Posts tagged covid-19 crisis

The East Hampton Press Person Of The Year: Holly Wheaton

Holly Wheaton does not own a single little black dress or power suit. Those days are long behind her.

More than two decades ago, the Springs native traded in her sleek Chicago wardrobe for flannel shirts, blue jeans and work boots when she moved back home to join the ranks of the Springs Food Pantry that her mother, Betty Reichart, had started in 1992 — a time when feeding over 200 families was unimaginable.

But that is precisely what Ms. Wheaton faces today.

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Bullies Worse Than Virus: Southampton Family Navigates Brutal Backlash From COVID-19 Diagnosis

Dressed in a medical gown, mask and face shield, Stratis Morfogen had poked his head into his 14-year-old daughter’s bedroom to check on her — when he saw tears streaming down her face.

By way of explanation, she simply handed him her phone.

“F you, Bea! I have to quarantine because of you,” one TikTok user wrote. “Bea this is your fault!” another said on Instagram.

And then came the comment section — brutal, relentless finger-pointing at the Southampton eighth-grader who had tested positive for COVID-19 less than two days earlier and complied with contact tracing.

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East End Clergy Brace for Restricted Holiday Season

For nearly two decades, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Southampton had never once locked its doors, keeping them open for rest, prayer, solace and peace 24 hours a day, seven days a week — with no exceptions.

It was a tradition born from the devastation of September 11, 2001, a time when religious, spiritual and agnostic individuals alike needed guidance, or simply a place to go, following the terrorist attack on New York City that day, just 90 miles away.

Weighed down by uncertainty and fear, parishioners sought a similar degree of comfort when the COVID-19 outbreak reached the East End this past March. Some turned to their houses of worship as beacons of hope — and, in the case of St. John’s, knew the doors would always be open.

Until they weren’t.

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A Change of Perspective: Matthew Raynor Turns Sight from Sea to Sky through Drone Photography

The open sea is an endless source of inspiration, energy, mystery and wonder. It conjures fear and curiosity, longing and serenity. It is equally relentless and soothing, unforgiving and welcoming — a character that has touched, and taken, endless lives.

For Matthew Raynor, it was nearly the latter.

Even after a swim gone wrong left the former commercial fisherman paralyzed from his chest down in 2019, his love for the water — and capturing it through his camera lens — persists, though it has taken on a new shape and approach.

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Protests and Pandemic Lead Bridgehampton Photographer Back Home

Six days out, one day in.

For Lori Hawkins, the words became a mantra. They were her schedule, a repetitive routine. A source of comfort and reassurance, stress and depression. An escape, a homecoming, her sense of normalcy.

For the last six months, that one sentence defined her life. And it has led to the most fulfilling photography series of her 20-year career.

“I feel like I’m creating my best work ever,” Hawkins said from her home in Bridgehampton. “I feel like I’m more focused on telling stories.”

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The Classically Social American Hotel

When Ted Conklin first walked through the front door, he saw a canvas.

The year was 1971, but inside the neglected brick building, it might as well have been the turn of the 20th century — between the gas lamps, rusted coal stove, outhouses in the back and an all-pervasive layer of dust that he could scoop with a snow shovel.

Still, he wanted it.

Conklin envisioned what the place would become, both the establishment itself — now, famously, The American Hotel — and Sag Harbor, then a depressed village following back-to-back economic downturns, first as a whaling port and then as an industrial hub.

“It hadn’t really been touched since a renovation they might have done in the 1870s — 1900 maybe,” Conklin said of the building. “So I started in on the rebuilding of it, as something that would be functional. I was just in a survival mode for the first 20 years, and now I’m back in survival mode. It’s like being a kid again.”

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New York City Galleries Find a Home on the East End

Despite a legacy that includes contemporary giants such as Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, Lee Krasner and Robert Rauschenberg — who all famously lived and worked here — high-end New York galleries have largely shunned the East End as a serious year-round art destination, until an international pandemic buoyed it to the surface.

Gone are the days of summertime pop-up galleries, many of the converted newcomers agree. Now, they’re finally here to stay.

“I’d like to say this was one big strategic decision,” said Gordon VeneKlasen, managing partner of Michael Werner Gallery, three days after opening the new East Hampton space. “But in fact, it was sort of an instinctual thing. It seems so obvious now.”

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Ahead of His Time: Ben Vereen Reflects on Broadway’s Place in Black History

When Ben Vereen auditioned for “Pippin,” the burgeoning Broadway star never thought he would get the part.

But not only did he nail the audition — in front of the original production’s director, Bob Fosse, no less — his performance as the Leading Player would win him the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 1973.

At the behest of Bay Street Theater Artistic Director Scott Schwartz — whose father, Stephen Schwartz, wrote the music and lyrics of “Pippin” — Vereen has reprised the role for the Sag Harbor venue’s virtual gala, “A Starry Night,” a celebration of 1970s Broadway musicals on Wednesday, July 22, at 8 p.m., featuring performances by luminary figures of the performing arts.

Ahead of the gala, Vereen caught up with The Express News Group, reflecting on his 55-year career, the current civil rights movement and its place in the theater.

“Every war, every conflict we’ve ever had, the arts has been the thing that has brought us through,” the 73-year-old Broadway veteran said from his home in Florida. “Because the arts is spiritual. The arts has no color… It is an expression of the most high. And the conflicts of the human race, we can reflect back on our races and say, ‘This has to be changed, and this is what you need to know about the joy of your journey.’”

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Child Cancer Survivor Pays It Forward, Aspires To Be Pediatric Nurse

Halle Kneeland is, undeniably, an inherently positive young woman.

When the skies opened up, creating a downpour on Pierson High School’s graduation last month, the 18-year-old couldn’t help but smile as the rain soaked through her cap and gown, her long blonde curls framing her beaming face.

After all, she was simply alive. She had not only survived the COVID-19 crisis that changed the face of her senior year, but she also beat a devastating cancer diagnosis four years earlier — a chapter that defined her career path as she looks ahead toward nursing school at the University of Florida this fall.

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Mind Offline Kits Spark Creativity

When Jesse Spooner woke up and stumbled into the kitchen on a recent Sunday morning, he found his wife, Nicole Delma, fussing over six bubbling pots on the stove.

Except she wasn’t cooking the breakfast he’d expected.

Instead, her aromatic concoctions were walnut and turmeric, annatto, madder and osage, boiling in water to form all-nature dye baths that would consume the rest of her day — as well as the curiosity of her daughters, 4-year-old Georgica and 3-year-old Indigo-Marie — as she readied for the launch of her newest venture, Mind Offline Kits, just 24 hours later.

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