Tag Archive | "Bay Burger"

Marine Meadows Workshop Brings Eelgrass Restoration to Sag Harbor

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This Thursday and Friday, trained experts from the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) will forage shoots of healthy eelgrass from marine meadows throughout the region. They will then bring them to Sag Harbor and enlist the help of dozens of volunteers to aid in the Cooperative’s 18-year-old Eelgrass Restoration Program.

On Saturday — National Estuaries Day — the Cornell Cooperative Extension along with The Peconic Land Trust and the Sag Harbor Oyster Club hope to give East End residents a hands-on experience and education in eelgrass restoration.

From 3 to 5 p.m., the organizations will gather under tents at Bay Burger just outside Sag Harbor Village for the Marine Meadows Workshop. Volunteers will be asked to weave eelgrass shoots into burlap disks that will be planted in the Peconic Estuary the next day, establishing a new, healthy eelgrass meadow which ideally will become habitat for finfish and shellfish, and enhance the overall health of the bays.

According to the CCE’s Habitat Restoration Outreach Specialist Kim Barbour, the Marine Meadows Program is a community-based, collaborative initiative developed by the Cooperative as an offshoot of its Eelgrass Restoration Program.

Eelgrass is a critical aspect of the coastal ecosystem, noted Barbour. The seagrass provides habitat for marine life, helps filter nitrogen — preventing harmful algae blooms — and even protects the shoreline from erosion.

For decades, eelgrass has been in decline — globally and locally — due to pollution, disease and disturbance. Preserving what remains of the eelgrass meadows locally, as well as restoring the eelgrass stock is at the heart of the Cooperative’s Marine Program.

“The loss of eelgrass is one of the most significant issues facing the Peconic Estuary,” said Bay Burger owner and Sag Harbor Oyster Club founder Joe Tremblay. “Eelgrass is a critical habitat for a number of threatened species, most notably bay scallops and winter flounder. Scallop populations may never be able to be rebuilt if its natural eelgrass habitat disappears. The bottom of Sag Harbor Cove was historically almost entirely covered with eelgrass, and now it is virtually non-existent there. The Peconic Estuary has lost over 90 percent of its historic eel grass meadows.”

The Marine Meadows Program was conceived last spring to involve coastal communities on Eastern Long Island and Connecticut in the CCE’s efforts, providing a method to teach residents about water quality and the necessity of eelgrass restoration. It also enables the CCE to tap into local civic groups and community organizations as a pool of volunteers willing to donate their time towards eelgrass restoration projects in the Peconic Estuary, the Shinnecock Bay and in the Long Island Sound.

According to Barbour, this will be the fifth Marine Meadows Workshop event, and the program is gaining in popularity, community groups eager to get their hands dirty in the spirit of improving water quality across the region.

The workshops would not be possible without the initiative of Cornell Cooperative Extension restoration ecologist Chris Pickerell, who created the new, more efficient method of planting eel grass beds on bay bottoms. After weaving the healthy shoots into the burlap disks above water, they are planted by scuba certified CCE Marine Program staff the next day.

“The more we can get assembled, the more restoration,” said Barbour.

The process, she added, “is elementary, but as we do this we provide an education about the species while volunteers handle the live plants. This tremendously increases the planting units we have to work with and hopefully people will walk away with a new found knowledge and enthusiasm for protecting our estuaries.”

Barbour said CCE is hoping to make the program an almost year-round aspect of their overall Eelgrass Restoration Program, and with the amount of community support the workshop has received so far, she is hopeful the organization will meet its goals.

The Marine Meadows Program, sponsored by the Cornell Cooperative Extension, The Peconic Land Trust and the Sag Harbor Oyster Club is free, and will be held Saturday from 3 to 5p.m. For more information contact Kim Barbour at 852-8660 or at kp237@cornell.edu.

Jam Session Finds Winter Home at Bay Street

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The sounds of horns, drums, bass guitars and freestyle rap will not be stifled by the onset of winter thanks to a new partnership between Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theatre and Bay Burger restaurant, which will bring its popular Thursday night Jam Session to Bay Street while it shutters its doors through April.

The inaugural Bay Burger Jam Session at Bay Street will be held tonight, December 3, at 7 p.m. The sessions will take a recess through the holidays and reopen on January 7, and be held every Thursday night until Bay Burger opens its doors again in the spring.

The jam session is free and open to the musical and non-musical, young and old.

The partnership is one of several efforts on behalf of the theatre to become a venue for all members of the community, not just those who can afford a $50 theatre ticket come August. Over the course of the last year and a half, the theatre has opened its doors for a number of free, community events in its off-season when Bay Street’s stage is often dark, including televised presidential debates and the inauguration, as well as camps, community meetings and the ever-popular visit to Sag Harbor by Santa Claus, set for this Saturday, December 5.

“The idea is this is a place for everyone in the community,” said Bay Street Theatre Executive Director Tracy Mitchell. “I think it is really important, I believe to the very soul, that no matter if you are doing well or not, as an organization you have an ongoing obligation to serve the community you live in. To me, it is so important that we are able to offer things for free, as well as things that cost $5, $10 and $20. I think, if you are in the world of the arts, you have to keep that at the forefront because at the end of the day, if people cannot afford to see what you are putting up, you don’t have the ability to capture their imaginations, build an audience for the future.”

Building an audience was not difficult for the Bay Burger Jam Sessions, which were conceived by restaurant co-owner John Landes and Sag Harbor drummer Claes Brondal, who opened the first jam session this past April. Musicians of all instruments and styles are invited to jam with The Jam Session House Band.

Brondal said in addition to wanting to provide a much-needed venue for local musicians to hone their craft in front of a live audience, he also envisioned the sessions as an opportunity to create community and raise awareness about jazz and improvisational music. Providing a free venue for all ages, even Brondal’s toddler son, was also crucial to his goal of making the sessions as inclusive as possible.

“We sat down and talked to Bay Street about bringing the session there because it was working so well, we wanted to keep it going, keep it consistent and reliable,” said Brondal. Brondal hopes the new venue will open the sessions up to an even more diverse mix of musicians and audience members.

“I am extremely humble and grateful for this collaboration,” he said.

Brondal believes in the importance of music for children, one of the reasons he strove for an all-ages showcase.

“It is one of the reasons I became interested in the Jam Session,” he said. “A lot of kids have zero experience with live music certainly. I have had parents come down to Bay Burger with their kids and their eyeballs are literally falling out of their heads.”

As a nine-year-old, growing up in Denmark, he realized at an early age that his passion lay in music.

“I remember the first time I listened to really cool music, it gave me the goosebumps,” said Brondal. “I knew I wanted to do that with my life.”

After playing professionally in Denmark, he moved to the States in 1998 after experiencing what he called “a romantic love story” with wife Mare, an American. Living in New York and Oregon, the couple settled in Sag Harbor eight years ago and has a young son, Griffin. Brondal is a career musician, teaching drums privately and at local schools in drum workshops and music appreciation classes.

On Monday, Liza Tremblay, who owns Bay Burger along with Landes, who is her father, and her husband Joe, the restaurant’s executive chef, said the popularity of the jam sessions was beyond any of their expectations drawing a host of accomplished musicians and residents of all ages to the eatery.

“Thursday became our busiest night of the week,” she said. “It was a really fun atmosphere.”

Tremblay said she hopes a partnership with Bay Street continues after this winter.

“I would be interested in doing cross promotions in the future,” she said. “I think we can promote each other from opposite ends of Sag Harbor.”

“This was a no-brainer,” said Mitchell. “It fit well for us, and the artists – the talent – are terrific. This is not some karaoke night. These are real musicians with a true following.”


The Oyster Club Comes to Sag Harbor

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When summer wanes and the winter chill sets in, Bay Burger proprietor Joe Tremblay always finds he has more time on his hands. Instead of spending these months unwinding, though, Tremblay can be found researching eco-friendly septic tanks, participating in 725 GREEN meetings or visiting up-island waste management sites.
Now, with help from the Cornell Cooperative’s Southold Project on Aquaculture Training (SPAT), Tremblay is starting an Oyster Club for waterfront property owners on Sag Harbor Cove in the hopes of helping them farm their own oysters. The club isn’t solely focused on the culinary aspect of raising and feasting upon this shellfish delicacy. Tremblay hopes the group will change residents’ attitudes toward the Peconic Estuary.
“I think this is a great way to engage waterfront property owners in the water that they live on,” opined Tremblay. “The water is degraded because everyone is polluting it just a little bit, so we can only fix the problem by having everyone work on it.”
“If I can get the majority of waterfront homeowners ‘tending a garden’ in the cove or eating seafood from the cove, then it’s in their own personal best interest to care about how they and their neighbors might negatively impact the cove,” added Tremblay.
East End waters are subject to a host of environmental problems, said Tremblay, including the recent brown tides. Everything from lawn pesticides to storm water runoff can harm the delicate ecosystem of the cove. Tremblay says these problems may be to blame for the water’s murky quality in the summer and a substantial loss of eelgrass, which shellfish like scallops depend on for their survival.
Will Kirchoff, who attended the club’s introductory meeting at Bay Burger on Sunday, May 3, noted that water quality has drastically declined since his youth.
“I remember as a kid coming out here and the water was crystal clear. You could see eight feet down, even in the summer,” Kirchoff remembers. “We need to try and bring the harbor back … a lot of people are taking this beauty for granted but we can’t just take, take, take.”
Revitalizing the oyster population is one piece, albeit an important one, in the puzzle of clarifying the cove’s waters. Because oysters are filter feeders, they often digest pollutants and thus help purify the water. Kim Tetrault, who runs the Southold Cooperative, told Tremblay that all the water in the Chesapeake Bay was filtered through the guts of oysters at least once a day when the estuary was at its peak, but it now takes almost 135 days for the water to be fully filtered. The depopulation of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay, as well as in Sag Harbor Cove, can be attributed in part to over harvesting. Tremblay said sightings of wild oysters in the cove today is a rarity akin to spotting a whale from the beach.
With the support of the Oyster Club’s 22 members, Tremblay hopes to reverse this trend. Each member will receive 1,000 seed oysters. The gear, mainly consisting of a cage to house the oysters, the necessary training and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation permits are all included in the annual dues: $250 for the first year and $150 each additional year.
These oyster-growing accoutrements are all provided by SPAT, though Tremblay has offered to make a run up to Southold and pick up gear and oyster seeds for everyone involved. For now, the DEC is issuing permits only to waterfront property owners. Members without access to the water can harvest their oysters at the Southold station. A few cove property owners have stepped forward and will allow members to attach oyster cages to their docks. Tremblay said members should expect to yield between 75 to 80 percent of their total seed, which translates into a sizable number of oysters.
Tremblay maintains, however, that most members aren’t joining for the pleasure of noshing on the fruits of their labor. He referenced a survey conducted by SPAT which noted, on average, that eating oysters was only the eighth most popular reason to join the cooperative.
“I actually don’t eat oysters,” said Kirchoff at the meeting on Sunday. “I wanted to help the local environment.”
Southampton Town also jumped on this initiative and will allow 40 town residents to place oyster cages off a dock in Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays.
Tremblay’s club will host monthly educational lectures, including “Water Quality, Brown Tides and Harmful Algae” in July and “Configuring and Maintaining Oyster Gardens” in June. On Sunday, members asked questions on how to open oysters. Tremblay said a cooking class could be scheduled down the line and hosted at his restaurant.
In the upcoming summer months, as the club learns to deep fry these shellfish treats or winterize their oyster garden, Tremblay hopes the group will have a positive impact on the local environment.
“This kind of environmentalism speaks to me,” he said. “You can see results in my lifetime. If we can act locally and improve water quality in Sag Harbor Cove, then maybe other sub-estuaries will see us as a model.”

Restaurant Forges Identity With Music

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For drummer Claes Brondal, it has been a difficult time to meet and play with other musicians. There are few opportunities, he said recently, to sit in and play, especially at a professional level.

For restaurant owner John Landes, there was a challenge to make his Bay Burger on the Sag Harbor-Bridgehampton Turnpike a nexus for the various groups that make up the local community.

Together, after meeting through a mutual friend over Thanksgiving dinner, they decided that the casual restaurant would make a perfect venue to bring musicians together, as well as those that appreciate an evening of freewheeling and frequently unexpected music.

“I had been looking a long time for a venue for a jam session when I met John,” said Mr. Brondal in an interview this week. “We started talking about a Hamptons jazz festival and said we should start small.”

That’s when the idea of doing weekly Thursday night jams at Bay Burger got started.

“We just thought we’d take the temperature of the community,” said Brondal.

Going into the fourth week of the session tonight, Thursday, it appears that the temperature is pretty hot — or cool, as the case may be.

Each week has seen some growth in the audience, and each week sees new performers showing up to play, said Mr. Landes.

 “It’s attracting the musicians, and that’s what we wanted to do,” he said, adding the evenings’ music ranges widely, from jazz to folk to funk and Latin.

“Right now it’s pretty much free form,” he said. “The music works very well in the room, as it’s not necessarily rock.”

The restaurateur, whose daughter and son-in-law Joe and Liza Tremblay, really run the place, said they had been experimenting with music since last year, and regularly featured local bands and performers, such as Jim Turner and Leroy Klavis.

“We’re outside the village and trying to find ways of putting Bay Burger on the map,” said Mr. Landes. “We’re trying to establish an identity for Bay Burger, and music is one of the ways to do that.”

“I’ve always been a music nut,” said Mr. Landes, who remembers visiting a number of local sites for live music, including Stephen Talkhouse and even the concerts at Long Beach during the summer.

He went around searching for local bands, and said that while the restaurant featured music on a regular basis last year, they “wanted a more consistent house band.”

Mr. Landes gives most of the credit to Mr. Brondal who, he said, set it all up.

“He was the one who reached out to the musicians,” said Mr. Landes.

In February, Mr. Brondal sent out an excited email to friends and musicians telling them about the new venue and soliciting ideas. It would be, he promised, not an open mike night, but a “good ol’ jam session where musicians can practice their craft, try new compositions, new ideas, free style rap over the Sidewinder beat, take a leap of faith, solo over odd chord changes and signatures.”

His solicitation was successful, and now he says each night features about 10 or 15 musicians anxious to sit in and experiment.

“It’s all inclusive,” he said, “but you have to be able to play and interact with other people.”

“Right from the get go we had a full house,” he said, and now we’re getting musicians from as far away as Sayville.” The nearest place with anything like what is going on at Bay Burger is in Levittown, said Mr. Brondal.

For his part, he credits the Bay Burger owner with making the scene happen.

“John Landes believed in the combination of burgers and jazz,” said Mr. Brondal. “He’s creating a cradle of arts, music and poetry.”

Indeed, even Mr. Landes’ own staff gets in the act. Willie Jenkins, a line cook will often come from behind the counter and put in his own, original freestyle rap with the musicians.

“So it’s also a marriage of music and spoken word,” said Mr. Landes.

Noting his location on the turnpike, Mr. Landes said, “We’re at the crossroads, trying to bring two communities together. We’re trying to establish our identity and see where it goes.”

The Thursday night jam sessions at Bay Burger begin approximately at 7 p.m.

 

Restaurant Forges Identity With Music

Tags: , , ,


For drummer Claes Brondal, it has been a difficult time to meet and play with other musicians. There are few opportunities, he said recently, to sit in and play, especially at a professional level.

For restaurant owner John Landes, there was a challenge to make his Bay Burger on the Sag Harbor-Bridgehampton Turnpike a nexus for the various groups that make up the local community.

Together, after meeting through a mutual friend over Thanksgiving dinner, they decided that the casual restaurant would make a perfect venue to bring musicians together, as well as those that appreciate an evening of freewheeling and frequently unexpected music.

“I had been looking a long time for a venue for a jam session when I met John,” said Mr. Brondal in an interview this week. “We started talking about a Hamptons jazz festival and said we should start small.”

That’s when the idea of doing weekly Thursday night jams at Bay Burger got started.

“We just thought we’d take the temperature of the community,” said Brondal.

Going into the fourth week of the session tonight, Thursday, it appears that the temperature is pretty hot — or cool, as the case may be.

Each week has seen some growth in the audience, and each week sees new performers showing up to play, said Mr. Landes.

 “It’s attracting the musicians, and that’s what we wanted to do,” he said, adding the evenings’ music ranges widely, from jazz to folk to funk and Latin.

“Right now it’s pretty much free form,” he said. “The music works very well in the room, as it’s not necessarily rock.”

The restaurateur, whose daughter and son-in-law Joe and Liza Tremblay, really run the place, said they had been experimenting with music since last year, and regularly featured local bands and performers, such as Jim Turner and Leroy Klavis.

“We’re outside the village and trying to find ways of putting Bay Burger on the map,” said Mr. Landes. “We’re trying to establish an identity for Bay Burger, and music is one of the ways to do that.”

“I’ve always been a music nut,” said Mr. Landes, who remembers visiting a number of local sites for live music, including Stephen Talkhouse and even the concerts at Long Beach during the summer.

He went around searching for local bands, and said that while the restaurant featured music on a regular basis last year, they “wanted a more consistent house band.”

Mr. Landes gives most of the credit to Mr. Brondal who, he said, set it all up.

“He was the one who reached out to the musicians,” said Mr. Landes.

In February, Mr. Brondal sent out an excited email to friends and musicians telling them about the new venue and soliciting ideas. It would be, he promised, not an open mike night, but a “good ol’ jam session where musicians can practice their craft, try new compositions, new ideas, free style rap over the Sidewinder beat, take a leap of faith, solo over odd chord changes and signatures.”

His solicitation was successful, and now he says each night features about 10 or 15 musicians anxious to sit in and experiment.

“It’s all inclusive,” he said, “but you have to be able to play and interact with other people.”

“Right from the get go we had a full house,” he said, and now we’re getting musicians from as far away as Sayville.” The nearest place with anything like what is going on at Bay Burger is in Levittown, said Mr. Brondal.

For his part, he credits the Bay Burger owner with making the scene happen.

“John Landes believed in the combination of burgers and jazz,” said Mr. Brondal. “He’s creating a cradle of arts, music and poetry.”

Indeed, even Mr. Landes’ own staff gets in the act. Willie Jenkins, a line cook will often come from behind the counter and put in his own, original freestyle rap with the musicians.

“So it’s also a marriage of music and spoken word,” said Mr. Landes.

Noting his location on the turnpike, Mr. Landes said, “We’re at the crossroads, trying to bring two communities together. We’re trying to establish our identity and see where it goes.”

The Thursday night jam sessions at Bay Burger begin approximately at 7 p.m.

 

 

Sag Harbor Votes For Change In Historic National Election

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While Bay Street Theatre may not have been able to boast the crowds that packed Chicago’s Grant Park, on Tuesday night there was a palpable sense of excitement in Sag Harbor as village residents gathered at the theatre, The American Hotel and Bay Burger to bear witness to the historic Presidential election of Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

Obama, the Democratic candidate, was not just successful in the Electoral College, where he bested Republican Arizona Senator John McCain 349 to 163, with 26 electoral votes out of North Carolina and Missouri still hanging in the balance as of Wednesday, but took states like Indiana and Virginia – states that had not voted for a Democratic president in decades. He was also able to easily take the popular vote collecting roughly 63 million votes to McCain’s 56 million.

Nationally, an estimated 64 percent of the electorate turned out on Tuesday to cast their ballots for president – a record turnout. However, residents of Suffolk County appear to take their voting seriously year in and year out, with an estimated 70 percent of registered voters pulling the lever for a presidential candidate this election cycle. In 2004, about 72 percent of the electorate stepped out to vote in the presidential contest between Democrat John Kerry and President George W. Bush.

As was the case in 2004, a majority of Suffolk County and East End residents voted for the Democratic candidate this year, with Obama taking approximately 52 percent of the votes cast to McCain’s 47 percent. On the East End, and in particularly Sag Harbor, Bridgehampton, Noyac, North Haven and Sagaponack Obama won by far greater margins.

On the Southampton Town side of Sag Harbor (districts 1 and 21) 741 voters turned out to support Obama, with McCain earning 309 votes. On the East Hampton side of Sag Harbor, 515 residents turned out in support of the Democratic candidate, with 124 voting for McCain. In Northwest Woods, 533 of the electorate pulled the lever for Obama with 232 voting for McCain.

In Noyac (districts 2 and 36), Obama took 725 votes with McCain clocking in with 428. In North Haven-Baypoint, voters handed Obama 432 votes and McCain a solid 368. In Bridgehampton and Sagaponack (districts 3 and 13), Obama snared 830 votes to McCain’s 369.

While there may have been a number of supporters of the Republican candidate on the East End, at Bay Street Theatre and The American Hotel on Tuesday night, prior to the election being called in Obama’s favor, it was as if he had already won the race with many residents offering their enthusiasm and advice for the man who would later that evening become the United State’s first African-American President.

Sag Harbor resident Mia Grosjean said she had little advice for the president-elect, as he already seemed to be moving in the direction she supports – community activism.

“Encourage young people to remain active, get involved and make a difference,” piped in Helen Samuels of her hopes for Obama.

“Govern with peace and justice,” advised Dennis Carr.

Many also spoke of their desire to see a country united, and their hope the 47-year old senator will be the man to do just that.

“To make people proud to be in this country and to make it something it was when I was a child,” said North Haven resident Richard Demato of his hopes for the Obama regime. “Make it something to be excited about.”

“I want him to bring us together,” said another guest at The American Hotel on Tuesday night. “And never forget he’s the president of the whole country.”

 Congressman Tim Bishop, who handily regained his seat in the United States House of Representatives securing 58 percent of the vote to Republican challenger Lee Zeldin’s 42 percent, had similar thoughts about the future of the federal government and the mandate he says the American people have now handed the Democratic Party, which will have control of the House, the Senate and the Executive branches.

“I think that it gives us great hope for the future,” said Bishop. “I think the other thing is we have to be very careful to not make the same mistakes the Republican Party made when it had a majority, where the national party really allowed itself to be moved to the right. We, as a party, need to resist the temptation to move to the far left. We need to recognize that we need to achieve balance and govern from the middle. That is Obama’s message, and it is an important one.”

Like Obama, Bishop took every election district in Sag Harbor, Noyac, North Haven and Baypoint, in Northwest Woods, Bridgehampton and Sagaponack, often securing more than double the votes Zeldin was able to gather in his inaugural bid for political office.

In a prime example of the continued success of the Democratic Party on Tuesday, Democrat Sally Pope bested incumbent Republican Dan Russo to earn a seat on the Southampton Town Board securing 52 percent of the vote to Russo’s 48 percent by a narrow margin of 741 votes. However, with over 2,000 absentee ballots expected to be counted next Wednesday, Russo has said the race is too close to call.

According to preliminary results out of the Suffolk County Board of Elections, Russo was only able to win two districts in our area – one in Sagaponack-Bridgehampton (district 13) and the other in Noyac (district 36). Pope took the remaining districts in Sag Harbor, one in Noyac, in North Haven and another in Bridgehampton.

Sag Harbor resident and Democratic candidate for Southampton Town Justice Andrea Schiavoni also appears to have been successful in her attempt to oust Republican justice Thomas DeMayo, taking 56.5 percent of the electorate to DeMayo’s 43.5 percent by earning 2,822 more votes than the incumbent. Schiavoni won all districts in Sag Harbor, Noyac, North Haven and Baypoint, Sagaponack, Bridgehampton and in Northwest Woods.

One Republican on the East End who coasted to victory with relative ease was incumbent New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. who won his seat over Democratic challenger W. Michael Pitcher with 63 percent of the vote to Pitcher’s 37 percent. Thiele was victorious by over 12,000 votes.

New York State Senator Ken LaValle, a Republican incumbent who was running unopposed also earned reelection in Tuesday’s race.

But like many Republicans nationwide, Thiele is looking at a Democratic majority, not just in the assembly, but likely in the senate with a Democratic governor in place.

However, Thiele is not worried, noting he was pleased to see 15 percent of voters who turned out to support him did so under party lines that were not Republican, meaning those outside his party supported his bid for reelection.

“My approach has always been to not be overtly partisan,” said Thiele. “I think that is what people are looking for in government.”