I see it and feel it every year on Memorial Day weekend. That is of course, the momentum of the summer folks showing up in high feather for the first time of the new season. Some of the summer folks are living in rental homes, while others are living in their second homes and somehow are paying steep costs to enjoy what so many who live year round in the Hamptons take for granted.
Suddenly Memorial Day weekend there are larger crowds at the IGA’s, the restaurants, the beaches, the gas stations, the Starbucks, and just all over the hamlets of the Hamptons. Traffic becomes annoyingly slow as some folks aren’t quite sure where to make turns, park and in some cases where they are actually going.
The summer season folks are the lifeblood of the Hamptons. The work on the East End is basically a service-oriented economy. Especially during the summer season there are gardeners, pool services, air conditioner repair men, handy men, and repairmen all in their specific vehicles that crowd up route 27 in the morning going east and in the evening going west forming what some locals call, “the trade parade.”
In our lives we are all tourists at one time or another. I recall walking/driving around Rome and Paris having no clue what road I was on and where I was supposed to go. Last year when my wife Cindi and yours truly went to Chamonix, France we rented the lasted BMW SUV to cruise the Alps that had vocal GPS and warning commands. Except the commands where all in French! So at key turns I had a woman saying stuff in French rapidly and I had no idea what was being said! Sometimes at some intersections in the Hamptons during the summer season I think the same thing is happening.
The scene at various town beaches is always fun on weekends. Many new summer folks have to be told they have the wrong beach sticker, or none at all. This clogs things up. In the off-season the Hampton beaches are usually occupied by very few folks, some are walking dogs while others are sampling the fresh salt ocean breeze. During the summer season those same beaches are over-crowded with the latest styles of beach wear. Amazing new types of beach chairs, along with dazzling blankets and beach towels are set up in camps all over the beaches. Men and women alike are wearing those latest bathing suits styles with some looking smashingly well, others not so much. Yet on warm sunny days almost everyone is wearing a smile. The ocean beaches of the Hamptons do that to locals and summer guest alike, they make us all smile.
The nightlife energy of the Hamptons does tick up mightily on weekends in the summer season. There are always huge parties on huge estates, with folks having good times. Others prefer the magic of a BBQ grilling in their yard, at their summer homes with family and a few close friends. Either way the summer season magic does come out at night in the Hamptons.
Sadly what I see now more then ever are too many folks holding their phones with the earphone mounted into their heads, blocking out the real world. They are invested so emotionally into their devices that I sometimes thinks it’s unhealthy, but that just might be a voice and thoughts of a sixty-something guys watching change happen.
All this activity goes on all summer and builds to a huge sudden crescendo on Sunday Night Labor Day weekend. Then on Labor Day itself the Hamptons summer season folks pack up and leave. Locals are already counting the days until that moment, but as for me, come “Tumbleweed Tuesday,” the name the locals call the day after Labor Day, I always feel a little sad. That is the actual day I feel a year older.