It’s that time of year where the North Fork is back in the news.
As the weather heats up, so too does the attention paid by outside media to this neck of the woods.
The focus of most of these articles is on what a special place the North Fork is and how it’s attracting more and more people each year. Those are facts few people would argue with.
But coverage of the North Fork’s growing reputation as a prime destination to visit, comes with its share of concerns from locals and transplants alike. When Greenport is referred to as a hipster haven, for example, as it has been in several recent pieces, you can almost hear a collective groan from virtually everyone who calls the North Fork home — be it for 50 years or five months.
Some of what is written will make even just an occasional visitor to the North Fork cringe. In recent years I’ve read an article with a headline that stated “The North Fork Has a New Name: NoFo,” a listicle recommending visitors check out a puppy mill, and another about wooden boatmakers in “Greenpoint.”
That’s not to say everything written about the North Fork is trite or that this publication is without errors of information or judgement. It’s just that sometime things are written that add fuel to the fire that burns between those who enjoy a quick visit to our waterfront communities and those who have never had a desire to leave it (Can you blame them?)
Ultimately, the balance that needs to be struck on the North Fork comes down to respect. Respect for the land. Respect for the roads and waterways. Respect for both tradition and change. Respect for each other.
This past week I came across one of my favorite recent pieces about tourism issues on the North Fork, and it came from an unlikely source. The piece was written by Isabella Canberg and Kate Oliver, students in Amy Brown’s fourth-grade class at Cutchogue East Elementary School. It was published in Kidsday, the student-written section of Newsday.
The headline read “North Fork visitors need to mind their manners,” and it contained advice for folks spending time here, much of it relating to how out-of-towners drive and behave.
My favorite suggestion, and it’s something we could all be a little better about from time to time, was to “be kind.”
“When some city people come out here, they act as if they’re special,” the students wrote, “as if they’re kings and queens and can be rude to other people because they’re rich.”
And that, my dear northforker readers, is a fine example of kids finding a way to say things in an honest and direct way us adults might not be able to do or get away with.
If all of us — locals, transplants, part-timers and visitors to the North Fork — follow each piece of advice from Isabella and Kate it will be one heckuva summer season.
• I can’t mention this latest North Fork edition of Kidsday and not also give a shout out to fellow fourth grader McKenna Clark, who profiled one of my favorite stops along the North Road.
• Another enjoyable read about the North Fork this week came from the New York Post and it was about some of the many notable chefs who have moved here.
• It’s the first weekend after Memorial Day and there’s a lot happening. I’ll share five weekend picks this time around. First Fridays is a great way to start your weekend and it got off to a big start in May. We’re hosting the second in our series of seasonal events at Tanger Outlet Center in Riverhead at noon Saturday — Croteaux will be pouring rosé and there will be some good food options, making it a great time to go shopping. Lenz is doing a wine and cheese event at Goodale Farms in Aquebogue Friday that includes a farm tour. It’s dog dock diving weekend at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. in Peconic. Also be sure on Saturday to check out designer Alex Vinash’s new line at a fashion event for CAST and the American Legion we’re proud to be a media sponsor of.
• Looking to plan further ahead this month, we posted our 10 things to do in June post this week.
• We’re getting a lot of great feedback on our June issue. So far we’ve posted Cyndi Murray’s piece on raising chickens and my love letter to Greenport. Our big farmstand guide will be online tomorrow.
• Searching for something to binge watch or listen to? Despite it appearing from a distance like a lot of other serial killer/spy/assassin shows, Killing Eve was surprisingly original and worth a stream on BBC America. All eight episodes are now available. In the podcast space, I can’t get enough of the second season of In the Dark, which features some of the best criminal justice reporting I’ve come across and is a must-listen for anyone who likes to add a twist of true crime to their morning commute.
Grant Parpan is the content director for Times Review Media Group, overseeing a number of things, including content planning for northforker.com and magazine, the posts and videos we create for advertisers, and the company’s digital platforms. What kind of stories/videos do you want to see from us this summer? Email him at [email protected].