Montauk Journal: Fishing Town in Flux

A place of transformation, where Memory Motel late-night drinkers spill onto Montauk Highway, oblivious to traffic, and outsized master-of-the-universe houses have replaced beach shacks, Montauk has been much in the news. Yet, some new-comers and longtime residents are unified by a vision of Montauk as Paradise:

Last weekend, two events illustrated Montauk new and old: in a continuing celebration of Rachelle Hruska MacPherson's Guest of a Guest site, a waterside party at the Crow's Nest featured manicures and massages in a relaxed atmosphere evoking the south of France. Sponsored by Dolce & Gabbana's light blue fragrances, the main event was the paella, cooked on site by Christian, who works for Fernando Trocca. After visiting Argentina last winter, MacPherson brought Christian and his wife Caro north to the Montauk restaurant. In a flat pan, one-yard diagonal, Christian blended rice with shrimps, sausage and squid, and sprinkled special oil over the top. As the mix began to bubble, he spread paper over the dish, and then hand towels on that. The ogling guests had never seen anything like his cooking technique. Caro prepared desserts, cannoli, cookies and cake with icing. At an ice cream wagon, panna cotta and hazelnut from the Chelsea Market's l'Arte del Gelato was spooned into plastic cups. The event was carefully curated, creating a Mediterranean playland for grownups.

And later that night at the annual Montauk Playhouse Gala, architect Lee H. Skolnick explained the plan for a two-tiered swimming pool with skylights. The party tent was packed with Montauk residents happy to support this community effort, bidding on many offerings: a house tour by Dick Cavett and Martha Rogers, a studio tour at Julian Schnabel's, home improvement by Aida Turturro, art by Diane Mayo, Connie Cortese, Eva Ioos, Bruce Weber, to name a few. Stonecrop's rose, the featured wine, was especially tasty this year.

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.