As the school year draws to a close, everyone looks forward to passing their exams and moving up another grade level. Especially seniors! (Or in the case of Montauk School graduates, 8th-graders.) Graduation ceremonies bring celebration and a sense of freedom. Before graduation, however, there’s the school trip. Its itinerary is usually structured around an educational premise, but the promise of fun and escape from the every-day is perhaps its biggest draw.
This photograph donated to the Montauk Library by Carol McDonald Nye revisits one of those field trips, a 1965 excursion to Albany, N.Y., where Perry Duryea, member of the New York State Assembly, greeted the entourage from Montauk. After distinguishing himself as a transport pilot in WW II, Perry Duryea returned to Montauk to work in his father’s wholesale seafood business. Like his father, also named Perry, who had been a state senator, Perry Jr. entered politics, too, and soon both the seafood business and Perry Jr.’s political career were in ascendance.
In December 1965, the year this photo was taken, Duryea became Minority Leader of the New York State Assembly; four years later he was designated its Speaker. Duryea’s keen political acumen eventually landed him on the ballot in 1978, running against incumbent Hugh Carey for governor. Unsuccessful but undeterred, this “regular, hometown guy” returned to his still-thriving seafood business in Montauk. Valued as a man of character and integrity, Duryea continued to display a civic pride and sense of responsibility toward the community he loved.
The Montauk School group is standing in a stairwell of what is probably the New York State Capitol building. Hank Zebrowski, a teacher in the Montauk School who became Athletic Director and Bob Fisher, Principal, later promoted to Superintendent of Schools, are also featured in this photo. We can’t identify the other adults or students, but we think we just might see Debbie Tuma standing in the center?
Carol MacDonald Nye was one of the founders, along with her husband, Joe Nye, of the well-known publication On Montauk. You can read about Nye’s life here: written, in fact, by Debbie Tuma, for the new On Montauk publishers, Kay and Carter Tyler.