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Make Montauk Great Again hats ‘not a Trump thing’

Sinead Daly wears a hat with the slogan

Sinead Daly wears a hat with the slogan "Make Montauk Great Again," at the 666 Gig Shack restaurant in Montauk on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. Credit: Julie Evans

From a distance, it looks like a Donald Trump fan hat — a bright red baseball-style cap with white lettering in the front, similar to that of the GOP presidential candidate’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.

But up close, it’s a lot more local, declaring: “Make Montauk Great Again.”

The caps are a conversation starter around Montauk and 1,000 of them already have been sold, said hamlet resident Chris Monte, 28, who started selling the hats in the spring.

“It’s not a Trump thing,” said Monte, whose father is Montauk Chamber of Commerce president Paul Monte. “This is separate.”

Well, yes, and no. Monte’s aunt, Ann Marie Pallan, is the fiancee of Trump’s younger brother, Robert.

And as Trump says America needs to return to the good ol’ days to put it back on top, Chris Monte says he wants the same for Montauk.

Things are much quieter in Montauk this year after last summer’s crackdown on young revelers, following a particularly raucous July Fourth weekend when complaints over public drunkenness, noise and traffic soared. New measures include a rental registry to combat overcrowded share houses and stricter rules about parking, noise levels for live music and closing times for establishments.

Many in Montauk, especially older, longtime residents, have said the new quiet is welcome and has encouraged traditional family vacationers to come back to Montauk.

For younger people like Chris Monte, however, the partying years are the good ol’ days he wants back.

“We’re listening to people give us orders. Music’s canceled after 9 p.m. . . . ” Monte said during an interview Monday at 666 The Gig Shack, a popular restaurant and bar in downtown Montauk.

“A lot of people come here [to Montauk] . . . and we don’t have the ability to provide what we’ve been known for,” he said.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell, a proponent of the crackdown, chuckled when asked about the hats.

“I think there’s a lot of fun in the hat and a message, too — it probably means different things to different people,” he said of what “great” means for Montauk. “It shows a lot of pride in Montauk.”

Sinead Daly, 22, who was wearing one of Monte’s hats at 666 The Gig Shack on Monday, is a seasonal worker at Shagwong Tavern in downtown Montauk.“I just think it’s funny,” Daly said of the hat, adding that “I don’t know a lot about American politics.”

The hats cost $25 and are sold at Memory Motel and Muse @ The End restaurant in Montauk.


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