End of the Road: Montauk, New York

“There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Shel Silverstein illustration.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.”

-Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends, 1974

 

I've always been fascinated with the places where the road ends and gives way to the ocean. Homer, Alaska, my sort-of hometown, is heralded as "the end of the road" by the locals who live there. It's about as far west you can drive on the main road system of North America.

Montauk, on the eastern tip of Long Island, New York marks another end of the road. It first arrived on my radar with the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. And while I won't try to explain the movie here, Montauk--the location in which many key events take place--struck me as a sort of mysterious place full of strange possibilities. It seemed like a good place to venture out to and try to photograph. So when I traveled to Long Island New York in February 2016 to visit family, Montauk was on the short list of places to visit. I went with my aunt, grandmother, and brother. It didn't disappoint, though the Montauk Point Lighthouse and grounds were closed for renovation. As my grandmother would say, "typical."

Rock and the sea.

Wyatt.

Trees.

Wyatt on the point.

Debris on the beach.

Horizon. We were gearing up to leave and I noticed this pair wheeling across the park. A striking scene. 

Grasses.

I am a rock. I am an island.

Next coming of the Daleks.

Where the road ends.

Continued.

Film shot of Wyatt. I think this is the only shot featuring the Montauk Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse and grounds were closed for renovation so we didn't get that close.