Southampton billionaire Derwood Hodgegrass proved this week that, for those rich enough to afford it, the Hamptons can one day be a year-round beach destination. He has built a machine to heat the ocean in front of his home—and it works.
“I had a vision, and thanks to the engineers and scientists at my Elysium Workshop think tank, we have done the impossible,” Hodgegrass said, moments after emerging from the surf on a bitter cold Tuesday afternoon.
With his palatial mansion behind him and clouds of steam rising from his body, the wealthy eccentric stood as two large attendants dried him in a plush towel and then wrapped an equally luxurious blanket around his bare shoulders. “In the span of two hours, my machine brought the sea from 47 degrees to a balmy 82,” Hodgegrass announced. “After a few adjustments and a bit of time, I expect all my affluent neighbors to have one of these machines,” he continued, adding, “Nature will no longer dictate how we spend our leisure time.”
Currently called “Sea-Lysium VII,” Hodgegrass’ ocean warmer was first developed as a super heater for his proposed 150-yard swimming pool (also called Sea-Lysium), but the Southampton Town Board rejected his pool plans out of hand, so the billionaire found a new use for the technology. “With some hard work by my guys and a few modifications, we are now able to heat about 100 square yards of ocean,” Hodgegrass said. “Imagine what the Hamptons would be like with hundreds of these installed along the coastline.”
To make swimming in the heated ocean comfortable, Hodgegrass said many will want to erect large heated tents on the adjoining beach. “After a swimmer’s egress from the sea, he or she can find shelter from the cold inside these tented areas,” he explained. “From there, it’s well within the realm of possibility to heat the tent and sand, while enjoying our off-season sun through clear plastic, Plexiglass or actual glass, depending on what the East End zoning Gestapo allows.”
Sea-Lysium VII isn’t the only project in the works at Elysium Workshop. Hodgegrass said that, among other things, his think tank is working with ex drug smugglers to develop a fashionable business suit that can hold as much cash as a duffel bag, without losing its clean lines or “dashing silhouette.”