Montauk Community Notes, September 26


Late in the afternoon on Thursday my husband, Don, and I take a walk at Edward Vincent Ecker Sr. County Park in Montauk. There’s not a cloud in the sky.

The park is nearly deserted when we arrive. Almost no one is around. We saunter through a huge white tent erected at the freshly mown park. The tent flaps move gently in the breeze as do about 50 white Chinese paper lanterns suspended on wires from the ceiling. We walk out on the fishing pier where a few people are fishing at the very end. Don sees schools of baitfish. At the shoreline the unusually low tide uncovers imposing black rocks normally half submerged in the bay.

I walk east toward Navy Beach. I find a rectangular can upright in the sand not far from a weather-beaten log. It’s a nearly empty can of turpentine. I also find a soft rag spotted with colors. Something draws my attention to the log, on top of which I find balanced a dinner plate recently used as an artist’s palette. Shiny squiggles of paint on the plate are still soft to the touch. A plastic take-out container is downturned in the center of the plate, I think for turpentine. I imagine the artist who plans to return later that evening to paint the beautiful full harvest moon reflected on Fort Pond Bay.

I was sociable at the Ice Cream Social at Montauk Community Church on Sunday. Weather-wise, by afternoon it was another perfect Montauk day. How pleasant to hum along as Debbie Coen and Lori Hubbard sang and played their acoustic guitars to entertain all who attended.

I chatted with Vincent Downing of East Hampton who is acquainted with Ms. Coen from the choir at St. Therese Church. Mr. Downing also graced the crowd with a few impromptu songs such as, “Come Fly With Me,” a Frank Sinatra standard. As there was no rehearsal, the guitarists provided only minimal chords. Mr. Downing was brave enough to sing a cappella “Summertime,” from George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.” At approximately age three, he told me, he thought “Summertime” was about his beautiful mother, and his father, a policeman, who seemed quite rich to him at the time of World War II.

Save the date for the Montauk Historical Society’s second annual Archaeology Fest, coming up Saturday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the grounds of Montauk’s Second House Museum. The festival will raise community awareness and support for a second museum on the site, which is still in the planning stages and to celebrate and explore Montauk’s rich archeological and natural history.

Ever the outdoorsman, my brother, Paul Melnyk, is excited about the free Archaeology Fest. It promises to uncover secrets of primitive hunting technology. As stated on the promotional flier, you’ll be a participant, not just a spectator and see Montauk through ancients’ eyes. According to my brother, this will include demonstrations of ancient cooking techniques. Paul plans to snare a huge snapping turtle to be served as entrée, or would that be as the first course? I’m not sure if he’s serious or teasing me as usual.

For more information on Archaeology Fest visit or visit montaukarchfest on

Also coming soon is Montauk’s 32nd annual Fall Festival on the green, Columbus Day Weekend, October 12 and 13. The famous Clam Chowder Contest and Grucci fireworks are highlights of this weekend sponsored by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce.

Both days will include fun for kids such as inflatable rides, face painting, pumpkin decorating, crab races, a free 30-horse carousel and more. For adults there’ll be live music by the Blue Collar Band on Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m., raffles and Octoberfest-style food, clams and oysters. Long Island wines and beer will be available. Another bonus, the Farmers Market will be open on Saturday and Sunday during the festival

The festival is the major annual fundraiser benefiting the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, that in turn makes donations to the Montauk Food Pantry, the July 4 and fall fireworks fund, and the Frank Cappozola Scholarship Fund, as well as other local not-for-profit organizations. Call 668-2428 for more information about the Montauk Fall Festival or visit for event schedules.

Lori Newell, formerly of Living Well Fitness and Yoga of Montauk, would like to thank her local dance customers for their patience. Living Well Yoga and Fitness’s transition to AARP sponsored programs is now complete. Please note that some contact information has changed. They are now reachable at Hamptons Dancers AARP Community Group at the Southampton studio, (631) 283-1488. A complete schedule of dance classes can be found at Note also the Living Well Yoga and Fitness emails and website will be discontinued by the end September.

Ms. Newell would also like to thank the library and Montauk Community Church for hosting classes. “I’m trying to make sure everyone knows what is going on with all of the transition. I no longer have a studio in Montauk, “ says Ms. Newell. “Now that AARP is sponsoring our programs I can use the church and library, so I will teach out of those two spaces.” Some classes are also tentatively planned at Third House County Park.

Moving forward, please note membership payments are due two weeks before the new month starts, allowing time for Ms. Newell to process memberships, let the church and library know in advance when space is needed and make adjustments such as adding or canceling programs based on enrollment, with the goal of continuing to provide high quality dance classes, workshops, health fairs and other programs to the Montauk community.

A bit more fundraising will be needed to bring classes to you. You can help by encouraging friends to come, to increase membership. A bake sale is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, October 5, depending on how membership sign-ups go for October. The first benefit dance in Montauk is in the planning for Sunday, October 13, from 3 to 7 p.m., a Halloween Benefit Dance at Montauk Community Church.

Admission will include light refreshments, a dance lesson with master instructor James West from the Arthur Murray Dance Center, ballroom showcases and time for general dancing.

Tickets can be purchased during class times or by contacting the Arthur Murray Dance Center, and are just $25 if purchased by October 1, then $35 at the door. The winning ticket for Cherub Chances at St. Therese church will be drawn at the cocktail party to be held Sunday, October 6, at the Harvest Restaurant, from 2 to 4 p.m. The cocktail party will include beer, wine and passed hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are available at the parish center. Only 400 tickets will be sold. Call 668-2200 for ticket availability. The raffle supports the work of St. Therese church’s nursery school program and helps keep tuition prices affordable so more local children have the advantage of early childhood education. First prize is a whopping $10,000!

Montauk Library Story Times with Miss Korpi resumed this week at a new time slot, 11:45 a.m. on Mondays. All are welcome to listen. The crafts work best for preschool-age children.

If you can write your name you should have a library card. Library Card Sign-up Celebration Family Time is this Saturday, September 28, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. and is for all ages. Bring the kids for games and family fun. Start your children reading early with library membership.

Kids can create a scarecrow for Montauk Scarecrow Days, right at the library during the Silly Scarecrow event planned for Friday, October 4, from 5 to 5:45 p.m., also for all ages.

Visitors and drop-ins are always welcome at Montauk Library children’s events. Children’s programs are free to the public. Don’t forget to sign up at the circulation desk for email reminders about upcoming fall family events.

The next adult program at the library is Saturday, October 5, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. when coloratura soprano Jamie Ku returns with a selection of arias to continue the library’s celebration of the works of Verdi and Wagner. Please call 668-3377 for more information on this and other upcoming events for adults at Montauk Library, or visit their informative website for a complete events schedules.

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