People are all abuzz with spring in the Hamptons. They are out tending to their yards, washing their cars, putting away the snowblowers and tuning up the lawnmowers. Many are even doing “spring housecleaning.” Yes—spring is in the air in the Hamptons, and I’m not excited!
Why? Because when spring arrives, I know it’s only a short time until a bazillion people start flocking to the East End. I do not hanker for the traffic jams and the long lines at the places where just weeks before I could walk right up to the counter, exchange pleasantries with a familiar face and exit with my goods and a smile. Soon I will be ordering my pizza at lunchtime for an evening delivery and chasing away those who park in my front yard in an attempt to get closer to the beach.
No—I don’t love that which follows spring.
I submit that whoever named the four seasons didn’t live in the Hamptons. For sure, the seasons of the Hamptons are autumn, winter, spring and tourist. Yes—summer has been replaced by tourist season, which starts on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day.
Can’t we do something to limit the number of visitors to the area? This may sound harsh, and I realize that there are many area businesses that, without the seasonal guests, wouldn’t be able to keep their heads above water. I’m certainly sympathetic to them. That’s why I have devised a plan that I feel could possibly make the tourist season a little more tolerable for all.
The first part of my plan calls for all local businesses to expand their business platforms in the e-commerce world. People want Hamptons stuff, so let’s give it to them via online sales. That should cut down on some of the traffic.
But that in itself is not enough. The second part of the plan calls for limits to the number of visitors that are let into the area on any given day. Every restaurant and place of business in America has a maximum capacity of occupants. This is for safety purposes, and it should also apply to the Hamptons.
In the plan, all East End homeowners, even if they don’t keep full-time residency, will be exempt and can come and go as they please. So will celebrities. However, your standard garden-variety type tourists will be limited to 25,000 per day. This stemming of the entrants will be accomplished via a few strategically placed Port of Entry Checkpoints on the highways and other roads. Obviously we will need to also have the same processes for the LIRR. Each person who’s allowed to enter will have to pay a fee of $20. They will receive a colored tourist bracelet that will be good for that day only. Half of the revenue collected will be distributed to the East End businesses. This way they will be compensated for the reduced number of potential patrons to their businesses. Once we have let the designated number of tourists in, the rest will be turned away and they may try again another day. To mitigate their disappointment, those turned away will each be given a complimentary jar of genuine beach sand and a Hamptons bumper sticker that they can take back home. They will also be given a brochure that includes all the e-commerce websites of the local businesses.
As with any plan, there will be some challenges. After a period of time it’s expected that some people will seek to circumvent the process and enter the area by boat. Tourist smuggling may also pop up as a cottage industry, just like bootlegging was in the time of Prohibition. In order to protect the integrity of the program, it will be necessary to have some type of containment initiative. I propose that lifeguards be issued long-range beanbag guns to use as a deterrent to people trying to do so. They should be able to get a clear shot from the lifeguard stands. Our local law enforcement will also support the effort, as will our local militia.
Who is with me? Let’s work together to restore summer as the fourth season in the Hamptons.