Here Comes Summer on the East End

life guard chair

Put the surfboard on the roof. Put on shorts and sandals. Lather up with suntan lotion. Head out to Ditch Plains in Montauk, ride the waves, come in and get some grub at Ditch Witch.

Head over to Super Saturday in Bridgehampton and buy clothes and stuff worn once or not at all by the rich and famous.

Saturday means wristbands at the fundraiser, goodie bags on the way out, and all sorts of beautiful gowns and accessories in between, along with lines at the buffet table, lots of friends, even more people you see only a few times a year, somebody funny at the mike, dancing to rock and roll, and the auction. It’s all for a good cause, and maybe your pic will wind up in the papers or they’ll be a mention of you in South O’ the Highway.

Dawn. Wear a sweater, grab your tripod, stop at a bagel store on your way to the beach, and with a long lens get the gulls flapping across the sunrise.

Horse show. Dress up in your Sunday best, stroll down the aisle between the rows of tables in the VIP tent and have your picture taken. Meet Mayor Bloomberg and Tom Wolfe and a host of others who have daughters up on the horses. Grab cookies from other people’s tables when nobody is looking. (Can’t resist putting this in—it’s a personal favorite.)

Artist-Writers Game. Assemble behind the East Hampton Waldbaum’s on a Saturday afternoon. Out will come, in uniform, a bunch of writers, well known and not-so-well known, and a bunch of artists, some well known some not-so-well known, and they will play a game of softball. Between innings, the paparazzi will crowd around one or another of the celebs, but the biggest deal is trying to get in to play yourself. That’s up to Leif Hope, who has managed the game for more than a quarter-century. But you’ll see him there, and it won’t hurt to ask. The first Artist-Writers game was played in 1948.

Shop For food at Citarella, Schmidt’s, Schiavoni’s, or go to the specialty shops for chicken and baked goods. Sorry for any I leave out—Loaves & Fishes, Round Swamp Farm, Amagansett Farmers Market, Mary’s Marvelous.

Eat at the Classics (again, sorry for any I leave out)—Nick & Toni’s, Bobby Van’s, American Hotel, La Parmigiana, Gosman’s Dock, Gurney’s, Starr Boggs, Claudio’s in Greenport.

Watch a sunset at East Hampton Point or at Dockers in East Quogue. Have an afternoon ice cream with the kids at the Candy Kitchen or Sip N’ Soda. People watching—sitting out front of 75 Main in Southampton, CittaNuova in East Hampton, Pierre’s and Bobby Van’s in Bridgehampton or the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, the Sagg General Store in Sagaponack —wow, is she hot or what? And isn’t that Justin Timberlake?

Windsurfing. The place to be is Lazy Point in Napeague, where the wind comes charging in across Napeague Harbor between the hills of Hither Hills and the hills of Amagansett. You’ll find them out there every day. It’s a great spot for a waterside picnic. Or if you’re a nut yourself, get in the harness and let yourself go.

Dining by the yachts. It can happen. Try B. Smith’s deck or Dockside in Sag Harbor, the Montauk Yacht Club in Montauk, up at East Hampton Point or at the Canal Café on the shores of the Shinnecock Canal.

Take a cruise in a sloop, either yours or a friend’s. The girls sit on the bow in bikinis, the guys stand behind the wheel, drinking beer. Can’t beat it out in Gardiner’s Bay or in Shinnecock Bay.

Get the stuff you need and head out into the cemeteries to make rubbings. The cemeteries are everywhere, this place goes back to 1639.

They crowd them into Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett almost every other night in the summertime to listen to the greats. And you never know who will show up. It could be Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, whoever. You have to love the music and this is it.
Take in a live performance. You’ll go to Bay Street in Sag Harbor, the John Drew Theater in East Hampton, the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. This summer features Paul Reiser and David Brenner, Upright Citizens Brigade and Alec Baldwin, Aaron Neville and Liza Minnelli and too many others to list.

Go watch an event at the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead, newly restored after 30 years of neglect. It’s dazzling.

Score a locker at the East Hampton Beach pavilion. You have to do this in the early spring, or maybe the autumn before. It’s the hardest score in the Hamptons, and on the black market they go for thousands.

Head up Deerfield Road to Sir Ivan’s Castle when the time comes. You’ll hear about it. It’s about the wildest party in the Hamptons, two of them actually, one that happens between 10 and 2, and then the second after that.

Attend a Memorial Day parade through one of the downtowns. But the biggest parade of all, it goes on for hours, is the Fourth of July affair on Main Street in Southampton.

Lament the good old days when we had Fourth of July Fireworks on Main Beach in East Hampton. But that was before the endangered piping plovers came to nest there and it hurt their little ears.

Here are the top restaurants in the Hamptons according to Zagat’s 2012–13 Long Island Restaurants Guide. They top the list from year to year, with some others that get up there from time to time. North Fork Table, La Plage, Dave’s Grill, Vine Street, Starr Boggs, Mirko’s, Plaza Café, Stone Creek Inn, Noah’s, Harvest, Palm.

It’s a lot of clattering hoofs and Argentines outside the tent. Is it polo? The real action goes on inside, with the meet and greet, the fashionistas, the celebs, the wealthy, the glitterati and the Hampton legends. Six Saturday afternoons in July and early August.

It’s tennis at the club, golf at the Atlantic or the Bridge or Sebonack, or Maidstone or the National or Shinnecock, sitting on one of two dozen beaches facing out into the Atlantic, and barbecues with fresh fish from the docks or chicken from Iacono or fresh vegetables from more than a dozen farm stands.

It’s dinners out on your lawn, catered. It’s landscaping to the nines. It’s clipping your hedgerows. It’s feeding the ducks and swans in Lake Agawam or Town Pond in East Hampton or the Duck Pond on David’s Lane.

It’s Dan’s Taste of Two Forks in Sayre Park in Bridgehampton on a Saturday night, with the biggest ever collection of wineries and restaurants with tables to sample their wares (more than 60 in all). The night before is the big GrillHampton event, where chefs from Manhattan face off against chefs in the Hamptons and the North Fork. Again at Sayre Park.

It’s ArtHamptons, Ellen’s Run, the Dog Walk, the Firecracker 8K, it’s the Ashawagh Hall Fishermen’s Fair and the Great Engine Run at Bridgehampton and the early Indian settlement at the Shinnecock Indian Museum, new this year. It’s touring the many wineries on the North Fork and in the Hamptons.

It’s the circus at Shinnecock, Author’s Night in East Hampton, the Southampton Writer’s Conference. It’s two fundraisers every weekend, so you better get ready.

It’s summer in the Hamptons.

Or you can just hang out and read Dan’s Papers and a good book on your deck.

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