Tumbleweed Tuesday. That is how Montauk residents refer to today, also known as the day that their hometown becomes significantly less inhabited by visitors. That’s fine, I get it. As a transplant New Yorker, I now consider this city my home and I have to deal with tourists 365 days of the year. I live in one of the most popular shopping neighborhoods in Manhattan so this is no exaggeration. I understand that tourists can get in the way, prevent you from doing your daily activities with speed, and overall just be a pain in the ass BUT would I want them to stop coming? Seeing that in 2011, New York City set a tourism record with over 50 million visitors (and their dollars), I’d have to say no…keep on coming. I say all this to make a point about Montauk that can be summarized in one statement – gorgeous setting, rude and ungrateful locals.
Now, as a Montauk local, it’s one thing to secretly welcome “Tumbleweed Tuesday” but it’s completely another to have signs posted around town to remind visitors that all you want is for them to leave. Mind you, when you boil it down, this is a small fishing town that completely relies on the summer season to boost their economy. I think it’s safe to say that no one would care at all about Montauk if it weren’t for the clean beaches, awesome seafood shacks, great surf in Ditch Plains and wonderful natural surroundings that are so easily enjoyed in warm weather. The only thing missing was friendly people! I repeatedly saw rudeness and impatience from employees in stores and restaurants and personally experienced unfathomable rudeness from a local who opened their car door and literally almost knocked me off my bike and into the street and then yelled at me, deciding that the incident was entirely my fault. The argument ended with him telling me to “go back where I came from” and to be honest with you, in a town that isn’t very diverse, it was difficult for me to interpret what that comment really meant…but I guess I’ll give the idiot the benefit of the doubt.
I say all this to say that Montauk…you really are a beautiful place. I spent time running, hiking, biking, and swimming and could not have enjoyed myself more regarding all of the activities your town has to offer. I did meet some people who were genuinely friendly, and I enjoyed dinners at cute seafood shacks and iced coffees from my new favorite named coffee shop “Coffee Tauk” (tauk like Montauk, get it?). I think that Montauk has a very interesting history, especially indicated by my time at the Montauk Point Lighthouse where I learned not only about the Native American history of the area, but also that the well-known slave ship, Amistad docked in Montauk after the slaves overtook control of the ship from their captors. I also spent time reading about the fishing history of the tip of the island and paid my respect to fisherman lost at sea.
Overall, I’d give this trip a 7 out of 10. I was able to partake in all of the activities that I wanted to do, but I also felt like I could have done them anywhere…or at least in any beach town along the eastern seaboard. More importantly, I firmly believe that in travel, the people you meet are really what make an experience in a destination. Unfortunately, because of this belief, I don’t feel the need to ever visit Montauk again. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but not only was I not expecting unfriendly people but around about 5pm the bars in downtown Montauk turn into packed fist-pumping sloppiness. There were more than a few moments where I thought I had been accidentally placed in the Jersey Shore! I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Everyone vacations differently and a giant party is what a lot of people like, but for me it’s not my cup of tea. I think my problem was that I was expecting to feel transported from a lot of my everyday, but the bottom line is perhaps I was just a New Yorker among other rude New Yorkers. Oh well! Pictures of my adventures in Montauk are below. Have you been to Montauk before? What did you think? Would love to see your comments below.