The 4th of July honors the US Declaration of Independence. Its most well-known passage is the foundation upon which the colonists’ grievances were justified and a bold declaration of human rights…Continue reading
When I think of Juneteenth, I see one hard-won step on a very long journey. May we continue to climb that mountain and reach a higher place. Photo by Hillie Chan on Unsplash
This second official Juneteenth happens to fall on Father’s Day. I find that fitting somehow, as I pause to consider what it means to be a good man and to give gratitude for all who father.
The official site for Juneteenth is here. It commemorates that July 19th day in 1865, 2-1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation and over a month after the last battle of that hard, bloody war, when the last black american slaves in Galveston, TX were finally set free.
The date has been celebrated in black communities for years with street fairs, parades, concerts, and prayer. In 2021 it was finally, recognized as a federal holiday. It is good to see the growing acknowledgment and honoring of its significance among broader communities through events and such. Some are listed here in the LI Press . Others are in this piece from News12 LI.
Of course, being forcibly set free and actually realizing the stated promise of this nation are two different things. Another good way to honor this day is to study history, both before and after that day, and to reflect on how, while Juneteenth itself recalls a moment of triumph worthy of celebration, it was just one hard-won step on an ongoing journey toward “a more perfect union,” and far from the end of disparity in the treatment of human beings.
I am grateful to all who have given their best to advance civil rights and to create a more just world. May we honor ongoing endeavors to more fully realize the acknowledgment and admonishment entailed by our nation’s Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
One local organization focused on just that is ERASE Racism. Here, in their most recent newsletter they ask how folks are celebrating Juneteenth, share some of what they offer and are focused on, and offer a wealth of diverse and broader resources for exploration.
Check it out
Every Memorial Day, Gus Scutari would invite veterans, Long Island dignitaries and the children up. Learn about the 2022 Syosset parade here in the Syosset Patch.
Here is a guide to resources for honoring Memorial Day 2022 on Long Island.
The last Monday in May, this three-day weekend at the dawn of summer, is set aside to honor the tremendous sacrifice made by soldiers who gave all. It is a time to pause and acknowledge how veterans offer their very souls to our Nation, and to give solemn consideration to the responsibility we have as citizens to ensure they are treated well and that we give it our best to create a nation somehow worthy of such sacrifice.
While the specific focus is those lost to war, it is also important to recognize those left behind. For many, this is a very personal affair. Please do not say “Happy Memorial Day” as many are honoring lost loved ones and reckoning with memories, knowledge and feelings that are incredibly difficult. It is better to offer gratitude for service, and to offer a listening ear and an open heart.
I have been told by several veterans that this does not mean the day should be entirely without joy. The barbecues and the lighter sides of the parades are important moments of community and, yes, even celebrations of life and nation. May we do so with a mind to surround service families in love, light, and gratitude for the blessings they seek to offer so much to preserve.
Various Guides to Memorial Day and Where They’ll Lead You
Here’s a Guide to Memorial Day Parades from News12 Long Island including Island Park, Airshow Cruises in Freeport, Hempstead, a Riverhead Painting Festival, Bay Shore, Elwood, Farmingdale, Freeport, Little Neck, Long Beach, Malverne, Massapequa Park, Mastic, a Parade and Open House at Raynham Hall in Oyster Bay, Merrick, Northport, Painview-Old Bethpage, Sayville, St. James, Smithtown, Southold, and West Islip
This one of parades and events from the LI Press includes the Bethpage Air Show, Hempstead (the oldest parade on LI), The Largest Parade of the Five Towns in Cedarhurst, an Air Show Cruise in Freeport, Little-Neck Douglastown (one of the largest in the nation), Massapequa, Wantagh, Port Washington, the Parade and Open House at Raynham Hall, Levittown, an event of music, food, and fun at Harbes Family Farm in Mattituck, Babylon, Southold, and Lindenhurst.
From Greater Long Island we learn about parades in Bay Shore, Babylon, Patchogue, Stony Brook, Fire Island, Huntington, Rockville Centre, Center Moriches, Farmingdale, and Ronkonkoma.
A Bit of History and More Current Stories on Honoring the Day
Here is a meaningful piece in the LI Advance offered by Dave Rogers in 2021. He was a tremendous asset to veterans, the arts, and local business in Patchogue for many years. Thanks to social media, he continues to serve veterans everywhere from his new home.
This story from News12 LI is about Ron Errickson Jr, who be spending this weekend cleaning up Tinton Falls, a cemetary in New Jersey of African American soldiers who weren’t permitted to be buried with white ones.
Here, the National Park Service looks back over 150 years of Memorial Day traditions springing up across the nation. It also offers links to specific major memorial sites in its care, including The Korean War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall and Memorial Parks, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial.
In another piece from History, did you know that one of the earliest Memorial Day events in the USA was held by freed slaves?
This feature in Almanac offers some more history including why the Poppy is important, the poem “On Flanders Field,” and a bit about the flag and distinguishing holidays honoring those who serve in the military. There are also recipes and the Memorial Day calendar for the next several years.
Finally, here is my own piece honoring Costantino “Gus” Scutari. Gus was a World War II Veteran who long served as a champion for good citizenship and thoughtful Americanism, and who dedicated his later life to the Syosset Memorial Day Parade. He passed at the age of 99 in April of 2020. He is now a namesake of Underhill Blvd, where he long held the ceremonies following the parade, and the Syosset VFW, where he would invite everyone for hot dogs and refreshments after.
It is fitting to hear that in honor of his memory and an enduring spirit that is likely leading it anyway, there will be no Grand Marshal of this parade.
Congratulations to Dylan Skolnick, Charlotte, Skye, the full CAC Membership and the entire film-loving community on the grand reopening of the Cinema Arts Centre! It all began back in the early 1970’s with two movie buffs, some friends, a sheet and a reel-to-reel projector. Now, a full generation or so later, there are 10,000 members and approximately 150,000 attendees per year at this very special theater.
The CAC offers “compelling American and international films, restored classics as well as entertaining popular films, adventurous and cutting edge films and a remarkable array of monthly film series, often coordinated with music, art exhibits and more. Educational programming includes workshops in screen-writing and filmmaking.”
There’s really nothing else like it. We are so glad to see it’s doors reopened! Read about the theater and its renovation in Huntington Now, TBR News Media. Newsday (subscription required), and LI Business News (subscription required)
Congratulations dear friend, Helen Crosson, Board and Staff, and everyone involved in the Half Hollow Hills community on the grand opening of your new library! The brand-new, forward-looking, $24.7M Half Hollow Hills Community Library is located at 55 Vanderbilt Motor Parkway in Dix Hills. Here’s a sampling of press regarding the achievement, including the Half Hollow Hills Community Library’s own updates over the years. This is the SECOND library Helen has had a major hand in spearheading. Here is a past article about Helen, written back when this whole latest chapter started. You may also be interested in our tribute to America’s Public Libraries and great philanthropy in general, which also includes a little bit about Helen!
Above is a photo of my Life Scout son, Max and my dear friend Jean Henning on the grounds of the Nassau County Museum of Art. They’re considering how they might craft an Eagle Scout Project that provides a gateway to a larger grasslands restoration endeavor. A primary objective will be to educate visitors about the local ecosystem, sustainable landscaping, and the need to address damage already completely out of hand.
It is a HUGE delight to me that, somehow, I don’t think I ever thought of the Museum as we brainstormed potential projects. Max remembered it himself from childhood and found Jean’s email address on the website. I am thrilled that for Jean the timing happens to be perfect. It is wonderful to witness them consulting. My job remains to hold myself back and just watch them work.
It is not easy! I am glad I get to help a little and am consoling myself by happily getting to tell the story.
When I first met Jean in 2008 she was both the former Museum Educator and the Senior Museum Educator of the Nassau County Museum of Art. She told me this meant she was actually slowly retiring. Together with Patricia Lannes, they were guiding school children, general visitors, docents and others through incredible arrays of exhibitions.
In addition to art, art history and cultural understanding, they were developing observation, discourse and diverse “21st Century Learning Skills” with visiting school children from all over Long Island. They taught me a great deal about the value of BOCES as a vehicle for their deeply enriching school field trips, and cutting edge thought in teaching and learning. A primary focus involved groundbreaking programs using art as a vehicle to English Language Literacy. There was much more. She was always good for an interesting conversation! Among her favorite topics were the grounds themselves.
Jean assures me she is still slowly retiring, “Honestly, I hardly even go into the building anymore. I thought I’d miss teaching in the galleries but, while I really loved it, I find I have other things to do now.”
The Nassau County Museum of Art
The Museum has been an independent 501(c)3 not-for-profit since 1989. It occupies a late 19th century neo‐Georgian mansion on 144 acres in Roslyn Harbor. The property’s first owner was poet and longtime NY Evening Post Editor William Cullen Bryant. The mansion was built by US Representative Lloyd Stephens Bryce. It was all later purchased by US Steel Corporation Founder Henry Clay Frick, though it was his son, Childs Frick, a well-known paleontologist and naturalist who actually owned it.
The grounds include multiple structures and formal gardens originally designed in the 1920s by Marian Cruger Coffin. She was one of America’s leading landscape architects. The rest involve relatively large parcels of relatively untouched lands that back up to Cedarmere Preserve. There are fields and forests, including a pinetum with over 100 rare species of conifer. There are ravines and ponds. All of it contains diverse plant and wildlife species.
Rare Species...and Invasive Ones: Moving From Preservation to Stewardship
“Honestly, it’s now a catalogue of invasive species.” Jean notes with a grim look as she guides us on a survey of potential sites. We discuss the bigger picture and note relevant details as Max takes it all in.
She leads us down a path that is much wider than I remember.
“COVID” she says, seeing my expression, “SO many people came here walking. I hope they keep it up. They created some really great paths. It’s actually helping us get inside and see what’s going on.”
She navigates under a large fallen tree noting that it’s, “good exercise for people, especially someone my age.” As we go along, she shares resources she’s gathered and what she’s learned since she really got to focus on this.
Jean reflects that while the problems associated with invasive species have been developing under our noses for decades, solving them is something of a new field. Dealing with it all is a process of debate and experimentation. So far, there’s been a lot of mowing and letting-growing. She’s long been determined to minimize the use of poisons, but also knows many are recommending thoughtful applications. She considers that a bit as she eyes some of the more intractably infested areas.
A main focus has been the pretty poison that is Porcelain Berry. English Ivy, and Multiflora Rose run amuck. As she points her plant app at species she’s unsure of, some results make her smile. Others furrow her brow.
She makes it clear that if the gateway garden Max plants could actively replace invasive species, that would be wonderful. Max responds that weeding would be considered more of a Service Project than an Eagle one, but he agrees with the need and will see what he can do.
We discuss wonderful volunteers. She lights up and tells me she’s learned something heartening from a biologist she’s been consulting:
“He tells me that in the ground are living seeds representing a record of 100 years.” She explains further about this wonderful news: The Earth is a living seed bank, especially in these undisturbed lands. If the now smothering invasives are removed, diverse native species, rare ones even, may spring up as payout.
Fun to Watch This Take Off
Jean points out spots where she’s witnessing a reemergence already, delighting at ferns with slowly unrolling fronds. Pulling out her phone again, she recommences indentifying things along the edges of land they’ve been reclaiming.
As she finishes the tour, Max offers a few of his evolving thoughts. He explains a bit about his project application process, and how he’ll next consult with the Scout Master and Eagle Coach. He tells her a main purpose of the project is not just to build something for the community, but to exhibit leadership, project management and community connection. He notes there are other scouts who have been intrigued by his ideas. They brainstorm a few options…
It’s going to be fun to see where this goes.
For more information on sustainable landscaping, check out our full list of Native Garden and Ecolandscaping Resources. We look forward to adding information on the Museum’s projects and others we’ve come across soon!
The third Monday in January is reserved to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is the only federal holiday formally recognized as a national day of service, “a day on, not a day off.” In the spirit of listening and thinking first, people are warmly encouraged to study the works of King, and to devote time to serious reflection on how we will endeavor toward a healthier, more just world for all. Here are some ways you can learn about and advance his legacy.Continue reading
Happy New Year! We thought you might appreciate the following:
Let’s start with this fascinating piece on the history of New Year’s and its traditions from History.com
Then, let’s reflect on our own recent history. Here’s a blog post on a 7-Step Year in Review from Strength Leader Deb Ingino to help guide us! Deb is great at quickly boiling things down to key takeaways. Here, she picks a particularly timely nugget out of a great podcast from John C. Maxwell, while offering the link to his full 7 steps. I found it well worth carving out time for!
Many of us are still doing year-end giving! Today, my dear friend Nancy brought this New York Times newsletter: A giving guide to my attention. There’s a lot of useful stuff in here. As we might expect, it offers resources from a much more global viewpoint than we do, but also noted that LOCAL giving — including to local news sources — is really important.
Along those lines…this piece written with David Okorn of the Long Island Community Foundation,“Foundations for the Common Good — A Call to Action” remains timely. If you want to quick-update it to account for the impacts of the last few years, just underline the sense of urgency in triplicate. The article explains growing holes in the LI safety net and how we might fill them. It also shares how the LI Community Foundation itself helps givers make the best use of their philanthropic dollars, as well as how it serves issues they’ve identified as critical directly.
Here’s a list of JUST A FEW incredible local organizations that could use our support...use it as a starter guide. We look forward to sharing many more in the New Year!
We’re also going to keep repeating this: The idea that a not for profit organization should be judged primarily by the % going to admin and fundraising is just plain wrong! Find out why in this article written with Marian Conway of the NY Community Bank Foundation: “Stop the Nonprofit Budget Fantasy. It’s Not Right!” Marian’s run a foundation for years and in one way or another served and studied countless organizations. She literally has a Ph.D awarded for her dissertation on “What are the general operating expenses for nonprofits and who pays them.” She knows what she’s talking about. Please listen to her!!!
Finally, New Year – New Beginnings. Let’s talk a little bit about resolutions. Considering joining the Dry January tradition? Dr. Jeffery Reynolds, CEO of Family & Children’s Association has some great tips that I think can also be applied to helping follow through on other pledges, especially when paired with this good advice from Forbes.com on how to actually keep your resolutions.
Among mine, resolutions tend to involve committing to lifelong learning and development. Toward that end, I find the Farnam Street Newsletter to be something I regularly open and intend to dig more deeply into next year. This week, among other things, they offered snippets from their most downloaded podcasts. As for just a few favorite sources of local guidance, I really appreciate the Fair Media Council channel on YouTube, and everything Vision Long Island puts on its Vimeo.
I also resolve to more deeply appreciate our wonderful local treasures. Thank you, Cindy Mardenfeld, for sharing this Newsday article on the membership perks of Long Island attractions(it’s Newsday, so, please forgive the paywall). It covers all sorts of great museums, theaters, kids places and parks. The best part is knowing they’ve hardly scratched the surface!
Let me know your year-end reflections and resources, and what you’d like to see focused on in 2022. Thanks!!!
“At the End of a Chapter, Turning the Page: Thank you for 44 Years” by Katheryn Laible
As I look at the list of favorite shops that you dear readers have suggested, there is one entry I still can’t quite bring myself to remove: The once deep and starstruck haven that was Book Revue. My heart still aches at how quickly it emptied. It hurt even more to be right out front as someone began to pull the “Thank You for 44 Years of Business” sign from the window.
There is good news, tho! While Huntington’s incredible, beloved, local independent bookstore is now but a memory, former staff member Mallory Braun is determined to write “The Next Chapter.”
With passionate fanfare, she and so many lovers of this amazing, some would say sacred, place have rallied to make it happen. Even Kurt Vonnegut and Henry Miller – knowingly or not! – have been involved!
The Next Chapter
I have never met Mallory but hear VERY good things. That she managed to raise the $250,000 needed to follow in the Klein Brothers’ footsteps is a Christmas present from and for the whole Town. Passing the $200,000 mark on Richard Klein’s birthday was another poetic gift. They had wonderful raffle prizes and a kickin’ band at the very cool Industry Makers the night I got to contribute my little bit. While I deeply appreciated the loud, live music, I sure wish I could have heard what the band’s name was!!!
Proverbial sugar plums dance through my head as I dream of Mallory boldly carrying that glorious banner forward. It’s hard to wait, tho! It doesn’t feel quite like Christmas without Book Revue and I’m eager to see how this manifests. Fortunately, my grieving impatience eases a bit as I smile to see another haven for bibliophiles, this one a used bookstore, pop up in East Northport!
The Dog-Eared Bard’s Book Shop
The Dog-Eared Bard’s Book Shop was created by folks who have been running literary events throughout the Island for over a decade. Among activities, they publish a “Bard’s Annual” poetry collection for which they’ve fittingly hosted events at the Walt Whitman Birthplace. I look forward to sharing the next time they seek submissions. They are now hosting “First Friday Poetry Readings.” On January 7th they will feature Robert Savino. I believe they also offer literary alternatives to the Superbowl.
If your own shelves are running over, please know they gladly welcome donations of used books!
This is NOT Book Revue. It does seem to be something wonderful in its own right, tho, and also elicits faded memories of the earliest stacks of that legendary store… It would have sufficed for now….
But then..Lo! What did my wondering eyes behold, but a third new independent bookstore!!!
The kids and I recently popped into the barely-a-month-old “Theodore’s Bookshop“ on Audrey Avenue in Oyster Bay. Founded by former US Congressman and Huntington Town Councilman Steve Israel, the shop pays deep homage to the former President and local resident Theodore Roosevelt, as well as to Steve’s love for history and current affairs. Here, he can bring all sides together with pop culture, classic literature, children’s books and other standard bookshop fare. There’s also a healthy dose of folks we’ve dearly missed since Book Revue closed. It seems to work!
Said Steve, “I served 16 years in Congress and it was a place where people would draw battle lines. I got tired of that. I wanted to create a place that would be of value to the community. We have books that are conservative. We have books that are progressive. We have books in the middle. I just wanted to create a platform for respectful discourse and the pursuit of curiosity, and a place that is just serving the community in which I live.”
You can see the rest of my mini-interview with Steve Israel and a few images from his shop below.
There Will Only Ever Be One, But Still…
It’s still not Book Revue, but it’s a unique and lovely assortment Steve and his new “family of book lovers” are crafting that does pay deep homage to that bit of history, too. I look forward to seeing how the Dog-Eared Bard grows in it’s own way. I still can’t wait for Mallory to get rolling, and know that I’m still coming to terms with the fact that her endeavor — no matter how wonderful — will never be Book Revue, either.
Still, the idea has been planted that maybe…just maybe…some great spirits never really die, but live on in all so inspired.
At least that seems to be the case for three new unique and personal local independent bookstores on Long Island.
More or less just in time for the holidays.
I am grateful. Thanks!
We Love Libraries!
Our dear friend, Ellen Druda recently brought to our attention the “Veterans Testimonial Project” of the Half Hollow Hills Library. From their website:
“The Library has created a project to help preserve our community’s rich history. We are looking for U.S. veterans from any conflict, to share their experiences and stories. All interviews will be conducted and recorded at the Library. Each will be added to the Library’s local history collection. All participating veterans will receive a personal copy of the recording as a DVD. Call Edna Susman at 631-498-1260 to register for this important project.”
Check it out, including the incredible collection of testimonials they’ve already recorded and a fantastic collection of online resources to serve those who served.
When poet, teacher, newspaperman Walt Whitman set out to find his brother, who had been wounded in the Civil War, the experience inspired another vocation:Continue reading