The last two years there have been many changes in the Hamptons. One obvious one is the huge change of ownership of homes and businesses. In every hamlet many prized homes along with famed restaurants and businesses have changed hands and in some cases names.
So in reality, a huge segment of the Hamptons is under new ownership. The one thing about change is that it is always happening slowly then, boom, it happens noticeably suddenly.
In the last few years both “print news“ organizations, news radio stations and online websites have merged, or have been sold to new owners. In many cases new ownership means new leadership and that usually means new changes. Sixty-something folks have watched this cycle a few times in our lifetimes, but never like on the east end these last few years.
What is sadder than finding out your favorite restaurant, with your favorite food choices has closed down? For example, how can I ever replace the consistency and late availability of a crispy pizza from the no longer in existence Bridgehampton World Pie? For others not being able to ever have another Babette’s (East Hampton Village) Swirling Cinnamon French Toast is tragic, just to name a few.
Now on the other hand, without a doubt some new quality establishments will emerge and create new wonderful favorite dishes, or services. However, sadly, some long-time favorites are gone forever.
As far as residential change goes there can be no debate the average Hamptons homeowner is wealthier. Almost every single home east of the Shinnecock Canal is worth at least 30-40 % more than it was before the Covid-19 pandemic. Some have actually doubled. It has been two strong years of record high sales figures for homes.
Taking into account all the folks who paid millions for their new vacation home or new primary residence, you have to conclude that the properties are owned by “stronger hands.” That is an old Wall Street expression used to mean wealthier folks. With that uptick in wealth also comes new changes in the costs of goods and services on the east end. Not the best thing for retired folks on fixed incomes, most likely not the best thing for anyone.
Yet, the very wealthy always summered in the Hamptons. They first arrived in horse drawn coaches or luxury yachts, and eventually the LIRR. There are photos of the huge trunks being unloaded from the train to horse-driven wagons to transport the “summer things” back to the estates in the late 1880s!
Years back John Heisig, who lived to be 94, told me this story. There once was a Carl Fisher casino in Montauk right next to the Montauk Yacht Club. It was still operating after WWII. In those days there were no private jets and helicopters, although Howard Hughes and others did fly private planes to the Hamptons. Howard Hughes often landed on the farmland then called Hayground Airport Field in Bridgehampton.
Mr. Heisig recalled that after dinner, the upper crust folks would load into open air limos in full evening clothing. Then trek from the mansions in Southampton to the Montauk Casino on Star Island. Laughing he said, “We’d drive back at around sunrise!”
He said it was quite a sight, as they traveled into the night with champagne flutes filled with chilled sparkling wine, with the woman dressed to the nines and the men in tuxedoes.
Not quite my lifestyle. But, us Sixty-something folks understand how important and valuable good health is at this stage of our lives. We know we can buy lots of shiny things but we cannot order some good health on Amazon!