A Look Back at 2019’s Amazing East End Anniversaries

Walt Whitman; Old Whalers' Church
Walt Whitman and the Old Whalers Church has big anniversaries in 2019

In 2019, the East End celebrated many momentous anniversaries, including the 60th summer of Dan’s Papers. Let’s raise a toast to a year’s worth of East End history—from game-changing court cases to the birth of local institutions and more.

200 Walt Whitman
The Long Island-born Walt Whitman was one of the most storied writers of his time. Considered the father of “free verse” poetry, his collection Leaves of Grass was published in 1855 and is one of the seminal works of the poetry canon.

185 Long Island Rail Road
The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) was chartered in 1834. Initially, the LIRR was created to provide a rail/ferry connection from New York to Boston. Then, in 1844, the LIRR ran from Brooklyn to Greenport in three-and-a-half hours.

180 Revolt on the Amistad
In 1839, the Amistad was captured near Montauk Point by the USS Washington after a group of Mende slaves revolted against their Spanish captors. The infamous incident led to a landmark court case that led to the Supreme Court restoring the slaves’ freedom, and became a historic symbol in the abolition movement.

175 Old Whalers Church
The First Presbyterian Church in Sag Harbor was built in 1844. Famed architect Minard LaFever designed the building, which combines Egyptian Revival and Greek Revival styles and has a 185-feet steeple. The church was dedicated on May 16, 1844. The Old Whalers Church was named a National Historic landmark in 1994.

160 Sag Harbor Express
Founded in 1859, when it had to compete for readers with The Corrector, this award-winning newspaper continues to serve the 3,000 year-round residents of Sag Harbor weekly.

100 Volstead Act
The National Prohibition Act forbade the use of “intoxicating beverages.” Also known as the Volstead Act after Republican politician Andrew Volstead, the act of prohibition prompted various illegal movements in the United States to secretly traffic alcohol. The East End was a hub for alcohol running and bootlegging, as rum running was rampant on East End waters. Claudio’s Restaurant in Greenport was particularly successful during this period, with an upstairs speakeasy. Prohibition ended in 1933.

Young Dan Rattiner
Young Dan Rattiner, from the Dan’s Archive

80 Daniel Rattiner
Dan’s Papers founder Dan Rattiner was born on August 15, 1939. Rattiner moved to Montauk with his family, who owned White’s Pharmacy, and published the first issue of the Montauk Pioneer on July 1, 1960. Over the years, Rattiner published other works as well—the underground NYC paper The East Village Other in 1965, The Block Island Times in 1970 and, eventually, 12 books featuring his unique brand of humor, world views, art and more.

80 Death of Carl Fisher
Montauk founding father Carl Fisher passed away on July 15, 1939. Fisher spearheaded the development of what he considered the Miami Beach of the north. He built Montauk Manor, which still stands today.

80 The Long Island Museum, Stony Brook
Founded by Ward Melville in 1939, The Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages is a nine-acre museum located in Stony Brook. Melville, a philanthropist who wanted Stony Brook to be similar to New England, made sure the museum grounds resembled a New England village building. The Long Island Museum is among the prestigious Smithsonian Affiliates, a partnership of non-Smithsonian museums that share collections, exhibitions and educational strategies.

Actor Robert Duvall rehearsing at the Gateway Playhouse circa 1956; Photo: Courtesy The Gaeteway
Actor Robert Duvall rehearsing at the Gateway Playhouse circa 1956; Photo: Courtesy The Gateway

70 The Gateway
This spectacular regional theater had humble beginnings. Originally founded by the Pomeran family in their barn with a production of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, the playhouse has developed into a flourishing non-profit professional theater, with a full season of musicals every year.

70 Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center
After a fire killed two migrant children of seasonal East End workers in 1949, the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreational Center was founded to serve the children of the Hamptons. Dan Rattiner is the vice president of the board.

60 Summers of Dan’s Papers
Dan’s Papers celebrated its 60th summer in spectacular fashion. To honor this landmark event, and Dan Rattiner’s 80th birthday, we hosted a once-in-a-lifetime gala at Gurney’s Star Island Resort & Marina, featuring food and wine, toasts, roasts and more.

60 The Hampton Maid
John and Marion Poulakis opened this iconic hotel overlooking Shinnecock Bay in Hampton Bays. Spread out over 12 acres, the Hampton Maid is located at 259 East Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays.

50 Long Island Historical Societies (formerly ASCHS)
Reflecting the expansion of its services and territory, the Association of Suffolk County Historical Societies (ASCHS) has officially changed its name to Long Island Historical Societies. Permission for the name change and territory was recently received from the New York State Board of Regents. The organization was founded by Robert David Lion Gardiner in 1969 focusing on Suffolk County historical societies.

50 The Final Beatles Recordings
August 20, 1969 marked the final time that the four Beatles—Amagansett’s Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison—were in the recording studio together. Their legendary final album included beloved Beatles hits “Let it Be” and “Abbey Road,” as well as songs such as “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” which was completed on this day.

45 Hampton Jitney
Originally founded with just a single van by advertising executive James Davidson, the Hampton Jitney is now the premier transportation service in the Hamptons, with three routes—Montauk, Westhampton and North Fork, connecting to Manhattan.

40 Shelter Island 10K
The nonprofit Shelter Island Run was founded to create positive awareness through running and health.

30 Quail Hill Farm
Founded in 1990, Quail Hill Farm is one of the first Community Supported Agriculture farms in New York State. Quail Hill also educates the public on issues such as soil health, seed supply, sustainable farming practices and more.

Madoo bridge
A view at Madoo, Photo: Barbara Lassen

25 Madoo Conservancy Goes Public
Madoo Conservancy, the beautiful garden oasis in Sagaponack, founded by East End legend Robert Dash, became a public garden 25 years ago. A celebration took place at the annual Much Ado About Madoo cocktail party in June.

25 Perlman Music Summer Season
Founded in 1994, the Perlman Music Program on Shelter Island is an esteemed summer training program for young string musicians. As part of their 25th season, the Perlman Music Program celebrated with a gala on in July.

25 Harvest on Fort Pond, Montauk
This iconic restaurant features delectable Italian cuisine inspired by Montauk seafood and homegrown produce.

15 Fresno
Owned and operated by David Loewenberg and Michael Nolan, Fresno in East Hampton serves contemporary American cuisine created by Executive Chef Gretchen Menser.

10 Grey Gardens
In 2009, HBO released a film about the lives of Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale and her mother, Edith “Big Edie” Ewing. The women had been made famous by a 1975 documentary that followed the former socialites as they lived in squalor in the dilapidated Grey Gardens estate. Jessica Lange played big Edie, the aunt of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, while East Ender Drew Barrymore played Little Edie.

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