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The Year in Pictures: Remembering the Stories of 2020

Tue, 12/29/2020 - 16:39
Mobilized anew with the Black Lives Matter message, hundreds of people of all backgrounds marched down Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton on June 2 in a demonstration protesting the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and calling for "an end to racist policing."
Durell Godfrey

Oh, what a year it was. If you had written a movie pitch for 2020, few people would have bought it. Too far-fetched, they'd say. Not possible. After a sunny New Year's Day when thousands gathered at East Hampton's Main Beach to dive into the ocean or watch others do so at the annual polar plunge, the year took a decidedly different turn.

Hints of trouble could be found in news from abroad early in the year. By early February, the flu season was shaping up to be a bad one, and then the novel coronavirus arrived, rewriting every plotline. Schools were closed, then court buildings, and government offices, then restaurant dining rooms, then all nonessential business. Grocery store shelves emptied, hospitals grappled with a surge of cases, friends and loved ones were lost, funerals canceled, weddings and graduations postponed and remade.

People found refuge in the outdoors and city-dwellers flocked to the East End, creating a real estate boom. Demonstrators here took up the Black Lives Matter message, staging rallies of a size not seen on the East End in recent memory. Beaches opened, but to residents only, bringing a sense of normalcy. In September, schools reopened with new protocols in place, though many students continued remote schooling at least some days of the week. East Hampton Village got a new mayor and two new village board members. The United States elected a new president.

It's true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are some that remind us of the stories of 2020.

The new year in East Hampton started off with a polar bear plunge at Main Beach. Durell Godfrey


The pediatric flu season was shaping up to be an intense on, The Star reported on Feb. 13. Local schools were reporting dozens of confirmed cases of sick children being kept at home. Christine Sampson


It was slim pickings in the meat department at the Bridgehampton King Kullen on March 13 as people rushed to stock up on groceries. Doug Kuntz


Noel Roberts of Amagansett was among many on the South Fork to find the shelves at East Hampton's Stop and Shop stripped of food staples and household essentials on March 13.  Doug Kuntz


Initially, schools closed for two weeks, then two more, and eventually for the rest of the school year.  Durell Godfrey


The first Covid-19 drive-through testing site on the East End opened in Riverhead at the end of March.  Doug Kuntz


Patchita Tennant smiled as she hugged and thanked Matthew Tuohy, one of her attorneys, after the jury delivered a not guilty verdict on March 19.  Taylor K. Vecsey


Suffolk County's first mobile testing site for the novel coronavirus began operation on March 18 at Stony Brook University's south commuter lot. Doug Kuntz


Friends found a safe, socially distant way to meet up in the parking lot of East Hampton's Main Beach in late March. Durell Godfrey


Workers at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital waved as first responders made an appreciation loop around the hospital on April 3. Doug Kuntz


Volunteers at the Montauk Food Pantry packed bags for distribution in April; the pantry served 278 families that day, which "translates to 854 people," according to Alice Houseknecht, its director. Doug Kuntz


An employee at the Montauk I.G.A. checked a customer's temperature in April.  Doug Kuntz


East Hampton Town Police Officer Andrea Kess on patrol in Montauk in early April   Doug Kuntz


Egypt Beach in East Hampton Village in on April 25. Access was limited to prevent overcrowding.  Durell Godfrey


The New York Air National Guard 106th Rescue Wing saluted Long Islanders for their hard work to "fight against Covid-19 with a flyover on May 14 covering the North and South Shores from Long Beach to East Hampton and Greenport. Doug Kuntz


A drive-through Covid-19 testing site opened in East Hampton in May.  Durell Godfrey


East Hampton's John M. Marshall Elementary School took a turn doing a teacher parade through the community last Thursday. Gina Kraus, a first-grade teacher, waved pom-poms out of a car driven by Alisa Sanabria, a teaching assistant in her class.  Durell Godfrey


In a Memorial Day observance like no other, a handful of masked veterans gathered to remember the fallen at East Hampton's Main Beach.  Durell Godfrey


A lifeguard on duty at Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett. In the summer of 2020 face-coverings became a part of guards' essential gear.  Durell Godfrey


In early June, an employee at K Pasa in Sag Harbor stood by at the walk-up window, where customers could order fish tacos and margaritas to go.  Durell Godfrey


Rosie Rudolph, left, gave Richard Burns, the school superintendent, an elbow bump in lieu of a handshake at the East Hampton High School graduation in late June.  Christine Sampson


A scene that speaks to the new normal: Friends at a bachelorette party aboard a boat in Sag Harbor embraced mask-wearing requirements. The bride-to-be, at the back of the pack, stood out in white.  Durell Godfrey


The all-too-frequent line at the Amagansett Post Office snaked into the back of the lobby. The Covid-19 pandemic has flooded post offices and shipping stores with packages, mail, and new customers, leading to difficult working conditions for employees and long lines for customers.  Doug Kuntz


UPS and FedEx drivers were also in constant overdrive as people ordered more of their necessities online to avoid in-person shopping.  Durell Godfrey


Search teams scoured Fort Pond in Montauk on July 19 for a man who had gone missing after diving from a rowboat while out with friends. Two days later, a dive team recovered the body of 42-year-old Jeffrey B. Gantt of Manhattan. Doug Kuntz


A flotilla of Donald Trump supporters meet up in Fort Pond Bay on Aug. 7 at the tail end of a TrumpStock boat parade. Police looked on as protesters and supporters watched from the beach.  Paul Gansky

The first day of school in Amagansett was a cause for celebration as students returned for the first time since March. Jane Bimson


Supporters rallied around Jerry Larsen, in blue, on Sept. 15 at the East Hampton Emergency Services Building as he reviewed numbers confirming he had won the race for East Hampton Village mayor. With him were, from left, Matthew Kochanasz, Kenneth Brabant, Jeffrey Erickson, and Steven Niggles.  Doug Kuntz


More than ever, in 2020 the beach became a place of refuge and renewal in a difficult year.  Durell Godfrey


Spontaneous remembrances of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sprang up across the East End after her death in September. In East Hampton, Christine Sciulli, an artist from Amagansett, projected inspirational images of Justice Ginsburg on the Hook Mill.  John Musnicki


Movie theaters were ordered closed for much of the year, and the Regal group, which operates the East Hampton Cinema, asked why in October. They were since allowed to open with limited capacity, but Regal's theaters remain closed. Durell Godfrey


David Peralta, center, appeared with his attorney, Edmond Chakmakian, and mother, Jenny Mera, outside of East Hampton Town Justice Court on Oct. 8 as supporters rallied to his cause. Mr. Peralta underwent emergency surgery in August after an alleged road rage attack by Charles Streep. Initial felony charges against Mr. Streep were eventually downgraded.  Bella Lewis


The MAGA-Gras parade of vehicles arrived in downtown Montauk on Oct. 18, flags flying and horns honking. Doug Kuntz 


Voters waited in line to cast ballots at the early voting site at the Stony Brook Southampton campus on Oct. 27.  Jennifer Landes


Tye Granger, a music teacher at the East Hampton Middle School, offered class outside on nice days this fall.  Jane Bimson

The Laredo Brazos, a massive barge that can stand out of the water, arrived offshore in Wainscott in mid-November to conducting geotechnical survey work for the developers of the proposed South Fork Wind farm, and drawing plenty of curious onlookers. Durell Godfrey




Powerful Storm Claims Yet Another Historic Elm

The mighty storm that blew through East Hampton Thursday morning felled a large limb from a historic elm tree — one of a dwindling number of such trees that help give East Hampton Village its character.

May 23, 2024

Students ‘Carry the Load’ for the Fallen

The local chapter of Whiskey Bravo, a nationwide youth organization that raises awareness of the kinds of support needed by veterans and active military personnel, took on the somber task this year of placing flags at the gravesites of East Hampton soldiers, and also walked a symbolic lap around the field at the American Legion to show their support.

May 23, 2024

Gaza War Draws Rival Protesters

Competing protests over the Israel-Hamas war on Sunday afternoon on Long Wharf in Sag Harbor were peaceful, if loud, when East End for Ceasefire encountered Long Island MAGA Patriots and the Setauket Patriots.

May 23, 2024

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