Long Island Traditions - Climate Change and Sandy

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  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    Nancy Solomon
  • This project looks at how Superstorm Sandy affected the seafaring community, its residents, and its maritime traditions in Long Island, New York.  The project was funded by NOAA/Preserve American Grant.

Interviewee Sort descending Collection Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation
Alison and Larry Muller Long Island Traditions - Climate Change and Sandy

We lost everything in a matter of hours.

Nancy Solomon Freeport, NY Long Island Traditions
Bill Marinaccio Long Island Traditions - Climate Change and Sandy

Bill Marinaccio, born and raised in Freeport, New York, is the son of Captain Carmine Marinaccio, a well-known charter boat captain. Growing up in a maritime environment, Bill was introduced to the fishing industry at a young age. He began helping his father with boat maintenance as a child and progressed to more significant roles, including first mate on his father's charter boat. Bill pursued higher education, attending college in 1962, before enlisting in the Army and serving as a military intelligence special agent during the Vietnam War.

Nancy Solomon Freeport, NY Long Island Traditions
Chuck Tekula Long Island Traditions - Climate Change and Sandy

The traditional baymen’s position on the island has been death by a thousand paper cuts, just one law after another law after another law, until, eventually, it’s not that there’s no money to be made out there.  It’s that it’s so much stuff you have to put up with, with all the boat traffic and all the laws and the licenses you have to deal with and law enforcement agencies.  You just don’t see young people getting into it anymore.

Nancy Solomon Center Moriches, NY Long Island Traditions
Joe Scavone Long Island Traditions - Climate Change and Sandy

It was a living nightmare.  Something I never want to experience again because besides the waters being closed for clamming, you couldn’t even drive through town.  There were boats in the roads everywhere.  It took a couple of weeks for bulldozers to get rid of boats.  There were boats blocking people’s front doors.  Boats that knocked down fences.  it was devastation.  The more you think about it, the more you remember.

Nancy Solomon Freeport, NY Long Island Traditions
Jon Semlear Long Island Traditions - Climate Change and Sandy

Jon Semlear, born in 1960, is a traditional fisherman and bayman based in Sag Harbor, Long Island. Despite being a first-generation waterman, his family has been part of the Sag Harbor community for approximately seventy years, with his father serving as a local physician. Jon developed an interest in marine activities during his youth, engaging in recreational clamming and scalloping. He pursued formal education in marine affairs at the University of Rhode Island and later transferred to Southampton College, where he studied environmental studies and marine science.

Nancy Solomon Sag Harbor, NY Long Island Traditions
Ken Mades Long Island Traditions - Climate Change and Sandy

Ken Mades, born and raised in Hampton Bays, New York, comes from a long line of baymen, with his family residing in Southampton town since 1657 and in Hampton Bays since 1740. His grandfather and father both worked on the bay, instilling in him the skills and knowledge necessary for a life tied to the water. Mades briefly pursued a career on Wall Street after high school, attending the New York Institute of Finance. However, he returned to Hampton Bays to raise his family, continuing the family tradition of bay work.

Nancy Solomon Hampton Bays, NY Long Island Traditions
Michael Combs Long Island Traditions - Climate Change and Sandy

Michael Combs was born on July 3, 1968, and grew up in Freeport and Baldwin, Long Island. He has spent his entire life connected to the bay house tradition, which was central to his family's way of life. From a young age, Combs was introduced to various maritime activities by his father and grandfather, including crabbing, clamming, fishing, and boating. His grandfather, George Carmen, played a significant role in teaching him these skills. As Combs matured, he transitioned these activities into a commercial venture, making a living through crabbing and clamming.

Nancy Solomon Baldwin, NY Long Island Traditions
Tom Jefferies Long Island Traditions - Climate Change and Sandy

Thomas Jefferies, born in 1955, is a commercial fisherman from Freeport, Long Island. Raised on the bay, Jefferies was influenced by his grandparents, who owned a fishing station. After attempting various career paths, including teaching and other jobs, Jefferies found his way back to the bay in his late twenties, deciding to pursue fishing full-time. He has been dedicated to this profession for over three decades. Jefferies specializes in catching and supplying bait to local fishing stations and charter boats, focusing on species like mussels, spearing, sand eels, and squid.

Nancy Solomon Freeport, NY Long Island Traditions