Hamptons locals are gearing up to survive in the offseason wasteland. Each year, as the summer crowds disperse and the final luxury cars dwindle away on Tumbleweed Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, true Hamptonites are left to fight for their survival in a completely changed world.
Once full of bumper-to-bumper traffic, long lines and all the high-end amenities one could want, the South Fork now lies dormant for another nine months—a place of empty roads, shuttered shops, lifeguard-less beaches and closed restaurants. But the good people of the Hamptons have learned to soldier on.
“Overnight our home becomes a desolate place, one where we must fight to keep our homes and scrounge to find things to do after 6 p.m. on weeknights,” one local survivor, Eli Batstoi, says on Tuesday morning, lacing his boots and gathering the necessary equipment to somehow, some way, carve out a life in the new paradigm. “A person needs to be careful now, the jobless will begin to wander the streets in ever greater numbers,” he adds. “And God forbid you need to find safe haven, most of the homes are locked up—hundreds of doors and not a soul to answer them.”
With each passing day, the ragtag community of leftovers says streets such as Meadow and Gin Lanes in Southampton, and Lily Pond Lane in East Hampton become more and more devoid of life, until literally no one remains. “Even the local Main Streets and parking lots become mad places where a man can lose himself trying to decide between dozens, if not hundreds, of open spaces,” Batstoi says, a far-off look taking hold of his face. “There are just so many of them—it takes time to get used to that.”
The option to choose any beach in any local town, or even village, is equally vexing. “When you don’t need a sticker, where do you go?” Batstoi asks. “And the dogs, oh the dogs! They’re everywhere on every beach, leashes be damned.”
There’s a nary a star-studded benefit to be found and art openings are few and far between, according to Lisa Grandisimo, who recently left Manhattan to live full time in Sag Harbor. “I didn’t know it would be like this,” she says. “How was I to know Bay Street’s Mainstage Season would end on September 4? Gurney’s Fashion Collective pop-ups are over too,” she continues, adding, “I’m really scared now, and there’s no going back.”
Thankfully, Batstoi and others have pledged to look out for their year-round brethren during these most difficult times. “We’ll pull together, as we always do, and survive,” Batstoi says. “Memorial Day will be here soon enough.”