East End Seaport Museum Welcomes New Executive Director

Suffolk Times

The East End Seaport Museum & Marine Foundation in Greenport has a new captain: Barbara Poliwoda of Southold, who grew up on the water and comes from a family of mariners.

The museum, which is dedicated to preserving the East End’s maritime history, has been in operation for just a month shy of 26 years.

Museum board chairman Paul Kreiling said, “What we need — and her skills lend themselves to that — is we need more fundraising and more organization as far as events.”


Ms. Poliwoda did that and more during 23 years as regional director for the American Heart Association, where she planned events, implemented programs, advocated for CPR training in schools and played a role in development. She has lived in Southold for 25 years and has been an active community member.

During her time with AHA, she developed professional relationships with groups like East End Cardiology in Riverhead, where she met Lori Latney, who is now regional director for NYU Winthrop Hospital, which owns the practice.

“She’s a great person,” said Ms. Latney. “We were major [AHA] sponsors for many years. This year, they honored two of my physicians. We have also done the 5K races for many years at the vineyards.”

“She worked for the [AHA] and we’re very involved because we’re cardiologists,” Ms. Latney said. Due to their long association, she added, East End Cardiology plans to support Ms. Poliwoda’s new endeavor, and may very well be one of the major sponsors for this year’s East End Maritime Festival, organized by EESM.

“I was hired [at AHA] 23 years ago by Ted Webb — he’s an Orient resident, and was actually on the board of the East End Seaport Museum for many years,” Ms. Poliwoda said.

That job took her into the city and to the Hamptons and although she often worked at home, she said she occasionally had to visit the association’s Plainview office.

“I’ve spent a lot of years driving around. I wanted to take my skill set more local. And I also – I just felt a change was needed,” she said.

As luck would have it, while perusing a copy of The Suffolk Times last winter, Ms. Poliwoda came across an ad EESM had placed seeking candidates for the executive director position. Both her husband and son are mariners, and growing up on the water has established in her a fascination for preserving maritime history, so she decided to apply.

“I’m from Babylon and my family has been a member of the Babylon Yacht Club my whole life,” she said. “I took sailing lessons, I was on the swim team, I boated with my father my whole life out on the Great South Bay … clamming … while my dad was clamming with his rake and bringing my friends out, introducing them to clamming.”

She said that when she met her husband, a bayman, and told him she clammed with her father, they instantly had a connection.

“We summered on Fire Island. I’ve done it all on the water: sailing, motorboats, fishing, clamming, all of it.”

While Ms. Poliwoda’s responsibilities at AHA weren’t the same as those she’ll assume at EESM, she said, “What I did for the last 23 years, the subject is different, but my job was to raise awareness and bring volunteers together to work toward common goals. I feel like this is the same type of thing, only a very different subject.”

When she officially joined the team early this month — after some training time — she organized cocktail parties to invite community feedback and expand the museum’s membership. Community input, she said, is very important to furthering the museum’s goals.

Citing the many inviting restaurants and wineries tourists often flock to, she said, “I just think it’s so important that they also learn about the history and, really, the heritage, other than just coming out here to party and enjoy the culture.”

Mr. Kreiling, who joined the board in November and became chairman a few months later, said that of the roughly 40 applicants, Ms. Poliwoda’s background stood out. That, and the recommendation from former board member and longtime museum contributor Mr. Webb, sealed the deal.

“She has that background. That’s what we were looking for and I believe that’s what we got,” Mr. Kreiling said. “I’m quite pleased … A local person was way better just from the nature of knowing how the farm is run.”

He said he views the executive director position as one that involves overseeing the museum’s functionality and managing the team’s outreach measures.

Specifically, the Southold resident said she looks forward to adding new activities to the Maritime Festival, continuing to improve Chowder Fest, digitizing and expanding the museum and raising the funds necessary to restore and maintain Greenport’s renowned Long Beach Bar “Bug” Lighthouse, which has, over the years, grown dilapidated.

“People are very familiar with her, especially boaters and yachters,” Ms. Poliwoda said. “She has overcome some vandalism in the ’60s, definitely in the ’90s, and she is gong to be 30 years old in December. She definitely needs some TLC.”

The lighthouse was built in 1870, and the museum was originally established to reconstruct it after it was destroyed by arsonists July 4, 1963. An outpouring of community support, donations and labor resulted in a near replica of the original Bug Light structure. The museum now owns the lighthouse and is responsible for its upkeep and for ensuring that the U.S. Coast Guard maintains its light, according to the museum’s website.

Discussing the museum’s mission going forward, Mr. Kreiling said that, in addition to the Land & Sea Gala, which kicks off the Maritime Festival, and lighthouse cruises, restoring Bug Light is at the top of the board’s list and is the reason he joined in the first place.

“We are in the beginning [phases] of gathering information so that we know how much is expected, therefore we can create the events with some reasonable expectations,” he said. “It’s a new museum, it really is. I mean, it’s a new process. We’re trying to be more community directed. Without changing its location, we changed its mission. Instead of being at the bottom of Third Street, it’s now at the hub of the transportation center.”

The museum, Mr. Kreiling said, is the gateway to the community for anybody who’s traveling.

Photo caption: Barbara Poliwoda of Southold, recently named executive director of East End Seaport Museum in Greenport, grew up in a family of mariners. (Credit: Mahreen Khan)


Capt. Bob’s Quarterdeck offers fun and learning at East End Seaport Museum

Capt. Bob’s Quarterdeck offers fun and learning at East End Seaport Museum

“Captain Bob’s Quarterdeck,” the brand new children’s room at Greenport’s East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation celebrated its grand opening today with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

After saying a few words and giving a group of children a quick lesson in conductivity, EESM board member and former science teacher Bob Jester did the honors of opening the new room, which is named in his honor.

About a dozen children from the Greenport Village summer day camp immediately swarmed the room formerly used as the museum gift shop, eager to start exploring the many and varied activities housed in containers on the shelves.

Jester, a member of the committee that worked to bring a children’s room to the museum, was delighted by their enthusiasm.

Captain David Berson, 2016 Grand Marshal

Captain David Berson is a Renaissance Man.  And, a specialist in all things Maritime.  He holds a 400 ton Merchant Marine Masters License, was a former relief skipper and celestial navigator instructor aboard the schooners PioneerHarvey Gamage and Ocean Star, and the yawl Petrel.  He is a contributing editor to Ocean Navigator Magazine, in which he writes celestial navigation problems cleverly woven into a seafaring story.

 David co-owns and operates Glory with Andrew Rowsom. It is the only Coast Guard certificated, solar charged, electric powered tour boat in United States. Operating from Preston’s dock since 1999, he provides ecological, scenic and educational tours of Greenport’s bays, inlets and shorelines.  Along with Meg Bennett, David organizes and runs the year-round, not-for-profit educational foundation “Glory Going Green Inc.,” which provides Greenport children with free education programs in art, science, music and writing.

Not only is he a skilled seaman, David is a talented writer, musician and raconteur.  He was a chantey man at the South Street Museum, performs alongside David Nyce singing contemporary music while playing his guitar, has written two books about celestial navigation and another about the craftspeople of Greenport, played host in the video High Seas Schooner, was the vibrant auctioneer during the 2015 Land & Sea Gala, and emcee during Greenport’s Tall Ships Challenge last year.

But what David does best is give of himself -- to East End Seaport Museum, to the Village of Greenport, to his family, friends and neighbors . . . and most of all to the children of our community.

This is why East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation has chosen to honor David Berson as the 2016 Maritime Festival Grand Marshal. We applaud and appreciate you, David.  Thank you for all you do!

The Quieter Side of Eastern LI

The Quieter Side of Eastern LI

North Fork of Long Island NY: The Quieter Side of Eastern LI


WHY GO: Historically, the North Fork of Eastern Long Island, a mere 120 miles from Manhattan, has been sleepy and rural, lacking the dazzle of the movie-star-rich Hamptons on the oceanfront South Fork. But that is changing quickly. For 40 years, wineries have been replacing family farms out here, bringing newcomers who are sick and tired of the celebrity spectacle on the “other fork,” and who just want to unwind with wine in beautiful surroundings without having to glam up or jostle with paparazzi.

These wineries, too, have also drawn star chefs and stylists who’ve opened up fantastic restaurants and boutiques. So this Getaway, which begins on a timesaving ferry for those coming from New England, incorporates these new hot spots without forgetting the North Fork’s farming and maritime roots. And for added offbeat pleasure, we throw in a surprisingly nice hotel, located on the grounds of a marina just three miles from Greenport.

Fifteen Fantastic Things to Do on The North Fork of Long Island NY

Fifteen Fantastic Things to Do on The North Fork of Long Island NY

East End Seaport Museum is #7

 08/24/2016 04:08 pm ET | Updated 3 days ago

The North Fork, the quiet finger of the victory sign that extends out to the Easternmost region of Long Island NY- 120 miles from Manhattan and many dozens of farm stands away - is the fork that doesn’t have “Hampton” in any town name. This is the section of Long Island most preferred by those who shun the jostle of paparazzi and glitterati; those who wish to linger over a good espresso and scone in the morning and a just-purchased bottle of wine from a family-owned vineyard at dusk.

Things To Do



Summer unleashes a fervent need to escape the sweltering city for coastal breezes and open air. But who wants to trade crowded streets and overpriced drinks for jam-packed beaches and restaurants catering to the ultra-rich? Trust us, there are much better options out east than fighting for elbow room on a crowded Jitney. For a real change of pace, skip the Hamptons and head to one of these underrated Long Island towns.



Why it's so great: The allure of this North Fork hamlet is that it still remains relatively undiscovered by the swarms of summer visitors that descend on the Island every weekend. A former shipbuilding center, Greenport's nautical history is notable all over town. It’s home to the Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation, honoring the area's rich maritime tradition. The historic village even has a working blacksmith, housed in a replica of the original building from the 1870s. All of this surrounds the town's waterfront epicenter of Mitchell Park.

What to do: Wander the streets around Mitchell Park for shopping at independent boutiques and antique stores. For lunch, go for a classic Long Island staple -- a platter of local steamers enjoyed dockside -- at Claudio's Clam Bar. If you need a change of scenery, take the shuttle to Shelter Island for further exploring (it leaves every 12 minutes) or stick around for dinner at the Frisky Oyster. The ocean-to-table restaurant is lauded for its interesting twists on fresh seafood. Finish the day with a cocktail at Brix & Rye, a bar that aims to elevate classics like the gin gimlet or Sazerac to new heights.

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Katy Lyn is a magazine editor and LI resident whose goal is to visit every brewery on this island (wineries don't hurt either).

Greenport’s Otto Schoenstein

Greenport’s Otto Schoenstein

Otto Schoenstein is a living legend.

Little did he know when he designed and built his first boat at age 11 that the stage was being set for a lifelong adventure of craftsmanship and creations that would touch so many lives. And little did I know when I called him to talk about the Kayak Derby he started for the Maritime Festival 14 years ago I would end up spending a few hours getting the most interesting Greenport history lesson ever.