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The cover of the September issue photographed by David Benthal.

Originally conceptualized as a special section of The Suffolk Times, “The Working Waterfront” was the brainchild of Times Review Media Group executive editor Steve Wick, who also wrote the cover story on Captain Mark Phillips of Greenport.

Wick’s reason for wanting to cover this topic was simple: The North Fork’s history is deeply tied to the waters that surround it. And unlike agriculture, which has been forced to adapt throughout the years but continues to be a major industry here, the number of people making their living on the water has dropped off tremendously in recent decades.

Still, what would the North Fork and Shelter Island be without the fishermen, boat captains and others who rise early each morning to scratch out a living on the bays and Sound?

It was important for us to tell the stories of some of the folks who still earn a paycheck out on the water and we aimed to capture a slice of life from most of the ways people do so.

This project, which actually launched more than eight months ago so we could capture some of these folks working in frigid winter conditions, ultimately ended up as this special issue of Northforker magazine, which hits newsstands Monday. It’s the first of its kind, in which we’ve set aside our customary “eat, drink, live, breathe” format to tell different types of stories. To make it a more complete collection of profiles, we’ve also included more content in this issue than ever before.

This won’t be the only special edition of northforker we’ll publish.

For March 2019, we’re planning an issue that pays tribute to the women who make the North Fork the special place it is.

Then in September, we’ll likely produce another special issue, though we haven’t yet settled on a theme. We’d love to hear from our readers about that. What kinds of stories would you like us to tell?

Please shoot me a note at [email protected] if you have an idea you’d like to suggest.

Grant Parpan, Content Director