DrummBeat

I just purchased, from the state of New York, the top floor of the radar tower out at Camp Hero in Montauk. The view is amazing. Seems like you could hit Block Island with a stone, Point Judith too. Hell, you could see the Twin Towers if the bastards hadn’t leveled ‘em.

From there, I can check the surf and surfcasting, keep track of the tides, watch for ships and fishing boats, track the bird migrations — speaking of which, a flock of puffins was spotted yesterday in among the scoters off the Lighthouse. I’ll have a big fireplace, a bar, and a library full of Montauk and East End history, as well as photographs, and nature stuff, a newspaper rack. The top of the radar tower would be a place for friends to hang, read, and talk story.

The preceding is not exactly true, of course, but I can dream, can’t I. I’ve lived in Montauk for over 40 years, and if I had my druthers, the old radar tower, the last vestige of the NORAD system that defended us against Soviet missiles, would be my aerie, a retreat in keeping with how the Montaukett Indians thought of this place. The Algonquian word, Montauk means something like high fortress place to the east.

Governor Cuomo is not likely to let me have the tower. Governor Spitzer might have. He had a more adventurous spirit, but he fell out of bed with a thud. This website will have to do. Welcome aboard. I’ll keep the radar turning.

You’re reading this in the Drummbeat part of the room. As time goes on I’ll add columns that pre-date this one. Over to the right you’ll find a number of prompts.

*One brings you to the Jimmy Buffett book club, which I manage. It’s a good list of books, and growing. The site allows you to give us your critique, as well as suggest other titles. Later today I’m going to add “The Tiger:  A true story of vengeance and survival” by John Vaillant. It’s a hair-raiser from the wilds of far eastern Russia. Other prompts will take you to the photographs of:

* Walter Iooss,

*Jim Levison,

*Dalton Portella,

*The cartoons and art of Peter Spacek, and more as the site grows.

*There will be an archive of the “On the Water” stories I’ve written for The East Hampton Star. These may be of interest to anglers from away who would like to get a feel for Montauk fishing, as well as meet a few of our more colorful denizens — Harvey Bennett for instance. You can read about Harvey’s “cast-and-blast” charters. He supplies the string of decoys and the boat. You bring your light-tackle rod and shotgun.

*A separate magazine archive will feature stories I’ve written for The Surfer’s Journal, Smithsonian Magazine, and Graphis.  I just finished one that will appear in an upcoming issue of The Surfer’s Journal. It’s about a slightly unhinged surfer whose obsession for waves is matched by an equally passionate belief (part fear, part relief) that plants will soon take over the world. You can get a taste by clicking the excerpt prompt.

*A tide chart will help you choose when to paddle out, go fishing, or stay high and dry.

*The radar tower will contain a store where you will find books, photos, links to other websites to browse, and with more merchandise added “As Time Goes By,” which is the title of the song that drives Humphrey Bogart nuts every time he hears it because he’s so in love with Ingrid Bergman. Who could blame him?

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