News for the Hospitality Executive
Nicholas A. Montemarano Dies at 90; Purchased Gurney's
Inn in 1956,
and Built it Into a Year-round Resort, Spa and Conference Center
22, 2007 - Nick Monte (Montemarano), the adored Innkeeper of Long Island’s
most famous, historic beach resort, Gurney’s Inn and founder of the American
seawater spa passed away Saturday October 13th in Nevada.
He was just a month shy of his 91st birthday.
Nick was born on November 26, 1916, the fifth of seven boys, in the apartment over their parents restaurant, Monte’s Venetian Room on Carol Street.. Neither depressions nor recessions, mayor wars nor minor wars, prohibition nor epidemics ever disrupted the continuity of this tiny Italian restaurant and the love Nick had for his family.
Young Nick was proud that his parents owned the first telephone in town (Number 5129) and the first radio. Backing the dining room was a small herb garden, a bocci-court and a barn for the horse who pulled the delivery wagon for the family’s catering business. His father Angelo delivered beer, wine, soda and sandwiches. During prohibition the restaurant did business as usual, serving excellent home brew, homemade wine and good liquor. They were not considered a speakeasy but a good restaurant that served alcoholic beverages as an accompaniment to great food.
In 1932, Nick, only 16 years old, took over the business after his father had an accident, and he had to drop out of Brooklyn Tech. From that moment on Nick Monte become the forever gracious host of Monte’s Venetian Room until he acquired Gurney’s Inn in 1956 and moved to Montauk.
As the story goes, one afternoon in the summer of 1955, a friend in
Brooklyn who had a house in Montauk invited Nick to lunch in Montauk with
the promise of the best linguini and clam sauce he’d ever tasted. For a
man who owned one of the most successful Italian restaurants in Brooklyn,
Monte’s Venetian Room on Carroll Street, he had to admit he was intrigued.
Upon arriving at his friend’s home he was offered a glass of wine on the
deck overlooking the ocean. The two men sat and talked for some time. They
talked and then they talked some more…there they were sitting on the deck
sipping wine jovially and languorously, when low and behold, the bottle
was gone and lunch was nowhere to be found. So Nick thought it worth mentioning
the promised lunch. Since neither of the men was in any condition
to cook at that time, they decided to head over to Gurney’s Inn for lunch
On April 17, 1979 when the International Health and Beauty Sea Water Spa was finished, it was officially opened by Mario Cuomo, then Lt. Governor of New York State. To this day it is still the only spa of its kind in the continental United States using healing Seawater in its Roman Baths, the heated indoor seawater pool, and the famous Thalasso-therapies.
Nick Monte’s passion for Thalasso ‘healing sea water’ is passed on with the The Annual Nick Monte Lifetime Community Leadership Award which honors a person of the East End community. This individual demonstrates dedication, passion and creativity in preserving and supporting the Montauk community. The honoree has provided valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life and preserving of the history of the community. The recipient receives a lifetime spa membership, a gift of health and well being.
Nick moved to Henderson, Nevada in 2003 outside of Las Vegas but remained active in the affairs of Gurney's including its long term planning. He continued to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors where he shared his visionary ideas until he stepped down earlier this month.
He is survived by his loving wife of 17 years, Lola and his younger
brother Angelo Monte. A memorial service and a celebration of his
life are being planned for Sunday, November 18th at Gurney’s Inn.
Further details will be published when they are finalized. The family
has asked that Memorial donations be made to the Edward S. Harkness
Eye Institute at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
For more information contact Jane Heffner at 212-305-7827 or by email at
|Also See:||An American Original Celebrates 80th Anniversary: Gurney's Inn Brought Thalassotherapy to New York / September 2006|