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Montauk Point Light. Photo: Tim Hettler.
Montauk Point Light. Photo: Tim Hettler.

David Zwirner to Establish Montauk Artists’ Retreat

Mega gallerist David Zwirner and his wife Monica Zwirner are in the process of establishing an artists’ retreat in the newly tony Long Island getaway town of Montauk. The news was first reported by the East Hampton Star, which revealed that the Zwirners’ plan encompasses seventeen cottages on the shore of Lake Montauk not far from their own mansion, pool, and yoga pavilion. The couple would subsidize the rental fees for the little cabins, which would henceforth be known collectively as the Bridgeford Cottages. An asphalt-and-gravel road leading to the lake would be removed and replaced with grass, allowing for the easy launch of small watercraft.

According to the Star, the plan, which was made with ecological soundness in mind, has already hit a couple of snags, the first concerning the ability of locals to drive to the lake to deploy their own boats, and the second involving a crumbling retaining wall at the lake’s shoreline. The Zwirners have offered to replace it, while many in the community would prefer to remove it altogether and return the shoreline to its natural state. On receiving this news, the Zwirners removed coastline work from their plan, meaning the disintegrating bulkhead will remain in place. The matter has not yet been resolved.

Also of concern to locals is the divide between the commercial and the residential. Some fear that the pavilion, with its two sinks, two showers, two bathrooms, and six hundred square feet of space in which to perform sun salutations, and the pool, a tempting and crystalline blue, will prove too “alluring” for the artists to resist, with the result that the Zwirners’ property, currently zoned as residential, will become mixed-use. Additionally, the specter of a sale of the property was raised, sparking concerns regarding the future of the capacious grounds. It is currently proposed that the Zwirners sign a covenant promising that the divide between their property and the resident artists’ idyll remain clear.

The paper speculated that an agreement can be reached that will benefit all parties but noted that the road, unlike the proposed grassy path to the lake, might be long. “I think the applicants did an amazing job,” noted Kathy Cunningham, vice chair of the town planning board, “but I think there’s still a way to go.”