Tuesday’s Bee: Rebuilding Sag Harbor’s Main Street, Post-Fire

*Sigh. We dislike reporting bad news. But above is the before-and-after streetscape of Sag Harbor. An early morning fire Friday destroyed the iconic Sag Harbor Cinema (seen in top photo); a void is left after crews demolished the charred remains (bottom photo). Numerous business, including Sagtown Coffee, Collette and Matta, are heavily damaged; RJD Gallery is destroyed. The Sag Harbor Express reports that the blaze through Sag Harbor’s historic Main Street wasn’t arson and may have started with a cigarette. And demolition continued on Monday (that building to the right of void? It’s gone now, too).

The heartening news is that the Sag business community has come together, post-fire. Even as the fire still raged, eateries including Grindstone Coffee, Sen Sag Harbor, Wolffer Kitchen and Baron’s Cove provided food or a place to rest for fire fighters.

Harbor Books, just down the street from the cinema, is hosting an event Wednesday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. “We are going to stay open a little extra late, serve up some Hot Toddies and some snacks, play some good tunes and tell some great stories,” says owner Taylor Rose Berry. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the rebuilding of the theater.

Country Lane Books, the home accessories store across from the theater, has already started its After Christmas Sale (60% discounts on holiday merchandise) as an incentive to get people shopping.  “And we’re serving cookies and hot cider! Come on down,” owner Vicki Nolan says on Facebook.

The artist April Gornik, who lives in Sag Harbor, has organized a Crowdrise fundraiser for Fred Kumwenda, who lost everything in the fire. (Thus far, more than $42,000 raised.) Gornik is active with the group Save Sag Harbor and has been posting updates to Facebook about the latest community efforts.

Sag Harbor Partnership, a nonprofit dedicated to the town’s preservation, is planning a fundraiser. Donations accepted here.

And RJD Gallery is planning to rebuild. “We are busy rebuilding and so thankful that many works were stored off site and that we are able to continue our business,” the gallery says on Facebook. “May 2017 bring us a new gallery space…and a greater appreciation and connection to each other.”

Social Media Quote of the Day

“We have hot cocoa, a warm place to sit, and hugs for anyone in need this morning.” — GeekHampton in Sag Harbor, in this Facebook post following the fire. Aww, geeks.

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