Jul 28, 2014

Storm Struck a Blow to Montauk's South Side, Too

Ferocious erosion endangers oceanfront resorts, as well as houses on Block Island Sound.

The ocean's been nipping at the feet of a namesake, the in Montauk, for many years. Sunday's storm, with astronomical high tides, a wave surge, and extreme winds, took a huge bite from the bluff on which the motel rests.

Snow fencing is twisted and skewed, and a walkway dangles helplessly from the resort's waterfront decks. Pipes, a dry well, and drainage rings are left exposed in the sand, and portions of the motel now sit at the brink of the bluff, if not suspended in thin air above the beach below.

"Pretty soon we'll be an island," said a young man driving by in a pickup truck as he assessed the overall damage on the ocean side.

The focus has been on the erosion on . Officials feared it would fall into Block Island Sound, but . 

Brian Frank, the chief environmental analyst for East Hampton Town, has surveyed the erosion-caused damages at the Royal Atlantic. "The beach is much lower than it has been, or should be, or you'd want it to be," he said on Wednesday afternoon.

He said other motels along that area of the coast had suffered some erosion, as well, but that it was particularly bad in front of the Royal Atlantic. 

Frank said he had spoken with Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson about the issue. "I know the supervisor wants to help out in any way we can. The downtown motels are important to everyone." 

The Royal Atlantic is still opened, according to a telephone operator there on Wednesday night. The oceanfront rooms are closed for the season, but rooms in other parts of the motel are open, as well. 

A call to the Royal Atlantic's owner was not immediately returned, nor was a call to Wilkinson.

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