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Boat Building and Boat Yards of Long Island

Text, whiteboard

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by Nancy Solomon, with a foreword by Bill Bleyer

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1467145213

Paperback: ‎ 160 pages

The History Press

Release date November 29, 2021

Book and Author Events take place Throughout December


Long Island Traditions announces the publication of “Boat Building and Boat Yards of Long Island: A Tribute to Tradition,” by its executive director, folklorist Nancy Solomon. On December 4, and continuing throughout the month, Long Island Traditions will be hosting several public programs supporting the release of the new publication. “Boat Building and Boat Yards of Long Island” is the culmination of over 30 years of research on traditional boat builders and contemporary boat yards of the region, originally featured in the exhibition “From Shore to Shore” sponsored by Long Island Traditions. The book, illustrated with current and historic photos, examines the traditional occupational and recreational culture of boat builders and boat yards in the region. The book is available through The History Press and at public book signings.


For centuries, residents of New York have built watercraft and waterfront facilities to transport people and goods locally, nationally and internationally.  For the settlers of this area, boating was a way of life.  It provided employment, recreation, and transportation.  Dutch and English settlers crossed the Atlantic Ocean to settle in New Amsterdam, travelling up the Hudson River, along Long Island Sound and Long Island’s south shore. Wooden ships and boats dominated the country’s transportation system until the mid-1800s when railroads took on a larger role in transportation.  Coastal towns employed shipwrights, marine carpenters, boat captains and other trades people for generations.  Boatyards today still house numerous structures ranging from large barns to machine shops, some dating from the 1800s.


Contemporary boat builders continue many of the traditions established in previous generations, with notable changes including the use of fiberglass and newer technologies and tools.  Yet we know little about their work and their workplaces.  “Boat Building and Boat Yards of Long Island” explores the worlds of over 25 boat builders and historic boatyards where boats and ships are built or maintained today. Boat builders include professionals, amateurs, and volunteers, all dedicated to preserving the craft of earlier generations. Featured boat builders and boatyards include Howard Pickerell of Southampton, Paul Ketcham of Amityville, the Scopinich family of Freeport and East Quogue, Alan Steiger of Bellport, Donn Costanzo of Greenport, the Bayles Boat Shop workers in Port Jefferson, the Harter Brothers of Bellmore, along with Davison’s Boatyard in East Rockaway, the Hanff Boatyard in Greenport, and Knutson’s Boatyard in Huntington.


Author Nancy Solomon will be presenting a series of live programs as follows:


Saturday, December 4, at the Freeport Memorial Library at 2:30 pm. The library is located at 144 West Merrick Road, Freeport.


Monday, December 6, at the American Legion Hall in Greenport at 5 pm. Located at 102 3rd Street, Greenport. Folksinger Dr. Stephen Sanfilippo will perform as part of the program.


Thursday, December 9, at 7 pm at the Oyster Bay Historical Society, located at 20 Summit Street, Oyster Bay. Admission is $10/members and $15/non-members


Sunday, December 12, at 1 pm at the Long Island Maritime Museum, located at 88 West Street, West Sayville.


Thursday, December 16, at 7 pm at the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium, located at 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport.


Per CDC guidelines visitors will be required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.




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