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Chowder helps restore New Suffolk Waterfront

Rod Tryon, 58, of Cutchogue creates a chalk

Rod Tryon, 58, of Cutchogue creates a chalk drawing of a giant osprey at the annual New Suffolk Waterfront Chowderfest. (May 26, 2012) Credit: Michael Cusanelli

Street artist Rod Tryon was on his hands and knees on the shore of the New Suffolk Waterfront as he carefully sketched an image of a giant osprey bursting out of the pavement.

With chalk-covered fingers, he carefully colored the body and wings of his drawing as the sounds of music drifted through the humid air.

Tryon, a Cutchogue resident, was supporting the local community in its effort to bring beauty back to the waterfront property.

On Saturday, the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund held its 4th annual Chowderfest, which raises money and awareness for one of Long Island’s most beautiful historic sites.

The festival featured live music from RockIT Science, chowder tasting, a bake sale and activities for kids.

“This is an incredible community effort,” said Barbara Butterworth, the vice president of the waterfront fund. “This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year."

Over 100 years ago, the hamlet of New Suffolk on Long Island’s North Fork was home to the Navy’s first submarine base. Despite its history as a fishing port and historical site, the waterfront has been in danger of being converted into a marina in the past several decades.

In 2010, the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund, a nonprofit group of concerned locals, purchased the 5.5 acres of land for $3 million, planning to restore it to its former beauty. Since then, the fund has been working to raise awareness and renovate the area through fundraising events such as charity races, art galleries and local house tours.

“It’s a really great activity for our neighborhood to help us raise money for the waterfront,” said Michelle McCloskey, 50, of New Suffolk. “It’s all about the property here.”

Property restoration has served as a way to unite New Suffolk residents and keep the East End looking beautiful.

“The community got together to save the waterfront,” said McCloskey’s husband, John.

More than 50 gallons of clam chowder was prepared and donated by local businesses, including Legends restaurant in New Suffolk. Guests were able to sample from four different kinds of chowder, as well as a full barbecue.

The New Suffolk Waterfront Fund expects to raise $5,000 to $6,000 this weekend.

“The goal is to create a place where everyone can . . . experience the water and the scenic beauty,” Butterworth said.

Pictured: Artist Rod Tryon, of Cutchogue, at work.  

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