The Hamptons: open to anyone
“The Hamptons” sono il noto rifugio dei cittadini newyorkesi, facoltosi, famosi, generalmente molto ma molto ricchi.
Il mare è favoloso; ampie spiagge, ville sull’oceano bianche con porticato e sedia a dondolo dove sedersi e respirare l’aria del mare. Architetture ben curate in tipico stile nordeuropeo. Luogo privilegiato dai registi per girare i propri film e telefilm. Per i più giovani, gli ultimi due telefilm interamente ambientati negli Hamptons sono: “Revenge” e “Royal Pains”. Indimenticabili, le estati trascorse da Carrie , Miranda, Samantha, Charlotte nel leggendario “Sex and the city” e da Serena ed i suoi amici in “Gossip Girl”
Gli Hamptons sono alla portata di tutti?, chi fa parte di un mondo normale e non privilegiato può solamente accontentarsi di una visita in giornata costruita da chissà quale corrispondente estero?. Leggiamolo in questo articolo di Telegraph.
FOTO IN EVIDENZA: https://www.google.it/search?q=royal+pains&biw=1366&bih=599&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwiv67ilo6rOAhUGrxoKHWT8ANIQ_AUIBygC#tbm=isch&q=hamptons&imgrc=O58kqoIoJAu4FM%3A
The beautiful Long Island enclave is where rich New Yorkers and A-list celebrities spend their summers. But, as Douglas Rogers reports, you don’t have to be either to enjoy it.
It’s been a Big Weekend for the Hamptons. By the end of today, organisers hope that a total of five fundraisers – including a $1,000-a-ticket cocktail party thrown by Revlon magnate Ron Perelman last night – will have contributed $1 million to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign fund. There’s no doubt that locals will give generously to the cause: the Hamptons is the summer holiday home to some of the wealthiest Democrats in the US.
Despite living in New York for four years, I’d never set foot in the Hamptons. My impression of the area, gleaned from glossy magazines and supermarket tabloids, had always been of a trashy, overpriced, over-developed beach resort for rude or famous rich people. But who am I kidding? The real reason I’d never set foot there is that no one had ever invited me.
This past June, however, all that changed. My wife and I invited ourselves. We hired a holiday cottage in East Hampton over the internet for a week, and also booked a night in a swanky beach hotel said to be popular with “the stars” on Shelter Island, an exclusive island retreat a short ferry hop from the historic old Hamptons whaling port of Sag Harbor. To help offset costs we roped in two friends from New York who were as out of the social loop as we were. We went prepared to feel like outcasts. We didn’t expect to like the place.
Located 100 miles east of Manhattan, the Hamptons are technically the Atlantic seaboard towns of Southampton and East Hampton on the South Fork of Long Island – a narrow peninsula that pushes into the ocean alongside the North Fork, as if giving the finger to Old Europe.
Incorporated within the two towns over a distance of about 30 miles are several smaller hamlets such as Amagansett, Bridgehampton, Montauk and Sag Harbor.
The first surprise for me was how easy it is to get to. Seinfeld, Spielberg and Jay Z tend to go by helicopter, but a mere two hours after setting off in our 1988 Volvo down the Long Island Expressway, we were cruising through Bridgehampton. In the height of summer it can take an insufferable six hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic.
I expected ribbons of high-rise development, à la Miami South Beach. Instead, vineyards, fields of strawberry, and bucolic windmills rolled by either side of the main road. Perhaps the only difference to most rural towns is that East Hampton’s main drag had a Gucci boutique and a Tiffany.
If you don’t own a house in the Hamptons the done thing is to get a “summer rental” and it’s not uncommon for New Yorkers to pay up to $300,000 for a shared beach house for “the season” (late May to early September). Our rental was more low-key: a cosy, two-storey wood cottage called Cove Hollow, set under a canopy of oak trees. The front garden had a small pool while out back a quiet country lane meandered through a forest of oak and maple to the shore.
It reminded me of rural Kent, which was perhaps no coincidence. East Hampton was first settled in 1648 by English farmers and fishermen from Maidstone – Puritans who sailed down from Massachusetts. Many of the town’s by-laws haven’t changed since the reign of King Charles I. It was only when the Long Island Railroad connected Manhattan to the South Fork in the late 1880s that the Hamptons became the playground it is today.
It was time to check out the beaches, and we packed towels and walked to the shore. One glance at East Hampton Main Beach and I was transfixed: a carpet of white powder rolled for miles in either direction and the water, while not South Pacific-blue, was clear enough to see shells on the sea floor.
Our fellow sunbathers looked as if they’d stepped out of Park Avenue apartments and been chauffeured to the sand: a glamorous woman in a Hermès headscarf read Vogue; a tanned playboy in Speedo trunks paged through Vanity Fair; several peachy-skinned teenagers played on their BlackBerrys and gossiped about Paris Hilton. Paris, of course, is a Southampton fixture in the summer.
I was equally impressed with Georgica, to the west, accessed via a sandy lane past a large pond of wading herons. Emptier and more rugged, several ghostly mansions overlooked it from the barrier banks. If a mist came in it would resemble a 1930s horror film set.
The really big mansions are on Further Lane, a little way back from the shore. It’s here that you’ll find the 22-room $32 million estate with its own baseball field that comedian Jerry Seinfeld bought from singer/songwriter Billy Joel and – allegedly – homes owned by “America’s first voice” Barbara Streisand and homemaking guru Martha Stewart. But, try as we might, we saw very little.
Most houses are hidden behind high hedgerows or barely visible at the end of long, gravel driveways. I’d come for the flash and the glitz. Instead, the Hamptons seemed to wear its wealth with almost conspicuous discretion. Which was, it now occurred to me, the major attraction of the place.
“People think we’re Hollywood East,” says Laura Hildreth, manager of the Water Mill Beach Club whose husband traces his “Old Hampton” roots back to the mid-1600s. “But it’s a lot more sophisticated than that. The locals – the people who live here all year – they make the rules. It’s the moguls and the movie stars who have to adapt.”
You don’t only come to the Hamptons for the beaches though. At least Jackson Pollock didn’t. It was in 1945 that the artist – trying to escape the booze and depression tormenting him in Manhattan – moved with his wife Lee Krasner to a tumbledown wood cottage in the East Hampton village of Springs. Willem de Kooning soon followed, and for much of the 1950s Springs became the cradle of the Abstract Expressionist art movement, a bohemian enclave of painters, dealers, critics and curators.
The demons eventually caught up with Pollock – he killed himself in a drink-drive crash in Springs in 1956 – but he did his greatest work here and today the Pollock-Krasner House is a museum. Incredibly, little of the house, (as seen in Ed Harris’s 2000 film Pollock), or the stunning view of meadow and marsh rolling down to Accabonac Creek, has changed since his time, but more remarkable was the rustic studio out back.
Pollock famously painted on his knees, in a kinetic ballet movement, and walking across the paint-splattered studio floor (in slippers provided) you are literally stepping on the paint from his masterpieces.
Peace, quiet, solitude – the things you never read about in the gossip columns – have long attracted artists to the Hamptons. Andy Warhol owned a beach estate in Montauk, the wind-swept eastern-most town, and writers Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller and Philip Roth all lived in the Springs area.
More recently, though, eastern Long Island’s microclimate – freezing winters and summers cooled by ocean mist – have proved irresistible to wine-makers. There are now more than 30 wineries on the two forks, and according to local wine writer Lenn Thompson (), the best are on the more rural North Fork.
We did a tasting tour one afternoon. They call the North Fork “the Un-Hamptons” and while it is much more rural (its farms provide the cheese, meat, fruit and veg you find in Manhattan’s fancier organic markets) it’s just as beautiful. We sampled sublime Merlots at Bedell Cellars, owned by millionaire movie producer Michael Lynne (Lord of the Rings).
Equally good were the superb Rieslings and dessert wines at Paumanok, a winery owned by dashing Lebanese-American Charles Massoud, who joined us on the wide deck of his century-old barn turned tasting room. Vineyards rolled to distant tree-line before us. “This, my friends, is paradise!” he toasted. We could have been in Tuscany.
So where, then, were all those infamous celebs? Back on the South Fork we tried the Plaza Café, the classiest seafood restaurant in old-money Southampton, a vaulted-ceiling room where chef-owner Douglas Gulija personally visits each of the tables. On hearing I was from the UK he insisted I try his Shepherd’s Pie. I expected mince and mash. It was a spectacular mélange of lobster, shrimp and scallops in a lobster sauce covered with herbed potatoes.
I was so engrossed in it I barely noticed when someone pointed out billionaire former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, sitting on the table next to us with the coach of the Denver Broncos. Perhaps we would find them at Sunset Beach, that hotel for the stars on Shelter Island, our final stop.
Shelter Island is an idyllic forested isle on the glassy Peconic Bay, between the North Fork and South Fork, a five-minute ferry ride from the graceful downtown of colonial Sag Harbor. It seemed to combine the refined elegance of the Hamptons, with the rustic charm of the North Fork. Grand Victorian mansions peered down at us from its high peaks, and the marsh and oak forest of Mashomack Preserve in the southeast recalled Brazilian jungle.
So it struck me as an unlikely place for celebrity hotelier André Balazs, owner of the timeless Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, to have turned a run-down motor inn on its western shore into a season-only retro-chic 20-room beach motel. But since opening in the late 1990s, Sunset Beach has become the hippest hotel in the Hamptons. Leo DiCaprio is a regular. So are Claudia Schiffer and scores of other supermodels.
We found it under steep cliffs just back from a tar road and a small crescent beach. Our room, with its light pine-wood floors and crisp white linens, came with a bottle of rosé in an ice bucket and an iPod loaded with chill-out tunes and views of yachts and fishing boats on the bay. Scores of gorgeous guests reclined on low-slung rattan chairs under umbrellas on the beach. Here was the exclusive private scene I had expected!
But then a strange thing happened. After a superb lunch of moules frites and swordfish sandwiches on the top-floor dining deck overlooking the beach we took cups of iced mojitos to join the beautiful people on the sand. In no time a fishing boat pulled up and two burly men carrying cans of Budweiser got out and placed towels next to us. Then two plump old ladies in highly unfashionable Lycra parked their bicycles on the sand and ambled seawards for a dip. “Isn’t this a private beach?” I asked the waitress. “Not at all,” she smiled. “It’s public space. Open to all.”
I’d come to the Hamptons expecting haughtiness and exclusivity. But here, at its most exclusive beach hotel, anyone could lie their beach towel down next to Claudia Schiffer’s. It was all the better for being so democratic (rather than merely Democratic). I can’t wait to go back.
Zoom Airlines (0870 240 0055; www.flyzoom.com) has flights from Gatwick to New York JFK from £260. Dollar Rent A Car (0808 234 7524; www.dollar.co.uk) has various competitive car-hire packages available in the US.
Where to stay
Cove Hollow, East Hampton (001 631 324 7730; www.covehollow.com) is a rustic-modern four-bedroom cottage close to the beach and downtown East Hampton. A week’s rental costs from between £1,480 and £2,467. Or try Hamptons Summer Rentals Online (www.hreo.com). Sunset Beach Hotel, Shelter Island (749 2001; www.sunsetbeachli.com), rooms from £106. Weekends are priced at a two-night minimum stay. Open until late September. Dering Harbor Inn, Shelter Island (631 749 0900; www.deringharborinn.net) has 21 colonial-era waterfront studios, villas and suites overlooking the yachts of Dering Harbor. Studios from £81. The Red Barn B&B, Jamesport (722 3695; www.redbarnbandb.com), a cosy three-room b?&?b in the heart of North Fork farm country. Rooms from £96.
Where to eat
Plaza Café, 61 Hill Street, Southampton (283 9323; www.plazacafe.us). Pricey seafood restaurant priding itself on local ingredients and an all-American wine list. The Lobster Roll, 1980 Montauk Highway, Amagansett (267 3740). Famous roadside clam-shack between blue-collar Montauk and upscale Amagansett, renowned for its titular roll: a long sandwich filled with a tasty lobster and celery mix. Nick and Toni’s, 136 North Main Street, East Hampton (631 324 3550; www.nickandtonis.com), is a power-dining Mediterranean restaurant with a thriving bar scene on East Hampton’s main drag, popular with billionaires and movie stars
For news on the latest Long Island wineries read Lenn Thompson’s blog at www.lenndevours.com, or try the Long Island Wine Council (www.liwines.com). Two top notch wineries are Bedell Cellars (734 7537; www.bedellcellars.com) and (722 8800; www.paumanok.com). The July-August season can get unpleasantly crowded. Instead, opt for the quieter months of June or September. Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau (www.discoverlongisland.com).