Montauk Reaches Fever Pitch
May 31, 2011 | Talk of the Town
In 1968 Andy Warhol predicted the following: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” He might have been kidding. But through YouTube and Twitter and a glut of Bravo and VH1 reality shows, the statement has basically come true. Seventeen years later in his book America, Warhol labeled Montauk America’s greatest resort—at the time (when he was still my boss at Interview magazine) it seemed preposterous.
Then last weekend I visited Ben Pundole, part owner of The Surf Lodge, at his latest project Ruschmeyer’s. And it dawned on me: Yes, Andy was probably trying to up the worth of his oceanfront Montauk estate when he wrote America. But all of a sudden—in part thanks to Warhol and his then neighbor, Peter Beard—it feels conceivable that Montauk may eventually be one of America’s coolest resorts.
In recent years, aficionados of hip from around of the globe headed to Montauk in considerable numbers. I recently interviewed photographer Ben Watts (Naomi’s bro—keep an eye out for my story on him in an upcoming issue of Hamptons), who mentioned knowing tons of happening artistic types in Montauk.
After I finished chatting with Pundole at Ruschmeyer’s (really just a construction site as of last weekend), I met my wife and kids at Joni’s (9 S. Edison Drive, Montauk, 668-3663). This vegan-friendly kitchen reminded me of Urth Café on Melrose, where you’re likely to run into Jake Gyllenhaal.
Johan Lindeberg, a Swede with a big beard who just founded BLK DNM (he used to work for Diesel and helped Justin Timberlake design his William Rast line for years), was eating outside with his daughter. Then Steve Kasuba, the publicist for Steven Kamali’s re-launch of Southampton’s Capri hotel with a South of France vibe, cruised by in a low-slung sedan.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. Warhol was right. Montauk is becoming South Beach, West Hollywood. Carl Fisher’s age-old plan to get the fabulous people to invest has come true. Locals complain about the parking crunch at The Surf Lodge, but eventually, if enough hipsters join the party, the competition will draw revelers to other venues. Montauk has reached the tipping point. The people who brought Williamsburg to life came here to surf, and the bankers and ad men will follow.
Warhol was very, very early. Halston followed. Then Schnabel. It’s going to drive the locals totally insane, but expect a Miu Miu or McQueen store to open here soon.
BY JEFFREY SLONIM