50 Years of Beautification

    The Montauk Village Association, the group responsible for beautifying the hamlet with trees and pots of flowers, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and will party down on Friday, Aug. 19, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Montauk Yacht Club.
    Founded in 1952 as the Montauk Civic Association, it became the Montauk Village Association in 1961. Since then the group has dedicated itself to making Montauk a “lovelier” place by keeping members’ hands in the soil, a newsletter from 1981 proclaimed. And that hasn’t always been easy since the hamlet is at the eastern tip of Long Island and susceptible to a great diversity of weather, including the heavy and salty whipped winds that result in the dying trees the village association periodically replaces.
    At this year’s event, the group will honor Dick Cavett, who, since the beginning, according to Nancy Keeshan, the group’s president, has been very supportive. “On our 50th it only seemed natural to honor him. He’s been a member since we started,” she said.
    The group was also responsible for landscaping the Montauk Post Office when it was new and installing the bulletin board that announces local events. The association encouraged the refurbishment of the Montauk railroad station, where members planted evergreens, Rosa rugosa, and annually flowering plants. They remove dead trees, replace them, and hope for the best. Many trees don’t make it in the harsh weather.
    The association can also be thanked for the Christmas tree that is lighted each year in Kirk Park, a grassy three-acre parcel on the south shore of Fort Pond that the group acquired in 1962 through the Montauk Properties Investing Corporation. Members make sure the wetland ecology there is kept in harmony with public recreational use.
    The park was dedicated in 1962 to Maj. Gen. Norman Thomas Kirk, a United States surgeon general who reportedly held a special place in his heart for the hamlet and served it as a physician and civic worker after his retirement. In 1968, the park’s floating pavilion was dedicated to a number of people whose names are mounted on an entrance plaque.
    All of the projects are paid for through fund-raising events that include the annual Greenery Scenery, which for several years was called Drinks by the Links and held at Montauk Downs. A few years ago, the group restored the event’s original name and moved it to the Montauk Yacht Club. Tickets cost $100 each and can be purchased in advance at Keeshan Real Estate and Pospisil Real Estate, or at the door if available.
    Ms. Keeshan has promised a lovely event with an abundance of sunflowers to brighten the space. In honor of the golden anniversary, group members will serve lemoncello martinis along with their fabled apple martinis. Nancy Atlas will perform, and Charlie O’Connell, formerly of “The Bachelor” television show, will be bartending.
    “There is a spirit about Greenery Scenery that is a real reflection of the Montauk community — business owners, locals, and guests coming together to have a good time and to support keeping Montauk clean and green,” Ms. Keeshan said.