Monday, December 11, 2006

Montauk, November 2006

Montauk is a small town at the eastern end of Long Island. Unlike the glitzy Hamptons, which are closer to the city, Montauk is still a pretty down-to-earth place. For example, when you walk around downtown you see t-shirt shops instead of designer boutiques, and bait shops instead of high-end home decor stores. There's a '50s glass-walled diner in the center of town called the Plaza Restaurant, where you can get a respectable but unassuming omelet breakfast for under $10. I took a day trip to Montauk last month, just for a change of scenery - it's three hours each way on the Long Island Railroad.

Not that it hasn't been "discovered" - parts of the movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" were filmed here, in the Plaza Restaurant and on the beach. And Andy Warhol is just one of the celebrities who had a house (actually a collection of houses) in Montauk, which recently sold for some obscene amount of money.

There's a really beautiful beach near Montauk town, and then as you walk eastward you begin to see cliffs like the ones above. East of town is Montauk Point, where there's a nice lighthouse. Beyond that, there's nothing but the windy Atlantic.

The beach is littered with smooth granite rocks. I am a sucker for smooth rocks. I always have an impulse to take them home. But I resist, because when you get back to civilization there's little more useless than a smooth rock, and they deserve to stay where they belong.

When I went, I set up a beach towel just below this dune, and lay in the sun for a rest. (I was fully clothed because it was, after all, November, so it's not like I was sunbathing. I dislike sunbathing, but that's another story.) Anyway, it was nice to lie there, with no sounds but the wind in the sea grass and the pounding of the surf. A worthwhile escape from New York City, and not bad for a $30 train ticket!

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