Montauk Community Notes, September 24


I’ve discovered the full name of the interesting person I met last week at Montauk Community Church: Darby Doerzbacher. My editor encouraged me to find out Darby’s last name. It turns out Ms. Doerzbacher is the daughter of Dusty and Barbara Doerzbacher, who were captain and mate on several party boats out of Montauk beginning right after World War II. During coffee hour, I caused quite a stir after church this week as several longtime MCC members, including Nancy Pfund, Jean Ruggles and Gene Beckwith tried to recall the name of the boat. Research later via Google brought up that Captain Doerzbacher’s original party boat was the Rip Tide and the second, Little Bear. I learned that Darby’s father was instrumental in bringing popular porgy fishing to Montauk in the 1960s. His idea took off when President Kennedy remarked at an affair of state elsewhere in the U.S. that porgies were a favorite menu item for him. Subsequently, the president’s casual remarks made national news and opened new fishing opportunities for Montauk as people tried what was up to then not a popular fish for eating.Husband Don and I greatly enjoyed last Friday night’s coffeehouse at MCC, featuring Michael Sterlacci, who “took us on a musical trip through time.” The evening swiftly became a community sing-along including “Sweet Caroline,” ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Desperado,” “New York, New York,” “Splish Splash I Was Taking a Bath,” and other favorites, ending appropriately with “Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies.”

Most interesting, I thought, was a song written by Mr. Sterlacci, which he sang, as with all his selections, while playing the church’s Steinway piano. The words and music of “Old Montauk,” he explained, came simultaneously to him in a flash, while he was at a beach in Santa Monica, California. Although Mr. Sterlacci and his wife have a home on Napeague, he said they typically spend a few of the coldest months in warmer areas of the country. “Old Montauk,” in my opinion, is describes how, when you love this area yet are transplanted elsewhere, thoughts of Montauk come stealing back. Despite spectacular new environs, when I lived in San Diego I experienced this exact same sensation. Touching an inner chord poetically, “Old Montauk” has an evocative, haunting melody that I hope to hear again. It’s a beautiful song with the capacity to inspire people to preserve this place they love.

Now that summer is over, Navy Beach restaurant at 16 Navy Road here in Montauk sends word of results of a third successful season of raising awareness for and funds on behalf of the Navy SEAL Foundation, a not-for-profit organization providing immediate and ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare community and their families. This year, the restaurant’s efforts raised just over $25,000, bringing the three-year total of funds for NSF to more than $60,000. Creative efforts included a “dine and donate” program running from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, and an annual cocktail party fundraiser in June. Navy Beach restaurant remains open through October 11.

The Navy SEAL Foundation’s mission is to provide immediate and ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare community and their families. The foundation coordinates with NSW commands to support the critical needs of those on active-duty and their families and provides resources for NSW veterans. To learn more, visit

If you missed the Surfer’s Healing event at Ditch Plains last Friday, or perhaps enjoyed it so much you’d like to return for a similar experience, the first annual “A Walk on Water” event in Montauk takes place this weekend, September 26 and 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., also at Ditch Plains beach. According to a press release forwarded by Montauk Youth director Maureen Rutkowski, the mission of A Walk On Water includes full inclusion of all persons. A group of talented surfer athletes from around the country host a two day all-inclusive surf therapy event. All are invited to see what surfing is about and appreciate the beauty of Montauk.

A Walk on Water (AWOW) team provides a potentially life-changing experience with water therapy through guided surf instruction to children and young adults with special needs, their siblings, friends and families (even Mom and Dad!). Surfing is used as a tool to gain self confidence, skills and promote the therapeutic benefits of the sport’s positive effects. For more information and to register, visit Limited spaces for Sunday were still available when I checked the website.

Mark your calendar for another family-oriented community event, Montauk’s 34th annual Fall Festival, sponsored by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce. The festival takes place on Columbus Day weekend, October 10 and 11, on the green in the center of downtown.

The Fall Festival is the major annual fundraiser to benefit Montauk Chamber of Commerce, a not-for-profit organization that donates to local causes, such as the Montauk Food Pantry, the July 4th and Fall Fireworks Fund, the Frank Cappozola Scholarship Fund and others.

On Sunday, September 27, at 3:30 p.m., the Montauk Library will present a concert by Anne Cavolo Tedesco. A native of Long Island and resident of Malverne and Montauk, Ms. Tedesco is Adjunct Professor of Music at St. John’s University. Her concert will include works by Scarlatti, Debussy, Chopin, Liszt and Albéniz, as well as a piece written by a talented young composer, Phillip Lauto who will be attending the concert.

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