We live in our own kingdoms of our own making. Over the years I have lived through a Presidential assassination and a few unpopular wars. I raised a family and was in New York City on 9-11-2001. Then I somehow ended up a daily sailor on the east end of Long Island. We chase dreams; if we are lucky some dreams come true. I definitely have been surprised so many times by what life has unveiled for me when I least expected it. Forever, I will believe my few years living in Montauk reinvigorated my soul and helped me find my soulmate/final wife. It pointed me towards true north.
Montauk is a peninsula. It is surrounded by water on three sides, the Atlantic Ocean, Block Island Sound, and Gardiner’s Bay. I have sailed all three and the view of Montauk from all three bodies of water is beautiful. The Montauk shoreline has bluffs, rocky vistas and long sandy beaches. With its exposure to these huge bodies of water, it is no wonder why Montauk is a destination for sailors seeking a safe harbor from a coming storm.
Years back the East Hampton Library purchased a 1676 (John Speed of London) map that included Long Island. What caught my eye at the unveiling of the map was that Montauk Point was labeled Fisher Point. Things change over time. Viewing of this amazing historical map along with others is available on the Long Island Collection of the East Hampton Library website.
On the John Speed map are the names of hundreds of native American tribes that I never read before in print. Yet here we are in 2023 walking, driving, and living on the same land with the same view and exposure to the waters they navigated in canoes. Every day, one can see a new home being built on the east end. Slowly the artifacts of the past evolve to dwellings of the future. A very young Henry Hedges, in the early 1800s, recalled seeing daily the ruins of the home of a John Osborn right off Georgica Pond. John Osborn was one of the founders of East Hampton. No doubt there is a mansion there now.
I recall passing the East Deck motel every day for a few years on my way to work. It was at Ditch Plains Beach. It had a life and soul of its own. Folks/surfers staying there on a summer’s weekend knew they had it “sweet.” The motel has been replaced with luxury homes.
There are some who believe there is no rest for the soul. Others at stressful times may believe there is no way out. I once lived in that kind of world. Perhaps so did the settlers who gambled everything, putting their lives on the line to sail east to the new world.
They started with very little and accomplished so very much. We live, play, and succeed on the land where they died clearing and establishing farms, villages and towns. Sailing off the shores of the east end I see the topography they saw as they slowly sailed in to change their lives.
The news these days reports the ups and downs of the east end real estate market. Yes, the sales statistics fluctuate, but the peace, joy and opportunities the east end manifests are a steady line.
Every business pioneer that I interviewed for my years of writing Giving you the Business, or Traditions of the Hamptons, had one common thread. That being they all treasured being successful on the east end. Very often they appreciated that they lived and thrived in the east end community.
They all sacrificed, had some down patches, but they all spoke of the east end like there was no other place for them to ever be. Being successful on the east end was the icing on their cake.
Being a sixty-something and beyond, we all have lived through decades of monumental events. Some of us have watched our own flesh and blood create their own children. It is a beautiful thing. The more I reflect, the more I am thankful for so much. There can always be more, but in the end we do live in our own kingdoms.