In the Hamptons, more than in most places service quality is expected to be premium and able to accommodate the most uncompromising tastes. From amazing meals, attentive waiters, and perfectly mixed drinks, service industry workers are behind countless different summer memories. There is an, often intentionally, hidden team behind every luxury, the little details that make a night out or an event special. Easy living is hard work.
Working on holidays (or late nights or weekends) is common for restaurant staff or any industry associated with a travel destination. After a grinding summer, the expectation of a slow day after Labor Day is an important ritual reward for their hard work. For employers, closing doors for a day is a great way to show appreciation for another beautiful Hamptons Summer.
The day after Labor Day, Tumbleweed Tuesday, is named for the conspicuously quiet Hamptons streets and shops once the summer’s visitors have gone home. In the past, this slow day has been an opportunity to thank the often-overlooked efforts of the local service industry. Many local businesses have their own end-of-summer traditions in honor of their hardworking teams.
Originally marked to honor the efforts of workers, Labor Day is one of the busiest days of the year for those in the Hamptons’ service industry. What has traditionally indicated the end of the summer and a return to normalcy, in recent years the departure of sun-seeking visitors is more and more difficult to detect. Rising trends of former renters becoming homeowners make the traditional summer end less noticeable on Tumbleweed Tuesday.
The Stephen Talkhouse, ubiquitous as a Hampton’s nightlife destination, was not open on Tuesday to give the staff a day off. Moreover, the unoccupied space was able to host a celebration for those who have hosted all summer: service industry staff.
For me, nothing characterizes the summer’s crowded frenzy like weekend nights at the Talkhouse. Some August Saturdays, I think you can see the mass of people from space, or at least Montauk. Regardless of how quiet Highway 27 is or is not, having a holiday that celebrates the conclusion of a season is good for everyone and is a reminder that there are communities within the Hamptons that are alive. Nobody throws a better party than the service industry.
Maybe the best party of the season, certainly one the most exclusive, the lobster-themed event had everybody red-faced with laughter. There were seafood towers, a piñata, plenty to drink, and a crustacean-based gift exchange. Without anyone to take care of or wait on, the party was a well-deserved chance to focus on each other.