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Montauk 4th of July party crowd tamer this year, police say

People line up in an orderly fashion outside

People line up in an orderly fashion outside the Memory Motel in Montauk in the wee hours on Sunday, July 3, 2016. A crackdown, including more police, code enforcement and other officials being on duty, has been implemented to curb excessive noise and other public problems. Photo Credit: Doug Kuntz

Throngs of visitors poured into Montauk for the Fourth of July weekend, but the young party crowd’s behavior was considerably calmer than last year’s holiday when police received a record number of about 400 complaints, authorities said Sunday.

East Hampton Town Chief Michael Sarlo said that as of Sunday afternoon the raucous behavior by young summertime visitors hadn’t been repeated, though Montauk remains popular as ever with summer crowds.

“It was extremely busy with huge crowds and long lines at all the businesses,” Sarlo said. But, “our call volume in East Hampton was much higher than Montauk, and most of what we dealt with in Montauk was crowds and taxis.”

Local officials have said taxis increase in spring and summer, causing traffic problems and jammed streets. But overall, he said, “Things were fairly orderly given the size of the crowds; much less open alcohol and litter. Commercial noise complaints continue to decline.”

Sarlo said that as of Sunday afternoon there were only two commercial noise complaints in all of East Hampton Town — both in Montauk — but only one summons was issued. He said there were 12 total arrests townwide with eight of them in Montauk.

Overall in East Hampton Town, there were 32 town ordinance summonses issued, police said.

“Overall very busy, but not a lot of activity specifically related to the late-night partying,” Sarlo said. “Things seem to be continuing to improve.”

He said restaurant and bar owners have been helping to keep order, and there is “much less outdoor noise, helping out the neighborhoods that have commercial businesses in them.”

Over the past year a crackdown has been underway in Montauk that includes additional police, code enforcement and other officials being on duty in an effort to make sure last year’s problems — including public urination, excessive noise and overcrowding — weren’t repeated.

The crackdown was in answer to the demands of residents and business owners who said the summer partying over last Fourth of July got out of control. But others have since complained the crackdown has been too harsh and that being too strict would drive away many vacationers, therefore affecting the resorts’ much-needed tourist economy and livelihoods.

Sarlo said crowds are as big as ever, just more respectful.

“It is clear the popularity of Montauk has not waned at all, but the enormous volume is behaving more respectfully,” Sarlo said.

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