One great thing about being Sixty-Something or older, by now, you know how to enjoy life. For younger folks there are perhaps still some life experience mountains to climb before even contemplating stopping to smell the roses.
The east end of Long Island has changed! Montauk is changing; however, the whole world is changing. It is getting younger as those who were in charge get older. Technology has improved life for almost everyone. I remember not having air-conditioning in the summer in my room. There are zero fond memories of sleeping dripping with sweat.
Remember that first day after school ended for the summer? Waking up and knowing there was no hurry to get to homeroom before the bell. That evolved into the scramble to get to the office. Getting to work on time was important because someone, somewhere, somehow was keeping score. Just yesterday a friend sent me a text, “I am psyched, I am heading out to Montauk tonight!” For him it’s like school is out for the 2022 Hamptons summer season.
Covid changed the reality of the summer season. The epidemic that changed work habits, social habits and family dynamics forever. Many believe it has dented the good-life on the east end. During 2020 I witnessed more collective family behavior on the east end. People utilized the sanctity of their homes as opposed to escaping from them. This year group activities are back in vogue.
Back during the “Surfing Craze,” of the 1960’s there was a cult film called, “The Endless Summer.” It was about surfers traveling the world to find places to surf where it was summer. For me just being on the east end all year round gives me the same feeling those kids had arriving at their next beach to surf.
The curves of the east end roads, the rolling plush green hills, the farms along the way with the endless variety of homes makes driving anywhere in the Hamptons pleasant. Folks who complain about summer traffic just need to go up island on the LIE west passed exit 33 to the tunnel to actually experience really bad traffic.
I do not see myself leaving Long Island while I am still alive. Just being here keeps me alive. My biggest success in life has to be finding my wife and having her teach me the magic of the south shore of Long Island. Picking our home she said, “We must be close to the water but above the flood zone!” Until she educated me, I never understood “flood zone.”
Part of her joy as a South Shore lifer is she still loves to swim daily in the bay from mid-June to mid-October. Now that we are in our late sixty-somethings we use “shorty wetsuits,” until it really heats up. Not being a surfer, it took some adjustment to actually wear a wetsuit, now it feels natural. With the short sleeves and above the knee cut, you still feel the wonderment of both the water and the sun while the vital parts stay warm.
Sitting at home and looking up to see seagulls, is something special. Especially in the morning when you see them sky-high soaring in the breeze. When I lived in Montauk right on the ocean I was amazed how they existed on the nastiest coldest icy winter’s day. Yet, I love watching seagulls walk the beach on summer days like they are inspecting their land. I guess they never leave. Yet, they have only been breeding on Long Island for the last 100 years.
I am thinking endless summer because the outdoor thermometer has finally landed in the mid-eighties. There is always a cool breezy spot in the shade of the old tall tree. The water is warm to the toes and the gas barbecue device is back in service. It feels like the beginning of the endless summer, until that really cold November Day when you realize summer has truly ended until the next endless summer.
Make no mistake about it; it is the time of year on the east end that one understands why mega-rich people fly their jets and helicopters to sample a taste of endless summer of the south shore. Or why my buddy is glad to be heading to his Montauk home for a long weekend. For others it is always just a walk out their front door all year round.