Beach Party's Morning-After Mess Causes Outrage

A photograph taken Tuesday morning shows just some of what was left behind after a beach party on the west side of Navy Road. Phyllis Morgano

Remnants of a beach party in Montauk, believed to have been put on by Ruschmeyer's chefs, have locals outraged and have sparked a police investigation.

When Phyllis Morgano took her daily walk Tuesday morning with her three dogs on the west side of the beach at Navy Road, she discovered trash, left over food, and alcohol, games, and even a bonfire. "I saw the mess from way down the beach," she said, adding that another woman, who lives nearby, was already surveying the littered sands. 

Ms. Morgano was told the partygoers had just left the beach around 6 a.m. after an all-night fiesta. The fire in the sand was still burning. Ms. Morgano carried three or four buckets of water from Fort Pond Bay to extinguish the fire.

Cases of graham crackers and marshmallows, huge pans of food, giant tubs of coleslaw and other fixings, gallons of fluids to fill the lanterns, "tons of torches all over the place," shot glasses, and "kiddie pools and floats" were just some of what she found at the party site, Ms. Morgano said. There were even full bottles of vodka and scotch, cases of wine, and kegs of beer left behind. She had to shoo her dogs away from a half-eaten pig that had been roasted. 

She returned at 8 a.m. to take pictures of the mess, thinking perhaps the revelers would have returned by then "with a garbage truck." Nothing much had been cleaned up, she said.

"There's no reason to go down there and leave it," Ms. Morgano said. "It's one thing to have a party . . . pick up after yourself. It was a danger to everybody with the fire being left there and the food being left out like that. It was horrible." 

East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said Tuesday afternoon that a littering summons had been issued, "and there is an investigation ongoing to determine if further code violations were committed." Asked who the summons was issued to, he said, "We don't release the names of people who receive a summons, but it is our understanding it was a Ruschmeyer's staff party and someone affiliated with the establishment received the littering summons."

Ed Michels, the chief harbormaster whose marine patrol unit was called to the beach this morning, said the organizer stopped into the Montauk precinct on Monday to let officers know about the party and asked questions about the rules. They were informed of the town rules and told that since they were expecting 30 people to attend they did not need a mass gathering permit. "I don't think their intention was to leave the garbage there," Mr. Michels said of the mess. He confirmed that they did return to clean up. 

In a since-deleted post on their Instagram page, Max and Eli Sussman, two brothers who are chefs at Ruschmeyer's in Montauk this summer,  posted a video of what they called the "Caja China bonfire." They wrote, "This party bout to be the jump off! I watched the mtv music awards last night so I know the jump off is a cool thing kids say still." 

They received some comments from locals who figured out the party was the one to blame for the Tuesday morning mess. One user, @chefblutstein, who is Jeremy Blutstein, wrote that they should be "ashamed as humans and disgraced as chefs for not cleaning up your mess."

James Katsipis, a Montauk photographer who goes by @letstaukgrams, wrote, "Next time you leave a mess I'm gna [sic] drop all that shit off in your house. #kooks." 

The chefs, using their handle @thesussmans, replied: "We are sorry for leaving the beach last night without cleaning it up. We didn't handle the situation well and for that we apologize. We returned this morning to clean up. Again, sorry." 

A video that Mr. Katsipis posted on his Facebook page showing what was left behind, was shared 228 times and received 105 comments in five hours.

Patrick Gaeta wrote, "it's cool, just leave it, the minions will clean it up . . . absolutely gross. it's almost over, hang in there, and please don't call them animals. animals are cleaner." Sharon Buckler wrote, "This is just awful. How can people really do this to our home!!!!"

Others questioned whether they would have needed a mass gathering permit for such a larger party. Marina Tergis Smith posted, "They should also get a huge ticket for leaving alcohol on the beach for minors to get at! Nice jobs slobs!"

Two messages left with Ruschmeyer's reservations line were not returned Tuesday, though a receptionist said she believed they were trying to rectify the situation. 

Later on Tuesday morning, East Hampton Town Marine Patrol visited the beach.Eileen Murphy
Crates, food, alcohol, a burning fire, and even a slip-and-slide were left behind at the beach after a big party.Phyllis Morgano
East Hampton Town police also visited the beach.James Katsipis