As you begin your much-needed day off from work by tossing your 2018 calendar in the trash and putting up its 2019 replacement, you may start to wonder how you’ll spend the rest of your day. While you’re off for New Year’s Day, so are a host of other businesses and attractions. What is there to do? Luckily, the Hamptons and North Fork have an abundance of exciting activities to enjoy before you get back to work on Wednesday.
1. Take a Hike!
Start the new year on the right foot, by taking a hike through our scenic East End. The New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Department has scheduled a First Day Hike on each of the two forks, so you can’t use driving distance as an excuse not to get out of the house and exercise. On the South Fork, head to the Montauk Point State Park (2000 Montauk Highway, Montauk) at 10:30 a.m. for a two-mile hike through beautiful woodland trails to the Seal Haulout Site, where you’ll see happy seals sunbathing on the rocks. Registration is required, so call 631-668-3781 to make your first good decision of 2019.
On the North Fork, be at the Hallock State Park Preserve Visitors Center (6062 Sound Avenue, Northville) at 11 a.m. for a short presentation on local marine life and the dangers they face from humans. A one-mile hike along the shore of the Long Island Sound follows, where you’ll help pick up trash and check for cold-stunned sea turtles. parks.ny.gov
2. Take the Plunge!
Looking for a way to totally cleanse yourself of 2018? Let the ice-cold Atlantic Ocean baptize you! Like the hikes, there are two places to do just that on New Year’s Day, both in East Hampton Town. The first is the Polar Bear Plunge at Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa (290 Old Montauk Highway, Montauk) at 10:30 a.m., after which you can warm up with complimentary hot beverages and towels. gurneysresorts.com
Next, registration for the East Hampton Polar Bear Plunge begins at 11:30 a.m. on Main Beach (104 Ocean Avenue, East Hampton Village). Registration is $35 and includes an exclusive event hat. The festivities also feature prizes for best costumes, a 50/50 raffle, apparel for sale, plus food and refreshments. All proceeds benefit East Hampton Food Pantry. The plunge starts promptly at 1 p.m. 631-324-2300, easthamptonfoodpantry.org
3. Take a Bite!
With many East End restaurants not open on New Year’s Day—or any winter Tuesday—eating out can be a bit tricky. Thankfully, there are a handful of high-end eateries gracious enough to stay open for that exact reason, so make your reservations now.
Hamptons dining options include: Claude’s at the Southampton Inn (southamptoninn.com), Tutto Il Giorno (tuttoilgiorno.com) and Union Cantina (unioncantina.net) in Southampton; The 1770 House (1770house.com), Rowdy Hall (rowdyhall.com) and The Maidstone Hotel (themaidstone.com) in East Hampton; Baron’s Cove (baronscove.com) and Page at 63 Main (page63main.com) in Sag Harbor; and Pierre’s (pierresbridgehampton.com) in Bridgehampton.
On the North Fork, check out: The Halyard at Sound View Greenport (thehalyardgreenport.com) and American Beech Restaurant (americanbeech.com) in Greenport; Tweed’s Restaurant & Buffalo Bar (tweedsrestaurantriverhead.com) in Riverhead; and Mirabelle Restaurant & Tavern at the Three Village Inn (lessings.com) in Stony Brook.
4. Take to the Ice!
The holiday season may be over, but winter lasts for at least another month—or longer if the groundhog sees his shadow. That leaves more than enough time hit the ice for a fun bout of skating. Buckskill Winter Club (buckskillwinterclub.com) in East Hampton, The Rinx (therinx.com) in Hauppauge and the Mitchell Park Ice Skating Rink (villageofgreenport.org) in Greenport will all be open to the public on New Year’s Day and make for a great family activity that’s a bit more memorable than seeing a movie.
5. Take Two!
That said, many of us are more comfortable sitting in a Hamptons theater than trying to stay upright on the ice, and there’s nothing wrong with heading indoors to enjoy fresh popcorn while seeing your favorite celebrity’s latest work. In fact, there are several East End stars to be seen—or heard—on the big screen right now!
Water Mill’s Jennifer Lopez shines alongside her real-life best friend Leah Remini in Second Act, where the duo plays minimum wage Walmart-esque workers, until Lopez is given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to show the corporate world that street smarts are just as valuable as book smarts. Other stars include Milo Ventimiglia, Charlyne Yi and Vanessa Hudgens.
East Ender Julie Andrews is in one of the biggest movies of the season, but it’s not Mary Poppins Returns. She voices a gargantuan, tentacle sea monster called the Karathen in the DC Comics blockbuster Aquaman. Her unbelievable character will share the screen with stars Jason Mamoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe and Nicole Kidman.
Montauker Liev Schreiber lends his voice to the ultimate comic book crime boss, Kingpin, in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. This animated action adventure is an Avengers-level crossover, with Spider-personas from half a dozen alternate universes. With intense action and an all-star voice cast, including Nicholas Cage, Lily Tomlin, John Mulaney, Chris Pine and Oscar Isaac—if you stick around after the final credits—the film is a thrill ride from beginning to end.