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Long Island Traditions TravelStorys Self-Guided Cellphone Tour: East End Back Story

Commercial Fishing Fleet at Shinnecock Dock

Long Island Traditions is proud to announce the release of East End Back Story on TravelStorys. This is the second tour on TravelStorys; a series of self-guided cell phone tours focusing on Long Island’s historical and contemporary sites of cultural significance. On the East End Back Story tour, you will hear from baymen, decoy carvers and boatyard owners. The route will take you around the east end of Long Island, including stops by scenic waterfront vistas on the south shore and on the north fork.

Wooden boat works at Hanff Dock

This driving tour is part of the New York Back Story Tours developed by folklorists and cultural ethnographers working across the state. The tour series was created in order to bring you first-hand accounts of local lore that are not often heard. Stops on the tour reflect different aspects of local heritage throughout the state where local residents share narratives about the community. “Oftentimes we want to take tours but can’t, because of timing or reasons that are beyond our control. We created these tours as a way to take a tour on own time and pace, at your leisure.” Said Nancy Solomon of Long Island Traditions.

Hanff Boatyard interior

Solomon was chosen to lead this statewide project and spearhead the implementation of the tours on the Travelstorys app and website. The TravelStorys tours are created using content that was collected by the local folklorist in the area. “As ethnographers, we feel that it is important to hear directly from people in the community and not just hear a narration that is read to the person taking the tour. The tours offer a detailed look at the local community as seen and told by those that live in the area.” Solomon added.

The series of tours on TravelStorys will include 10-15 tours statewide. Upcoming tours include North Fork Long Island boat tour as well as a cultural ethnic tour that travels through the North Fork of Long Island. The tours are designed to also stimulate local economic activity in the area. “We do intend to have an economic component to the tours and we hope that businesses that are close to the stops benefit from the additional exposure that they might receive with the tour stops.” said Solomon.

Combs decoy shop

Statewide contributors to the tour series include the following people and their respective organizations:

  • TC Owens from The Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes. This tour will tell the Elmira Backstory in upstate New York.
  • Ed Millar from the Castallani Art Museum of Niagara University. This tour tells the Niagara Backstory in upstate New York. This tour is already live and can be taken now.
  • Todd DeGarmo who is the Founder and staff folklorist at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library. This tour will tell the backstories of Battenkill and Lake George.
  • Ellen McHale, Director of NY Folklore. This tour will tell the Mohawk Backstory.
  • Molly Garfinkel & Steve Zeitlin of CityLore. The stops on this tour are TBD.
  • Aaron Paige from Arts Westchester. The stops on this tour are TBD.
  • Jill Bright – Director of Traditional Arts in Upstate NY (TAUNY). The stops on this tour are TBD.

Examples of East End Back Story tour stops include the Hanff Boatyard and Wooden Boat Works in Greenport where we hear Hanff Boatyard owner John Costello recall how his family settled in Greenport when the railroad was brought to the area. Stop by the Hallockville Museum Farm and Combs Decoy Shop on the North Fork in Riverhead and listen to Jack Combs tell stories of his father and grandfather teaching him the ways of the sea. Visit the Shinnecock fishing dock in Hampton Bays where we hear Ken Mades tell of his youthful days on the bay and how growing up on the bay was a utopia for the local kids. Then venture over to the nearby Shinnecock commercial fishing dock where Bill Reed brings us back to his early days when he was learning how to repair cod fishing nets properly. Venture out to Napeague State Park in Amagansett where David Clarke explains how menhaden or bunker fishing revolutionized the poultry industry. We hope you enjoy these sites and stories shared by resident community members.

The TravelStorys project was funded and made possible by the Robert W. Lion Gardiner Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts. Follow this link to read more about the Long Island Back Story on TravelStorys:

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