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Dan’s Papers November 26, 2010 Page 16


(continued from page 13)

of water.) Drain after one hour and change water. This time use a little less salt and soak overnight. Fill pint jars with the fish after it has been dried with a towel. (The tuna makes its own juice) and add 1/2 teaspoonful of salt and 1 teaspoonful of olive oil. Cook in a pressure cooker for 80 minutes at 15 pounds of pressure.” This cookbook was published by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, of which my dad was a member and of which I, as represented by The Montauk Pioneer, am a member today. And practically every merchant in town bought an ad in it to support it. One of the more interesting aspects of this is the way the merchants indicated their phone

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numbers. Today a Montauk merchant would write his phone number as 631-668-2334. Back then, if you were in Montauk and you were calling somebody else from a phone in Montauk, you would just dial 2334. There was a local telephone exchange somewhere that was involved. It worked fine. Also, the 668 part of the number stood for MOntauk 8. You dialed it on a rotary phone of course, but there were these prefixes. They were there to indicate your town. In Amagansett it was AM 7. In East Hampton it was EA 4. In Sag Harbor it was SA 5. These today are the same as they were then but now, since the numbers correspond with the letters, we use all numbers and they are 267, 324 and



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725 respectively. (There were songs written with the names of the exchanges in the title back then. Consider “Beechwood 4-5789” by the Carpenters. Or consider “Pennsylvania 6-5000” by Glenn Miller and his orchestra.) I had thought that the further west you went there would be more conflicts with making the numbers match the names of the towns. And indeed today’s 537 does not mean BRidgehampton and 283 does not stand for SOuthampton, 728 does not stand for HAmpton Bays and 288 does not stand for WEsthampton. I know that there have been more prefixes brought in the last 10 years to augment these, but for half a century the ones above stood alone for each town. The surprise here is that back in 1959, the prefixes in Southampton and Bridgehampton and Westhampton Beach DID match up. According to the few advertisements put in the book by merchants located beyond the reaches of Montauk, you would call SAg Harbor 5 back then. And you would also call HAmpton Bays 2, BRidgehampton 2 and WEsthampton 4. But then, for Patchogue, there was GRover 5. And that did not match with the word Patchogue. So the writing was on the wall. There were other noteworthy things in this cookbook. There were 15 commercial fishing boats listed in Montauk in 1959. There are but two or three today. And in 1959, there were 12 world rod and reel fishing records, and they were listed, eight held by women and four held by men for bluefish, mako, tuna, shark, marlin and blackfish. There’s about half that number today, but Montauk still holds more rod and reel fishing records than any other community in the world. There are also pages and pages on the best tackle and bait to use for catching different fish and where they are most likely to be found. Some of the fish listed are not among those off our shores today as near as I know. There’s tackle and bait for albacore, blackfish, Bluefin tuna, blue shark, cod, bonito, dolphin, fluke, flounder, mackerel, mako shark, swordfish, pollack and striped bass. It is also true, however, that back then, very little of the acreage of Montauk was preserved by environmentalists as parkland. If you looked at a map of Montauk back then, only about 15% of the 25,000 acres of that peninsula were saved. Today the total is more like 80%, thanks to the efforts of the town, county, state and federal government moving in and buying up their share on behalf of all of us. Some activities which are widely enjoyed today on the East End are not mentioned in this book because they had not even been thought up. In 1959 there were no surfers— except for a few experimental types. There were no windsurfers and no parasailors. Montauk is inundated with young people enjoying these activities today. In 1959, about 800 people lived in Montauk all year around, almost all Caucasian. In 2010, there are about 4,000 people living here from a wide variety of walks of life. (continued on page 20)

Dan's Papers Nov. 26, 2010  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...