Absolutely brilliant…Party in the USA, Fire Island Pines version:
Archived entries for Fire Island & Hamptons
Just about every summer colony faces the same social reality: a pervasive “local” vs. “from away” attitude that pits residents against each other. The New York Times explores this phenomenon in an interesting piece on how it’s playing out in the Hamptons. While visitors to many summer communities try for years or decades to become accepted and feel a part of the year-round/local social fabric, the Times points out that “East Hampton is now also home to the kind of new money and celebrity that doesn’t care if it is local or not.”
I was up with this sun this morning in East Hampton and caught this shot of a few boats in Acabonack Harbor. While the Hamptons may look like many New England summer colonies, the vibe is anything but — especially with East Hampton’s Main Street chock-a-block with Gucci, Tiffany & Co., and Elie Tahari.
As Hamptons Author Steve Gaines told the New York Observer this summer in a piece about the changing face of the East End — especially all the new McMansions going up in former potato fields:
“Money validates you in the Hamptons, money makes you a big man. And the more insecure you are in real life, the more important these kinds of representations are in the Hamptons. It’s like a guy who has a small penis who has to drive a flashy sports car.”
“This is what the Hamptons are, and I make no apology for it, nor is one entitled to make an apology for it. If you don’t want a peacock walk, where people are driving expensive cars and people have houses that are inappropriately big, you should go somewhere else. This is what the Hamptons are, and this is what people enjoy out here. It’s a stage where nouveau society can show itself.”
I’m out in the Hamptons for a quick trip to hang out with friends, play silly parlor games, drink a few beers, and also help out at Saturday’s inaugural Hamptons Marathon. I snapped this shot Friday evening around 7 p.m. on the roof of the house we got for the weekend — it was actually quite dark out, but I set my camera for a long exposure, and it sucked in all the day’s remaining light for a cool blue photo. The view here is looking south out into the Atlantic.
Hope everyone’s near the beach today — it’s the only place to be! The Fourth is probably my favorite holiday. It brings me back to summers spent in North Haven, where the fun and colorful annual community beach party on the Fourth always kicked off the summer season. Being on Fire Island feels similar. Last night as a group of us was walking through the village of Cherry Grove, someone remarked how relaxing islands feel. I’m lucky that I got to spend a major chunk of my childhood on one; now that I’m older I can appreciate the experience so much more than I ever did.
As my idol Sarah McLachlan said once, “I love living by the water. There’s a such sense of peace and serenity and understanding of one’s place in the world when you’re on the water. I couldn’t imagine living inland–I’d go crazy.”
Last night in Fire Island I sat on the deck of our house forever, waiting to get the perfect lightning shot. This was as close as I got to one. It was about 10 p.m. when I took this shot, but the lightning made it look more like dusk.
The New York Times ran an excellent piece in the SundayStyles section that eerily mirrored a good chat I had on the ferry back from North Haven on Sunday with one of my contemporaries about our shared experience of spending 20+ summers in a summer colony better known for its understatedness than anything else.
Our discussion was spurred by a comment made by my friend’s friend back in Boston. From a small town somewhere in the Midwest, she said her dream was to have a house in Nantucket, a dream that those of us in North Haven, in our own little bit of reverse snobbery, would probably mock. “Some people are snobbish about being not snobbish,” the piece said.
The wealthy and powerful who go to Maine do so for its comforting simplicity and lack of pretentiousness, while people go to Nantucket to show off — or at least so the conventional wisdom on summer enclaves goes. The Times piece examines the related trend of bumper-stickering your preferred summer resort in order to show off your social status. You know the stickers — ACK for Nantucket, EH for East Hampton, MVY for Martha’s Vineyard, etc.
“There was a time when what people did on their summer vacations was no one else’s business. Summer getaways were family time, and there was no need to fetishize or advertise one’s preferred burg for unwinding…those oval bumper stickers stand out as the ultimate in gratuitous boasting, in a class apart even from peacocking around town covered in luxury brand logos.”
But stickers are not the only evidence of one’s summering proclivities. T-shirts are also among the usual suspects. And “when it comes to showboating, the more obscure the reference, it seems, the better. Just as the cachet of the once ubiquitous Black Dog t-shirt came from the assumption that only travelers to Martha’s Vineyard understood its origin, surely only a few people could possibly be aware that the letters ACK on a t-shirt, hat, or bumper sticker refer to the code for the airport on Nantucket. But over time, as word gets out and the masses come to understand the references, they lose their power and can acquire a patina of gaucheness or cluelessness.”
(Thanks David for my snot-on-the-water snap)
Pharmaceutical distributor Stewart Rarh paid $45 million for a new pad in Wainscott, his second home in the Hamptons. It’s the highest price ever paid for a home in New York, and according to one real estate agent, “It’s a sickness…I guess people just don’t know what to do with their money.”