An intrepid guide to native life in the fabled Long Island utopia offers a memoir of a half century spent tracking its inhabitants as proprietor of the Hamptons’s newspaper of record.
Well-known to the beautiful people and old timers of resort villages from Shinnicock to Montauk, the weekly Dan’s Papers (probably the nation’s first free newspaper) reports the doings of literary lions, blue bloods and red bloods. Though he now has a staff to do most of the work, for years Rattiner set the type, snapped the photos, wrote the stories and, he gleefully admits, when news was slow invented something entertaining. Here, he tells a few tales of porgies, fluke and blackfish, then moves on to the bigger fish swimming around former potato farms now flooded with rich and infamous painters, writers, performers and patricians. From the depths of his files Rattiner draws names like Cavett, Plimpton, Steinbeck, Pollock, Warhol, de Kooning, Billy Joel and Richard Nixon. Read about the building of his father’s corner pharmacy, movies made just down the street, impossible young love, seasonal liaisons and East Hampton’s annual Artists and Writers Baseball Game, guest-umpired in 1988 by Gov. Bill Clinton. Geographic highlights include private clubs, local bistros, Sag Harbor’s garbage dump, a historic lighthouse and a pond with imaginary monsters. Bucolic concerns and innocent gossip are guilelessly interspersed with business and beach news. Publisher-editor Rattiner may not be the East Coast’s answer to William Allen White, but he’s quite good-natured. If his idylls of the idle rich and a few storekeepers seem a tad pedestrian and of only slender human interest, he is nevertheless an avuncular chronicler offering a pleasant enough walk in the sun.
Redolent of saltwater and printers’ ink—perfectly suited for comfortable days at the beach.