Babes in Montauk

Courtesy of RVCA

RVCA’s #BABESINMTK, at just 55 seconds, is a captivating blur of sun-soaked gals dancing and painting and reading and fishing. Basically, my bag is packed, RVCA, and I’m ready to go to Montauk.

“The sole purpose of the trip,” according to RVCA founder PM Tenore, “was to bring together the talented women who are representative of the RVCA tribe at its core. The brand is built upon a foundation of inspiring creative voices.” That tribe included photographer Ashley Barker, model Mahina Alexander, artists Michelle Blade, Nina Long, and Kylea Borges, who model Ashley Smith, who comprise the assembly of RVCA Women’s Advocates.The extended version of the short documentary film will debut on RVCA.COM on August 28th, but for now, revel in this dreamy preview of the ensemble’s week-long creative adventure in Montauk.

RVCA | #BABESinMTK Teaser from RVCA on Vimeo.

The Surf Lodge and Ruschmeyer’s: The East End Done Right

Yesterday we spoke of a summer less ordinary. We talked about the "Hamptonization" of magical Montauk. For me the Hamptons was a land that I would blow by at 3MPH, its traffic snarls confirming my profound distaste for the place … at least during season. I designed Dune out there at one time for Noah Tepperberg, Jason Strauss, and Matt Shendall yet I never attended it while it was open. Montauk seemed different. It was a town too far for the napkin tossing Electronic Music or Mash-Up heads that squished together in make believe clubs. In the off season I’d walk the lonely beaches near a friend’s home in Amagansett with my dogs and my gal or grab a bite in Sag Harbor with townies but I’d more than likely go the extra miles to Montauk. Surf Lodge (pictured) changed the game. It brought a chic style that was an acceptable alternative to the quaint fixings of the last town on the strip.

 
Last season The Surf Lodge racked up 680 violations, mostly for the same 3 things but all stemmed from patrons and sound disturbing the peace… disrupting the dreams of others. The property was being managed by King & Grove hotels, a new startup by Ben Pundole, Rob McKinley, and Ed Scheetz. Former honchos, the visionary Jamie Mulholland and the sleek operating machine Jayma Cardoza took a back seat to the operatons, but remained owners. This year, Jayma brought in investor Michael Walrath, an internet tycoon who sold an online ad company to Yahoo! for 850 mil in 2007. Mr Walrath purchased the property and kept her on as managing partner. He settled the violations with the town for 100K while vowing to "work with the community". Jamie and Rob sold their shares. 
 
I visited The Surf Lodge and was awestruck. It was calm and delightful. Jayma was surprised to see me as if a striped bass had walked out of the water and was walking across her lobby chomping on a cigar. But there I was and instantly wanting to come back. Fifteen minutes in the place and I felt the city being washed from me. I caught up with Jayma after and got this:
 
"Hi Steve, In regards to changes at The Surf Lodge.  I think the biggest changes we’ve made with The Surf Lodge would be: We put a priority on the town of Montauk and how we best serve the community.  We want to accommodate everyone, but now we’re very mindful of how many people are on property and we don’t exceed it. In actuality, I’ve always known it would be better for business, when things are too crowded it makes it more challenging to enjoy the hotel, which ultimately means less business. We’re closing earlier, last call is now 1:45.  We don’t want to be known as a late night spot, I want guests to enjoy Montauk, the beaches and beauty it holds.  It’s been good for business as well, people stop by the hotel earlier now, and enjoy the sunset more so than stars.  I think sunset is truly magic at The Surf Lodge, so we like having guest in early.
 
We’ve taken initiatives to be more green; we used driftwood to build most of our daybeds when we re-designed our beach section. Most of our hotel and restaurant collateral is printed on post-consumer recycled content paper. We don’t use Hotel key cards  (plastic) and just have codes for guests to enter the room. We have signage encouraging guests to "save the planet one towel at a time"  educating them of the benefits if they utilize them more than once, We train our staff on green initiatives. We use only organic and eco friendly cleaning products. We installed water efficient shower heads in rooms, planted a lot of new bushes and trees on the property, and updated most of our lighting to LED and Halogen. All of our bathroom products for guests are from environmental friendly companies like Healthier focus etc. We partnered with SLT for Saturday and Sunday exercise classes and NAM juice for those seeking healthier lifestyle ,  They are amazing.  We are also partnering with retreat partners, which you’ll see more of in the fall that are mind, health and wellbeing oriented.
 
In regards to Montauk.  I think everyone has discovered why it’s so magical.  It’s a beach town.  I know all the other hamlets are near the beach, but Montauk really is a beach town first and foremost.  The town itself is right next to the ocean, the people that are here really enjoy the lifestyle and come here to interact with the ocean, beach, nature.  There has been a wave of new hospitality venues this year and for me it remains to be seen what it means for Montauk, but I think the places that are true to the nature  and the experience people want when they come out here can and will add to the overall lifestyle and experience.  The other thing I’ve noticed is Montauk is getting younger and older.  I’ve been coming to Montauk ever since I moved to the USA from Brazil.  It was my beach town and it always felt like home for me.  I’ve seen the same people coming to Montauk over my tenure and for many of them are entering the next stage in life and are now have children and families.  It’s great to see so many of their kids on the beach.  I love Montauk, it really is a magical place and the good thing is it really resonates with the people who live here year round and those lucky enough to visit… this is what will always keep Montauk special."
 
Rob McKinley and Ben Pundole opened Ruschmeyer’s last year and the property was billed as a "summer camp for adults". It was an overnight success with the fashion/hipster crowd. Rob and Ben have since left King & Grove. Although Ben is no longer involved with Ruschmeyer’s Rob remains an operating partner. Ben has returned to his roots and is back working with Ian Schrager on new properties. Rob McKinley is my favorite Hospitality Designer. His work includes GoldBar and Good Units and tons more. Look him up. He always has me saying to myself "wish I had thought of that" and laughing at the ease he seems to create wonderful. 
 
He toured me along with Steve Kasuba of Velvet Road Group. Steve put the PR into the word prolific. He’s everywhere representing spaces and clients I’m interested in. He even finds time to own the very happening burger joint Banzai Burger on the Napeague Stretch. They were readying for Saturday night and the staff was all smiley and working in that bar/restauraunt frenzy professional style so often missing out east. I mentioned it to Rob and he told me it was indeed hard to get staff off route 27 but that he indeed had a good one. He said he was lucky. He’s always looking lucky. I know better. It takes a ton of work. My ex said I was the heart of the places I ran. Even when sleeping I had to keep on thinking about it, working, keeping that heart beating. Rob is particularly excited about his collaboration with Chris Blackwell on the new "Blackwell Rum Shack" which is new this season. Thursday nights continue to be popular with a high energy Bingo night complete with dance offs and unque prizes for winners. There are movie nights on the lawn and weekends are all about The Electric Eel disco. Rob spins as DJ Tito Cruz on Sat nights. This is all in addition to the bustling restaurant run by the guys who also run Fat Radish in NYC. I asked Rob to tell me all about it:
 
"Montauk is such a special place for many reasons.  For starters the wild coastline and open ocean has always been so important to me and constantly gives me perspective on what life is all about. Also the fact that its 3 hours from the best city in the world makes it my own little paradise. At Ruschmeyer’s this season, I’m most excited about the Blackwell Rum Shack. It’s is a colaboration we did with Chris Blackwell and his Rum.  At the Rum Shack it’s all reggae all the time and even some legendary acts like Sister Nancy, and Jimmy Cliff." 

Terry Casey: “There Are Big Changes Happening in Montauk”

I don’t do The Hamptons. Although I have great friends that love the prospect of driving hours in a car through the cultural desert of Long Island to hang with people I strive to avoid in Manhattan while eating $50-a-pound potato salad, the idea has never appealed to me. I have done it and done it right, but I do remember spending a year there one night . I did design Dune at one point but never actually graced it with my divine presence. During the winter months, my clan treks out to Montauk to huddle around fireplaces and beachcomb. The water, the light, and the lack of crowds made me a believer years ago. I’ll be there come the cold. Apparently they have built this wondrous place called The Montauk Beach House and I have been told it’s a game-changer. My pal Paul Sevigny DJd there recently. When I was considering a story about Bastille Day and looking through my online emails and evites, I saw a big name pop out at me: Paul Oakenfold, one of the top DJs in the world. He’s doing a gig at The Montauk Beach House this Saturday, July 14th at 3pm. Take a look at the pics – it’s gorgeous. My pal Terry Casey is booking the joint and DJing as well. He called me about playing there come August so I asked him what the heck is going on.

What the heck are you doing out there? Who have you had already and who’s coming up and who’s coming to this place and …tell me all about it!
I GOT ASKED BY EVENT SOCIETY (RENE AND FRANCOIS) TO BOOK AND PRODUCE A MUSIC SERIES AT MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE WITH A GOOD FRIEND: MATT THOMAS. HE’S A BRIT AND WANTS GOOD MUSIC AND IS VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE. OWNER CHRIS JONES ALSO DESIGNED NIKKI BEACH, AND MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE FEELS LIKE A MIAMI HOTEL SO IT’S A NEW CONCEPT IN MONTAUK…RENE MANAGES OPERATIONS AND DOES IT WELL AT MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE; HE’S  THE OWNER OF EVENT SOCIETY. IT EXCITED ME TO DO AS I’VE BEEN GOING OUT TO MONTAUK FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS – I FEEL MORE AT HOME THERE THEN IN THE HAMPTONS. I USED TO DJ IN HAMPTONS CLUBS AND FEEL LIKE I SOLD MY SOUL. I STILL DO A FEW WILD HOUSE PARTIES IN THE HAMPTONS, BUT THAT’S VERY DIFFERENT TO THE CLUBS…THE CLUBS IN THE HAMPTONS ARE NOT MY THING. MONTAUK IS MORE LAID-BACK AND LOT OF SURFER CULTURE …THERE ARE  BIG CHANGES HAPPENING IN MONTAUK; PLACES LIKE SURF LODGE AND RUSCHMEYER’S HAVE SET THE PACE…LOTS OF FRIEND HAVE MOVED TO MONTAUK AS THEY PREFER IT.

WE DID A SOFT OPENING WITH PAUL SEVIGNY LAST WEEK AND HE PLAYED A LOT OF GOOD ROCK, SOUL, FUNK ..HE ROCKED THE PLACE….A GREAT DJ AND REAL RECORD COLLECTOR PLAYS VINYL AND LOTS OF IT. IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET HIM OFF THE DECKS. I GAVE UP AT 4AM, HAHA. I PLAY ROCK AND ELECTRONIC SO IT’S NOT ALL ONE STYLE …AND THE MUSIC SERIES WILL MIX UP BANDS AND DJS…ALL SUMMER…

FOR THE DAYTIME BY THE POOLS, WE HAVE DJS LIKE BRIDGET MARIE AND SARAH RUA. THEY PLAY MORE HOUSE, AFROBEAT, SOULFUL VIBES.I’ve rarely enjoyed the music out east during the summer.. you told me Montauk is different… tell me why that is.
MONTAUK IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE YOU FEEL AWAY FROM NYC. THE HAMPTONS FEELS LIKE AN EXTENSION OF PEOPLE’S BAD BEHAVIOUR IN NYC…PEOPLE ARE STILL RUSHING AROUND…YOUR SUPPOSED TO BE CHILLING OUT…ON VACATION.

I GO TO PLACES LIKE BANZAI BURGER AND FEEL LIKE I’M AT THE BEACH OR IN THE CARRIBEAN.  BANZAI IS ALEX DUFFY AND STEVE KASUBA’S NEW PLACE OUT EAST. THE FOOD THERE ROCKS…I GOTO SURF LODGE AND RUSCHMEYER’S. THEY’RE ALL GREAT PLACES AND ALL VERY DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER.

Are the townies coming or is it a hipper visitor, vacationer, weekender?
ALEX DUFFY LIVES IN MIAMI AND THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE FROM MIAMI, NEW YORK, AND OUTSIDE THE US COMING IN. AND, OF COURSE, THERE ARE LOCALS.  ON WEEKENDS A LOT OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE SICK OF THE EVENTS IN THE HAMPTONS ARE COMING TO MONTAUK FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT…IT’S THE SAME REASON PEOPLE IN MANHATTAN GO TO WBURG …THEY’RE OVER MANHATTAN AND ARE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING LESS CHEESEY.

At the end of the summer, will you try to continue this series in a NY venue? How would you describe the state of NYC clubland?
I’VE BEEN APPROACHED TO DO MORE EVENTS IN NYC AND MIAMI AND I HAVE PROJECTS IN MUSIC IN THE WORKS. I LIKE THAT THERE’S MORE CLUBS BOOKING MUSIC ACTS AND LESS MODEL PROMOTERS …BUT NYC NEEDS MORE BALANCED MUSIC AND SOCIAL CLUBS. I WISH THE FESTIVALS WOULD BOOK MORE LOCAL DJS…WE ARE BOOKING TALENTED LOCALS LIKE JESSE MARCO ,CHAINSMOKERS, DJ VIKAS, JULIO SANTO DOMINGO, KRIS GRAHAM, LIQUID TODD, SHORTY, AND MANY MORE..THESE GUYS ARE LOCALS AND TRAVEL THE WORLD.

Paul Oakenfold. Like …how do you swing a name like that?
PAUL OAKENFOLD AND YOUNG EMPIRES (LIVE) …YES, ME AND MATT HAVE CALLED A LOT OF FRIENDS TO GET PEOPLE TO PLAY ALL SUMMER FOR SMALL FEES IN A 200-400 PEOPLE VENUE BY THE POOL….WE HAVE A LOT OF ACTS COMING LIVE AND DJING….I DONT WANNA SAY WHO, AS EVENTS ARE INVITE- ONLY..  BUT EXPECT MORE HUGE ACTS. 

Skydiving And Rosé Delivered By Parachute: Day & Night Lands At Gurney’s Inn

There are four times this summer when several very peculiar things are happening in the Hamptons. Things like "having your chilled Dom Perignon rosé parachute-delivered 13,500ft by a skydiver," or "eating French toast bites alongside Angus beef sliders and lobster rolls." Sounds familiar? Then perhaps you’ve been to Day & Night in NY the Koch brothers’ sparkler and DJ-filled brunch party – and perhaps you’ll be very happy to hear: it’s taking over Montauk for the third year in a row. 

And while its fun munching on crispy calamari,  shrimp cocktails, and fresh oysters – it’s even better when you’re sitting beside the very place it all came from: the Atlantic Ocean, since the party’s set at Montauk’s oceanfront, homey hotel Gurney’s Inn, which has been around since 1926. Yes, when there were flappers. 

Day & Night is only happening Memorial Day weekend, July 4th, August 3rd, and Labor Day – so you’ve got to email party@dayandnightlife.com quick to get your seat by the water.

Get the inside-info on Day & Night, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here

A New Burger King Emerges Triumphant at SUPERBURGER

This year’s SUPERBURGER wasn’t so much a Burger Bloodbath, as it was formerly known, but more than a few chins were glistening in the mid-afternoon Montauk sun, anointed as they were with plenty of sweet, sweet burger nectar. My chin included. 

Standing in a fenced off section of lawn on Star Island, feet from the Mega Yacht docks of the Montauk Yacht Club, was to be in a microcosm of the perfect summer get-together: lithe, long-legged beauties accompanied bottomless taps of Amstel Light and Amstel Wheat; games of ping (or beer) pong popped up at branded tables; and the pervasive aromas of hot coals suffused with the sizzling scent of ground meat drippings wafted gently through the air. This is how outdoor grilling is meant to be. 

Despite the fact that all were present to witness or to partake in what was to be a competition between masters of the culinary craft, very little about the event carried that charged, emotionally volatile atmosphere that comes with your standard cook-off. All the chefs were focused, no doubt, but affable and genuinely having a great time talking with friends and fans alike. 

“What more could I want?” said a smiling Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly of the West Village’s Fedora. “I’m here with friends, and this is a good balance between work and play. We’re just here to have fun. Winning is just, whatever. It’s not about that.”

Then what was it all about, I found myself asking. Is it just about standing around on a beautiful summer day, pushing yourself to consume as many insanely delicious meat-bun-condiment concoctions within a three-hour period? Well, as it turns out, yeah pretty much.

“The goal is to celebrate summer and have some good burgers,” said event organizer and progenitor Ben Leventhal, who first started the event six summers ago. “It’s a fun thing to bring the best of these great chefs together and watch them do something different. I think this is by far the strongest field we’ve ever had. The average quality of these burgers is very, very high. These are at least eights and nines, all of them.” 

Even head judge Kate Krader from Food & Wine magazine was smitten by the entrees. “So far, three years in, this is the best year ever,” she opined, speaking between bites into a heavily greased microphone.

The tune of the day seemed to be sticking to tradition, with each chef adding at least one personal twist to their creations, ranging from the somewhat simple (bacon grease for Jesse Gerstein and Dan Aldworth) to the innovative (chorizo and refried beans on Alex Stupak’s Mexican Hamburguesa) to the off-the-beaten path (Zak Pelaccio’s Lamb Burger). The judges were apparently looking to see who could best capture the essence of the consummate ‘Beach Burger,’ which the crowd and myself were blissfully unaware of until the very end. 

For my money, the absolute standouts were Pelaccio’s lamb burger (or lamburger, as it is pronounced à la mode Parisien) with Lady Jayne’s barrel-aged worcestershire sauce, sheep’s milk cheese, salted chilies, and aioli; PJ Calapa’s Butterfly Burger, which came straight to Montauk via Texas with French’s yellow mustard, white American cheese, and, hands-down, the best buttery, toasty bun in the game; and Stupak’s La Hamburguesa, a short rib patty with chorizo, refried beans, Chihuahua cheese and lime mayonnaise. 

Alas, I am no burger judge, and those select few saw things differently. Perhaps my judgment was clouded by Momofuku’s Christina Tosi’s Grasshopper Pie with basil mint foam, or merely by the fact I was unable to take one bite of each burger and throw the rest away for fear of hurting feelings or receiving a reprimand for wasting food. But when the judges cast their lot, the cards fell as followed:

Rated on a 100-point scale, with the points awarded as the judges see fit, first place was decided by a margin of only .4 points while third was a mere 1.2 points behind second; margins that are, as judge Josh Capon so eloquently phrased it, "very small numbers.”

Third place with 82 points was last year’s runners-up Jesse Gerstein and Dan Aldworth, one of two amateur groups in the event. Second place came in at 82.4 and was Harold Moore of Commerce.

And the winner of the Amstel Light SUPERBURGER Trophy and a spot in the New York City or Miami Food and Wine Festival was Seamus Mullen of Tertulia with his Hamburguesa Ligeramente Ahumada; a lightly smoked beef burger topped with smoked American cheddar, caramelized onion jam, and nora pepper ketchup. It was, to be sure, a most excellent burger; the first one I sampled, in fact, and more than worthy to bear the savory mantle of SUPERBURGER. 

Industry Insiders: Celine Valensi, Nest Watcher

With a wealth of experience that includes opening eight restaurants, including three with hospitality legend Sean MacPherson, general manager Celine Valensi has just the right touch to ensure guests at the Crow’s Nest Inn in Montauk have the time of their lives. We caught up with Valensi to get the scoop on her hospitality background and the secret to staying calm amid a flurry of activity. 

Where were you born, where did you grow up, and what kinds of things were you interested in as a kid? I was born and raised on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where my mom still owns and operates the restaurant she opened when she was pregnant with me, Mon Petit Cafe. As kids, my brother Nick (Nick Valensi of The Strokes), sister Alessandra and I used to sit and do our homework at a back table and wait for our mom to finish work.

Has your career always been in restaurants and nightlife?
Hospitality is in my blood – it’s all I’ve done.
 
What’s it like working with Sean MacPherson? 
I first met and started working with Sean MacPherson when I was 21. Still a sassy kid then, and I generally had problems with authority/bosses because I felt like I knew more than everyone else, especially in my industry. I thought because I had already climbed the wall of working in 1, 2 and 3 star restaurants, I had reached a ceiling of what I could learn in my business. Sean, however, is far more punk rock than I and continues to take me to school on a daily basis on everything from electrical wall panels to water service. He’s seemingly psychically plugged into what people don’t even know they want yet. Within the company we call it his Midas touch.
 
What is an average day like for you, if there is such a thing as an average day? 
I live on property at The Crow’s Nest so I can be there just about every waking moment. We run a 16 room inn in addition to our restaurant which keeps me putting out fires most of the day. While it’s a 7-day work week from May through September, I sneak out most days when the heat and sun are highest because my office doesn’t have AC. Between noon and two most days this summer, you can find me at Ditch Plains beach either tanning or surfing.
 
What do you enjoy the most about your job, and what are some of the challenges? 
Crow’s Nest has the advantage of being on "island time." Most people in Montauk are on vacation, and generally easier to please (as well as more tan and more fun). A major disadvantage to our location is the mere distance to everything. If we need birthday candles in a pinch for instance, no busser is running across the street to the nearest bodega as he might in NYC. Out at the very End as we call it, what you go into service with is all you’ve got.
 
How do you help people feel relaxed and have fun while also making sure they’re having a special experience? 
I wear a miniskirt.  No, just teasing – it’s about value. People want to see value in the dollars they put out. In our case, we have a tremendous advantage of being positioned on Lake Montauk, adjacent to wetlands. The environment alone launches guests into a serene mindset, with gorgeous sunset views (each room has a private deck) and endless bottles of rosé.  
 
What advice would you give someone who is interested in doing what you do? 
Go out to your local diner, bar, bistro, cafe or wherever you can imagine yourself working and get a job – any job. After opening 8 restaurants (3 of which for Sean) and working in a handful of others, I’ve learned that secretly, every restaurant is the same. While the variables will undoubtedly change from spot to spot, the principals of labor/food cost are the same everywhere. And hospitality, at its core, is unwavering.

Hamptons: Top 9 Outside Eats on the East End

For those of us already dreading the fast-approaching month of September, take advantage of the final weekends of summer on the East End with some fresh air and fresher fish. Bring sunscreen, ban any mention of Fashion Week, and savor the sunset as much as you do your lobster roll.

The Crow’s Nest Inn & Restaurant (Montauk) – Sean McPherson’s sceney revamp of this local favorite makes up for no reservation policy with fine dining and a damn fine lake view

Duryeas Lobster Deck (Montauk) – Dock-dining, no-frills BYOB with fresh fish and the best sunsets on the East End.

Gosman’s Topside (Montauk) – Seaside staple perched atop Gosman’s cafe has been serving up local catches and lobster rolls since 1947. (Pictured above)

Gurneys Inn (Montauk) – Montauk’s spin on the classic country club, where the beach is more impressive than the food, but the bartender boys keep those cocktails coming.

The Restaurant at the Surf Lodge (Montauk) – Well-thought out and unpretentious beach chic livens up Montauk on the hotel, dining and nightlife fronts all in one bundle.

Montauk Yacht Club (Montauk) – Yacht club with roaring ’20s roots set on 35 acres of water-front property brings back beachy luxe.

Clam Bar (Amagansett) – Roadside shack keeps it extra local on the desolate stretch between Amagansett and Montauk.

Joni’s (Montauk) – Healthy, fresh sandwiches and bites by the seashore. Eat in, or load up for the beach.

La Fondita (Amagansett) – Stylish taqueria with shrimp tacos good enough to make you forget you’re in The Hamptons.

Coming to The End: Montauk’s Indian Summer Dies Out

The realization that development has hit the last possible tract of land at the end of an island is like finishing an eight ball at 4am and coming to grips with the fact that there’s no more left, no hope of getting any more, nowhere to go, and the sun’s coming up. Montauk, or The End, might just be earning its nickname at last.

The locals and longtime summer regulars are bitter about interlopers turning Montauk into an eastern expansion of East Hampton. The arrivistes — Kelly Bensimon, Amanda Hearst, Andre Saffir, and legions of others who only a few years ago, never would have ventured West of the canal or East of Napeague Stretch — are there for the very thing the locals fear they’ll destroy. The newcomers want to outrun the development they wrought. The barbarians are at the gate, and they’re wearing Givenchy jeans and Ed Hardy T-shirts. They love the light, the air, the natural beauty, but they bring with them the market for trendy shops and, eventually, Starbucks, Blockbusters and CVS. When the chain stores arrive, stalwarts and recent arrivals alike will decry that the place isn’t what it used to be together, and wish they could move further east, to find some place more pure, more authentic, that doesn’t have a Coach store next to a Gucci store next to an Elie Tahari. The problem is, after Montauk, there’s nowhere further east to flee.

With this most recent wave of vacationers, “Montauk has allowed to occur what a lot of people hoped would never happen,” says David Lion Rattiner, editor of the Montauk Pioneer and the son of Dan’s Papers founder Dan Rattiner.

This isn’t the first time Montauk’s seen this sort of invasion. Corey Dolgon, a sociologist who wrote The End of the Hamptons, points out that the East End has a long and glorious history of one group pushing out another, even as the “native” population bemoans the incursion — from the Shinnecocks to the Bonackers to the old-money aristocracy.

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In the early 1900s, Carl Fisher, a self-made millionaire, transformed Miami Beach from an unwanted and unused tract of mangroves and muck into a money-making machine, a playground for the rich, and the leading edge of the resort boom. Montauk, at that time, was still largely untouched. The few moneyed New Yorkers who ventured there came to hunt, fish, and get lost in the private wilderness, not luxuriate in spas and fancy hotels. In the early 1920s, now worth more than $50 million, Fisher turned to Montauk to repeat his Miami success.

In 1925, he purchased 10,0000 acres for $2.5 million and soon was repeating the refrain, “Miami in the winter, Montauk in the summer.” He built a casino and speakeasy and, in1929, the Montauk Yacht Club was founded.

And then the Great Depression hit. The burgeoning resort community deflated just as quickly as it had sprung up, with one major change: the area was no longer the undeveloped primitive wilderness it had been before. But on some level Montauk isn’t exactly and never was the anti-Hampton it is cracked up to be.

After all, Bernie Madoff had his summer home here, perched atop bluffs at the terminus of Old Montauk Highway. “These idiot townies don’t get it,” says Artie Schneider, the owner of the Memory Motel, who has proposed a grand plan to stage a summer concert series featuring the likes of Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Willie Nelsen, Don Henley, and Billie Joel at Rita’s Stables off West Lake Drive. “Ditch Plains is lined with $2 million houses. This isn’t a working-class or even middle-class community.”

“Why would Montauk have been able to maintain this image of a quaint fishing village way past when it really was?” asks Dolgon.

A blonde girl serving coffee and muffins one morning out of the Ditch Witch, a food truck in the parking lot at the entrance to Ditch Plains, tells of a man in his late fifties who drives up nearly every morning in his Benz and unstraps his surfboard from the roof. You can bet by Monday morning he’s in some Midtown boardroom with a view of Central Park, but on Saturday morning he’s probably wearing flip-flops.

It’s a different sort of shitshow from the rest of the Hamptons, but a shitshow nonetheless. Case in point: designated party-chronicler and Guest of a Guest editrix Rachelle Hruska has noticed a big difference between her first summer in Montauk and this one. “There were a lot more parties and people out this year,” she says. “Last year felt a little more intimate.”

The eye of the storm is the triangle formed between Solé East and the Surf Lodge on Fort Pond, Montauk Yacht Club to the east, and the center of town to the north. Cabs race back and forth along the water all night, dumping shrieking carloads at the nexus of Main Street and the northern tip of Fort Pond, where they stumble into the Memory Motel or The Point flushing some cash into the local economy. It is, after all, on the way back to East Hampton. “We see them come in around 1,” says Schneider. “You can tell because of the way they are dressed.”

Those new places — Solé is in its third season, Surf Lodge its second, and Montauk Yacht Club in its first — are run by corporate concerns, which sets them apart from what preceded them, but they still aren’t quite like Hamptons hot spots. You won’t find the prickly bouncers, long waits to get in, steep cover charges, and $600 bottle service that are the hallmarks of nightspots from Tavern to Lily Pond. Rattiner likens a trip to a Hamptons clubs to a regrettable hook-up, “When you go to the Pink Elephant, even if you have a good time, you feel bad about the next day. The Surf Lodge doesn’t make you feel that way.”

Jamie Mulholland, one of the three owners of the Surf Lodge, says they have tried to create a friendly vibe. “There really is no bullshit here,” he says. And they certainly bring out one of the most diverse crowds you are going to find in the Hamptons. Despite some citations this year from the town for overcrowding and long lines of parked cars, Mullholland says they feel like a part of Montauk. Anyone can come to the free, live performances they host, and Mullholland says they’ve made an effort to keep the prices in line with the local establishments. “We’re planning on being here a long time,’ he says.

But only if their septic system holds up. Bob Stern, president of Concerned Citizens of Montauk, an environmental group dating back to the early 1970s, points out that the waste disposal at the Lakeside, now the Surf Lodge, has a history of problems. “It didn’t pass in 2003, when the place was authorized for 65 people,” he says. Of course, many times that number traipse through the Surf Lodge every weekend.

Mulholland says the health department has been out to the Surf Lodge on two separate occasions and found nothing wrong. But is that the town just playing nice with developers? Mullholland scoffs at this possibility, arguing that cleanliness is in everyone’s interest. “People don’t come to Montauk to see trash and swim in feces,” Stern says. “They can get that in Coney Island.”

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And the people, they are coming, economy be damned. The Memory Motel’s Schneider had been bracing for bad summer, “But it has been better than I expected,” he says. The blonde at the Ditch Witch says she’s been as busy as ever.” Solé’s Ceva says that they were up in June and July, which had the worst weather, and down in August. He thought the economy might be helping, as many of his typical guests see a trip out east as a less costly vacation option. Mullholland reports that the Surf Lodge has been up “15 percent across the board.”

And then there are all the new spots: Calypso set up shop on the edge of the Plaza, and Screaming Mimi’s is right across the street from the old Puff and Putt. You can lay money that Ralph Lauren (a local!), Blue&Cream, and Alice & Olivia can’t be far behind.

And yet, everyone from Mulholland to Ceva to Stern and even Andrew Farkas still contends that Montauk is a special place. Corey Dolgon says that no matter what, “It will always be somehow distinct.” Ratnier says the difference “comes down to the stability of the families. Montauk is a place you choose to settle. The sons and daughters of Montauk want to stay.”

If the worst happens, and the latest influx destroys the desolate charm of The End, where to next? (Asked if he thinks there’s any chance that the current local families will hold out where the Bonackers and bay men and farmers of the Hamptons couldn’t, Dolgon replies flatly, “No.”) Rattiner suggests that Shelter Island has an untouched quality, but of course not the ocean beaches or the surfing. Rachelle Hruska wishes for Quogue, possibly because it’s a shorter trip from Manhattan. And Dolgon suggests the theory of “creative destruction,” a rediscovery and reclamation of an old place. New Yorkers could go back to Miami Beach, or, he says with a laugh, “maybe Coney Island.”

Checking In & Checking Out at the Surf Lodge

Apparently there’s a “new Gridskipper.” Check out those nasty comments underneath the travel blog’s write-up of the Surf Lodge, Montauk’s new place-to-be. They both express anger at their beloved travel tome’s sudden propensity for what—writing about a new hotel? Isn’t that what a travel website ought to do? We hope that in also writing about the Surf Lodge, no readers are alienated, but here goes nothing.

A while back, some New York hot shots and some New York big shots joined forces to create a place that specializes in making you feel like a beach bum, albeit one who can afford a room for $300 dollars a night. The Surf Lodge was started by Rob McKinley, Steven Kamali, Jamie Mulholland, Jayma Cardosa, and Steve Kasuba—Manhattan parents to Cain and Goldbar. Curiously, the hotel borders a lake, but the ocean’s waves of its inspiration are only half a mile away. The restaurant’s menu is being prepared by “Top Chef” runner-up Sam Talbot, using local produce, so the lobster roll you’re eating might very well be the same scoundrel who nipped you in the butt earlier that day.

Each room is equipped with plasma flatscreen TVs, iPod docks, free wi-fi, and hammocks on the personal decks—which makes leaving for the beach harder than you might think. And even if you’re not a guest of the hotel, you can always hit up its indoor bar or its 2600 square-foot outdoor drinkery, which overlooks the water. This is the place to hang ten in the Hamptons in 2008.