American History Comes To Life In Quogue


With soldiers clad in wool jackets firing muskets, a horse-drawn carriage touring the streets and the sounds of centuries-old string instruments floating through the air, the Quogue Village Green was transformed from a 21st-century park to an 18th-century military encampment for two hours on Sunday afternoon.The Quogue Historical Society hosted “Williamsburg Comes to Quogue,” a historical recreation aimed at depicting life on Long Island during the Revolutionary War.

Donna Sessa, director of the Quogue Historical Society, said the idea behind the event, which ran from 1 to 3 p.m., was to get children involved in history and to teach Quogue residents about the origins of their hometown.

“Our village was around during the revolution. There were British troops in my house,” Ms. Sessa said. “We’re trying to encourage a younger generation to appreciate the history of our village and our country.”

Fifteen members of the 3rd New York Regiment, a not-for-profit historical organization based in East Hampton, were at Sunday’s event in full costume, portraying soldiers, military officers and workers. The members of the group showed off weapons and tools used by the American militia, while employees of Yaphank’s Long Island Livestock Company demonstrated how to shear sheep and feed cows.

Kristen Koecheler, a Rye resident who was visiting family in the village, said as a former college history major it was fascinating to see the portrayal of early American life in a way that’s accessible to children. Although her 2-year-old daughter, Caroline, was a bit too young to comprehend the historical lessons being disseminated, Ms. Koecheler said the animals on hand appealed to the youngest in attendance.

“She had so much fun dancing and seeing the animals—it’s just great entertainment for her,” she said. “I hope they do it again next year.”

Parents and children shared traditional dances, as well as carriage rides around the village provided by Authentic Horse Carriage Services of Centereach.

The event was underwritten by the Pine Tree Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting history and literature, the foundation’s Chair Szilvia Tanenbaum said. The group was founded by Ms. Tanenbaum’s late husband, Charles J. Tanenbaum, to promote “things that were bookish,” she said. She added that Mr. Tanenbaum had an affinity for colonial America and an “18th-century point of view on many things.”

“My husband would have loved this,” Ms. Tanenbaum said after the event.

Throughout the course of the afternoon, a few hundred parents, children and history aficionados roamed the park. Quogue summer resident Lucy Cary partook in the festivities alongside her two daughters, who enjoyed watching the sheep shearing and riding in the carriage.

Ms. Cary said the event reminded her of her childhood when her parents would take her to battle reenactments. She said she was glad her children had the opportunity to enjoy a similar educational experience.

“My parents would always take me to the battles of Lexington and Concord, and despite having to get up at four in the morning, I always enjoyed going,” she said. “I love that [my children] had a similar experience learning about the Revolutionary War today.”

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