Culture is alive and well in the Hamptons and the North Fork! As the sunny season really gets underway, local galleries, museums, theaters and music venues are rolling out their best and drawing the biggest crowds, so there really is no shortage of fantastic arts and entertainment offerings.
But how does one pick and choose among them? Dan’s Best of the Best’s Platinum winners, representing East End voters’ favorites, are certainly a great place to start.
Let’s start simply, with the best places to see a movie on each of the Twin Forks. The North Fork’s favorite, and only, movie theater, Mattituck Cinemas (10095 Main Road #3, 631-298-7469), is exactly what one would imagine on the more rustic, mom-and-pop fork. It’s a small and well-priced (cash only) independently owned theater with friendly staff, cozy seats and all the most current films.
Not far from Mattituck’s cinema, North Fork Community Theatre (12700 Sound Avenue, 631-298-4500) represents the region’s most beloved traditional theater and theater group. This wonderful institution seeks to promote the study and improvement of the dramatic arts, while also stimulating public interest in theater and promoting the community’s dramatic endeavors. Currently showing Camelot (opened May 14), it’s a great place to see a play.
Meanwhile, South Fork favorite, Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (76 Main Street, 631-288-1500) is the Hamptons go-to for everything good that happens on a stage. WHBPAC, as it’s known, regularly features big name acts in music, comedy and theater for adults and children, right in the heart of a very pedestrian- and diner-friendly village.
The South Fork’s Best of the Best theater group? Our Fabulous Variety Show (ourfabulousvarietyshow.org) is an ever evolving troupe of dedicated thespians who look to hone their craft of live performance while also raising funds and awareness for related local and national non-profit organizations.
For those who prefer their culture hanging on a wall or placed on a pedestal, the Hamptons’ favorite art gallery is actually one of the few where absolutely anyone can show! Ashawagh Hall (780 Springs-Fireplace Road, 631-267-6554) in Springs is open to whoever rents it, but this community art gallery and events space is well-known for showing a wide variety of local artists in all genres, media and styles. Whether it’s the Plein Air Peconic landscapes show, the Springs Mystery Art Show, Hampton Photo Arts’ Bring Your Own Art exhibition, the Springs Invitational or something completely unexpected, Ashawagh Hall almost always delivers with good art or good times.
The North Fork’s favorite gallery, Nova Constellatio Gallery (419 Main Street, 516-443-0242) in Greenport, is the open studio of Isabelle Haran-Leonardi, a contemporary realist painter who specializes in large-scale oils of Eastern Long Island. Haran-Leonardi also happens to be the North Fork’s Platinum-winning artist, so it’s a safe bet her gallery/studio is worth a visit.
On the South Fork, in Sag Harbor, artist Scott Hewett—whose paintings have been called “realism with pop”—is the voters’ Platinum favorite. He does excellent work, including commissions. Check out his stuff at hewettart.com.
Of course Hamptonites love their art and nature, so it should be no surprise the South Fork’s Platinum Best of the Best museum is Jack Lenor Larsen’s Longhouse Reserve,
(133 Hands Creek Road, 631-604-5330) in East Hampton. This magical spot is well worth the visits, whether one enjoys its collections, gardens, sculpture or regularly scheduled cultural programs. Look for Yoko Ono’s “Play it by Trust” chessboard sculpture. It’s one of our favorites.
In Greenport, the North Fork’s museum of choice connects to the region’s maritime roots. The East End Seaport Museum (3rd Street, 631-477-2100) has a number of buildings and features—all celebrating the East End’s seafaring culture. The museum has a variety of events and is a repository of historic, maritime artifacts. Also explore local sea life through an on-site saltwater aquarium.
Find more information on all these illuminating and exciting spots, along with all of Dan’s Best of the Best on the East End at DansBOTB.com!