Editorial: The Sum of Its Parts


There has been a lot of talk over the course of the last five years about how Sag Harbor Village has changed. And it has — from its demographics to some of the shops and restaurants that line its Rockwellian Main Street, and certainly the soaring cost of housing. But a confluence of events this weekend was evidence that as much as things have changed, much still does remain the same, and the backbone of people who work, volunteer and strive to ensure that Sag Harbor’s vibrancy will be sustained, and will evolve, is as strong as ever.
On Saturday, Maryann Calendrille and Kathryn Szoka celebrated their 20th anniversary of owning one of Sag Harbor’s most beloved institutions, Canio’s Books, a mecca for writers and readers. It’s more than just a bookstore — it’s a cultural force and a business that has helped define the village in its modern era.
Curated by Ms. Calendrille and Ms. Szoka, Canio’s Books and its nonprofit arm, Canio’s Cultural Café, have drawn celebrated authors like Margaret Atwood, Kurt Vonnegut and Studs Terkel to its podium. But it’s not just about the star power: Perhaps more importantly, Canio’s has fostered community, encouraged debate and intellectual growth, and helped preserve the literary history of both Canio’s and of Sag Harbor.
In the meantime, while the business has had to battle an enormous shift in the retail market, and the very real looming threat of online retailers like Amazon, Ms. Calendrille and Ms. Szoka have stayed true to their mission and created a following that we hope can help support Canio’s for another two decades to come. Places like Canio’s are what make Sag Harbor special. They are what’s special.
Another celebration took place on Sunday evening at Baron’s Cove, as the Sag Harbor Partnership — a nonprofit that has dedicated itself to village improvement — honored Gregory N. Ferraris with its fourth annual Community Service Award, an honor previously bestowed on artist and Partnership co-founder April Gornik, landscape architect Edmund Hollander, and longtime Wharf Shop co-owner Nada Barry.
Mr. Ferraris, the successful business owner and accountant behind G.N. Ferraris on Main Street, is a Sag Harbor native who, upon returning to his hometown, dedicated himself professionally and personally in aiding nonprofit organizations, serving on a multitude of community boards, and even running successful campaigns to earn election to the Sag Harbor Village Board as both a trustee and eventually as mayor.
True to form, Mr. Ferraris spent the evening talking not about himself but the room full of people surrounding him on Sunday: his family; political leaders like Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming, Sag Harbor Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy, State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Southampton Town Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni, all who call greater Sag Harbor home; longtime business associates; volunteers and mentors; cultural leaders in the community; and the board of the Partnership.
The people in that room join the scores of volunteers who make up vital emergency service resources, the community of veterans who encourage us to remember those who served their country, preservationists who have ensured the village maintains its aesthetic, business owners who keep Main Street alive, artists and writers who made it a cultural destination, environmentalists who fight for its future, and a historical society intent on preserving the stories of its past.
Has Sag Harbor changed? Yes. But there are still so many dedicated to its evolving future — and it will be that group that helps shape what is to come.