Montauk lost cable television during the recent snowstorm. Before television, however, and long before cable, people played board games and cards to pass the time. In fact, an entire room at the Montauk Manor was dedicated to card-playing, with tables set up for guests and members of the community who booked bridge clubs and card tournaments at the hotel. Additionally, card-party fundraisers scheduled at the Manor were a way to bring money into organizations that depended on the generosity of the public. Even in the early years of World War II, card parties took place at this elegant hotel.
A professional photograph from 1943 shows the Card Room at the Montauk Manor. We don’t know the month in which this photograph was taken, but by May 1943, everything had changed. The military would take over the Manor.
“The Manor has now joined that notable company of resort hotels serving our armed forces,” wrote Elliott F. Bishop, manager of operations at the Montauk Manor, in a letter that was published in the May 6, 1943 edition of the East Hampton Star. “You will, I know, share the pride I feel in our beloved Manor, with its fine accommodations, climate, and setting, as it is proving in this time of national stress to be of real usefulness to our country.” The Manor would be closed to vacationers during wartime.
Elliott Bishop left for another job in a Florida hotel, and military personnel moved in. Their subsequent departure in 1945 left no doubt that a major Manor facelift was needed. (The slightly worn tables in the Card Room support this makeover plan.) Bishop had promised, “when the war is over and peace returns to mankind, Montauk Manor with renewed sprit and determination to serve its guests better than ever before, will hope to welcome you again.” New management took that promise to heart. The Montauk Manor reopened its doors in 1946.