Living & Eating on Long Island's East End 

                   Excursions:  Welcome to Camp Upton

My name is Monique.
I'm a 2-time Emmy Award winning TV Producer.
Having been in the business for over 15 years I've produced my share of live tv cooking segments, but never had much time to devote to cooking myself.

Last year when I got married, I moved out of New York City to the east end of Long Island, to ...wait for it...The Hamptons.

Now before you roll your eyes, there's more to the Hamptons than mansions and celebrities.

The Hamptons have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, miles of productive farmland, plus a rich clamming history that continues to this day.

When I moved out east and realized I was surrounded, not just by the bounty of the sea, but also local farms and vineyards, I couldn't wait to explore and sample my new environment.

That's what this blog is about.  Cooking, living, exploring and sharing those experiences.

You'll notice that my blog is a little of this and a little of that, kind of like a potluck meal.

Having lived out here on the East End now for the last two and a half years, I often feel like the first of my family to settle on Long Island. Everyone else from my father's side either lives in New England or has moved out west, while my mother's side is still firmly ensconced in Sweden.

But I'm not the first Singh-Roy to come out East. My uncle Selden Singh-Roy spent time out here many years ago as an army recruit in training at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York.

Seldon joined the army like many young men did at the beginning of World War II. Living in N.Y.C., he and other men from the tri-state area were transported by the L.I.R.R. to Camp Upton for their basic training, before shipping overseas.

Camp Upton was built in 1917. Named after Emory Upton, a Union general in the Civil War, the camp was built to house and train soldiers before heading to Europe for the Great War.

At the beginning of World War I the U.S. had no large standing army, so Camp Upton was built to house and train some 37,000 men. The major unit mobilized was the 77th Infantry Division, made up mostly of N.Y.C. and Long Island troops.

One of the camp's most famous soldiers at that time was songwriter Irving Berlin, who was drafted in 1917. At age 30, The U.S. military didn't really want Berlin to fight so much as do some really good P.R. for them.

Composer Irving Berlin leads a group of servicemen at Camp Upton

So while stationed with the 152nd Depot Brigade at Camp Upton, Berlin composed an all-soldier musical revue titled "Yip Yip Yaphank", as a tribute to the U.S. Army. The show introduced the classic song "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning" and within a year was playing on Broadway.

After World War I, Camp Upton closed in 1921, demobilized and all the buildings were auctioned off and removed. Many of the buildings were moved over to Fire Island to build the community that would eventually become Cherry Grove, NY.

Then in 1940 Camp Upton was put back into service when the U.S. began mobilizing for World War II. It was during this time that my uncle Selden trained there.

I remember my father recounting his memories of visiting his brother at the camp when he was a young teen. He, my aunt Cynthia and my grand parents paid Selden one visit on Long Island before he was deployed.

My father remembered the length of time it took to get out here, the wide open spaces, including miles and miles of farmland. For him, a N.Y.C. kid who had lived his entire life in tenements, it must have been like visiting the moon.

Seldon "Dicky" Roy, TEC5, Technician Fifth Grade or Tech Corporal, U.S. Army

Unfortunately I never met my uncle. Because he had attended Pratt Institute, with a background in art and design, Selden was trained as a mapmaker. My grandparents hoped this would keep him safe, keeping him out of direct fire. Sadly it was not the case. Selden Singh-Roy was killed in Italy during the Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944, when a bomb struck the building he was stationed in. He died shortly afterwards from his injuries.

After World War II Camp Upton served as a convalescent and rehabilitation hospital. In 1946 it was closed for good and ownership was turned over to Brookhaven National Laboratory, which now sits on the site. There's so much history there, that it's really a shame not much remains at the site to commemorate the camp besides this historical marker.

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