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.
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.
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.
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
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 email@example.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.”
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. To register for Quogue Library virtual programs, go to www.quoguelibrary.org and click on the appropriate flier for Zoom login registration.
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.
“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.”
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.