It was on social media this week that a visitor to Montauk vented that she had had enough. She and her family rented a downtown condominium unit, spending a sizable sum, but were dismayed to discover that their vacation week would be marred by mayhem.
“We are paying close to $6000 for 5 nights of hell,” Cheryl Neill said on Facebook. “The noise level is ridiculous, drunk idiots fighting, cursing in the streets, in the morning garbage all over the place. . . . We have been coming to Montauk for years and never experienced it this way.” This was at about 10:30 in the evening on Saturday, when the night was still young.
What has happened to Montauk is a shame. Town Hall has done nothing to curb the party scene as the once-quaint fishing hamlet has become something altogether different and more like a Florida spring break destination. And to what end? Though some people might be making a lot of money, much of that cash flows out of town as quickly as it floods in.
The sad thing is that if people like Ms. Neill decide not to return, there will always be someone to take her place. Millions of people live a day-trip’s drive from Montauk, among them many for whom drunken idiocy is the goal.
It was avoidable. Southampton Town, for example, over time was able to close down many of its most troublesome bars. But East Hampton Town officials, who are what amount to the law in Montauk, seemed to care less as the party moved east. One town leader dismissed residents’ complaints about the noise, trash, and bad behavior as simply “young people having fun.” For what it’s worth, the official now lives in Florida year round.
It is difficult to tell how much anyone in Montauk cares anymore as they close the windows, crank up the air-conditioning, and drown out the noise. It doesn’t have to be this way, though, and Ms. Neill’s five nights of hell should be taken as a warning about the bad path that Montauk is on.