This aerial view donated by the Windsor family to the Montauk Library Archives shows the center of Montauk Village from the late 1950s or early 1960s. A photographic foray into recent history, it reveals a number of easily recognizable buildings. In addition, gaps in the aerial landscape, i.e., those stores and businesses that hadn’t yet been built, are easy to identify, as well.
The Montauk Beach Company was pumping millions of dollars into real estate development during this era. The simple lines of their buildings illustrated the new architectural style called modernism, an aesthetic that produced Leisurama and other popular housing whose point of view was minimalistic. In fact, the curvilinear lines of the Montauk Center, visible in this photograph, were quite daring for the time.
A cutting-edge architectural drawing of the “future” Montauk Shopping Center drawn by architect Robert Fitch Smith, a Miami-based architect hired by the Montauk Beach Company, appeared in the East Hampton Star on April 17, 1952. The new Center would “rise along the southside of the traffic circle on Montauk Highway (Route 27)” and “house a large supermarket and ten smaller stores in its semi-circular shape.” With its own “parking area and full glass fronts for window display space,” the new shopping center would be the very first store to rise in Montauk since 1929.