If shaking hands, schmoozing and helping fellow community members is part of the job description of mayor, then consider 29-year-old Paul Drum “the man.”
Nicknamed “Pauly the man” or “PTM,” Mr. Drum is well-known in Greenport Village.
He’s been called those nicknames since his days working as a doorman at his family’s former restaurant, DoLittle’s in Mattituck. It stuck even after the family took over Front Street Station last year, where Mr. Drum remains a man about town.
“He knows everyone age 9 to 92,” said his mother, Sharon Sailor, who owns Front Street Station.
Mr. Drum, who has Down Syndrome, is the first person to tell you he is not shy. In fact, it is his gift of gab and interest in getting to know everyone he meets that has him lined up for the honor of being Greenport’s mayor for the day, which will go into effect Sept. 21 during the East End Seaport Museum’s 25th annual Maritime Festival.
To the community, Mr. Drum is already considered the unofficial mayor of Greenport, but his journey to becoming “mayor” started in June, when Front Street Station competed in the museum’s Chowder Festival. Although the restaurant didn’t take top honors, Mr. Drum stole the show and made quite an impression on the Seaport Museum’s Keturah Hurst, who worked at the event.
“During the days that followed the contest, it was unanimously decided by this close knit community that, had there been an award for most-beloved competitor, Paul would have taken it hands down,” Ms. Hurst said. “He is a champion basketball star, music enthusiast, avid sports fan, assistant restaurant manager, and a thriving joyful young man living with Downs Syndrome. His enthusiasm drew us all in.”
It didn’t take long after that for the museum and Mr. Drum to join forces and form the Paul Drum Nautical Education Program — a program that educates children about water safety.
“I have known Paul for a while and he has always been civic minded,” said museum president Rob Breuer. “He has been involved in our programs for sometime. Now he has his own civic cause to champion and he is going to do great with it. This is something that will last beyond the Maritime Festival.”
The museum was also behind Mr. Drum’s campaign for mayor, asking actual Greenport Mayor David Nyce to name Mr. Drum mayor for a day during the festival. Although his day as mayor won’t happen until Sunday, Mr. Drum will be “sworn in” by Mr. Nyce, during the kickoff to the festival, at Friday’s Land and Sea Gala.
“I’m looking forward to talking to people,” Mr. Drum said. “I was excited when my mom told me about it a couple weeks ago. I was thinking. ‘I am having a great year.’”
His first act as mayor will be hosting the first of many “fun-raisers” for the program. Paul Drum’s Breakfast Fundraiser: A Mermaid and Pirate Experience will be held at Front Street Station on Sunday morning.
“It makes me feel fulfilled,” Mr. Drum said. “I’m going to be 30 soon and when I’m 65 the program will still be here.”
And, breakfast isn’t the only meal Mr. Drum is looking forward to during the Maritime Festival.
“My favorite thing to do is eat and I love all the food at the Maritime Festival,” he said. “I would love to eat a cheeseburger with fries. But I’ve been on a health kick and I’ve been eating chicken. Maybe, I’ll splurge when I’m mayor.”