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Shoreline Sonata: A Long Island Love Story

This WLIW21 original production celebrates the island’s infinite shoreline and its enduring appeal. As a sonata, the television program showcases the varying moods and tempos experienced around water in Nassau and Suffolk.

From sunrise to moonscape, scenic images shot in high definition capture Long Island’s natural beauty and the mystery of the places where water meets land. Poetry inspired by the shoreline’s eternal ebb and flow adds to the narrative, and includes works by Long Island poets as well as lyrics by Long Island-based songwriters Billy Joel and Jimmy Webb.
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SHORELINE SONATA carries viewers along many of Long Island’s most popular waterways, exploring the endless opportunities Long Islanders have to enjoy this natural resource: catching a wave on a surfboard at Long Beach; watching the birds along the Hampton Bays shoreline; fishing at Captree State Park; learning to sail your first boat; or raising the sails on the historic Mary E. tall ship. No matter the activity or locale, the program serves to remind Long Islanders of the great gift a day at the shoreline can be.

Beginning in Eatons Neck, SHORELINE SONATA’s first movement finds inspiration in Walt Whitman’s “Miracles,” and visits a variety of state parks with endless natural wonder, from Sunken Meadow to Nissequogue River Preserve to Robert Moses, Captree, and Connetquot. Beaches from Oak Beach to Crab Meadow to Long Beach to Fire Island welcome families playing in the sand, horseback riding, boating and more. The Mary E. launches on a journey from Northport Harbor that weaves throughout the program, offering a view of Long Island from the sails of this magnificent schooner.

The program’s second movement celebrates the emotional pull of the waters that surround Long Island. Families gather on the beach from one generation to the next. Some go fishing together, as described by Gladys L. Henderson in her poetic tribute to her father, “Two Women Fishing (Orient Point Beach),” while others go clamming at Sunken Meadow State Park in the early hours of the morning, as Jean Kemper’s poem “Home,” eloquently recalls. Yet, the moments alone are just as appealing as the activities that bring people together on Long Island’s shores. SHORELINE SONATA captures these intimate moments, inviting viewers to bask in the serene solitude of a dune at sunrise; the liquid undulation of the waves set by nature’s cosmic clock; the lure of the rod and reel; and the thrill of the wind in your sails. From Oyster Bay Harbor to Port Jefferson Harbor to Sag Harbor, the program travels the island finding beauty at every turn. The glory of the Gold Coast lives at the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport and Falaise at Sands Point Preserve.

With stops at Southampton, Westhampton, Point Lookout, Centre Island and Wantagh, and views from the lighthouses at Old Field Point and Eatons Neck, SHORELINE SONATA provides viewers with an itinerary for a summer of weekend excursions to the paradise next door, encouraging Long Islanders to take advantage of the many ways to enjoy the local shoreline. A lyrical passage from Billy Joel’s “Downeaster Alexa,” excerpted as poetry, pays respect to the Long Islanders who risk their lives on these waters.

SHORELINE SONATA’s third movement opens with a change in mood – a rainstorm and Victoria Twomey’s poem “Summer House,” which imagines Long Island in the off–season. But with a glimpse of a landscape painter at Brightwaters Lake, resumes engaging all senses in the options Long Island has to offer. Families gather at the beach at Asharoken in Northport Harbor, inspired to make sand castles or imagine what lies beyond their vantage point, like 10-year-old Jack Trested, whose featured poem, “The Mermaid,” was inspired by Jones Beach and written when he was a third-grader. Words from songwriter Jimmy Webb’s “Driftwood” celebrate the romance of the Long Island shoreline, a notion still reflected in the beacons that shine from lighthouses at Fire Island and Montauk Point into the night sky to protect and bring home Long Island’s own.