Montauk Firehouse
At Tuesday’s work session

Fran Freidel lives on South Edison Street next door to The Sloppy Tuna. He said last weekend his wife opened their normally locked gate to go walk the dog for two minutes, and returned to find a woman squatting to urinate in their driveway. He said that he’s heard that people who are on the ground floor deck of The Sloppy Tuna aren’t counted by the fire marshal when body counts of night spots are taken and that sanitary code violations are not enforced.

“They have five toilets for 500 people that are drinking like it’s going out of style,” he said.

Layla Logisico, who owns a second home in Montauk and serves on her community board in New York City, said that her neighborhood in the city has been able to negotiate with neighborhood bars to stay open only until 2 a.m. and that her community files complaints regularly with the State Liquor Authority.

“It does make a difference,” she said.

Nancy Atlas
Nancy Atlas volunteered to sponsor portapotties.

Singer-songwriter Nancy Atlas, who lives in Montauk, also piped up in support of her hometown.

“I’ve definitely been guilty in my life of playing too loud, but it was nice down at Gosman’s that time, right?” she told the crowd.

But, she said, “we are better than this.”

“The vibe from the establishments that I work at is, they’re tired of it too,” she said.

She suggested that portapotties could be set up in areas that don’t have public restrooms.

“I’ll sponsor the damn portapotties,” she said. “You’re gonna love me if you see my name on a portapotty on a hot afternoon.”

She added that she believes the town should charge people who park in the free Kirk Park beach parking lot.

“There are people who are working out here who can’t get to their jobs,” she added. “Give them some sidewalks.”

Steven Kalimnios, who owns the Royal Atlantic Resorts Hotel in downtown Montauk, said he spends about $30,000 per year on private security for his hotel. He said he has talked to police about arresting people who urinate on his property, but they’ve told him it would take one policeman off the street for three hours in order to process the arrest.

He added that one of his guests, who has been returning every year for several decades to book several rooms for a summer vacation for his family, recently told him he won’t be coming back this year because he doesn’t feel the neighborhood is safe for his family.

Kathy Weiss, who manages the Wavecrest Resort in Montauk, said that “last weekend was a complete bombshell” dropping in Montauk. But, she said, there’s more the town can do.

“Garbage is everywhere. The town needs to step it up,” she said. “It’s part of the cost of doing business. We knew what was coming into this town.”

She added that the town needs to put a bathroom at Ditch Plains beach.

“I don’t think we want to be the town that bans music. That’s a disgrace,” she added. “Enforce the laws already on the books. Cabs, unfortunately, are a necessary nuisance.”

“I’ve heard a lot of really great things today,” said Bill Aiken. “If half these things happen, we’ll be in a much better situation. Other than the imminent threat of a hurricane, I’ve never seen a time when this community came together like this.”

Mr. Aiken then pointed out the numerous waves of newcomers who have assimilated into Montauk’s culture over the past several decades.

“Up until recently, every new arrival to Montauk has contributed something to this community,” he said. But this new arrival of binge drinking partiers, he said “are a human equivalent of an invasive species, and we need pest control.”

Richard Kahn said that the issues have risen well beyond those of quality of life.

“When drunks stand in front of ambulances responding to calls and they don’t move, that’s a matter of life or death,” he said.

John Taylor suggested the police department handcuff drunks and put them on a school bus.

“Is that legal?” he asked.

Chief Sarlo said they would need to be supervised.

“Then have somebody babysit them” said Mr. Taylor. “These people, what is going to calm them down?”

“We know who the bad guys are and we know what they’re doing, and we know what they think of us,” said Tom Bogdan, who has lived in Montauk for 45 years. “They are laughing at us all.”

Lynn Calvo, who owns Lynn’s Hula Hut on West Lake Drive, said she recently received a $1,000 noise violation ticket when the 3Bs were playing at her bar just after 8 p.m.

Larry Cantwell Michael Sarlo News 12
Mr. Cantwell and Chief Sarlo talked to News 12 after the meeting.

“To some bar owners, that’s a cup of coffee. To me, it’s not,” she said. “I just want to be a good neighbor… As a business owner, my responsibility is to keep my business safe.”

Concerned Citizens of Montauk Executive Director Jeremy Samuelson pointed out that Montauk’s waterways are already impaired by effluent from human activities surrounding the water.

“Who will come to Montauk when all we have is illegal nightclubs and overworked volunteer EMTs stuck in traffic on their way to another drug overdose?” he asked.

Town Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez went on patrol with Chief Sarlo this past weekend, where she saw a lot of long lines at clubs and heard a lot of loud music, but also saw first-hand the town’s stepped-up police presence.

“I have a lot of faith in him,” she said of the chief. “But as a mother, seeing young people who are drunk walking into the streets…it’s very scary.”

“This didn’t happen overnight,” said Supervisor Cantwell. “From this crisis an opportunity has arisen. We can find a solution for the benefit of Montauk. Competing interests are fighting over the heart and soul of Montauk. We can direct this energy to positive change for Montauk.”

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Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

2 thoughts on “Montauk Turns Out To Reclaim Town From Drunken Partying

  1. How to fix this within the limits of the law? Within the limits of the Town budget? And without strangling the Town’s economy? The Town can serve summonses for code violations, but can’t just close down a bar. The bar can fight it in court. Remember the dance the Surf Lodge did a couple of years ago, and Cyril’s? They settled their issues for a fraction of the cost and still go on as before. Parking restrictions on Edgemere are probably necessary for emergency vehicles. Rental registry will hurt responsible homeowners and the irresponsible will ignore it. Plus, who wants the Town snooping around your house?

    Nancy wants portapotties (“the nice kind”) but she must not have any idea how much they cost to maintain. You can’t force a bar to pay for them on public property. But if there are too many patrons for the bar’s plumbing, isn’t there a way for the Town to mandate that the business add them? I know there’s environmental limits on a septic system (I fear Fort Pond is threatened by the Surf Lodge), but does that extend to portable systems?

    Maybe the back door way to do that is to significantly increase the fines for code violations for recidivists.

  2. Ban taxi’s from operating in Montauk after 1AM on weekends. Force establishments to stop serving alcohol by 1230AM..

    Come down hard and swift or good luck not to much of anything…

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