Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Apres 'The Blizzard of Ought Nine'

The Montauk Alp.

Montauk slot canyon.

Where did the Montauk Bake Shoppe go?

A scarecrow keeps vigil.

The Yellow Bucket House weathers the storm.

Homer and Harry head indoors.

What all good dogs do.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Shad Bush berries, blizzard snow, blue sky.

Batons Rouge in the snow.

Good Morning Sunshine

At 7:10 a.m. on Monday, December 21, 2009 after two and more feet of drifting snow.

Homer gives in to the natural male mammal's instinct to command the couch in a blizzard.

Polly primly poses in a chair.

Harry, who thinks he's so damned smart for finally getting off guard and inside the house, poses a la Albert Einstein.

P-Man tells quite eloquently how much snow actually fell.

The Blizzard of Ought Nine

Good dogs love blizzards.

Harry is a blizzard dog. Two feet of drifted snow is marshmallow pie to him. His big paws leap over the top crust, his muscular body and thick fur lets him land strong and he leaps again. When the wild wind is howling Harry finds himself the lee of a holly or juniper bush and weathers the blow. He is always willing to do guard duty, and when the blizzard is over, he is ecstatic to be invited inside, where luckier dogs take refuge in a storm.

In a blizzard a stack of dry firewood is worth a kingdom.

The start of a blizzard is always with tiny snowflakes, the smaller the snowflake the deeper and longer the blizzard is going to be.

A 1738 Cognac was distilled to be sipped during a blizzard. Other blizzard foods include beef Burgundy, brioche, beets, vodka, blintzes, chocolate and oysters.

What lilacs look like in a December storm.

Mr. Whistler and Mr. Weber join for a study in black and white.

Morning after.

Out in the snow thinking poetic thoughts. . The Algonquin tribes believed that blizzards are concocted by the gods to slow the minds of the Algonquins down from a maddening pace and to reacquaint their spirit with the simplest fact of life: We may canoe in a sea of serenity but we are always at the mercy of the storm.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Psychic Fair

Like Montauk, Gurney's Inn is a place where unnatural extraordinariness is an everyday thing. It's the perfect venue for a psychic fair. After all, Montauk was recently ranked on a top psychic opinion poll as the most supernatural spot on Earth. A recent headline on the vast psychic web cried: "Satellite Data Confirms Big Psychic Bubble Right Over Montauk!"

At a small table just inside the front door of the big psychic fair meeting room sat Tommy Thanos, a “psychic and intuitive” who oozes oddness from the top of his bald head to his big, soft, pale hands. He deals Tarot cards. Once you have spoken for a while to Tommy Thanos, you will be clued in on the immense irrational world you are missing while it exists right beside your own cherished rational one. Tommy is proud, even on a slow business day, just to be alive in Montauk, the place of so many psychic dreams.

Tommy Thanos (516.439.1930) is not a Montauk resident, but he speaks of Montauk with reverence.

“I am a believer, aren’t you?” he says, with his eyes riveted on yours. “You must know about the Montauk Project. Both the invisibility and the anti-gravity sides. It’s the secret anti-gravity experiments going on six stories down under Montauk that probably makes the psychic bubble. But there isn’t any doubt about it now. They can deny it, but nobody believes them any more. Everybody feels it when they get to Montauk. It’s in the air, it’s everywhere. I live up-island, but I’m always happy when I can come to Montauk and feel what’s happening here.”

Suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, Tommy said, “You know a Jerry. Who is Jerry? No. Not Jerry. Gerard. You know a Gerard.You got to get in touch with Gerard or Gerard wants to get in touch with you. You know I know what I’m talking about.”

He was flabbergastingly correct.

Chris Murphy (516-909-9539) calls himself a Tarot card reader. He is a psychic with a kind Turkish uncle’s observational powers and understandings.

Isabella Randazzo ( is a Scotswoman who reads cards but is mostly a gentle and sensible listener who can detect almost any fear in a heartbeat and suggests countermeasures to control it.

The Chinese have long believed that pottery and boxes contain the good and malevolent spirits that animate our lives. Phyllis Lomitola selected these spiritually charged vases, pots and statuettes from her voyages to China. Ashley keeps track of the collection.

Zoe Jade & Co. headed by Melissa Mahoney (917-902-2626) of Montauk has successfully psyched out what people want in these financial times: The highest quality of cheap available. Melissa has selected a jewelry line that is chic for being the best you can buy almost anywhere at between $10 and $20. She does an amazing job of finding cool designs at a difficult price point.

Stringman is what they call David Kucak. He can make art from twine. He strings picture frames, chair legs, canes, the entire ceiling of living rooms. Stringman (631-276-5779) is so far out that he makes String Theory look like kindergarten. Some Montauk merchant ought to give this man 15,000 feet of twine and see what he can do inside a store or in a window. Montauk is starting to nurture some artists who rate consideration and Stringman is one of them.

The Lady with angel hair is Carolyn Bistrian (631-324-4592), whose Earthfire Studios manufacturers raku and stoneware pottery that is glazed with Montauk black sand (also carmine and rusty red) that she collects at certain unnamed beaches on the north bay shore. She also runs the Bend in the Road Guest House in Easthampton.

No Hat collects psychic waves better than a stunningly subtle, hand-crocheted wool bowler in Equadorian mountain fashion created by Charango Crafts (347-776-9207).

The Montoids ( are prepared to celebrate Christmas. What are Montoids doing at a psychic fair? Montoids are creatures of the Montauk Psychic Bubble. Montoids are also supremely "Green" because they breath in methane and exhale pure oxygen.

Icy Gale winds and teeming rains cause all prescient psychics to repair to one of the coziest restaurants on the East End, Manucci's, where you can sit near the stove or on the heated summer porch and listen to the rain drum on the beamed roof and watch the storm through raindrop covered windows.

Serenity. The serene spirits of Phyllis's Chinese collection bring contentment and peace.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

When the Surf's Truly Up

At Ditch Plains on September 1, 2008, the photographer Blair Seagram was there to capture an astonishing day for surfers. His remarkable photographs are for sale at Tulla Booth's friendly and fascinating gallery in Sag Harbor. These are wide, artful, exquisitely printed images that clearly illustrate why Montauk is, when all the conditions of tide, swell, wind and waves are just right, one of the best surfing venues on Earth.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An Almost Perfect Montauk Walk

Photographs by Daphne Stern

Scuba divers who heard rumors from far away that November diving in Fort Pond Bay is a magnificent experience get ready to submerge in the Caribbean clear water where, they say, you can spot a pearl in an oyster from sixty feet up on the bluff. Amy is helping Sean O'Neill from Jamesport get into his gloves. He is armed with a spear gun with steel-tipped arrows and word has it that there are blackfish down there big enough for some exquisite meals.

Fellow diver Brandon Hewes from Southampton might appear to be standing on a tropical atoll but he is in Fort Pond Bay a few weeks before Thanksgiving.

The 2009 bait fish hatch seems to be of record proportions. Fishermen like Captain Skip Rudolph report that there are huge clouds of fish food swimming around in the oceans and the bays this fall, so many that the gulls and terns are getting stuffed. Surf fishing up and down the beaches is breathtaking. Striped bass and bluefish are heavy and hungry and are expected to stay that way up until a serious cold front blows in.

Local tribes once used the fruits of the red sumac bushes as cosmetic body paints.

The Hither Woods paths are now deep in crisp, brown oak leaves.

Down a side trail and there is the beckoning aquamarine water.

Erratics are sizable boulders of rock not native to the area that about 10,000 years ago dropped out of the retreating glacier and found its perch. Before human records were kept these erratics were the signposts of the aboriginal peoples. Those that have never been moved are most revered. In Hither Woods there are erratics that have stood in the same spot since the last glacier disappeared north.

The view from Rocky Point across Fort Pond Bay toward a white water tower on the dunes beyond.

Every "Danger" or keep out sign in Montauk sets off suspicious alarms in the minds of tens of thousands of Montauk visitors who profoundly believe that hidden somewhere beneath the landscape is a super-secret government project to travel in time. They are looking for what they call "the portal," through which people may step and be chronologically transported. What is behind the danger sign? The portal seekers believe that every such a sign must hide the secret entrance to one of the time portals, the true story of which is "avoided" by the established press for sinister reasons you might listen to for hours if you had an interest.

The Lost Boulder or, as it is locally called, Split Rock, is the granddaddy of all the East End erratics. People for a thousand years have used it as a guidepost and meeting spot. For the many ghosts and haints on the East End, it is the best table in the house on Halloween and All Souls Day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Magical Montauk

The moss are the housetops of The Little People (Leprechauns and Menehunes) who build their micropolises on the north side of oaks and on smooth granite rocks.

The tracks through the Hither Woods point the way ahead and the way back.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Almost Perfect Autumn Day

Sunrise at The Yellow Bucket House
November 8, 2009

What Do You Think of These Smileys?

Somebody in Montauk has taken offense from these yellow and black faces painted on the side of what was once an entirely canary yellow motel. That offended citizen contends that the three emoticon smiles all fall well below local aesthetic standards. People who see these smiles every day are taking sides. Some believe they make everyone in Montauk seem flat and bumpkinish. Others say live and let live, while another faction says, "It's a free country," and a few admit, "I like them." The matter is scheduled to come before a meeting of townspeople and The End hopes to cover the matter with all of the resources it demands.