It was midnight, Sunday, Labor Day weekend at the Point bar in downtown Montauk. The crowd of 20-somethings was 5 wide and 20 back, waiting to gain entrance. Andy Picarro and Patrick Gant guarded the gates. Inside, the L-shaped bar was packed, crowd hands in the air, dancing to a techno-beat.
Across the street at the Memory Motel, it was much the same — a throng of people jamming to the beat, drinking the night away, inside the bar, and outside in the picket fence-enclosed parking lot.
Both Mr. Picarro and Mr. Gant are big men, certainly not the kind a bully would choose to push around. But most of the job is not brawn.
“You’ve got to talk people out of it,” Mr. Picarro said, as he checked the stamps on the hands of returning customers.
Across the street, at Pizza Village, the vendor of choice for the late-night crowd, there was a line of about 25, waiting to order.
At the Surf Lodge on South Edgemere Street, a new crowd was waiting to enter as another crowd looked for taxis to leave.
An East Hampton Town police officer stopped to assist the chaotic swirl of taxis. An ambulance, sirens screaming, snaked its way down Edgemere, the officer shouting to the crowd, “Get out of the way! Get out of the way!”
“East Hampton? Where?” a driver asks of a potential fare. Told Main Street, he said, “$80.”
Part of the mystique of the Surf Lodge is its appearance. It looks and feels like an island. Inside, each area opens up into the next, some feeling quiet and intimate, some jammed and jamming.
The crowd is in its 20s; 30 is pushing it. Thirty-five? You must be on Social Security.
The packed barroom in front is dark with wall-to-wall dancing. You don’t walk through the room, you jam. It’s like a mosh pit for the well-heeled.
And much of the crowd is well-heeled — investment bankers, hedge fund managers.
Roger Akiki is in charge of security for Jayma Cardoso, a club owner with a visible presence, always on site watching over the frenzied party she has spun. “She is a fabulous person, a caring human being,” he said as he directed his staff, guiding customers through the labyrinth of rooms.
In the outside bar area, fire burning in an open grill in the sand, Remi Shobitan, the bartender, slung drinks with speed, poetry, and grace.
“People love him,” Mr. Akiki said, as Mr. Shobitan mixed two drinks in seconds.
Back in town, by the beach, at the Sloppy Tuna, the hour is late but the crowd is still coming. One of the security team steps out to say hello to a cop.
“A real shit show,” the cop says. “They leave Manhattan, and I guess there are no rules.”
It’s been a tough season on the East Hampton Town police, especially those patrolling Montauk. Officers have been punched, cursed at, kicked, and spat on. Pre-dawn fights on Main Street were a regular occurrence.
It has been controlled chaos, but it has been controlled. The East Hampton Town Police Department has made a point of networking with the security teams at the various bars.
“You got your rich-kid entitlement mentality clashing with your local-kid entitlement mentality,” Mr. Picarro said, back at the Point as the hour approached 2:30 a.m.
Told that things at the Sloppy Tuna were winding down, Mr. Picarro said, “They’ll start heading here.”
“Anybody going to East Hampton?” a cab driver shouted. The price was still $80. The taxis were lined up on both sides of the street; they didn’t stay empty long.
Traditionally, by the end of the season, Montauk has five or six cab companies running.
This year, there are countless companies, with names like United, ABC, Mitts, Blue Sky, and All NY. Cabs are being sent out from UpIsland, even from New York, their drivers unfamiliar with Montauk.
According to Elvis Almonte, a Montauk resident and driver for Surf Taxi, the drivers of these out-of-town taxis rely on global positioning devices to get them to requested destinations. The problem is, not every Montauk address is in the system.
“If it isn’t in the GPS, they can’t find it,” he said.
A cop checked the paperwork for one of the out-of-town cabs to make sure its driver had proper insurance and a license to operate a livery. The young driver was flustered, but produced the proper documentation.
“I have everything,” he said, after the officer left, as people climbed into his minivan.
Sometimes, as they piled into cabs, the young customers stacked themselves up in order to get the whole group inside, with men and woman sitting and lying on each other’s laps.
At 3 a.m. at the Point, people were still streaming in.
“I’m from Norway,” Mikel Haugstveit said as he headed inside to join the fray. “I took a plane to New York. I came to Montauk, slept in a hotel for three days, then I went surfing.”
As with all the local clubs, the security team at the Point has one last job once the doors close.
“You’ll hear the scraping of brooms at the end of the night,” Mr. Gant said, as the security team cleans up the cups, cans, and bottles left in the area after closing.
At 3:30 at the Point, it was last call.
The music was still going, the packed crowd was still dancing, but the door was now locked.
A young man in designer orange shorts and a polo shirt pleaded to get back in, his girlfriend was inside, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. Once you step out, there is no return.