by Kelly Zegers, The Suffolk Times
What began as a summer project born out of a love for photography and history has turned into a 22-year-old’s own business.
Jake Rose, a Manhattan native who spends summers in Greenport, has been creating coloring books that show local historical spots and businesses, such as the Greenport Carousel and Preston’s, offering facts about their origins.
The idea came about last summer when Mr. Rose was dining at Stirling Sake in Greenport with his parents. His father, Ron, looked over at nearby Clarke’s Garden and commented that it appeared to have come out of a coloring book and “everything started rolling from then on.” Within weeks, he published “Color Greenport.”
“I wanted to put a new spin on the coloring book,” the younger Rose said. For him that spin is including tidbits of history about the places featured inside.
Since garnering a positive response, he has produced additional books: “Color North Fork” and “Color Sag Harbor,” as well as “Color Riverhead,” which is set to go on sale in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, more books are in the works. He aims to produce a new book about every six weeks and is expanding the series to Manhattan, which he’ll divide into 21 neighborhoods.
Mr. Rose graduated from Drew University in May with a history degree and said he uses his research skills to learn about his subjects’ past. It’s not always easy boiling down long histories to about 13 lines for print, he said, but he hopes it becomes a way for people to develop a better appreciation for their communities.
Creating a Riverhead coloring book “has been a treat” due to its upcoming 225th anniversary, he said. That edition will include sites such as the Suffolk Theater, Star Confectionery and the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall.
Line drawings of Riverhead spots that have been digitally colored will be on display at the Suffolk County Historical Society Oct. 6 to Oct. 28, with a reception on Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. The exhibit will also show 3D-printed miniatures of some of the sites. From there, the prints will move to East End Arts to be auctioned off to benefit the gallery.
“He loves the history and he loves delving into the community and going to luncheonettes and asking people what the best places are,” Mr. Rose’s father said.
Mr. Rose surveys areas looking for 20 to 24 places to include in each book, keeping an eye out for buildings that have an interesting story and aesthetic. He’ll snap a photo with his iPhone or DSLR camera and send the image to freelancers he finds through an online network to create the line drawings meant to be colored in.
He also prints coloring postcards based on the books.
While combining his passion for the past and photography, he found another in sales. He said it’s satisfying to pitch the books and that making a sale has become his favorite part of the process.
“I get to branch out and be my own person,” Mr. Rose said. “I get to really own it.”
Ron Rose said watching his son sell the books “is really spectacular.”
The coloring books can be purchased at colorourtown.com and at local shops listed on the website.
Burton’s Bookstore owner Scott Raulsome is featured in the North Fork edition, leaning against his shop’s door frame, which he points out to anyone who purchases the coloring book there. He’s ordered “a ton” of the postcards and has had friends and family send them back to him.
“Sometimes you hear a local project is being done and you just know it’s going to do pretty well based on what it’s going to be and this was one of those cases,” Mr. Raulsome said.