financial considerations. I have never expected or planned for the column to provide meaningful income, and I remain very grateful to all those who have made contributions to help me offset costs, and to all those who have offered support and encouragement in other ways.

The simple fact is that gathering and compiling the information, taking photographs, writing, editing, processing contributors’ photos, setting up the column and photos on the website, managing the email address list, and sending out the eblasts as each column is posted has begun to take up all my time, at the expense of other writing projects that have fallen by the wayside. 

My commitment to reflecting the best parts of our community back to itself remains firm, and I hope that will be evident in this column and the monthly columns to come. See what you think. Next spring I’ll make another assessment on scheduling, but in all cases I am committing now to continuing the column until at least the beginning of next summer. 

North Fork sunrise. —Ginny Rosenblatt Photo

In the meantime, if the column continues to have value for you and you’d like to support keeping it a free resource for the community, please consider taking out or renewing a voluntary subscription (i.e. contribution) of $60 … or more … or less. No amount is too large or too small. 

Contributions may be made using PayPal by clicking here; with Venmo to user name Andrew-Botsford-1; or by check mailed to PO Box 1524, Quogue, NY 11959. 

And now, on to the news. 

Library Sponsors Quogue Census Awareness Day
Today’s the day: Thursday, September 24, is Quogue Census Awareness Day!

And what is Census Awareness Day, you may ask? Well, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today Census Educators arriving at the corner of Jessup Avenue and Village Lane in the Suffolk County Library System’s outreach van, the SLED, will join Quogue Library staffers to answer questions and help residents complete the census form. 

That’s right: you can fill out the Census on site today, with Suffolk Libraries Empowering Discovery (SLED) crews on hand to answer any questions and help you navigate the form. As multiple news accounts have made very clear, it is extremely important for the future of village residents and all Americans that we have the most accurate census possible. 

If you haven’t filled out the form online or on paper, or you know others who haven’t been counted yet, please be sure that you and/or they get over to Jessup Avenue today and fill out the form. We’re all counting on you. 

‘Tis the season … —Elizabeth Caputo Photo

Michael Nelson Awarded Quogue Bowl
As many residents are no doubt aware, the Quogue Association periodically presents the Quogue Bowl to persons deemed to have made extraordinary contributions to the civic life of the village.

And so it was that at the Association’s annual meeting on Saturday, September 12, just such an individual was recognized in the person of Michael Nelson, the Executive Director of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge. 

 Mr. Nelson has served two three-year terms as a member of the Quogue Association’s board of directors and has been involved in a number of QA beautification projects throughout the village. Currently holding the position of 1st Assistant Chief of the Quogue Volunteer Fire Department, he has served for 18 years as a first responder with the Department. 

His involvement with the Quogue Wildlife Refuge dates back some 30 years to the time when he began volunteering there in 1991, working his way up in relatively short order to the position of Executive Director he has held since 2000. 

Congratulations to Michael and thanks to the Quogue Association for recognizing another exceptional individual in our village. 

Quogue Bowl honoree Michael Nelson. —Photo courtesy of the Quogue Association

Quogue Authors Beha and Rosenblatt Are On Fire
Terrific news to share in this space about two supremely gifted members of Quogue’s pride of literary lions: Christopher Beha and Roger Rosenblatt

Harper’s Magazine Editor Christopher Beha, the first writer featured in this summer’s Conversations with the Author series sponsored by the Quogue Library, was named to the Longlist of 10 contenders for this year’s National Book Award for Fiction for his novel, “The Index of Self-Destructive Acts.” The finalists in all five National Book Award categories will be named on October 6. 

Christopher Beha —Ira Lipke Photo

The National Book Award recognition is in line with the tremendous critical response garnered by the novel, which was shared in earlier At Quaquanantuck posts this summer. The National Book Foundation announcement of the Longlist describes “The Index of Self-Destructive Acts” as one of two novels on the list that “interrogate interpersonal relationships and self-concept.” 

The announcement provides this synopsis of the book: “statistics whiz Sam Waxworth arrives in New York City to write a monthly column for a venerable magazine and soon finds himself entangled in a crumbling family empire,” before going on to declare that “Beha’s novel meticulously explores the relationship between the old guard and new meritocracy as Waxworth unpacks his complicated relationship to his analytics career.”

Meanwhile, long considered a very hot number by his legions of fans, legendary raconteur and fussy eater Roger Rosenblatt may actually ignite on Wednesday, October 7, at 7 p.m. when he will be the subject of “a good old-fashioned roast” live on CrowdCast. The roast is being virtually hosted by the independent Book Revue bookstore in Huntington. 

Roger Rosenblatt—Chester Higgins, Jr. Photo

Organized in honor of his 80th birthday (Gasp! Say it ain’t so, slugger!) and the upcoming release of his new book, “Cold Moon” (Turtle Point Press; October 27, 2020; available for pre-order now), the event, which is free and open to the public (register by clicking here), will feature such incandescent celebrity roasters as Alan Alda, former poet laureate Billy Collins, the wonderful author Meg Wolitzer, PBS Newshour host Judy Woodruff, cartoonist and master satirist Gary Trudeau, lyricist and songwriter Alan Bergman, and Quogue’s own Whiting Award-winning author Genevieve Sly Crane

With a complete title of “Cold Moon: On Life, Love, and Responsibility,” the new book is “about the simplest things—what matters most in life,” according to the Book Revue description, “and yet Rosenblatt writes about them with an elegance that reflects his deep wisdom and intelligence. This is a book for now, when we’ve all been thinking about what is truly important, and it is also a message for always.”

As many area residents know, Roger Rosenblatt is the author of five New York Times Notable Books of the Year, four national bestsellers, and seven Off-Broadway plays. His essays for Time magazine and the PBS NewsHour have won two George Polk Awards, the Peabody, and an Emmy, among others. In 2015, he won the Kenyon Review Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement. He held the Briggs-Copeland appointment in the teaching of writing at Harvard, and he is now Distinguished Professor of English and Writing at SUNY Stony Brook/Southampton.

Everyone is encouraged to tune in to the roast, but note that registration is required. To register, go to or click on www.crowdcast.io/e/roger-rosenblatt-roast/register. To pre-order “Cold Moon,” click on or go to www.bookrevue.com/book/9781885983886. This event is BYO virtual marshmallows. 

Nature and wildlife photographer Florrie Morrisey captured this marvelous image of a whimbrel, an uncommon shorebird and the first she has ever seen, on the morning of September 8. —Florrie Morrisey Photo

Toward a Quieter Quogue
There is a new movement afoot in the village to lower the decibel level of lawn and landscape maintenance and thereby enhance the cherished serenity and tranquil quality of life that so many residents hold dear. 

Chief organizer of the new movement is Steven Wilson, who has already rallied a number of like-minded souls and circulated a couple of emails in a bid to enlist more support. In his first email, Mr. Wilson outlines his objectives this way: 

“In an effort to lessen noise pollution in our village and help Quogue reduce its carbon footprint, improve health, safety, and quality of life, we are proposing the enactment of a village ordinance that would: 

“1. Require the phased-in adoption of battery-based or electric lawn maintenance machinery for those lawn contractors doing business in Quogue. These machines are significantly quieter than the gas-powered machines in current use, not to mention far more eco-friendly. They’re comparable in cost, if not less expensive to purchase and operate. 

“2. Ban or significantly restrict the use of leaf blowers. Leaf blowers are incredibly noisy and are a health hazard, as they kick up pollutants and allergens, while providing dubious added value. Some municipalities have banned them altogether, and many, many others have limited their use to autumn or particular days.”

The group needs help in several areas as the members work to develop a “bullet-proof” presentation to Mayor Peter Sartorius and the Village Board of Trustees. Anyone sharing the same goals and interested in helping out is encouraged to email Mr. Wilson at stevenwilson@swcreative.com.

Big break outside. —A. Botsford Photo

Lessons of ’38 Hurricane Still Powerful 82 Years Later
Many thanks to the Quogue Historical Society and QHS Curator Julie Greene for sharing earlier this summer a concise account and stunning photos of the Hurricane of 1938, which roared across Long Island 82 years ago on the afternoon of Wednesday, September 21. 

One of the most iconic local images from the 1938 hurricane shows the Beach Lane Smedburg house and next to it a Quogue police cruiser in Ogden’s Pond. The Quogue Coast Guard Station in the background withstood the storm, but all its windows were blown out.

The closest we have come to experiencing a hurricane so far this year was when Isaias worked its way up the coast and inland. As Ms. Greene so aptly pointed out, as the storm weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm, its every nuance was reported in real time, as is the way in the age of the Weather Channel. On the day when winds from Isaias approached Quogue, a warning went out at 2:15 p.m. that a tornado was just eight miles south of Southampton and moving at 65 miles per hour. Even casual weather watchers could easily and precisely calculate its arrival time, and take cover if necessary.

The odds on being properly prepared were much lower 82 years ago. As Ms. Greene wrote: 

“When the Great Hurricane of 1938 struck here on the afternoon of Wednesday, September 21, few people had received any warning at all that a violent storm was brewing. The U.S. Weather Bureau had issued storm warnings midmorning, but with no indication the storm was likely to be especially dangerous. A little after noon, ‘whole gale’ warnings were issued, meaning a severe storm with high winds. It was not yet called a hurricane. Moreover, the warning was poorly handled by broadcast companies: the storm was barely mentioned.

The Beach Lane bridge, above, was destroyed, and the Ocean Avenue bridge badly damaged. The Post Lane bridge was built in 1941, a middle compromise that rendered the other two street names meaningless, as neither led to an ocean or a beach any longer.

“By 1 p.m., with conditions deteriorating rapidly, the U.S. Weather Bureau’s upgraded warning was too late for Long Island. By 2 p.m. the first trees began to fall. Warnings were sent out to the schools. By 3 p.m., the storm center had reached Westhampton Beach. The 1938 Hurricane was one of the fastest-moving storms on record, dubbed in headlines ‘the Long Island Express.’

“The day after the hurricane, a veritable army of Works Progress Administration (WPA) men began arriving at the Westhampton Beach train station, and the New York State WPA director began organizing his forces, about 900 men.

“Their work was to look for survivors and the missing, remove refuse, salvage items, and clear roads. Later they worked on the beach, putting in pilings, wire, and pine trees to build up the dunes that had been flattened. They were paid just 50 cents an hour, and yet this hurricane cleanup was instrumental in lifting the East End of Long Island out of the Depression ahead of the rest of the country.

Surging water in Quantuck Bay wiped out the Quogue-Quiogue Causeway.

“The loss of life was high on the East End: 29 people died in Westhampton Beach, 2 in Quogue, along with many, many others as the hurricane rolled north through New England.”

Ms. Greene pointed out that the recent storm Isaias, which had weakened to a tropical storm by the time its edge clipped eastern Long Island, “left crews removing felled trees, fixing downed power lines, and assessing the severe beach erosion. More than 300,000 households on Long Island were without power for several days.”

Debris littered Dune Road. In just a matter of minutes, 153 of the 179 summer homes from Quogue Village to the Moriches Inlet were destroyed. The 26 houses remaining were mere battered shells, a dozen of which were never habitable again. —All photos courtesy of the Quogue Historical Society

The highly detailed forecasting of today notwithstanding, no amount of preparation can deflect the almost unimaginable devastation that would be wrought by a direct hit, storm surge, and lingering presence of a Category 4 or 5 hurricane on our shores. The best we could hope for would be to reduce the loss of life.

Small village; big sky. —A. Botsford Photo

Quogue Library Keeping the Virtual Calendar Lively
As always, there’s a wide array of programming coming up at the Quogue Library over the next few weeks. 

In addition to yoga classes with Jillian and exercise programs with Leisa DeCarlo, a few standouts worth mentioning would be: “The Golden Age of Television” on Friday, September 25, at 7 p.m.; “Marketing Yourself in a Tight Job Market” on Tuesday, September 29, at 6:30 p.m.; the Foreign Policy Association Great Decisions Discussion Series on “The Philippines and the U.S.” on Saturday, October 3, at 5 p.m.; the Anti-Racist Book Club discussion of “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent” by Isabel Wilkerson on Tuesday, October 6, at 7:30 p.m.; and this year’s Quogue Library Scarecrow Decorating Event (Not a Contest!) starting with pickup of scarecrow frames on Monday, October 2. 

For complete details on these and many other stimulating and engaging programs, and to register, check the library website, www.quoguelibrary.org. Remember that new programs are added regularly, so check the website often so you don’t miss out. 

Grey tree frog. —Elizabeth Caputo Photo

Outdoor Education for Youngsters at Refuge
The Quogue Wildlife Refuge is introducing two new education programs for children this fall: the “Wildlife Wednesdays After School Program” for children in grades K through three and grades four through seven meeting in separate groups from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays from September 30 to November 11; and “Tree Time Toddlers” for children age 2 to 4 accompanied by an adult on Thursdays from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. starting October 1. 

Complete details and registration at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge website, www.quoguewildliferefuge.org

The QWR calendar also features, along with Earth Yoga Outside on Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m.: a Full Moon Night Hike on Thursday, October 1, at 6:30 p.m.; “Autumn Reflections on Nature” social distance readings of poems and prose for the entire family on Saturday, October 3, at 3 p.m.; socially distanced “Fall Foliage Paddles” at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 17; and a “Help Save Sea Turtles!” virtual program, also on Saturday, October 17, at 2 p.m. 

Get all the details and register at www.quoguewildliferefuge.org

Prepare to Vote
Before signing off until October 22, At Quaquanantuck urges all Quogue residents and all Americans to respect and honor one of the greatest gifts of our democracy, the right to vote. Please make every effort to steer clear of the toxicity of social media, examine the facts, check the moral compass and conscience, and make your choice. 

Quogue seems a reasonably safe place to vote in person, but if you want to consider voting early, information is available at www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/BOE/Early-Voting-Sites-11-3-2020.

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.  

News 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.

Week 25

Here we are again: Labor Day, the traditional button on the end of the traditional summer season. 

But in more ways than can be easily counted or described, this has been anything but a traditional summer season. And just as, thanks to the pandemic, the so-called “season” started way early with thousands fleeing the city to shelter at houses on the East End, it looks like there is no clear end in sight for the 2020 summer season, traditional or otherwise.

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Atlantic moonrise. —A. Botsford Photo

 It seems somehow appropriate that Labor Day weekend coincides almost exactly with week 25 of the global siege of the coronavirus pandemic. Half a year, so far, of disruption, confusion, economic turmoil, cultural conflict and tragedy on a massive scale, along with millions of acts of heroism, courage and kindness, large and small, ingenuity, innovation and adaptation. More than 185,000 deaths, and counting, in the U.S. alone. 

Half a year of the brutally clear coronavirus X-ray revealing a terrifying and crippling number of fracture lines in all our institutions and our society. Even more daunting, as chaos gathers momentum like a tropical storm, and with the school year, the U.S. census, and the national election—among much—mired in a confusion of competing interests, there seems to be no clear way forward. 

The crossroads and convergent crises the world is facing in the sepulchral shadow of the pandemic are inescapable. Still, living inside the blessed bubble that is Quogue can make it possible to turn a blind eye, or to think that these are not our problems, these are issues for others who are affected to sort out. 

But make no mistake: as much as Covid-19 and all its repercussions represent a scourge of unfathomable proportions and an existential threat, it is also a test, perhaps the greatest test any of us will face in our lifetimes. It’s a test that we as a nation have been failing so far. As has been declared many times in this space and elsewhere, if we cannot find a way to pay close attention, to acknowledge that we as Americans are all in this together, and to work together with a unified set of values to bring some sense of order out of the chaos, we will continue to fail. 

So far, coming together in this way has seemed to be an insurmountable, too complicated challenge. The political, social, and cultural response to the pandemic has continually widened the gap and deepened the chasm between “us” and “them.” But when faced with a common foe of such magnitude it should be simple. Let’s put aside the arguments about whose values are correct, erase the lines in the sand, and soften the rigid positions. It’s not supposed to be us against them; that’s the path to self-destruction. It’s “We the people.”

Let’s not be us anymore. Let’s not be them. Let’s be we.

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

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Departing storm. —Lynn Joyce Photo

Upside Down and Gone
Anecdotal evidence indicates that there are more than a few readers who don’t read all the way to the bottom of each week’s At Quaquanantuck. So, this week, in honor of Labor Day and the topsy-turvy world we find ourselves in these days (along with this columnist’s desire to do things differently), the column will be presented in almost reverse order from what readers have seen in recent weeks. 

Therefore, the first item is an announcement that might typically be more suitable at the end of a column: The At Quaquanantuck columnist is taking a two-week vacation after filing this week’s post. Readers can expect the next column on Thursday, September 24

The purpose of the vacation will be to rest and reflect on: how the column has evolved over the three plus years since I began posting it weekly for free; the ways the column and readership have changed during the 25 weeks, so far, of the pandemic and the initial stay at home and quarantine orders; and the purpose and intention of publishing weekly, up until now and going forward. 

Try not to miss the column too much, and please come back to read it again when it resumes. In the meantime, those readers who are feeling too bereft can always go to the website, AtQuaquanantuck.com, and scroll down through the archives to browse columns of the past.

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Still water. —Rosemary Cline Photo

Letter to the Editor ré: Moley Falls
An exciting development this week: At Quaquanantuck’s very first Letter to the Editor, running near the top of this week’s column because it refers to an item at the bottom of last week’s post. 

Editor’s note: Before perusing this communication, anyone who didn’t read to the end of last week’s column might want to scroll down to read the item referred to in the letter below, headlined: Moving On from Machu Picchu, Moley Envisions New Water Feature.  

To the editor: 

I would like to commend Mr. Botsford for drawing the Quogue community’s attention to my ongoing crusade to enhance the beauty of our outdoor living spaces, but feel compelled to correct some of his misrepresentations of my past work and future plans. 

I was indeed able to construct a reasonable facsimile of Machu Picchu, which I dubbed “Moley Picchu,” in our backyard, though Andrew may not have seen it since he has repeatedly turned down invitations to spend a quiet evening of reflection there. As for my yearning to add a rainbow during these trying times, I admit I contemplated tapping into the Pine Barrens aquifer for a personal waterfall to add to (not replace) Moley Picchu, but soon discovered that the concrete aqueducts I sought as a means to bring water to Moley Falls required variances that the Zoning Board would not approve. 

I also came to recognize that the use of millions of gallons of water for such an endeavor was as wasteful as it was expensive. So, just as I made compromises on the scale and scope of Moley Picchu, I looked for some innovative, low-cost solutions to achieve my more recent dream. After learning (sadly) that Fountains of Wayne in New Jersey was no longer in business, I contacted Lexi at Mike’s Fountainry (555 Second Avenue, Lindenhurst) about adapting the water-pump feature in their porcelain fountains for an environmentally friendly faux waterfall. Boy, did I save thousands – and the Zoning Board had no objections! However, that didn’t solve my rainbow issue, as the waterfall isn’t nearly powerful enough to spray out sufficient water droplets to cause a full-spectrum refraction. 

So I went on Amazon and took a chance on an “LED Rainbow Projector” that cost me—get this!—$15.99 (the decimal point is correct, folks!). And though the Zoning Board has balked at my projecting the rainbow at night (and really, have you ever seen a nighttime rainbow?), I’ve been able to get approval to enjoy it from dawn to dusk. We’re still putting on the finishing touches (including a pair of vintage bathtubs I bought from a guy who worked on a Quialis shoot), but I’m excited to share my landscape architect’s rendering of how the completed project will look. Faithfully, Roger Moley

Moley Pichu
Landscape architect’s rendering of planned addition to Moley Picchu. —Image courtesy of Roger Moley

The Reverend Stephen Setzer Leads Atonement Virtual Service Sunday
The Reverend Stephen Setzer will officiate virtually at this summer’s final Morning Prayer service of the Church of the Atonement on Sunday, September 6, 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

Born and raised in the hills of Western North Carolina and the son of a Baptist preacher, Reverend Setzer acknowledges on his website that he “spent so much time in church that it could be said, ‘That boy cut his teeth on a church pew!’” From childhood through college he spent the bulk of his time in Baptist churches and institutions, and it wasn’t until he was in his early 20s that he discovered the Episcopal Church while studying theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. 

“I wandered into a beautiful Episcopal parish called Church of The Incarnation,” he notes on his website, “and my life has never been the same. Since then I have had the privilege to work, serve, and study in diverse places, both international and domestic.”

Rev Stephen Setzer
The Reverend Stephen Setzer

He earned his certificate of graduate studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in 2010 and his Master of Divinity degree in 2013 at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto. He is currently pursuing further studies toward his Doctor of Ministry degree at Fuller University. 

Ordained in 2013, Reverend Setzer began his ministry at the Cathedral Church of St. Matthew in Dallas. In 2015 he and his wife, Yoana, moved to Wilmington, Delaware, to serve as associate rector at Christ Church Christiana Hundred. Last year they moved again, this time to Manhattan, where Yoana now works as an attorney at Kirkland and Ellis, and Reverend Setzer works at a technology startup while also launching a new project, SacrdSociety, which seeks to help individuals and churches create new forms of community in a post-COVID world. 

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). 

All those wishing to obtain login information for the Zoom platform are requested to go to www.quoguechurch.org for the Zoom link or send an email to churchoftheatonementquogue@gmail.com.


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Above, dancers in the Quogue Junior Theater Troupe younger show of “We’re All in This Together” tapping a number from “42nd Street.”  Below, left to right, Chloe McAuliffe playing Sue Prior, Luke Williamson playing Andrew Cuomo, and Eva Bramwell playing CBS Television reporter Jennifer McLogan. 

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The full cast knocks out “Tomorrow” from “Annie.” Under this year’s format, the show was filmed on Saturday, August 29, for viewing on different platforms and on DVD at a later date.—Sue Prior Photos


Foreign Policy Association Looks at “China’s Road into Latin America”
The Foreign Policy Association (FPA) 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 “China’s Road into Latin America”  at 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 12. To register, click here, or go to the Quogue Library website, www.quoguelibrary.org, and click on the Great Decisions flier on the home page. Latin America China

The FPA 2020 April update provides the detailed context for the upcoming discussion. During the COVID-19 pandemic, China quickly moved to strike deals with many of the nations of Latin America to provide medical supplies and other goods to help combat the spread of the virus on the continent. In addition to protective health gear for doctors, testing kits and ventilation masks, China has also promised large donations to these nations to ease some of the economic difficulties caused by the virus. 

China has sought to focus attention on its international response and recovery, rather than on Wuhan having been the initial epicenter of the virus. “It’s remarkable and a credit, in a way, to China’s own commanding control of information,” said Margaret Myers, “that it’s been able to re-envision itself as a leader in the fight against coronavirus globally.” Ms. Myers is the author of “China in Latin America” in Great Decisions 2020.China Latin America

COVID-19 has already had a drastic effect on life in Latin America, despite not having as many confirmed cases as Europe or the United States. Major slowdowns in trade, especially that of crude oil, have done a lot of damage to the economies there. Goldman Sachs recently adjusted its projections for the Latin America region saying that economic growth, which was projected at +1.1 percent, will drop to -1.2 percent due to COVID-19. In addition to the economic problems, political protests in Chile, ongoing since October of 2019 in the large Plaza Italia in Santiago, have been forbidden because all large gatherings now require permission from the government.

Meanwhile, not all relationships between China and Latin America remain strong. The relationship between China and Brazil has been fraught since the election of Jair Bolsonaro, who espoused anti-Chinese views when he was running for office. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Bolsonaro and members of his staff have traded barbs with Chinese officials. 

Brazil’s Education Minister Abraham Weintraub has suggested that China is using the COVID-19 outbreak and response to make a profit. Chinese officials have vehemently denied these rumors and have said that these actions have “caused negative influences in the healthy development of bilateral relations.” Still, despite Jair Bolsonaro’s plan to move away from Chinese influence, China remains Brazil’s largest trading partner.Sino Latino Americano

As the Trump administration continues to withdraw from the world stage, China is looking to fill the void. After a short video on the subject, the September 12 discussion will examine these challenging questions: How does Latin America fit into China’s “One Belt, One Road” plan? How will the relationship with China affect the region? Should the U.S. be concerned about China’s growing “sphere of influence”? 

The FPA’s list of recommended readings on the topic includes: 

Garrison, Cassandra. “With U.S. hit by the virus, China courts Latin America with medical diplomacy.” Reuters, March 26, 2020. www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus

Simoes, Eduardo. “Brazil-China Diplomatic Spat Escalates over Coronavirus Supplies.” U.S. News & World Report, April 6, 2020. www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-04-06/brazil-china

Call, Charles T. “As coronavirus hits Latin America, expect serious and enduring effects.” Brookings, March 26, 2020. www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/03/26

This year’s FPA Briefing Book is available for purchase in digital form from the FPA website, www.fpa.org, 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 www.fpa.org.

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Quogo Neck sunset. —Stefanie Beck Photo

Remembering Ambrose A. Carr Jr.
Longtime Quogue resident Ambrose A. (Amby) Carr Jr., a man of deep Catholic faith and tremendous love for his family and friends, died on August 29. He was 89.

Before his family bought a house in Quogue in 1937, as a child he summered here with his family in the large inns along Quogue Street. 

Born in Brooklyn on May 26, 1931, he moved later in life to Manhasset to raise his family. He was educated at Brooklyn Preparatory High School, College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA,  and New York University Graduate School of Business. His family said that he always regretted not being able to serve in the military because of his color blindness. 

Mr. Carr worked at IBM for 33 years in the New York area, predominantly in Sales and Marketing. His last position with IBM was as the Director of Industry Relations in Corporate. After retiring in 1988, he volunteered for an organization called Morality in Media. 

Known to have many interests and enthusiasms, he was a Renaissance man of sorts, as seen in his study and enjoyment of music, languages, mathematics, and theology. He enjoyed taking his family skiing in Vermont, so much so that he skied until he was 83; one of his favorite pastimes was teaching the young folks how to ski. 

He also enjoyed racing one-design sailboats at Manhasset Bay Yacht Club and Sunfish at Shinnecock Yacht Club (SYC), where he served as Commodore in the 1970s. In the 1960s he accomplished the major sailing feat of racing in the world-renowned Bermuda Race. He also enjoyed playing tennis at the Quogue Field Club and participating in the club championship tourneys. In retirement, he learned to play golf, his family said, and approached it “with ardor and enthusiasm.” 

Mr. Carr’s contributions to the Quogue community included serving on the Planning Board for many years in the early 2000s and as the President of the Quogue Beach Club for 13 years, from 1991 to 2003. His love for Quogue and its community and traditions ran deep, family members said, but most importantly he loved it as “the perfect place to gather his family around him.” 

At age 79 he completed the Camino de Santiago in the north of Spain, the 490-mile pilgrimage walk from the foothills of the Pyrenees to the Cathedral of St. James in Santiago de Compostela. Dedicating the trip to the memory of his late wife, he completed the Camino in six trips covering five years. He planned the trip himself, his family said, and invited friends and family members to accompany him on “this wonderful journey of faith and perseverance.” 

“He exuded joy to all those around him, even to the end,” his family said, noting that “Amby’s glistening eyes—which are a window to his soul—his love of life and his warmth and wit will be sorely missed. We hope that his example of faith and character will abide with us.”

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Ambrose A. Carr Jr.

Invited by Amby’s daughter Margot to share some thoughts, friend and neighbor Roger Rosenblatt wrote: 

“The day Nancy died, Amby walked across the lawns of our adjacent homes to tell me. His eyes were a mixture of sadness and surprise, as if to say, “How could this be?” So Amby dies now, and I wonder less how his death could be than how the world could ever have known so sweet a man. 

“To say that someone is sweet may sound like an excuse for a lack of other, more robust qualities. But Amby had them all in abundance: a high spirit, a high intelligence, generosity, tact, courage, humane decency, thoughtfulness, horse sense, a tireless work ethic, and a spry and gentle humor. It’s just that so few men are sweet—and gentle, and tender—that when one finds those virtues in a friend, it’s a gift. When his fine mind was invaded by dementia some years ago, he retained his sweetness, and natural elegance. Only Amby could continue to play the perfect gentleman in the thrall of a corrosive disease. 

“We were friends, good friends. We laughed at the same things, took the same pleasure in jazz and pop music, enjoyed talking about boats and the sea, and were equally amused and appalled at the way Quogue governs itself. But we loved the Village with the same basic ardor.

“He was tickled, and a little embarrassed, that I once wrote of him as having the good looks of a 1930s leading man. But he did. Ronald Coleman. Lew Ayers. We saw eye to eye on most subjects, except God. Amby believed wholeheartedly, joyously. I believe, too, but with more wariness and less  affection. How gracefully he tried to change my mind. 

“In his honor, then, I’ll go this far today: Now Amby and God have each other’s company. I envy God.” 

Predeceased by his wife, Nancy, in 2004, he is survived by his daughter Paula Carr Cummings (Alexander) and their children (his grandchildren) Ian and Sophie; his daughter Margot Carr (Dana Robinson); and his son Ambrose A. Carr III (Elizabeth) and their children (his grandchildren) Maisie and Libby.

A wake will be held on Friday, September 4, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Werner & Rothwell Funeral Home in Westhampton Beach. A funeral mass will be held at the Immaculate Conception Church on Quiogue at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 5. Immediately following the funeral mass, all are invited to the interment at noon at the Quogue Cemetery. All attending the interment are asked to please bring a shell to place at Amby’s grave in honor of the completion of his “Camino,” as the symbol of the Camino is a scallop shell. 

Donations in honor of Ambrose Carr would be welcome at either caringkind, The Heart of Alzheimer’s Caregiving ( caringkindnyc.org) or Immaculate Conception Church of Westhampton Beach.

Morning mtg PPMorning meeting. —Paula Prentis Photo

Quogue Library Offers a Season without End in Virtual Realm
Lots of offerings from the Quogue Library between now and when At Quaquanantuck returns on September 24. Always a good idea to check the library website to see what’s coming up. 

For exercise programs: Chair Yoga with Jillian on Mondays at 4 p.m.; Pilates on Mondays at 10 a.m. and Sculpting and Cardio on Tuesdays at 10 a.m., both with instructor Leisa DeCarlo; and Yoga with Jillian on Fridays at 10 a.m. 

A Zoom program on “Caring for Yourself in Stressful Times” with Cornell Cooperative aimed at parents and families will be offered on Wednesday, September 9, at 4:30 p.m. 

In the Career Workshop category, a career coaching session with consultant Constance Hallinan Lagan will be offered on Tuesday, September 15 at 6:30 p.m. Titled “Thanks for the Pink Slip: The Upside of Being Downsized, Fired, Let Go, Laid Off, Eliminated, Terminated, Etc.,” this Zoom seminar aims to prepare participants for success even if they have “lost” their jobs. 

Ms. Hallinan will also lead another Career Workshop, this one on “Resumé Writing,” on Tuesday, September 22, at 6:30 p.m. 

Movie lovers and cinema buffs will no doubt enjoy a program on “The Golden Age of Hollywood: From the late 1920s through the end of World War II” presented by Brian Rose on Friday, September 18, at 7 p.m.

The next volume to be discussed by the Adult Book Club will be “The Girl With the Louding Voice” by Abe Dare on Sunday, September 13, at noon. 

And the next Zoom discussions of the newly formed Anti-Racism Book Club will be held on Tuesday, September 8, and Tuesday, September 22, at 7:30 p.m. The discussions will focus on the book “How to Be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi.

On Sunday, September 20, at 3 p.m. Quogue Wildlife Refuge Environmental Educator Tony Valderrama will lead a workshop in making “Owl Nature Prints.” Participants will learn about the fascinating nocturnal raptors native to Long Island and create owl print art using a potato or apple cut in half.

For complete details on these and other programs offered by the library, visit the library’s home page at www.quoguelibrary.org or send an email to info@quoguelibrary.org. To register for Quogue Library virtual programs, go to www.quoguelibrary.org and click on the appropriate flier for Zoom login registration.

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Card Shark. The creators of the sharks put on display around the Village business district as part of the Quogue Library’s first annual Shark Week are reminded that the wooden replicas will be taken down on Friday, September 4, and placed on the side of the Midland library outpost for pickup. Sharks not collected by Tuesday, September 8, will be discarded. —Ginny Rosenblatt Photo

Wildlife Refuge Continues Outdoor Social Distance Yoga Program
Amy Hess will continue to offer “Earth Yoga Outside” in a socially distanced format at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesdays in September. 

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 Earth Yoga Outside. For more information, call 631-653-4771. 

Whilst At Quaquanantuck is on hiatus, please continue to check the Events Calendar for updates at www.quoguewildliferefuge.org

To make donations to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, click here or visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org and click on Wild Night Appeal. You can also use the QWR “text to donate” app for smart phone users; simply by text QWR2020 to 202-858-1233. The new app leads users to a simple donation form, right on their cell phones.

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Baby bunny. —Elizabeth Caputo Photo

“Eugene Healy: Recent Paintings” at Quogue Gallery
On view until September 30, “Eugene Healy: Recent Paintings,” featuring 23 new paintings by the artist, is the final show of summer 2020 at the Quogue Gallery. 

“Many of Healy’s paintings are abstractions of shore scenes, being places that have evoked particular moods and feelings in the artist,” notes Peter Hastings Falk, Chief Curator and Editor of Discoveries in American Art. “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.”

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.

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.  

News 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.

Winding Down

The summer that, thanks to Covid-19, never really got to wind up … is now winding down in the last two weeks before Labor Day, just as in years past when there were no coronavirus protocols or social distancing restrictions.

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Glisten. —A. Botsford Photo

And even though it looks like there will be no clear Labor Day line of demarcation in population this year, between “the season” and the “off-season,” even though many people will continue to work remotely from their homes or rentals on the East End, even though some college students will be staying home and taking online classes remotely, still there seem to be fewer cars on the road, fewer people on the beach, more parking places available on village and hamlet main streets. It’s quieter.

And although even now, six months in, no one knows how this thing will shake out, some patterns remain intact. Is there some significance in that? No one knows. We wait. We watch. We try to keep safe. We take it one day at a time. We know that kindness counts. We hope. 

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

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Right of way. —A. Botsford Photo

Mayor’s Corner: Covering the Bases
In his two most recent email updates for Quogue residents, Mayor Peter Sartorius did his usual fine job of summarizing important information and sharing links for further guidance on a number of pertinent issues. 

To see the complete text of Hizzoner’s “roundup of the usual suspects” (as he quipped in his latest subject line), go to www.villageofquogueny.gov and click on Announcements

Hot topics addressed in last week’s email included: the availability of mail-in voting for the November election (www.elections.ny.gov/VotingAbsentee.html) and the ability of the U.S. Post Office to handle the related mail in a timely way; options for early voting, including at the Stony Brook Southampton campus between October 24 and November 1; registering to vote in Quogue, or changing your voter registration to Quogue, with guidance on deadlines; an update on states on the quarantine list for travelers arriving in New York; and such miscellany as the return of recreational bowling as an option, anecdotal observations on mask wearing (or not) among the younger set, and the (limited) reopening of gyms.

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Study in red. —Ginny Rosenblatt Photo

 This week’s email revisited the ever-changing quarantine list (Delaware is off, again, as of this writing); broached the topic of the need for rental applications for long term rentals, even in the off-season; and disclosed that a committee to carry out the mandates set forth in Governor Cuomo’s Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative has been formed. The “Police Reform Initiative” can be reviewed at www.villageofquogueny.gov/polAnnouncements.cfm. Comments on the initiative and suggestions for the committee’s consideration can be sent to contact@villageofquogueny.gov.  

The Mayor also addressed in this week’s email an array of guidelines and beginning dates for lower-risk and higher-risk school sponsored sports; attempting to decipher this information gave At Quaquanantuck a brain cramp. Noting the amount of confusion among students, parents, and the general public about how, when, or if schools will be opening this fall, Hizzoner seized the opportunity to salute, and express tremendous gratitude to the “very able and dedicated” Quogue School Superintendent Jeff Ryvicker, whose job it is to sort out all of these issues safely and responsibly. At Quaquanantuck concurs wholeheartedly with the Mayor’s sentiments. 

For those who are not yet on the Village’s email address list, the easiest way  to see the most current, and all the Mayor’s letters, is to 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.

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Timing is everything. —Rosemary Cline Photo

Postmaster Yaira Rodriguez Moving On after 21 Years of Service
Perhaps the most significant news item in either of the most recent email blasts from the Mayor is the announcement that Postmaster Yaira Rodriguez, who has been in charge of the U.S. Post Office in Quogue for the past 21½ years, will be leaving Quogue to take over the postmaster’s position in Holtsville, significantly closer to her home, likely by next week. 

Ms. Rodriguez’s record of dedicated service during her tenure as postmaster is beyond impressive. Residents who moved to Quogue or purchased homes here in the last 20 years have never seen anyone else in the post. Longtime residents of Quogue who were children when Ms. Rodriguez stepped into the position now have children of their own. 

Bill Clinton was the U.S. President when she started in Quogue and she has served through the two terms of George W. Bush, two terms of Barack Obama, and four years of Donald Trump’s presidency. Twenty-one Christmas seasons and attendant holiday card and parcel panic attacks; 21 IRS income tax deadlines; millions of pieces of mail; mountains and mountains and more mountains of recycling junk mail. Twenty-one years of adapting to the massive, Bay of Fundy ebb and flow of seasonal population. 

Through it all, she has consistently gone above and beyond the requirements of her job description in her efforts to help Quogue residents with any and all issues related to sending and receiving their mail.

Yaira Rodriguez
Quogue Postmaster Yaira Rodriguez. —A. Botsford Photo

Then came Covid-19. If there can be said to be degrees of “essential,” the Post Office—the crucial circulatory system of our nation, lately rendered slightly anemic by electronic mail and private shipping services—became even more essential than anyone could have imagined once the word came down to shelter in place and stay at home.

The village population swelled to almost summer levels, with many new renters trying to establish a mailing address in Quogue for the first time. Packages mailed to General Delivery filled the back of the building, while boxholders struggled to adapt to safety protocols by ordering needed supplies online and unavoidably further clogging delivery lines. All too often, Ms. Rodriguez and her staff were on the receiving end of the abrasive release of pent up frustrations on the part of impatient postal patrons. They never buckled, never snapped. 

Instead, following the postmaster’s lead, they stepped up, as they always have, to keep the mail moving. Typically with a smile. 

The timing of Ms. Rodriguez’s job change was propitious. She said in a brief interview this week that she was notified of her assignment to be the Holtsville postmaster on July 31. On August 6, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy instituted a management hiring freeze, which Ms. Rodriguez said means that the postmaster vacancy opening in Quogue with her departure—and any other postmaster vacancies across the country—will not be filled until sometime in the future, presumably after the major reorganization that Mr. DeJoy announced at the same time as the hiring freeze. 

Ms. Rodriguez said that instead of appointing a new postmaster for Quogue, the USPS will assign an “officer in charge” of the village post office to take over when she leaves, which she said “should be next week sometime.”

At Quaquanantuck salutes Ms. Rodriguez, and all the USPS staffers who keep our Post Office running smoothly, no matter what the challenges. It is hoped that all village residents will stop by to thank the departing postmaster for her years of truly dedicated service and wish her well in her new position. There are only a few days left to do so, apparently, so it might mean waiting on line with your mask on. Considering her record, her willingness, and all the help she has given to countless local postal patrons over the years, it doesn’t seem like a lot to ask.

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Moonflower. —Elizabeth Caputo Photo

 QWR Full Moon Night Hike September 1; Private Group Paddling September 2
Returning to the realm of the actual for about 90 minutes, the Quogue Wildlife Refuge will host a Full Moon Night Hike social distance program on Tuesday, September 1, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. QWR full moon

During the walk through the forest up to North Pond and back, adults and families with children age 11 and up—wearing the requisite masks/face coverings—will look and listen for nocturnal creatures and undertake some night vision activities under the light of September’s Full Corn Moon. 

This program is $5 for Wildlife Refuge members; $10 for non-members, due at the time of registration. Reservations, by telephone (631-653-4771) or online by clicking here, are required at least 24 hours in advance. 

On Wednesday, September 2, the QWR will offer another social distance program in the realm of the actual with a reprise of this summer’s Private Group Paddle Day. Family-Paddle-Day-400x300

Groups, households and families are invited to register for one of three private time slots (10:30 to noon; 12:30 to 2; or 2:15 to 3:45) to enjoy exploring Old Ice Pond via kayak or canoe. Each group will be partially guided by a naturalist, allowing some time to free paddle. 

Paddlers will have a chance to observe the various species of freshwater fish, turtles, and birds that live in and around this 100+ year old pond originally created for ice harvesting for the Quogue Ice Company. A scavenger hunt/ID chart will be available. This program will be weather dependent.

Families/households/groups must pre-register and pre-pay the $250 fee, which covers up to six people ($50 for each additional person). Single kayaks, double kayaks, and canoes will be determined prior to each group’s arrival based on the individuals in the party. 

For more information about the program and to register, visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org or call 631-653-4771. 

To make donations to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, click here or visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org and click on Wild Night Appeal. You can also use the QWR “text to donate” app for smart phone users; simply by text QWR2020 to 202-858-1233. The new app leads users to a simple donation form, right on their cell phones.


The younger cast of the Quogue Junior Theater Troupe put the finishing touches on their production of “We’re All in This Together” in rehearsals this week. Clockwise from left: the full cast wearing special QJTT t-shirts; the boys perfect their dance routine for a number from “Spamalot”; the girls scrub the floor for “It’s a Hard-Knock Life” from “Annie.” —Sue Prior Photos


Quogue Library Wraps Virtual Program on Classical Music
This summer’s newly retitled “Intro to Classical Music” series continues with the third and final  installment on Saturday, August 29, at 4 p.m.: “Can You Keep a Secret?: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6.”

Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

The three lectures of the virtual series were designed for those who might be less familiar with opera and classical music but would like to know more. Everyone logging in for the virtual program will get an inside look from the maestro’s perspective, while conducting along with an animated orchestra.

To register for this program, email info@quoguelibrary.org and request the Zoom login information. 

The next Zoom discussions of the newly formed Anti-Racism Book Club will be held on Tuesday, September 8, and Tuesday, September 22, at 7:30 p.m. The discussions will focus on the book “How to Be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi.

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” at Quogue Gallery
On view until September 30, “Eugene Healy: Recent Paintings,” featuring 23 new paintings by the artist, is the final show of summer 2020 at the Quogue Gallery. 

“Many of Healy’s paintings are abstractions of shore scenes, being places that have evoked particular moods and feelings in the artist,” notes Peter Hastings Falk, Chief Curator and Editor of Discoveries in American Art. “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.”

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.

Reverend Canon Michael Ambler Leads Atonement Virtual Service 
The Reverend Canon Michael Ambler will officiate virtually at the Morning Prayer service of the Church of the Atonement on Sunday, August 30, 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.

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The Reverend Canon Michael Ambler

Reverend Ambler, who often visits with family in Quogue, is Canon to the Ordinary Diocese of Maine in Portland and is the former Rector of Grace Church in Bath, Maine. 

A member of the choir and an acolyte at the Church of the Atonement as a child, he earned his Master of Divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. He and his wife, Darreby, have three children: one son, Michael III, is a political campaign consultant; their son John works for TIST, an international development and conservation company; and their daughter Elizabeth (Elle is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

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). 

All those wishing to obtain login information for the Zoom platform are requested to go to www.quoguechurch.org for the Zoom link or send an email to churchoftheatonementquogue@gmail.com

Moving On from Machu Picchu, Moley Envisions New Water Feature
Longtime readers of this column may remember a few years back when Quogue Quips film auteur and local visionary Roger Moley decided to remake his yard in the image of the 15th century Inca citadel Machu Picchu. 

Inspired by a visit to the site in southern Peru with his family, and weary of the flatness of eastern Long Island, he prepared to undertake one of the largest earth moving and giant stone masonry projects in history in order to achieve on only a slightly smaller scale an approximation of the 7,970 foot mountain ridge and the mysterious ancient structures positioned near the summit. When he realized how long the work would take, however, and how much it would disrupt the tranquility of his neighborhood, he willingly abandoned his dream for the sake of the community.

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Rainbow over Quogue. —Roger Moley Photo

 Readers will no doubt be happy to learn that Roger’s visionary spirit is still alive and well, though, thanks to the inspiration he received from the photo above he took recently of a rainbow near his home. Since he has always considered a residence in Quogue to be the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, he began investigating the physics of maintaining a rainbow over his house full time. 

His research indicated that full-time rainbows are typically only seen in the vicinity of large scale waterfalls, and that gave him the idea for creating a substantial water feature in his backyard. Roger is currently looking into ways to reroute and recirculate millions of gallons of fresh water daily from the Pine Barrens aquifer into his planned waterfall.

Moley Falls
Artist’s rendering of Roger Moley’s planned water feature for his backyard in the village.

 Once he works out the details of the design—and the engineering of significantly varying the elevation of his property—he expects that round-the-clock work on the new project should be completed by sometime in 2023. And while he has conceded that, like the Machu Picchu project, building the new water feature will require clearing some hurdles with the Zoning Board of Appeals, and will inevitably disturb some of his neighbors, he believes any unhappiness will evaporate when the community gasps with wonder at the majesty of Moley Falls, and the perpetual rainbow and beacon of hope glowing in the sky above it. 

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.  

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 AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list.