From the Waterfront: In Harm’s Way

From the Waterfront: In Harm’s Way

Voices columnist, Nancy Solomon of Long Island Traditions, offers a regular column entitled “From the Waterfront.”
This column appeared in Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore. Fall/Winter 2017.

As part of the exhibit “In Harm’s Way,” which explores how communities cope with storms and hurricanes, I conducted numerous interviews with local residents, architects, and planners about their experiences with storms and hurricanes. One of those interviewed was the Town of Hempstead Commissioner of Conservation and Waterways, Tom Doheny, who has worked on erosion issues for over 40 years. Like many coastal planners, Commissioner Doheny had seen a wide variety of proposals to prevent future storm damage on Long Island. Although there are some who would like to see floodgates erected, there are factors that could affect the success of such proposals. 

“I’m still asking myself what a flood wall would do. When there’s no place for the water to go, it will take the path of least resistance. It’s just going to shunt the water further west. The water will just pile up on it [the wall.] It’s a massive 15-foot wall of steel and concrete that is made to protect infrastructure. They don’t really care if the water goes someplace else. I hope the state is going to do some studies on the hydraulics. The mayor of Freeport wants to put tidal gates in the inlet. The volume of water that comes in the inlet is enormous. I can’t tell you how many millions of gallons of water come in there a day—600,000 cubic yards of sand come in there on the littoral drift every year. A study needs to be done to determine what will happen when the tidal gates holds the water back, from coming into the embayment, as to where the water will go in response to the tide gate.”

To read the full column and access other Voices back issues, please consider becoming a NYF member. To learn more about how communities cope with destructive storms, visit Long Island Traditions’ YouTube playlist “In Harm’s Way.”

Local Students to Become Junior Curators for Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition about Water

Local Students to Become Junior Curators for Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition about Water

New York Folklore and Schoharie River Center Partner for Smithsonian Educational Initiative

New York Folklore has been selected to create one of sixteen projects nationwide for the Smithsonian’s Stories from Main Street: Youth Engagement and Skill-building Program (Stories: YES). The program is a collaboration between youth participants of The Schoharie River Center and New York Folklore to develop stories around the theme of the Smithsonian Museum on Main Street Exhibition “Water/Ways”.

Stories: YES participants weave national narratives from the exhibition into the history of their own region by conducting research and interviews to create a project highlighting their communities. The program engages kids with regional history and contemporary local issues, while providing an opportunity to use professional equipment and learn real-world skills. Youth projects will be displayed locally and their digital stories will be shared on Museum on Main Street’s website. Equipment purchased through the project will be available for future student success.

Funding for Stories: YES is generously provided to Museum on Main Street (MoMS) with internal Smithsonian Institution Support from the Smithsonian Youth Access Grants Program. MoMS is a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and state humanities councils. It was created to serve museums, libraries and historical societies in rural areas, where one fifth of all Americans live. SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, DC for over sixty-five years. It connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science, and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play.

Since 2010, New York Folklore has been working in partnership with the Schoharie River Center, a youth development program that engages youth in educational and scientific inquiry of their regions’ waters, to document the region and to create digital portraits of the Mohawk Watershed.

For information on the local Stories: YES project or to participate, please contact John McKeeby, Executive Director of the Schoharie River Center at or Ellen McHale, Executive Director of New York Folklore at or 518-346-7008.

Welcome to Our New Website!

Welcome to Our New Website!

New York Folklore is excited to announce the launch of our brand new website! This website is part of a new look for New York Folklore, previously called the New York Folklore Society, and is just in time for our organization’s 75th anniversary in 2019.

This new website features updated menus and simple organization so that it’s easy for visitors to find their way around. We’ve trimmed down the content so that only the most useful information and functions remain. The significant reduction in number of pages means navigating is simple and intuitive, and keeping the site updated with the latest news about folklore and folklife is much more doable for us.

New York Folklore’s website is designed for simplicity and usability across all platforms, whether you’re at your desk or on the go. You can find up-to-date information about our organization, including staff, programs, and upcoming events. Easily sign up for a NYF membership or make a secure donation through PayPal – both of these processes are now fully digital. Already a member? Check out the login portal on the website and access special benefits, including an archive of historical Voices Journal back issues in PDF form.

This blog will showcase a great variety of subjects and be updated weekly with news, folk artist portraits, guest posts from folklorists and tradition bearers, Voices Journal excerpts, and more. Follow the blog for weekly folklore snippets in your inbox!

We’re excited about this website, but we acknowledge not everything will work perfectly right out of the box. Please let us know if you experience problems with the site or have other comments, whether you love something new or notice something’s missing. Enjoy exploring!