Dan Rattiner's Stories

The Billboard Note: Big Pointless Signs in Montauk

For some reason that nobody can quite figure out, the bureaucrats up in Albany last month caused to be erected eight enormous six-foot-by-eight-foot billboards throughout the community of Montauk, urging people to enjoy all the attractions and wonders of the entire state of New York, now that you are here.

A good deal of New York is Upstate. Imagine this. You drive out from New York City and every once in a while there is a sign reading MONTAUK and an arrow pointing the way. You can take three, even four, hours to get through traffic to get to Montauk.

Since Montauk is part of New York, and during the whole trip out you are in New York, it’s an embarrassment to everybody that when visitors get to Montauk, where signs announce THE END and NEXT STOP PORTUGAL, you read eight enormous metal ones that read WELCOME TO NEW YORK.

A big ruckus ensued about these signs. All eight of the signs, by the way, were near the Montauk Harbor fishing docks at Flamingo Road and Westlake Drive. The state pencil pushers must have become aware that every road coming into Montauk is from a place already in New York, except where a few dozen seasick fishermen might have sailed over from Connecticut or a few dozen tourists came in by ferry from Block Island, come in at the fishing docks every day. Well, they had eight signs, with orders to put them in Montauk. Cost about a quarter-million dollars. So put them all up at the docks.

Protests ensued. And the state caved, mostly. They have agreed and carried away seven of these big signs, leaving just one. Here are all the words on the sign. WELCOME TO NEW YORK. EXPERIENCE*EXPLORE*ENJOY. I LOVE NY. COM. I LOVE NY APP. I LOVENY. TASTE NY. PATH THROUGH HISTORY. EAT & DRINK.

Nobody knows where the seven signs are being taken.

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