Montauk Community Notes, June 26


I spend most Sunday afternoons working in my garden. In late June I’m setting out small tomato plants, peppers and eggplants grown by my sister-in-law, Dawn Melnyk. All spring she nurtures seedlings in peat pots on a growing rack in her dining room. This takes patience and always results in too many plants, some of which find their way to lucky people like me.This year our gardens are behind schedule, perhaps due to a cool, wet spring or because we aren’t as efficient as in years past. Dawn is an advanced gardener who uses innovative black plastic mulch for weed prevention. Her garden is a large rectangle surrounded by stout fencing built by my brother. Yet even that fence isn’t entirely deer proof.

My deer-baffling garden has several narrow, oddly shaped fenced areas. I theorize deer won’t jump into a narrow space. The skinny garden with two narrow beds has proven to be about as deer resistent as possible. It’s a cramped space my husband, Don, won’t enter as he fears stepping on plants. There’s also a wider, elongated oval garden. Late in season last year, deer trampled that fence and wreaked havoc.

For sane people who don’t try to grow their own food, the Montauk Farmers Market, in its fifth year and sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, offers fine local produce on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Village Green. Baked goods, gourmet specialties and local wines are on sale too. Last year, the chamber donated more than $8,000 to the Montauk Food Pantry from funds raised at the market.

After church on Sunday Lydia Shaternik Burns entertained the choir by offering highlights from the speech of her son, Michael Burns, who graduated from East Hampton High School on Saturday. Part of Michael’s speech, according to his mother, described when he was about 9 years old, and Aunt Eileen Devlin, of the Chowder House in Montauk, promised Mike a dollar for every cigarette butt he picked up from the restaurant grounds. His aunt didn’t expect him to collect just over 500 cigarette butts, yet she followed through. This story, one of several morality tales by Mike, illustrates how early discipline in diligence and perseverance truly pays dividends.

Another Montauk scholar deserving congratulations is Anthony Daunt, named to the spring dean’s list at SUNY Oneonta.

“It seems yoga is popping up everywhere in Montauk,” according to my husband.

In a recent press release, Hamptons Hot Yoga announced its expansion to Montauk. The Bridgehampton studio, offering Bikram and Hot Vinyasa classes, has replicated its atmosphere in Montauk, with top teachers, bamboo floors and refreshing watermelon after classes. HOT’auk Yoga is at 649 Montauk Highway, next to 7-Eleven. Call 668-8585 or visit for a class schedule.

Beginning Monday, July 1, through Labor Day, Mindful Turtle Yoga and Wellness is offering an outdoor yoga class on the green at Gosman’s Dock in Montauk each Monday and Friday, from 8 to 9 a.m. Mindful Turtle has set up shop for the summer at 34 South Erie Avenue, conveniently near Fort Pond Native Plants. The main studio is in Stony Brook. Mindful Turtle’s mission is to offer affordable yoga. Discounts are available for year-round Montauk residents. Single classes are $20, with packages offered. Call (631) 721-1881 or visit for more information.

Montauk Playhouse Community Center offers restorative yoga classes by Tsuyumi for $5 a class, brought to you by the Town of East Hampton Department of Parks and Recreation. Call 668-1612, or visit for class schedules and further information.

No doubt you’ve noticed stylish La Brisa, the new restaurant on the Montauk plaza founded by Dario Wolos and Dieter Wiechmann. Their Tacombi NYC Mexican restaurant allegedly serves the city’s best tacos, locally brewed Mexican beer and fresh sangria.

The Tacombi concept was developed five years ago on the beaches of Mexico, where a converted Volkswagen Kombi (microbus) served tacos to locals and tourists alike. Three years ago they packed up, drove their Kombis to New York City and opened their new home on Elizabeth Street in Nolita (“north of Little Italy”). The restaurant’s taco stations are situated inside gutted vintage Volkswagen vans formerly parked in the Yucatan and transported from Mexico to New York City.

By chance I met up with Dieter Wiechmann during my Monday morning rail commute to Southampton. He laughed when I said spring rumors had him hauling a derelict minibus inside the Montauk restaurant for use as a kitchen. Mr. Wiechmann said he’ll park a signature minibus in back of La Brisa if town code allows. I like the attractive turquoise picnic tables in front of the restaurant.

On Saturday, June 29, at 7:30 p.m., David Podles will perform a concert of classical works for violin at the Montauk Library. The concert pays homage to great composers of music for violin: Gluck, Vivaldi, Bach, Hayden, Mozart, Beethoven, Massent, Wieniawski, Schubert, and Brahms plus contemporary composers Shostakovich and Khachaturian.

A native of Latvia, Mr. Podles performed as a soloist and member of the orchestra with numerous symphony, chamber, opera and ballet theater orchestras in the U.S. and Europe including the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet companies.

Also on Saturday, June 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Surf Lodge, the Humane Society of the United States’ Friends of Finn and Les Compagnons Wines will hold a fundraiser featuring cocktails and entertainment to benefit the effort to stop puppy mills. There is a suggested donation of $75 at the door. The Humane Society’s Friends of Finn is a committee founded by Amanda Hearst dedicated to stopping inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills. The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization. Since 1954, the HSUS has fought for the protection of animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Its primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs.

The Montauk Chamber of Commerce holds its annual Stars Over Montauk fireworks display by Grucci on Thursday, July 4, at 9 p.m. at Umbrella Beach, about 1/8 mile west of town center. The Montauk Chamber of Commerce, its business members and many Montauk residents donate funds to ensure the yearly tradition is maintained for this 25-minute dazzling show. The chamber has been a sponsor of the annual fireworks show for more than 15 years. All are welcome to enjoy this traditional and patriotic event. Visit Montauk Chamber of Commerce on Facebook for weather related info on the fireworks.

The Friends of the Montauk Library have invited all to the 34th annual Book Fair on Saturday, July 6 (rain date July 7), 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on the Montauk green. One of my favorite events, this fundraiser supports the library. The fair offers books by the pound, auctions, plants, jewelry, a children’s section, white elephants, baked goods, a 50/50 raffle, refreshments and more. New for this year: a pet corner featuring pet items.

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