Drivers heading eastbound to the Hamptons are now greeted by the quirky statue of Dan Rattiner riding a bright red lobster outside of the new Southampton office of the publication he founded, Dan’s Papers.
The new 6,000-square-foot office that the company recently purchased is located at 2036 County Road 39, about three miles west of its prior location on Route 27. And now it’s is easily identifiable thanks to the lobster statue that was created and recently refurbished by Southampton’s Behind the Fence Gallery.
“We’re delighted to be permanent residents,” says Victoria Schneps-Yunis, founding president of Schneps Media, the parent company of Dan’s Papers. “We’re not here for a moment, we’re here forever.”
The new digs are situated where the express portion of the highway merges into a double-yellow-lined roadway, with Dan’s Papers serving as one of the first businesses drivers see after they cross the Shinnecock Canal. The office is located south of the highway in the hamlet of Shinnecock Hills, directly across the street from the newly reopened Manna at Lobster Inn, north of the highway in the hamlet of Tuckahoe. It’s a fitting location for Dan’s lobster statue.
The 7-foot-tall statue was previously located on the corner of Hills Station Road and Route 27 in Tuckahoe until it was relocated by Lio Galvis, founder of Hamptons Duct Cleaning. Jeremy Essay, the new owner of the Behind the Fence Gallery, worked with Acre Arts on the design and execution of the project, which was first installed in 2017. Behind the Fence Gallery recently restored the statue to its former glory.
Creating the lobster was straightforward, Essay said at the time. The Dan figure was repurposed from a John Wayne statue found at the store and worked on with diligence by the gallery’s team of craftsmen. The lobster replaced what was originally a horse.
“This was a natural project for us to get involved with,” said Essay. “And we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”
Rattiner, who’s penned a humorous column for his eponymous newspaper since he founded it in 1960 and grew it into the largest weekly publication on the East End, was shocked when he heard the idea.
“My first thought was, ‘This is crazy!’” he said at the time.
The plaque that was once mounted at the base of the statue, and has since disappeared along with another Behind the Fence Gallery statue of Rattiner as the Statue of Liberty, read: “Welcome to Dan’s Country: Erected this day, July 4th, Day of Independence, 2017, by Friends of Dan to celebrate the Hamptons’ best known citizen, Lover of Hedgerows, Keeper of the Conscience, Historian, Curmudgeon and Publisher Extraordinary Dan Rattiner. Designed and created by the Behind the Fence Gallery and Acre Arts.”