The boardwalk along the Peconic River, where photographer Meryl Spiegel would like to exhibit photographs celebrating Riverhead
The boardwalk along the Peconic River, where photographer Meryl Spiegel would like to exhibit photographs celebrating Riverhead.

East Quogue artist Meryl Spiegel wants to tell a photographic tale of Riverhead through her lens and the lenses of her students, along the downtown Riverhead waterfront.

Ms. Spiegel would like to print one of her photographs on a six foot by three foot piece of aluminum, depicting a Riverhead scene, which would be placed by the Riverhead boardwalk in a mahogany frame. She pitched her plan to the Riverhead Town Board at a work session Dec. 12.

She and her students in a workshop at neighboring East End Arts would then work to print other photographs of Riverhead on Plexiglas, which would be placed in a collage over her original work, creating a three dimensional effect. She’s planning on titling the work “Project Oasis.”

Since the photographs would be displayed on town-owned property, she needs the town’s permission for the project. She also needs at least $11,300 to put together the project on a one-sided sheet of aluminum, or $12,600 to make the project double-sided. She’s currently looking for grants from the Huntington Arts Council, corporate sponsorship and would like Riverhead to chip in too.

Board members didn’t offer any money at Thursday’s work session, but said they would consider the idea and would draft a resolution supporting placing the collage on town property. They also suggested Ms. Spiegel ask East End Arts to pay for part of the project.

Councilman George Gabrielen suggested she look into a material other than aluminum for the sign, since aluminum tends to corrode near salt water.

In other Riverhead-as-media-darling news, Riverhead also recently granted permission for Love Shack Fancy, a clothing company working on a Vogue photo shoot, to lease the town-owned Second Street Firehouse for four months at a rate of $800 per month.

Councilwoman Jodi Giglio worked to woo the photographers to Riverhead.

“Riverhead is getting a name, and it’s a good name,” she said at the board’s Dec. 3 meeting. “People wanna do business here.”

Riverhead isn’t all about photo shoots and artwork, though. This week, Riverhead Sewer District Superintendent asked the town board to consider allowing the town’s sewage treatment plant to become a pilot site for a hypochlorous acid disinfectant solution. Hypochlorous acid is essentially a weak acid formed when chlorine dissolves in water.

The only other such system is in place in Ossining, N.Y., which board members were quick to point out is the home of the Sing Sing state prison, which, they assumed, has much nastier effluent than Riverhead Town.


Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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