Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hamptons holiday

This weekend, I traveled eastward on Long Island to visit some friends in their summer house in East Hampton. By virtue of generally being friends with people in my own tax bracket, weekending in the Hamptons at someone's summer house is not something I generally do. Luckily for me, one of my friends is working as a production editor on a movie (I won't go into details, but it may or may not be the sequel to Men and Black II), and the director wanted to do the director's cut at his summer house. Naturally, as would explain the large expense that goes into making big studio films, room was found in the budget to rent houses for the staff to live there for the summer. Columbia Pictures' largesse is my gain. I might even repay them by spending the $15 to go see the movie in the theater. Then again, by Memorial Day 2012, my Hamptons tan will undoubtedly have worn off, and I might not feel so magnanimous.

So what are my impressions of the Hamptons as seen through the eyes of someone who regularly summers in the same place I winter, spring, and fall? East Hampton is quite a lovely small town with very clean beaches, huge houses, and a not so subtle air of entitlement wafting through the summer breezes. It's also very dark there, making for excellent star gazing. On Saturday, we went to the beach at one of the nearby state parks. Apparently it was one of the few beaches that didn't involve some expensive permit to set foot on. That said, you still needed to pay $400 a summer to park there. We chose to park in town and walk the mile or so instead.

Thanks to the shade of this beach umbrella and some SPF 45, I was came away from this beach experience unburned.

My new favorite New York beach. That said, if I had millions of dollars to invest in summer real estate, I'd probably get a place on the Riviera.

Isn't that quaint? They even let you rent bath houses. For the hoi polloi who don't have houses right on the beach, that is.

After returning from the beach, we'd considered going to a polo match apparently held every Saturday afternoon in East Hampton. None of our group were particular polo aficionados, but it seemed like a very Hamptons pastime. Unfortunately, not all of us could fit in one car and they charged by the car to park. We considered parking in a nearby K-Mart parking lot (I'm as shocked as you are that a K-Mart could be within walking distance of a polo field or allowed by the zoning laws of East Hampton all together). However, despite being in close proximity, it appeared on google maps that the walk entailed crossing some train tracks and possibly wading through a shallow marsh. In the end, we forewent polo in favor of an evening of grilling, eating mass amounts of potato salad, drinking vodka lemonades, and playing board games.

In the rental house, we found a game called Identity that was made in 1988. Basically, you get a card with a the name of a famous person (that is: a person famous prior to 1988). You have to get the other players to guess the name of famous person by answering questions they ask you. These questions range from the fairly obtuse "If you were a doctor's medical speciality, which would you be?" to the query-on-a-1980s-personal-ad-video "If you were a message in a bottle, which would you be?" All questions were formed with the grammatically rigid "which" as if there are a finite number of messages in a bottle out there and you simply have to pick one. Based on the level of dust on this game, we suspect we are the only Hamptons house renters to attempt playing.

On Sunday, after the most delicious pancakes I have ever eaten, we decided to try another upper crust Hamptons activity: croquet. There was a set in the basement, so it seemed logical to dust it off and stick some wickets.

Part of the rules of our croquet game was that the shooter had to wear this straw hat. Don't let my superior croquet form here fool you, I came in second to last.

Most of the weekend was spent grilling food of some sort. Everything tastes better on a BBQ, and it is one thing I sorely miss about living in the city and not having a backyard. Above are some delicious kebabs being made. Not pictured, but also consumed this weekend: hamburgers, loaded baked potato salad, spinach stuffed shells, breadsticks, 3 bags of potato chips, cookies, cucumber salad, one rainbow cheesecake, pancakes, bagels, and a number of s'mores. These things are what I truly miss about the Hamptons.

Now I'm back in the city listening to the rain and thinking about how even if the clouds were to clear, I could not see the stars. Much thanks to my friends for a lovely weekend away! Also, thanks to Barry Sonnenfeld, without whom, none of this would be possible.


  1. Wow, the Hamptons, so fancy of you! And you even ate something as exotic as a "rainbow cheesecake"? Surely this is some great delicacy found only in such wealthy locales as the Hamptons. I must know more!!

  2. It was not so much a Hamptons thing as a "my friends are awesome" thing. I didn't get a picture, but it looked just like this:

    I would try to replicate a tofutti one for you, but I think it wouldn't be nearly this amazing.

  3. I agree with Carolyn--super fancy!! And I'm pretty sure it is a rule of croquet that you have to wear a straw hat, not just in your group of friends, so good call. You wouldn't want the Hamptons' police to kick you out for such a croquet faux pas!