In the Hamptons
My Fifty Years with Farmers, Fishermen, Artists, Billionaires, and Celebrities
By Dan Rattiner
(Crown, Hardcover, 9780307382955, 368pp.)
Publication Date: May 6, 2008
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Long before the Hamptons became famous for its posh parties, paparazzi, and glitterati, it was a sleepy backwater of fishing villages and potato farms, literary luminaries and local eccentrics. As the editor and publisher of the area’s popular free newspaper, Dan’s Papers, Dan Rattiner, has been covering the daily triumphs, community intrigues, and larger-than-life personalities for nearly fifty years.
A colorful insider’s account of life, love, scandal, and celebrity, In the Hamptons is an intimate portrait of a place and the people who formed and transformed it, from former residents like Andy Warhol and Willem de Kooning, colorful locals like bar owner Bobby Van and shark fisherman Frank Mundus (who the character Quinn from Jaws was based on), and literary figures like John Steinbeck and Truman Capote, to present-day stars like Bianca Jagger and Billy Joel.
An insider who lived there—as well as a Jewish outsider amid the WASP contingent—Rattiner both revels in and is rattled by all he witnesses and records in one of the world’s most famous places. With dry wit and genuine affection, he shares a story of the Hamptons that few know, one defined by the artists, painters, fishermen, farmers, dreamers, hangers-on, celebrities, and billionaires who live and play there.
DAN RATTINER is an award-winning writer and the editor and publisher of Dan’s Papers, the free newspaper he founded in 1960 when he was twenty years old. He lives on Long Island, New York.
“[R]efreshing as a dip in the ocean at Main Beach….Rattiner, longtime publisher of the locally beloved weekly newspaper Dan’s Papers, provides a beach-chair view of New York’s storied swath of spot-lit sand in his new memoir.” –USA Today
“Rattiner’s tales have the flavor of oral history, the passing along of stories from friend to friend….In these narratives, the evidence of a life well-lived on a well-carved shore, Rattiner bottles the spirit of a rural enclave turned glamorous destination. In a characteristic tale, the author joins with a determined Giorgina Reid to arrest the crumbling of the Montauk cliff face, thus saving the iconically rugged and glorious lighthouse. Rattiner does the same in this treasury, preserving the myth and mystery of the shoreline, making sure memory erodes not, and that the light stays always on.”
—The Hampton Sheet
"Whether Rattiner is writing about well-known people or local notables, he presents his material in entertaining fashion, holding the readers' interest. His unusual vantage point enables him to trace a half-century of changes 'In The Hamptons.'"
“As publisher of the Montauk Pioneer in the early 1960s, which branched into the longtime Hampton free newspaper, Dan's Papers, Rattiner knows his territory and shares a collection of charming early memories of the people among whom he lived and worked. Most of the recollections are from the 1960s, when the author, a Harvard graduate student in his 20s, having been introduced to Montauk when his father moved the family there to take over White's Pharmacy in 1956, runs the press largely by himself, borrowing a thousand dollars from local banker Merton Tyndall. While knocking door-to-door to sell ad pages and drum up stories, he meets the remarkable seasonal denizens of the Hamptons, such as the lovely daughter of Harrison Tweed III, Babette; the drinkers at Jungle Pete's, tightlipped about their dead crony Jackson Pollock; artist Balcomb Greene; the sun-bathing lady proprietors of the Memory Motel; reclusive John Steinbeck; and the real-life shark hunter Frank Mundus. As the Hamptons change from sleepy beaches to celebrity enclaves, the likable Rattiner boasts (modestly) about refusing an interview with then nobody Richard Nixon and playing baseball with notables such as George Plimpton and Bill Clinton.”
“Dan Rattiner has been chronicling the people and events of the Hamptons for as long as I’ve been going there (since the sixties). If anyone wanted some insight into what made this area such an interesting place, all they’d need was a copy of In the Hamptons. It’s as close to rubbing elbows as you can get. Enjoy!”
“If a guy says it happened in the Hamptons, and Dan Rattiner doesn’t know about it, it didn’t. Welcome to the high stool at the bar in the Memory Motel.”
“Dan Rattiner, a first-rate observer of life, has been observing the life of the Hamptons for nearly fifty years. In the Hamptons, the result of all that clear-eyed observation, gives us every facet of the place—the strange and ridiculous, the artistic, the funny, the lovable and beautiful. Fifty years from now when people ask, ‘What were the Hamptons?’ they will need only to pick up this rich, sparkling book.”
—Roger Rosenblatt, author of Lapham Rising
“A great read! Rattiner has done a terrific job with Dan’s Papers, and his book, In the Hamptons, is as colorful and engrossing as you would expect. He describes the coming-of-age of the Hamptons with insight and affection.”
—Donald J. Trump
“Wonderful reading....If I write here that I cannot imagine a chronicle more inclusive and revealing, fascinating and objective, yet for the greater part affectionate, I am not piling it on too thick. This book is damn good work.”