I have lived in the Hamptons since the 1978.
I say this not to impress you with the longevity of my residence but to impress you with an important point. In all that time I have hardly seen anyone of notability. Not to insult my family and friends but they do not regularly make the cover of Us Weekly or the National Enquirer.
Iman and Davie Bowie - gorgeous together but not a Hamptons
Couple. Photo by PatrickMcMullan.com
Once I stood next to the Ladies Room inside Saks Fifth Avenue
in Southampton for three hours thinking some celebrity would come by. My theory
was that celebrities would use the public bathroom at an upscale department store at least. Apparently not. All I saw was the inside of the Southampton Police Station (nice by the way) and my own reflection in the mirrored sunglasses and brim of a trooper's hat while they compared my face to photographs of known perverts. They had to let me go but now my picture is in a book somewhere in the archives listed as "Known to Hang Around Public Restrooms. Harmless, Mostly."
In thirty years, my encounters with celebrity consist of two very distinct yet ironic events.
It was the mid-nineties and I was working at an art magazine in Manhattan. We were out tooling around the Hamptons touring some of the more famous spots where artists of note had spent their time either working or hanging out in the once rural serenity of the South Fork when we stopped for a look at some artwork in a gallery. I'm no Neanderthal but as much as I like Abstract Expressionism, sometimes you just need a sandwich.
There was a deli across the street. My blood sugar might have been a little low or perhaps I was so fixated on a Turkey and Swiss on Rye with a little Russian dressing but I didn't notice that the light had changed. A delivery van knocked me into the trunk of the car in front of me. Dazed and in shock, I walked across the street while the driver yelled out the window in some Eastern European accent, "icouldavfkinkillyou!" I got the point, but, "Sorry for smashing you into the trunk of a Beamer" probably would have been more appropriate.
Lorraine Bracco and her lovely daughter Stella Keitel sit front row at
the Douglas Hannant fashion show. Fabulous but not quite the couple
we were looking for. Photo by PatrickMcMullan.com
When I returned to the Art Gallery and my fellow co-workers, I was just about to tell them how I was almost flattened when they ushered me into another room. There, standing not three feet away was none other than David Bowie
, inspecting a rather large and at this point unmemorable painting. He looked at me, smiled, said, "Hello" and moved on.
But that's very far from a celebrity couple. That's half of a British couple.
As close to a run-in with a celebrity couple I ever got was when I was driving east on the L.I.E. coming home from my day job. There I was, in the HOV Lane, talking on my cell phone, drinking coffee and writing down some notes on a legal pad when traffic just came to a complete stop. I slammed on my brakes and lightly bumped a little white MINI, shearing off the rear bumper. The driver of the MINI and another car pulled over so I figured I'd do the same. While talking to the cops, it occurred to me that the two women who said they were driving to Southampton for a month's vacation that August, and whose MINI I had just crunched, were none other than Lorraine Bracco and her daughter Stella Keitel. So now I have a police report and an auto body shop estimate in some folder somewhere with Lorraine Bracco's signature on it. If I'm ever in any financial trouble it's going on eBay
Still, that's not exactly the epitome of the Hamptons couple.
At one time, Christie Brinkley
and Billy Joel
were the ultimate Hamptons couple. We all know how that worked out. After so much consideration I have decided that the ultimate Hamptons couple are not two fragile human beings like a billionaire comedian and his young girlfriend hanging out at the wineries and antique shops along Montauk Highway but something of more substance. Perhaps there is a more permanent set that epitomizes the Hamptons.
So I set out to find just that. This is not as easy as it sounds. Water and Sand? Wine and Cheese? Coffee and Cigarettes? Amex
Gold and Frequent Flyer Miles? BMW
and Mercedes? Bumper-to-bumper traffic and snobby store clerks? There's so much to choose from. So much that just describes the Hamptons. But then, it hit me like an Eastern Bloc truck driver!
The ultimate Hamptons couple had to be a little of everything. Classy, yet fun. Historical, yet current. Controversial, yet universally loved. And there they were, unassuming and modest yet, unmistakably iconic:
The Big Duck and The Montauk Lighthouse!
What better couple to epitomize the Hamptons? They have never let us down and have been a stoic reminder that some things in the Hamptons so last. At least until erosion takes away the last of the lighthouse's foothold and it goes crashing into the sea and they decide a Big Duck isn't an historic monument anymore. But until that day comes, they are my heroes of the Hamtpons. Three cheers for the ultimate Hamptons Couple.