Metamorphosis of Montauk

In every cycle of life, living things continue with the repetition of stages that continue until some evolution or situation interferes and an adaptation or change occurs.  This is to be expected and is documented throughout history. When it comes to customs and personal or religious beliefs, a similar process occurs; only when these types of changes happen the human spirit, opinion and/or fear is, or becomes part of the equation. Well, I believe that although a town is not technically a living thing, it is comprised of businesses and people that give it life and expects its cycle to continue; year after year or season after season. In the case of a town like Montauk, with each new season we emerge from a cocoon-like state affectionately called ‘the off-season’ and proceed, with certain expectations and beliefs, through the cycle of a vacation town. Now don’t be offended, I don’t mean to imply that everyone who remains in the winter is in some type of comatose state- I happen to be one of those people. However, it is obviously a different place between November and March.

Recently however, when we’ve emerged from the ‘off’ to the ‘in’ season, it seems our metamorphosis has resulted in drastic evolution; at times unexpected and/or unwelcomed. Some of the players are changing and with that the look and feel of what many consider to be ‘traditional Montauk’ is also changing.

So that being said, this season, although again as we emerge there are additional changes, there’s also some consistency embedded within the change that is a bit of a bright light to us ‘locals’ or full timers who don’t want to lose their Montauk.

Starting a few years back Gurney’s Inn- the place that was family run and a huge part of the social fabric of the town- sold. Since then they have been ‘metamorphosizing’ like crazy.  Everyone has an opinion, but the name Gurney’s Montauk and their efforts to be part of the community- suggests the desire to keep at least a part of the tradition alive.

Last year, the warm, welcoming pub on the circle in town, O’Murphy’s, also transformed. Although losing them from town was sad for many, they’ve emerged at their new location and are keeping the tradition alive.

This year, Shagwong was quite literally cocooned throughout the winter months and has emerged with the same –yet shinier- look. It’s still the place where you’ll find some local friends enjoying each other’s company over a pint, and they have also opened the kitchen again.

Another long-time friend of Montauk, Duryea’s Dock, was sold and renovated and has recently opened its doors offering the same counter-type ordering with a variety of seafood, shellfish and a new sushi bar. Again, they’ve changed but are keeping the name, similar food choices, and of course the breathtaking view.

Finally, the next to complete their metamorphosis is the long standing Trails End. They’ll be opening this season as “The Tauk” at Trails End. We’re looking forward to see the changes and how much of the tradition they’ll be able to hold on to.

So as I reflect on all of these and other changes, I know: that everything changes, it can be both positive and negative, quick or slow, welcomed or not, and always they’ll be conflicting sides and opinions about it. It’s my honest heartfelt wish that when things settle our lovely town of Montauk, occupied by kind, generous and caring citizens, will continue to be a place where generation of families call it home or their home away from home, visitors come to enjoy and respect it’s beauty, and where one can always find that special feel that is Montauk.

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