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Jul 14, 2015 3:57 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hundreds Decry Montauk Weekend Mayhem

Montauk resident Betsy White speaks. KYRIL BROMLEY
Jul 15, 2015 3:39 PM

Hundreds of Montauk residents swarmed the Montauk Fire Department headquarters on Tuesday morning to express outrage over the behavior of throngs of partiers that have descended on the hamlet on weekend nights this summer.

The weekly Town Board work session commenced with board members pinned in the back of the fire truck bays by a wall of people that flowed out and across the firehouse’s parking lot.

Residents peppered the lawmakers with stories of people urinating in their backyards, parades of drunks blocking their streets, and thumping music that keeps them awake until dawn—and they pleaded with the Town Board to bring an end to the seeming free-for-all.

“In my 60 years here, I have seen a lot of change, and a lot of it has been very good—but this new influx of binge-drinking hedonists add nothing to our town,” said resident Bill Akin. He insisted that the bars that most frequent are not staffed with local workers, and that the taxes those bars pay fall far short of the costs the horde creates for the town. “This influx is a net loss for Montauk,” he said. “They are an invasive species, and we need pest control.”

Residents called for more enforcement of town fire safety codes to restrict the number of people who can occupy a given establishment, and for enforcement of parking regulations and sanitary codes. Others begged for accommodation to stem the negative impacts on the community and its environs—like more portable toilets at public beaches and outside crowded bars.

At least one, Bonnie Brady, said that perhaps Montauk should consider incorporating as a village again and set its own rules.

One woman encouraged others to file individual complaints about various bars and clubs with the State Liquor Authority.

Before the meeting, East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo offered a bit of encouragement, but said that dealing with the crowds and violations is not easy, given the manpower available to the department. “It is a huge task that is at hand,” he said. “I sympathize with the citizens … and empathize with the concern that our community is out of control. What I witnessed last Saturday night is unacceptable.”

The chief noted that the department had 13 officers on duty in Montauk during the previous weekend—an unsustainable level of staffing for the 42-officer department that required all of its summer part-time reserves and off-duty officers called in. Officers issued 60 summonses, 40 parking tickets and made nine arrests in two nights.

“We’re working hard to manage our resources effectively and efficiently to change the tide here in Montauk,” the chief added. “We cannot do this alone through enforcement. We are stepping up the policing, but we implore business owners to step up, police themselves, be better neighbors.”

Chief Sarlo warned residents that the town would not be able to close down bars for basic noise and overcrowding violations, nor could they have their liquor licenses revoked for violations of town codes.

The Town Board did authorize Town Attorney Liz Vail's office to go to state Supreme Court to seek a temporary restraining order against a Montauk restaurant, the Harbor Raw Bar, for repeated violations of town codes.

Supervisor Larry Cantwell ticked off a list of possible legal and legislative steps that the Town Board may be able to take to start addressing the problems plaguing Montauk. He posed the potential solutions as questions for residents.

“Is it time to consider whether the laws on outdoor music need to be changed?” he asked. “Has the time come to ban amplified outdoor music? Is it time to ban the consumption of alcohol on our public beaches? Should we consider a rental registry? Should we consider a law, like one Southampton Town adopted, requiring compulsory termination of non-conforming nightclubs?”

After each question, Mr. Cantwell was met with a thunder of applause.

“What occurred over Fourth of July weekend was unacceptable to everyone,” he continued. “In some ways, there are competing interests fighting over the heart and soul of Montauk. My goal is to direct this energy for positive change.”

Some residents, angry at the mayhem, pointed a finger at the business owners and others who have cashed in on the demand for anything Montauk-related.

“The problem is not that there is lack of enforcement—we’re creating too much pressure on them,” said Henry Uihlein. “Never sell your soul for a buck. I believe that many people in this town are selling their soul for a buck.”

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The fedora wearing tools have to go! one way or another this must be stopped.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jul 14, 15 4:25 PM
The residents of MTK have obviously never been to Hampton Bays on the weekend in season. All the behavior they take issue with is not only standard, but it's allowed and encouraged in Hampton Bays. Maybe they should bus all the riff raff west on the weekends where they will be welcomed?
By G (342), Southampton on Jul 14, 15 4:34 PM
Curious, since I live in Hampton Bays and have NEVER "encouraged" or "welcomed" this type of behavior, who do you know in my town that does? As a matter of fact, you should become acquainted with the Concerned Citizens of Hampton Bays and read about their activities and views! At the present time, Boardy Barn is open on Sundays, and the Beach Bar is open, too. Both Summers and Neptunes has been closed, as have other numerous establishments that were frequented by many of us, in our youth. Hampton ...more
By beachgirl (11), Hampton Bays on Jul 14, 15 8:32 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Jul 14, 15 8:36 PM
2 members liked this comment
I think maybe YOU haven't been to Hampton Bays in a while. Come out this Saturday. And stand in the middle of Montauk Highway. You'll be quite safe, the aholes are in Montauk, Hampton Bays is NOTHING like it was 10 years ago. NOTHING.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jul 14, 15 10:42 PM
Never condoned the behavior, never welcomed it... And I think you need to get your nose out the air and take a look around your own town, buddy.
By HB Mom (4), Hampton Bays on Jul 17, 15 9:22 AM
I can't speak for anyone else, but I never condoned it and I don't believe I have my nose in the air. I think most of the people in Hampton Bays want a nice family friendly place. Please let's stop turning on each other....
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Jul 17, 15 9:42 AM
1 member liked this comment
There was NOT thundering applause for stopping outdoor music. I was there.
By Boots O'Rourke (12), Montauk on Jul 14, 15 4:53 PM

There are no more bars in Hampton Bay's G except boards barn which only opens on Sunday for four hours. You should get out more
By fish sticks (53), hampton bays on Jul 14, 15 5:24 PM
The entire east end sold their soul for a buck.
By jams (129), hampton bays on Jul 14, 15 8:26 PM
And there are a plethora of people who will never believe that they, in all actuality, have done so...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jul 14, 15 9:55 PM
1 member liked this comment
All towns west crushed the life blood which is the summer rental scene. However, Montauk is a different beast due to its plethora of motels/hotels. It will always attract people out there. Montauk is cool - let's face the facts. The people at that meeting are clearly of a different "market" than Montauk businesses are shooting to cater to. I wonder how people there in that firehouse would have felt 30-40 years ago? They were probably on the beaches of Hampton Bays. SH town clamped down on the summer ...more
By BaymenNYC (59), Manhattan on Jul 14, 15 8:27 PM
If only UBER were there--they would save us
By nazznazz (276), east hampton on Jul 14, 15 9:28 PM
alcohol is the destruction of society
marijuana is the answer
By llimretaw (118), watermill on Jul 14, 15 11:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
Montauk has the most available hotel rooms over any other Hampton, which attracts the beach and party goers. They also have a lot of nightly, weekend and weekly rentals in the residential sections. Just look at Airbnb and VRBO to name a couple of sites. The young entitled cash or credit card in hand only care about going to the beach and having a good time. They don't care about peace and quiet, or ownership. Montauk has become Fire Island and the Jersey Shore. EH with its share of CPF funds needs ...more
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Jul 15, 15 6:28 AM
While I applaud the Barn devotees posting here (Hi Wendy!) lets look at some facts. The train station is a drunken disaster on the weekends in HB. Why else would so many cops & so much taxpayer $$ be spent having them there if it wasn't? Tons of empty stores - especially next to the Barn & try shopping there on a weekend - it's DISGUSTING, yet cops stand around & laugh at the drunks & pukers. I was in HB last Sat & Sun. Sat there was a bicyclist hit, saw the road closed & there were also drunks ...more
By G (342), Southampton on Jul 15, 15 7:24 AM
Have you been to Montauk once in the past three years? I'd say the only difference between the HB train station and MTK station are the choice of spirits the passengers chose to imbibe in that day. Get a clue pal.
By BaymenNYC (59), Manhattan on Jul 15, 15 11:19 AM
They are open on Sunday from 4PM till 8PM. That's is it. Any other hours are most often for a fundraiser for a local community group. Smooth sailing east of canal for traffic? Where can I get what you are smoking?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jul 15, 15 5:59 PM
2 members liked this comment
Close the Barn
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Jul 24, 15 9:09 AM
Oh - you might also look at the KKK article in another local publication. It seems HB has a 300 member strong KKK presence. This has been the case for decades and certainly adds to the community. Right?
By G (342), Southampton on Jul 15, 15 7:33 AM
When you reference another publication, you put your name on it. Your credibility is completely lost over your claims of 300 KKK members in Hampton Bays. You are so out of touch.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jul 16, 15 5:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why not ask the Troopers, SC Sheriff's and MTA police for help until a solution is found?
By bayarea (46), hampton bays on Jul 15, 15 9:52 AM
Be careful what you wish for. I would take Hampton Bays as it was 15 years ago versus what it is now.
By HB90 (164), southampton on Jul 15, 15 12:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
Did you see what I wrote before. Said the exact same thing
By BaymenNYC (59), Manhattan on Jul 15, 15 1:28 PM
It amazes me how an article about MTK turns into an HB bash-athon. If this is the attitude toward HB by most Southampton residents, maybe the supporters of an incorporated village for HB aren't so wrong.
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Jul 15, 15 5:22 PM
I spent my summers in Montauk for decades. It was a middle class family resort area and it did just fine financially. It seemed it turned into Ft Lauderdale overnight. One year we turned up at Umbrella Beach for fireworks and instead of the usual families with kids there were bonfires up and down the beach and liquor bottles everywhere. Instead of the usual wait to leave town after the fireworks, it was much longer due to drunks hanging around in the streets who wouldn't budge. There were no police ...more
By btdt (449), water mill on Jul 16, 15 3:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
Folks in Hampton Bays got what they wanted when they had the town crack down on group rentals and the clubs. Live with it.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jul 16, 15 5:56 PM
Stop complaining.. More people more jobs ask the business owners out there if they love it.. Party left Hampton bays a long time ago.. Tell them to leave and look what happens... Hampton bays aka little Mexico
By bigblue84 (89), Hampton Bays on Jul 17, 15 4:37 PM
The current situation in Montauk has been a festering problem for the past five years and it has finally come it's breaking point. Montauk has become " the Wild West", with little resources available for enforcement. I will tell the people of the town of East Hampton that about 90% of the time there are five police officers on patrol within the township , and many times only four, ( from wainscot to Montauk point), with only two of those officers to handle Montauk, and at times with no supervisor ...more
By BlueStreak (34), East End on Jul 18, 15 10:51 AM
The problem isn't the revelers and weekenders - the problem is the complete lack of enforcement.

If cops were out in full force, arresting people for public urination and putting people in a mobile drunk-tank for the night everyone would have the same amount of fun with the locals being much more tolerant.

When you have no enforcement - it's a free-for-all.
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Jul 18, 15 11:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
Nature, how you been out to Montauk on a Saturday night?

If you were, you'd see the police who are on the overnight shift. You would see ticketing and handcuffing. You would also see the massive droves. How many drunk tanks can there be?
By PrintedWord### (16), East Hampton on Jul 24, 15 12:28 PM
Printed - that's because the community made the demands. Rewind to July 4th and before and where were the cops? Not there.
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Jul 24, 15 12:51 PM
EH Town could ask for assistance from the State Troopers perhaps. DWI checkpoints at a few select locations on a nightly basis along with a zero tolerance policy for quality of life offenses, eg. noise, public urination and public intoxication, could make Montauk much less attractive to the animals that invade each summer weekend.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jul 19, 15 6:03 AM
...It's the same old story, different zip code. Serve a visibly intoxicated person, SLA laws in pace to remedy that. Continue to do it and lose the privilege of having a liquor license. Pack a place to a dangerous capacity, blast music at intolerable decibels, existing town laws in place to monitor that. Continue to disregard the zoning laws, shut the place down. This has been going on for fifty years out here, nothing new. Enforce that which is on the books already. The owners of these places have ...more
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Jul 25, 15 10:54 AM
I was in montauk over the weekend and I do not see what all the fuss is about. This town was made for this kind of thing. The hotels that cater to the kids are loving it! The kids seemed to be having a good time and they were walking to the Sloppy Tuna or taking a short cab ride to the Surf Club where the patrons seemed a bit more mature. The party was generally away from the neighborhoods with family homes, Gurneys and Gosman's.

Everyone seemed happy and having a great time! and the merchants ...more
By joe hampton (3461), southampton on Jul 26, 15 8:18 PM
If anyone remembers reading the police blotter 10 years ago from the days of the Drift Inn and Neptunes - it's no different than what's happening in Montauk now.
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Jul 27, 15 9:49 AM