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Montauk Madness: What’s Happening on The End

It has been said that fame can change a person, what about a town? Montauk, or what many refer to as “The End” of the Hamptons, has been slowly evolving into a different scene. Once more comparable to Maine, Montauk now feels more like Miami.

The idea of “The End” as beach resort is nothing new. In 1925, Carl Graham Fisher also known as “Mr. Miami” purchased the entire peninsula of Montauk to develop as a giant resort. Montauk was triple the size of Miami Beach, and almost completely undeveloped. “Miami in the winter, Montauk in the summer,” was Fisher’s slogan. His vision deteriorated as did the stock market and life in Montauk continued on untouched. Almost a century later, new dreams for the future of Montauk are being formed.

The Race to “The End” – Montauk’s Rise to Fame
Montauk residents have always treasured the geography of their land. Preferred by those who want to get away, especially celebrities who have been drawn to the scenic bluffs and rolling hills of “The End” for years. Andy Warhol and Dick Cavett, the original hipsters of Montauk, both purchased real estate in Montauk in the 70s and 80s, decades before multimillionaires desired property there.

What is going on now? What was once a relaxing Hamptons getaway, has become the life of the party. Between the local surf boom, the rising popularity of the Hamptons, celebrity publicity, increasing property values and millionaire neighbors, Montauk’s vibe is continuing to shift.

The Surf Lodge surfboards
Hang time! Surfboards in the ceiling at the bar at The Surf Lodge are a nod to Montauk’s surfing culture. Photo Credit: Nicole B. Brewer

Where to be a Hipster in Montauk
As the surf crowd grew, so did the music scene, then the wealthy flocked to Montauk. Run-down businesses received a facelift—the Shepard’s Neck Inn transformed into Solé East Resort, for example. Many other resort-style venues started popping up all over. The Surf Lodge, since it opened in 2008, has drawn a lot of attention to itself, and not all of it positive. It’s received numerous citations from the East Hampton Town Police due to partying and now has a restraining order filed against it. However, they are still going strong.

Gurney’s Montauk had a complete renovation to up its cool factor and added four new restaurants, as well as appearances on a reality television. Navy Beach, 668 The Gig Shack, Crow’s Nest, Ruschmeyer’s, Sloppy Tuna, Zum Schneider and the Montauk Beach House are just a few other venues that foster the resort party vibe in Montauk.

With the hipsters—you can spot them with their long maxi dresses, perfectly undone hair, mirrored aviator sunglasses, and the ever popular fedora—comes food trucks. Montaco, Turf, Sea Bean, and the classic Ditch Witch food trucks are currently making “The End’s” beaches tasty.

Locals Band Together
Despite the economic burst and positive popularity of Montauk, the influx of hipsters, surfers, moguls and the beach club vibe also comes with some disorderly conduct. Set in motion by hundreds of complaints about overall disrespectful behavior, the East Hampton Town Board is now taking more precautions. The board voted this week to pay overtime for police, code enforcement and fire personnel.

Local residents have banded together and created two Facebook pages, Montauk Locals and Fighting For Montauk, where they discuss problems, opinions and solutions.

It comes down to this: Long-time locals, bar owners, residents and guests, and weekend partiers must work together in order to respect “The End” and it’s changing environment so it can thrive and continue to be one of our favorite Hamptons vacation spots—and not just another Miami in the summer.

Gosman's Dock in Montauk
Gosman’s Dock – a famous local spot in Montauk. Photo Credit: Nicole B. Brewer
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