Inflatable sharks in red and blue and neon glow sticks waved overhead as nearly 4,000 revelers, wearing short shorts, flowing skirts, stars, stripes and sunburns, partied it up at “Shark Attack Sounds” at the Montauk Yacht Club on Friday night and into Saturday morning.
The bass boomed as the beer flowed. Beach balls bounced over partiers lounging on blow-up sofas and rocking out on haystacks. A fake palm tree made the rounds. One woman launched spontaneously into a headstand, legs flailing, while a man nearby did the limbo.
Fueled by alcohol and high decibels, the show, a fundraiser for the Montauk Playhouse, went on, after its organizers secured last-minute East Hampton Town Board approval just two days prior for an alternative parking plan in Amagansett after their previous plan fell through. At the end of the night—technically morning—just one of three noise complaints East Hampton Town Police received regarding the party was substantiated, and the club was issued one summons, officers said. That complaint came from East Lake Drive, across Lake Montauk.
Final attendance matched the original estimate of 3,900. Last year, police shut down the party, which was held at Rick’s Crabby Cowboy Cafe in Montauk, after more than double the estimated 800 guests turned out.
Parking, meanwhile, was the monkey wrench last week when the Town Board realized the originally approved parking area, Rita’s Stables in Montauk, could not be used because its development rights had been purchased by the Community Preservation Fund. On Friday, only about 40 vehicles used the large Montauk Highway field approved for parking, and about 100 guests arrived at the yacht club via the school buses that shuttled partygoers between the field and venue, police said.
The facility proved adequate, but the biggest problem was guests not using the Amagansett parking field, said Town Police Lieutenant Chris Hatch. Most seemed to come by taxi and bus from points in Montauk. Also, most patrons left shortly after the music ended at 11 p.m., rather than stay until 2 a.m., as the party’s permit allowed. As a result, he said, the early departures caused substantial congestion along the roads. The five officers assigned to dealing with traffic and crowd control were concerned with trying to keep Star Island Road, the road on which the yacht club is located, open to non-partygoers, but at times it had to be shut down to accommodate pedestrian traffic, he said.
Lloyd Van Horn, the yacht club general manager, said he was pleased with the party.
“I think all the uproar that was going on prior to the event, all the fears have subsided,” he said. “We executed a great event.”
He noted that although it was crowded toward the stage, there was plenty of room to maneuver and post-party cleanup was swift.
“We had it all cleaned up as if nothing happened by 1 p.m. the next day,” he said. The more than 500 inflatables—sharks, balls and furniture—were all hauled out as party gifts, he said with a laugh. “Not one of them made it to the end.”
As for the guests themselves, those who rode the shuttles to the party joked lightheartedly about riding a school bus. Several hours later, the return bus was more packed and boisterous. One rider, who gave his name only as Darren, 43, of Manhattan, complained that he felt the event was not as good as in years past because it had lost some of its exclusivity.
But at the event, partiers gushed about the good time they were having.
“It’s amazing,” said Kimberly Pirtle, 22, of New York City, “and it’s only going to get more amazing. It’s only Friday!”