Summer Shares: ‘Summer House’ on Bravo, a Rental Home and a Fish Story

Summer House cartoon by Mickey Paraskevas
Cartoon by Mickey Paraskevas

Next month the TV show Summer House will premiere on Bravo. It was filmed in a four-bedroom house on the bayside of Napeague and is designed to show a total of nine shiny, young upper-middle-class New Yorkers who’ve rented shares in this house for the summer. Their intent, it seems, is to behave as badly as possible every weekend with loud music, random sex, wild parties and lots of alcohol far into the night.

The crew of Summer House tried mightily to get a permit to film in public places in Montauk this past summer. They went to the town and were turned away. They went to such local establishments as the Shagwong and 668 The Gig Shack and were turned away. Montauk is a family town, a fishing resort, a surfing community and a retreat for the rich and famous. Yes, there are party animals. But nobody wanted Montauk splashed all over cable as a place where that’s all it was about, all that mattered and nobody gave a damn.

Eventually, they rented a house at 90 Harbor Road, on the arc of the bay in Napeague. It’s pretty quiet there. People clam or go sailing. The renters were said to be five people, two of whom were members of the same family. Now that summer is over and it has been learned that this was not really a family place—that nine randy, young people slept in this house, or at least went to bed here, all summer—there’s not much to be done about it. It’s unlikely those renters would get a permit to do this again in 2017. But who knows?

The producers also got permission to film their show at several other private locations on the East End, including several businesses, as you will see in the trailer. But mostly it’s about tits and ass, sandy bottoms and alcohol and wild partying. The producers reportedly said they were making an effort “to help Montauk.” Help it do what? Become The Jersey Shore?

Also, at the present time, the house is for rent for next summer. It’s in Napeague, just to the west of Montauk, and is bordered on one side by Napeague State Park and Hither Hills State Park on the other, with the pebbly bay beach right outside.

For next summer, Corcoran and Nest Seekers have the open listing for rent for $110,000 June and July; $135,000 for July through Labor Day; $80,000 for August to Labor Day; or $165,000 from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It’s a Nantucket-style shingled home with a deck and trellis, a media room, a spa and pool. Other amenities include a hot tub and barbecue area where you can hang out, as did Kyle Cooke, Ashley Wirkus, Lauren Wirkus, Everett Weston, Lindsay Hubbard, Cristina Gibson, Stephen McGee, Carl Radke and lots of guests and friends last summer.

Also, I am not positive, but I think this is the house that one of my best friends (also named Carl) bought some years ago. He and his wife purchased it for quite a bit of money, and I recall going to the housewarming party held there that first year.

It was a lovely affair with about 30 people—grownups—hanging around, holding glasses of Champagne and eating canapés served by waiters. There had been a big clam-and-lobster dinner with spaghetti and corn and ice cream. The seafood was bought absolutely fresh at Stuart’s Seafood Market earlier that day.

A few days after this party, however, a strange smell became apparent in the house. Nobody could quite pinpoint where it was coming from. Indeed, it seemed to be everywhere. The trash was taken out. Professional cleaners were brought in. A mold-detection company came in on the third day. Another company came in to look for rot. But the smell just got worse.

On the fifth day, Carl and his wife decided the seller of this house must have known about this smell. The seller had cheated them, they said, held back in telling them about this. They should be held liable for it. They hired a lawyer who filed legal papers on the seller. They also filed papers against the real estate lawyer who had sold them the property and, finally, the title and transfer company and the house inspection outfit that had cleared the house on their behalf.

On the ninth day, the smell was so bad that Carl and his wife decided they needed to move out. Carl called me up and asked if I could come by to help pack things up that evening. He told me they’d all be wearing masks. I said sure.

As it happened, I was up on a step stool in the kitchen changing a light bulb that had gone dark above a counter next to the refrigerator when I saw a paper bag on top of the back of the refrigerator.

“What’s this?” I asked Carl from up there.

“I don’t know,” he said.

It turned out to be a bag of fish that had been put up on top of the refrigerator for a moment the night of the lobster-and-clam-dinner housewarming party 10 days earlier. It was supposed to go into the refrigerator. But whoever had put it up there, while putting other things in, had forgotten about it. We partied on.

Carl and his wife lived in the house for years after that and this story became a family legend. There was, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with that house. It was a wonderful house. Ultimately, as the price for the house went through the roof, they decided to sell it and take the profit—and did.

This was that house right there on the bay in Napeague. I think.

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