My last night in Quogue was music (an only-ok but delightful and enthusiastic band) at Cupsogue Beach County Park in Westhampton. For all y’all who didn’t grow up on Dune Road, let me explain. Dune Road is one of the barrier beaches south of Long Island:
Cupsogue Beach is all the way to the west of Dune Road (the East end is Shinnecock, home to fishing boats and lobster restaurants). Stand on an elevated place on Dune Road and you can enjoy bay and ocean vistas just by turning about.
The boardwalk affords those views, as well as views of a pretty heterogeneous crowd:
The sky was gorgeous:
The crowd enthusiastic:
And the lifeguard stoic:
The sign below bears reading–this is very much not the world I grew up in, but it affords an interesting take on beach life today. Photograph your kid the same day; be prepared to show the lifeguard, etc:
There was another sign about the dangers of the sun and an exhortation to sun screen. All good advice, albeit fairly surprising to someone who grew up in flowing beach gowns because there was no sunscreen (and I was allergic as a teenager) and where no one (I think) was worried about losing their kids on the beach.
Calliope went home with Helen and I went to visit college friends in Peconic. (Why do I feel scruples about revealing friends when have none about publicizing my family?) We had a blast: lunch on Shelter Island, where the world got so small as to be the stuff of fiction. What are the chances that the hostess is the niece of a guy I went to grammar school with and that my host–also a friend from grammar school as well as college–is good friends with my first cousin? Small. But true.
We followed lunch with a visit to the not to be missed Coffee Pot Cellars Winery where the lovely, lively, passionate Laura (assisted by her pug, Beasley) talked to us about wine and bees (she is a beekeeper).
Her husband, Adam, was there only in the presence of his wines, which are worth the drive.
The after-dinner music was much better than the music at the beach. My friends have been playing together in various combinations since college (and still play at our reunions). Just a perfect day in a perfect setting. My definition of house perfect: an old house full of character, complete with a porch and a view:
Finally, from Village of Quogue, to Village of Peconic, to THE Village, an urban small town if there ever was one. I made up for a month of ramen noodles in a feast of bars and restaurants from Saturday night: Black Derby, Sevilla, back to Black Derby; through Sunday evening: enormous chocolate croissant at Aux Merveilleux De Fred (where I might take up residence if I lived in NY), with visits to Sevilla and Blenheim, followed by dinner at Agave) including a trip to the ridiculously wonderful Murphy’s Cheese Shop:
The selection was mesmerizing (and so delectable):
Food and books! My bedside table is newly refreshed with all the books I bought at Three Lives and Company Bookstore and BookBook, home of a great collection of New York Review Books Classics (the link takes you to the full list at NYRB).
Bookstores on a Sunday afternoon are not overflowing with people, but Washington Square Park is–packed with people and entertainment. As we walked in one band was just packing up, but a bit further on Alingon Mitra was drawing a big crowd as one of the performers at a Comedy Stand Up in the park–a very funny young man (he is way at front in the red shirt–not a great photo):
And beyond the comedy crowds a music student (I presume?) rolled a piano into the park:
A few seconds of WSP Sunday music for your pleasure:
Piano in Washington Square Park
After a drink at Black Derby and dinner (duck enchiladas!) at Agave, we went to the Village Vanguard to hear Tom Harrell. Harrell’s music is beyond amazing–even more so because he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. (A really interesting article in Forbes about Harrell and his struggles and triumphs with the disease is here.) He stands pretty rigidly onstage with his head down at what looks like an uncomfortable angle, separating himself from everyone. But then he starts to play and completely loses himself in the music. It was transporting.
And that, my friends, was all Thursday evening to Sunday evening. And an object lesson in why I should write daily for more clarity…but I was a bit preoccupied.