When Myron Levine decided to donate a chess table to the Sag Harbor community in honor of his son, Josh, who died tragically last year in an accident at Quail Hill Farm, it seemed to many to be a no-brainer.
The chess table would permanently reside at the location of the summer Farmers’ Market, where Josh had spent much of his time; it would be manufactured by a company Josh co-founded with his brother, Noah; and it would give Sag Harbor residents and visitors a new reason to venture into the village and enjoy the outdoors.
But last March the village voted against the proposed plan, suggesting that the area close to the Breakwater Yacht Club was not only remote, but the ground would be dug up by Exxon Mobile later in the year (a project that’s currently underway), which would make any permanent addition impossible to maintain.
That’s when Levine shifted gears.
“I decided instead of [donating the chess table to the village], I would donate the chess table to the school,” Levine said. “And they approved.”
Just this week Levine successfully donated not one, but two chess tables to the Sag Harbor School District. One table is now sitting behind the Pierson building near the field and the second table has been placed near the newly finished Eco-Walk at Sag Harbor Elementary School.
Levine said both have been strategically placed in “quiet areas,” or those places where the concentration required of a primarily mental game like chess would not easily be interrupted by the noise typical of most elementary school playgrounds during recess time.
According to Elementary School Principal Matt Malone, several students have already taken advantage of the opportunity to sit down and play the quiet game.
Levine said he is happy to have been able to donate this gift in the name of his son, who he said loved to play chess. And he hopes the tables might inspire the school district to do more to foster an appreciation for the game for its current students.
“Now that the tables are there, [the school] would love to be able to have one of the teachers talk to the students about forming a chess club,” Levine added.
He said he’s already spoken to School District Superintendent Dr. Johnn Gratto about that possibility.
“That’s one of the plans that might come from this.”