Montauk Community Notes, June 13


Sunday, June 9, was a beautiful evening for the annual Blessing of the Fleet at Montauk Harbor with a nearly cloudless sky and very light breezes. Montauk Boatmen Inc. honored with wreaths those of the Montauk fishing fleet who died in the past year including Capt. John DeMaio, Capt. Walter Drobecker, Michael Argenti, James Coreless, John Grady, Jeffrey Havlik, Richard Pecheur, Gary Persan, Ronald Sullivan and Jay Judd.

Joy and George Hear greatly enjoyed the Willie Nelson concert at the Surf Lodge on Sunday night. There was a surprise appearance by Jimmy Buffett who sang a few songs. The crowd was well managed, parking was orderly, and according to Ms. Hear, the audience had people of all ages, from a couple with a tiny infant to an appreciative older person, age about 100.

Earlier on Sunday I enjoyed attending Sunday coffee hour after worship at Montauk Community Church. Recently, the tables have been set up downstairs in the Fellowship Hall because these days the Guild Room just isn’t big enough. The spread is planned and prepared by Carlos and Mayela Vargas along with help from a dedicated team of deacons. Along with salads, omelettes, home fries, and fresh vegetables, this Sunday there were steamed mussels and clams. Homemade crumb cake from the dessert table was irresistible.

I found a seat next to choir director and friend Lydia Shaternik Burns and Evan Harrel. Mr. Harrel described the busy week he had when he and wife Suzette Mullen Harrel attended the graduation of their older son, Will Harrel, on June 4. Will graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. In addition, Will was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, received the Kenneth H. Condit Prize for leadership through academic achievement and community service and the Alberto Santos-Dumont Prize for Innovation. Will’s grandmothers are Cecilia Mullen of Montauk and Claudia Harrel of San Antonio, Texas. He already has a job lined up in Manhattan starting mid July with Goldman Sachs, where he’s to join the Quantitative Strategies Group. The Harrels’s younger son, Patrick, is also at Princeton. Both sons follow the footsteps of their father, a Princeton graduate.

The Harrels, formerly of Texas, vacationed in Montauk while visiting Mrs. Harrel’s parents. Will and Patrick were in grade school when I first met them. Evan and Suzette have lived full time in Montauk for three years.

I also learned Mr. Harrel is serious about vegetable gardening. He described the gardening challenges, including cut worms, that he tackles in his Hither Hills vegetable garden. He digs the old-fashioned way, with a pitchfork. This year his strawberries are dynamite, and a bumper crop of sweet peas is anticipated. According to Mr. Harrel the time approaches to plant okra and crowder peas, which are similar to black-eyed peas. I hope the local deer won’t favor these typically Southern crops.

The State University of New York at Geneseo announced its dean’s list for the spring semester for which students much achieve at least a 3.5 grade point average and a minimum of 12 credit hours. Attaining this distinction from this area is Aoife Forde. According to Aoife’s parents, Patrick and Gerry Forde, Aoife aspires to be a medical doctor and finished freshman year with a curriculum heavily weighted in science and math.

Two area residents have also been named to the dean’s list for spring semester at SUNY Oswego: Philip Bianchi, who attained the dean’s list honor for his last semester at college, graduated with a major in technology education, and Hayden Ward, who graduated with a major in business administration, was also on the list. For this dean’s list, students must have a semester average of 3.30 to 3.79.

On Wednesday June 12, at 7:30 p.m., North Fork singer-songwriter Robert Bruey will perform at the Montauk Library. This concert is free and open to the public. Bruey’s gritty voice and spare finger-picking guitar style complement his introspective lyrics.

“Like Cats and Dogs!” is another library program, this one set for Saturday, June 15, at 7 p.m. Exploring the innermost hopes and hates of our beloved pets, this will be a humorous reading by David Houston in the style of radio drama. A brief general meeting of Friends of the Library is also planned. Contact Pat Donna, 668-2332, for more information on the meeting, or 668-3377 for information on these and other library programs.

The Friends of the Montauk Library invites all to the 34th annual Book Fair on the Green on Saturday, July 6 (rain date, July 7), from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is an important fundraiser for the Friends, which supports the Montauk Library. The fair offers books by the pound, raffles, auctions, plants, jewelry, a children’s section, white elephant sale, baked goods, 50/50 raffle, refreshments and more. New this year, is a pet corner featuring pet items.

About five summers ago, like me, you may have enjoyed seeing Montauk’s Dorothy Leeds in a performance of “Good Lessons from Bad Women” at the Montauk Library. It was a one-woman show she collaboratively wrote with playwright Daphne Greaves. I met up often with Ms. Leeds while commuting on a recent Monday on the 7:04 a.m. LIRR train She was returning to Manhattan after spending the weekend with husband Nonnie at their home in Colloden.

Recently, Ms. Leeds said she’ll march with Women Stage the World in the first annual Women’s Equality Parade through the Broadway theatre district of Manhattan on Tuesday, June 11. Ms. Leeds plans to go as silent film star Mary Pickford, wearing a 1900s style long dress and ringlet wig covering her short red hair. I was interested to learn Ms. Leeds has a new one-woman play, “The Hot Water Club.” The inspiration for Ms. Leed’s new play, targeted at teenage girls, was a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, “A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.”

Friday, June 14, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., is the Concerned Citizens of Montauk’s second annual membership appreciation event at the Inlet Seafood Restaurant on East Lake Drive. Wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres will be served, with the first drink free to all current members; cash bar afterward. Free to all current CCOM members, admission is $35 for non-members. Space is limited. Please RSVP with your name and number of guests to or (631) 238-5720. If your membership has lapsed, renew online, by mail or by simply calling the office.

Last call for the Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation (MPCCF) summer benefit event at Solé East Resort on Saturday, June 15, at 7 p.m. Held outdoors at the resort’s Backyard restaurant, “A Night of Classic Italian Food & Film” features guest celebrity chef Ralph Pagano, and featured film, “It Started in Naples,” a 1960 romantic comedy starring Clark Gable and Sophia Loren. Tickets, at $100 per person, are available online at, by phone at (631) 668-1124 or (631) 668-2105, at the Willow gift shop in Montauk.

Please don’t forget, Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 16.

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