Dan Rattiner was born in Brooklyn, raised in a New Jersey suburb and at age 16 came with his parents to live in Montauk, NY. He has been a resident of the East End since. He received a B. A. in English from the University of Rochester in 1961 and attended Harvard University Graduate School of Design from 1961 to 1964. He taught creative Journalistic Writing at Long Island University's Southampton College campus in 1978 and 1979
In 1960, at age 20 he founded the weekly Dan's Papers which is believed to be the first free newspaper in America. He has been writing 300 articles a year for Dan's Papers since its founding and continues to do so. Topics include science, humor, sports, world affairs, architecture, history, local affairs and scandal. In 1965, he co-founded the New York City underground newspaper The East Village Other. In 1970, he founded the Block Island (R.I) Times as an edition of Dan's Papers. It is the paper of record on Block Island today. He founded other summer editions of Dan's Papers between 1975 and 1989 in Maui, Daytona Beach, Nantucket, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Marco Island and Fire Island hoping to create a national chain but the effort failed.
He has held jobs in the City Room of the New York Times (1963), at the Foote Cone and Belding Advertising agency (1966) and from 1990 to 1996 hosted a weekly radio show on WQXR called the Hamptons Report. He is a cartoonist whose works have appeared in Esquire, the Realist, the Saturday Review of Literature, Redbook and MacLean's Magazine in Canada. Time Magazine published a feature story about him in 1975. Random House published his memoir "In the Hamptons" in 2008, and additional memoirs with variations on that name were published by the State University of New York Press in 2010, 2012 and 2015. In addition, he has written eight other books, including "Who's Here," (1994) published by Pushcart Press, a collection of essays called "Albert Einstein's Summer Vacation" (1980) and a book of cartoons "Ballet Parking," both from Publishing Tower Press. (2000). Forwards to his books have been written by Edward Albee, Alec Baldwin, Barbara L. Goldsmith and George Plimpton.
Dan Rattiner had a minor speaking part in Roger Corman's film "Cyclops" (2005) starring Eric Roberts and was the co-star in the Dennis Lynch documentary film "King of the Hamptons." (2010). Two statues of Dan ten feet tall, one of him riding a lobster, the other of him as the Statue of Liberty, were erected three miles apart in Southampton in 2019 by fans of Dan celebrating his sixty summers in the Hamptons. He is married, has four children, two grandchildren and lives in East Hampton, NY.