Sayville eclipse craze
Joseph Aurelio helps Sandra Heinsen take a selfie in Sayville Library’s courtyard. The library gave out 300 free solar eclipse viewing glasses.

SCN/Leuzzi

Sayville eclipse craze

Story By: LINDA LEUZZI
8/24/2017


Sayville Library’s main number was ringing off the hook Monday morning at opening time, the day of the solar eclipse. “It’s been crazy,” said library director Alice Lepore of the response. They were offering free solar eclipse glasses for library cardholders, one per family, at 1 p.m., but people came in earlier and had to be rerouted to the appointed time. “We’re expecting long lines today,” she added.

Lepore was right. Library personnel gave out 300. “About 600 people came altogether,” Lepore said. “Some had four or five family members.” 

By 12:50 p.m., the glasses were really on the wane. “We’ll be out of them in five minutes,” said Donna DiBerardino, head of Youth Services, at her desk, within shouting distance to the courtyard where people gathered.

Chris Sizse from West Sayville was one of the last to get a pair. Sizse saw the notice for the glasses in the library’s newsletter; she comes to their programs often. 

Joseph Aurelio was helping Sandra Heinsen take a selfie outside in the crowded courtyard. Heinsen had coordinated a fashionable top with her cellphone cover. Both are from West Sayville. “It’s a nice thing they’re doing,”Aurelio said. 

Sean Dowling, a STEM teacher, made viewing boxes for children Lucy and Cecilia; mom Caroline was there, too. 

“Here, look,” said Lepore, handing over the glasses. At 2:05 p.m., the eclipse was almost at the halfway mark.

“Suffolk Cooperative Library System made a coordinated order of 56 libraries to purchase solar eclipse glasses for library residents three months ago,” Lepore explained. “A lot were asking to purchase more, so we jumped on it and asked for 300.” 

Lepore said the library paid 50 cents each for the glasses, supplied by American Paper Optics in Tennessee. A nice keepsake detail, they were imprinted with a space-age theme and the date, Aug. 21, 2017, over the nose bridge. 

 The library program was a resounding success, probably for a number of reasons. It was free, people were off during the allotted time of the eclipse, it’s a phenomenon; and, “it’s getting your minds off the news and what’s going on in the world,” Lepore said.

Solar eclipse enthusiasm spread, well, like rays of sunshine all over the place.

 “I was on Main Street in Sayville for an appointment,” Lepore reported. “I stopped and talked to a girl who had glasses and she shared them.” And Sizse, who got one of the last pair, said, “They’re probably at the pier too, in West Sayville.”

National Weather Service meteorologist Faye Morrone said viewing was probably decent everywhere in Suffolk County. “There were some high clouds by us,” she said. “Our office is in Upton. I don’t know if it disrupted viewing, so it might have been better on the South Shore. Brookhaven National Lab has a solar radiation center, so there was a notable dip between 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in temperature.”