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Sixty-Something: 2020 Hamptons Mid-Summer Report

T.J. Clemente

The author with Rising Sun in the background. (Photo: Courtesy of the Author)

As the weather heated up on the East End of Long Island, I realized there are only seven more Saturdays until Labor Day. It's been a summer like no other. Coronavirus has changed the world and has definitely changed the Hamptons. If you own a home in the Hamptons, you have to be happy "all" home prices are rising, in some cases frantically. If you own a restaurant, bar, nightclub, or a combination of all three, you are struggling to hold onto what usually is your summer gold mine.

This last week while sailing, I could not help but notice that media-mogul David Geffen's 453' Rising Sun was parked for a few days in Gardiner's Bay. It is reported that it cost over $200M to build. That's quite a contrast to the $1,800.00 I paid to Southampton College ten years ago for my 22' Catalina that sails in Gardiner's Bay most nights. I sailed very close up to the Rising Sun but couldn't see if the folks were wearing masks.

I have traversed Route 27, driving from my East Patchogue home to my East Hampton docked sailboat 4 to 5 times a week (May through November) for over a decade. I joke to many that the drive in the summer to my boat is shorter than when I lived in Montauk. The owner of our marina likes to say our slips at the docks are our waterfront property in the Hamptons. In a way, he is very right. My slip sits under an Osprey nest, every year I watch them raise a new family.

What I have noticed this summer is a bizarre reality, that there may be a record number of people in the Hamptons this season, but they are not walking around the hamlets. This is good. However, the beaches with all the parking limitations are still packed on hot weekends. Of course, the ice cream establishments still have those summer lines in the evenings. Sadly, the live theaters, music venues, and places to dance are not happening and I miss them all. I love to dance with my wife, even in the kitchen, but there is something magical about a nice dance in the summer after a meal to live music, under perhaps a full moon. I am sure many understand.

What's good is the daily Coronavirus numbers for the East End are very low, as folks seem to be somehow keeping the dangerous and deadly virus at bay. I love seeing the imaginative masks on many people and have to say I believe in wearing a mask and thankfully to folks like Bonnie Grice, I have a few cool ones. I carry my own personal small Purell bottle.

The traffic that the locals believe to be their annual summer curse is actually not that bad this year. It is testament that people are enjoying their homes, pools, gardens, boats, bikes, kayaks, and paddle boards more than ever. I am hopeful a solution to the Coronavirus comes, but I fear it won't be in time to save many small businesses, many with people I have interviewed or wrote articles about over the last 17 years. Sadly, I watch them fight to survive. I hope they do and try to support as many as possible.

At this mid-summer point, I am advising everyone to do some of the things that they swore to do this summer - whether it is to read a certain book, go to a certain beach, or even a project in or around the house. I do believe in the saying "don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you got till it's gone," and with that in mind, you are warned there are only seven more Saturdays until Labor Day Monday.

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