The Swamp: Goodbye to All That

The derelict structure that once housed the Swamp, for decades a landmark disco and gathering place for the gay community — as well as having been, in later years, the popular Star Room nightclub — was torn down late last week. 

The Town of East Hampton brought out the bulldozers to demolish the long-abandoned building as part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the business district of Wainscott, according to Michael Sendlenski, the town attorney. The town had been wrestling with the question of what should become of the site since at least 2015. 

The area in Wainscott is notable for having historically been home to a series of gay-friendly nightspots dating back to the late 1940s, which also included a dance hall and restaurant called Out of This World that catered to the Broadway theater crowd (near the present-day Cozy Cabins) and the Attic, farther east on Montauk Highway. The Star Room, which was not a gay club in that tradition, was popular in the early 2000s, attracting television and tabloid stars with D.J.s flown in from Miami and $400 table-service charges.

The 1.1-acre, commercially zoned property may become a park. The town acquired it for $2.1 million in January, using money from the community preservation fund and a $300,000 donation from the Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation, a not-for-profit organization founded by pondfront property owners dedicated to identifying sources of pollutants contributing to the algal blooms that have fouled Georgica Pond repeatedly over the years. 

A car wash had been proposed for the old Swamp and Star Room parcel, but that plan was met by opposition from community members, who raised concerns about increased traffic and the environmental impacts of a car wash. 

The buildings on the property, untouched for several years, were last privately owned by the estate of Isha Kausik.