So it's Friday afternoon in Manhattan and horns are blasting, your neck is sweating under your tie, and your stiletto heel is sinking into the asphalt. It's time to take a deep breath (just not as the bus is passing) and plan your escape to the Hamptons. The point here is to try to minimize your stress factor so that by the time you arrive for your weekend getaway the only thing you want to hit is the beach. Travel options vary according to your special needs and budgets but rest assured that these are no ordinary planes, trains, or automobiles.
Fly Me To The Sun
For the first class traveler, the chicest way to arrive in the Hamptons is on your Gulfstream IV chartered from Jet Alliance. This luxurious living room of the sky can greet you at Teterboro and whisk you and up to 13 passengers out to East Hampton in a mere half hour for $16,000 based on its terms. It is the only time you will ever feel the trip was too short. You also have the option of the Gulf Stream III for $11,000 or the Citation which seats 6 for $3,000. Their top-notch Transcon program can have you jetting across the country (NY to LA $28,830), to Europe (NY to London $73,300), and the Caribbean (NY to St. Martin $46,775) in a Gulfstream IV. This charter company can customize flights to your personal needs, picking you up at the nearest airport with enough runway capacity and taking you wherever you need to go based on a one-way price. Your wish is their command for sky high catering and entertainment as well. Pinch me I'm dreaming.
Other aviation options include East Hampton Airlines which charters a helicopter from East 34th street which seats 6 for $2,335, a single engine plane from LaGuardia which seats 4 for $615 or a light weight executive jet which holds up to 6 for $3840. Sound Aircraft offers a four seater from Teterboro for $968 or from LaGuardia for $1,012 or a sea plane from 23rd Street which seats up to 9 for $2,395.
Jet Alliance - 856-825-4540 or www.jetalliance.com
East Hampton Airlines - 631-537-3737
Sound Aircraft - 631-537-2202
Wake Me When It's Over
Leave the driving to someone else and hop on the Hampton Jitney which has a Westhampton and a Montauk Line. This luxury bus service with an on-board rest room and snacks operates almost hourly leaving the East Side of Manhattan from 86th to 40th Street. You can bring your surfboard or bike for an additional $10 or your pet for the same amount as long as it fits in a small lap sized container. The fare is $27 one way or $47 round trip. Beware this is not the place to chat on your cell phone unless you've just performed open heart surgery and are checking on the patient. It's limited to three minutes or for emergency purposes only. And no, your weekend outfit dilemma does not qualify.
For a more roomy ride, note the times where the Ambassador Service is offered, an upgrade of extra wide plush seats and individual electronic power outlets for $35 one way or $65 round trip. Reservations are recommended, and for the Ambassador Service a credit card is required and no shows are charged a $20 fee. The Jitney also offers airport connections for JFK, LaGuardia, and Islip-MacArthur.
Forgot an important set of papers or your Crème de la Mer? No problem, the Hampton Jitney offers a Package Express service where you send a package on the bus between the Hamptons and Manhattan for $20 to $40 depending on its size and weight.
Hampton Jitney - 631-283-4600 or www.hamptonjitney.com
Popcorn and a Movie
The Hampton Luxury Liner is another plush bus service with leather reclining chairs and a personal entertainment system with radio, music, and an on-board movie. They also have a restroom, and in the rear is a galley with complimentary cold soda and water, snacks, and magazines. Famous Amos cookies and Vanity Fair, I'm there. The same cell phone policy applies - keep it to two to three minutes with the ringer off.
A credit card is needed to make a reservation for the $28 one way or $52 round trip fee. They travel from the Upper East Side from 40th to 86th Streets to various stops in the Hamptons, but with a less frequent schedule than the Jitney. Be sure to note the schedule as it depends on the day of the week and make changes 4 hours in advance or your credit card will be charged. Sorry no pets.
Hampton Luxury Liner - 631-537-5800 or www.hamptonluxuryliner.com
For Better, For Worse, and For the HOV Lane
If you are a true Henry Ford American without Henry Ford's money and want to drive, there are a few tricks. Leaving late Friday night or very early Saturday morning can help avoid the rush hour, and if you must take the L.I.E. bring a friend so you can travel in the special H.O.V. lane for cars with two or more passengers. One man would barely speak to his ex-wife yet they still traveled to the Hamptons together so he could take advantage of the car pool benefit. The Southern State Parkway is another alternate and more scenic route.
The Only Car Here is the Bar Car
The Long Island Rail Road adds its special summer service to the Hamptons. The Montauk Line runs from Penn Station and connects in Jamaica out to the East End. Your premium Hampton Reserve Service adds a bar, extra luggage shelves, and attendants serving beverages and snacks at your reserved seat. Advanced payment for tickets is required with a minimum of 6 trips and customers can reserve weekly and pay that day. Small pets are fine as long as they are in their own container, and their cell phone policy is "talk so low no one will know." A little trick - restrooms are in odd numbered cars.
The favored "Cannonball" leaves Penn Station at 3:58 pm and has no stops after the change in Jamaica until Westhampton. Save money by buying the tickets at stations or ticket machines since on board is cash only (no bills over $50) and about $5 more. The regular service is $14.50 off peak and $20 peak. For the night owl or Cinderella whose coach has turned into a pumpkin, know there is the 12:35 a.m. train leaving Penn Station, your last option for making it back to the Hamptons.
Long Island Rail Road - 631-231-5477 or (718) 558-LIRR (5477), www.mta.info
Beam Me Up Scottie
For the true futuristic techno there is always the laser beaming option. Unfortunately early tests show that the molecules tend to rearrange upon Hamptons re-entry and a Wall Street tycoon arrives wanting only to open a small sea shell stand and sip pina coladas all day.