Monday, August 3, 2009

Scrappy East Hampton Springs is better than "South of the Highway"

My Hamptons philosophy has always been to be anti- the anti-Hamptons people. The East End of Long Island is fking gorgeous and has long, wide beaches with tall waves and the ice-cold water that puts the sublime chill in a summer day, one dip and you're cool and comfortable on the beach for hours, so who really cares if the people here are too fashionable or too trashy or too sceney or what? If you don't like them, ignore them. And if you do, then there's lots of fun to be had.....  

I've always come here to visit a particular college friend (whose parents have an amazing house, a pool and a membership to the Maidstone Club) and we never went out at all, just trundled from beach to pool to sitting around on the deck with wine, being in our 20s talking about who and when we might get married and what we'd become in our lives, and smoking cigarettes and being perfectly happy.  

Fast-forward 10 years to trying to find a house here. My Central Park South dentist recommended Devlin McNiff real estate and insisted that we live "South of the Highway,"---which is very nice mansion-land if you can and want to live like the Pasha of Pashminaville (to flash a best forgotten 90s status symbol). And then there are the people who are like "Oh the Bay, the Bay, the Bay is so much cooler" and you think, "Yeah, but it's flat and it smells like fish."  

Here is what I have concluded: You need a car anyway, so if you want a semi-rural experience with tiny saltbox cottages and yards with tumbledown sheds and country stores, a neighborhood where it's nice to walk around peeking at houses that look like they're lived in by locals--the heart of the place, the bones, that which made it cool in the first place, the Hamptons lived in by Jackson Pollack and Sylvia Plath (that last one I don't know really where she lived with Ted Hughes baking cakes just like Gwynnie in a movie but it should have been here), the the Springs is for you. It will not be significantly inconvenient for beach-going.  

Also, apparently the Bennett family was one of the first to settle the East End and in these parts, on Neck Path and Old Stone Highway up to Louse Point (Rouse Point?) you see lots of mailboxes that say Bennett. 

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