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State of the Hamptons: Montauk's Identity Crisis of 2009

Today, Blackbook analyzes the impending doom of Montauk, or the impending era of glory, depending on who you ask. Montauk's Hamptonification has been a sore subject for most locals over the past few years, and acceptance of the crowds that come with the likes of Surf Lodge, the Solé East and the Montauk Yacht Club has been slow at best. What is curious about Montauk is its position at The End. Literally. While tourism has always kept the village afloat in the summer, the influx of Calypso-loving city folk is something displaced locals could do without. Problem: there is nowhere else to go.

This feeling of helplessness is not new, as Montauk has fallen victim to the urban tourist before. Carl Fisher's original Montauk Yacht Club was built to make the village the Miami Beach of the north. Only the Great Depression saved the East Enders from an art deco building spree. Blackbook rightly points out that the pre-depression building left Montauk in a different form. Gone was the wilderness, and, in many ways, the innocence that most locals believed to still be there. Montauk 'never was the anti-Hampton it is cracked up to be.'

Local business owners weigh in on the issue, with many taking the stance that the village is better off with a bit of cash coming in. The Memory Motel's Artie Schneider gruffly explains that 'these idiot townies don't get it', while Surf Lodge's Jamie Mulholland praises the diverse crowd that comes to his hotel every night. 'We’re planning on being here a long time,' he says, and so long as that pesky spetic system holds up, they probably will be. (A citizens advisory member reminds us of Surf Lodge's bathroom crowding issue every chance he gets, and this article is no exception.)

While Montauk has lost (or won) this battle, the next frontier may be harder to gauge. Resources to the east have been exhausted, so Shelter Island and Quogue, watch your backs.
· Coming to the End: Montauk's Indian Summer Dies Out [Blackbook]

Surf Lodge

183 Edgemere Street, Montauk, NY 11954 631 668 2632 Visit Website

Sole East Resort

90 Second House Road, Montauk, NY 11954 631 668 2105 Visit Website

Calypso St. Barths

21 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, NY 11937 Visit Website