To the dismay of some and the happiness of others, Montauk, for better or worse, has significantly changed in the last five years. Having always been a go-to place for fun and outdoor adventure, Montauk used to be seen as the “anti-Hampton” in the Hamptons. The nature there is incredible, the stores are old-fashioned, and the nightlife, at least up until five years ago, mostly had to do with bars that looked like they were owned by fishermen or relatives of Jimmy Buffett.
Things have changed since those times.
Today, Montauk nightlife is dramatically different, and even Manhattan is taking note. It all started, primarily, with The Surf Lodge, a nightclub in Montauk that became the IT place to go in the Hamptons that year. People from all over the island are willing to make the drive just so they can breathe the air inside the Surf Lodge. This was not the case when the same building housed The Lakeside Inn, where the bar was primarily dominated by Irish workers and a local crowd.
But now the hedge fund kids with their black credit cards have changed all that. And Montauk can’t really turn back to what it was once was, as now many other people from Manhattan have come in, paid enormous prices for commercial restaurants, and are turning them into Manhattan-style clubs with a Montauk feel. Sole East, The Crow’s Nest and Navy Beach are doing just that. And while they are all doing their part to make sure that they stay within the flavor of the community of Montauk, they simply aren’t hard-working fishermen who happen to also own a bar, they are New York City transplants mixing their style with that of Montauk.
But as I said, some locals are really upset about this, concerned about what they see as arrogance that was once reserved for the Hamptons now found in Montauk.
It’s easy to see this when you view what happened last week, when people in Montauk got to view a fireworks show that easily cost $50,000, that was not sanctioned by the East Hampton Town or by the Montauk Chamber Of Commerce, but by a rich guy who felt like shooting fireworks off of his yacht.
With Town budget cuts, and the load of red tape that the local government puts you through, this guy pretty much said, “Screw this, I’m shooting fireworks up in the air. What are you going to about it?”
The 171-foot yacht is called “The Quantum Of Solace,” yes, like the James Bond movie, and it is one of the most gorgeous luxury yachts that comes out to the East End.
The owner of the yacht (who of course is anonymous but a quick search on Google turned up a not very surprising name) actually applied to the Town of East Hampton to do the fireworks show, but was turned down by East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson.
So the owner, likely not a guy used to being told no, went and got a permit from the United States Coast Guard in New Haven, Connecticut. It’s not like he was launching from the beach, he was launching from a barge, and if he could get the barge out far enough, that’s state waters, not local waters.
Loophole found. And it was most likely found by a very expensive, very smart group of lawyers. Well played my friend, well played.
Many saw this event, which took place on Saturday night, July 2. It was regarded by many as a gift to Montauk, and that it was. A gorgeous fireworks show right off of Gin Beach at no expense to the Town? We should all be happy about that. And most were, including this writer. (The Chamber of Commerce fireworks in Montauk, a 20-minute display at Umbrella Beach on the ocean to the west of town, was held on Monday, July 4.)
So this rogue fireworks display was perfectly legal, at least according to Travis Cortopassi, who is the senior chief at the Coast Guard station in New Haven.
Well, there you go. [/expand]