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July 27, 2012 Page 39

TR hard at work in Montauk

Forgetting TR Teddy Roosevelt is No Longer Honored in the Village of Montauk By Dan Rattiner


s you may have heard, the Theodore Roosevelt County Park is going to be, from now on, the Montauk County Park. The County Legislature voted unanimously to make the change. The County Executive signed it into law. Thus the name of Montauk’s most famous citizen is erased from the town. Nothing else of any consequence in the town is named after him. I did write about this last month. Why I am writing again is because of what happened in the Legislature during the conversation leading up to the vote. Our County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, who was proposing the change, said that Roosevelt never set foot on the property that is now the park. He said that the naming of the park after him back in 1997 had been a mistake because, according to Patch, it was “revisionist review of history.” Re-naming it would correct the revisionist history. “No disrespect to the former President,” said Schneiderman, according to “I happen to think he’s a great president and great preservationist; that’s not the issue. He wasn’t there.” A reporter from the East Hampton Press quoted Dick White, a Suffolk County Park trustee, also

there to ask for the change. “Montauk County Park is a multi-use park, and we wanted something that was broader than the Theodore Roosevelt County Park,” he said. “That’s number one. Number two was Theodore Roosevelt wasn’t camped there. He was camped at Ditch Plains.” The day after the unanimous vote was taken, East Hampton Patch editor Taylor K. Vecsey interviewed Schneiderman. “What are we supposed to say?” Schneiderman said. “The park is named after Theodore Roosevelt because he might have visited?...To keep the park named after Theodore Roosevelt is revisionist review of history.” There is plenty of evidence that Theodore Roosevelt was on the property and in the ranch house (called Third House) of what is now the Montauk County Park. And I will get to that in a moment. But why I think this is important to know is not because the name of the park has been changed because of these inaccuracies, but because in the future people will think differently about Theodore Roosevelt and his time in Montauk because of these inaccuracies. The truth is that what is now Montauk County Park with its Third House was the headquarters for all the American troops in (Continued on next page)

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Dan Rattiner’s third memoir, Still in the Hamptons, is now at all bookstores. His first two memoirs, In the Hamptons, and In the Hamptons, TOO, are also available online and in bookstores.



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Dan's Papers July 27, 2012  
Dan's Papers July 27, 2012  

Dan's Papers July 27, 2012 Issue