For most of us trekking out East, the Friday rush is a special kind of hell. Whether you travel by road or rail, what should be a simple two-hour journey from Manhattan can quickly become a daylong, expletive-laced affair. For Jack Brinkley-Cook, progeny of supermodel and local fixture Christie Brinkley and Water Mill-based architect Peter Cook, all it took was one botched beach day to realize there had to be a better way.
“A year ago, I was in the city and had plans to meet a buddy of mine the next morning in Montauk at 11 for a surf session,” explains the model-turned-entrepreneur. “I live downtown, so I spent $25 on a car to midtown, where I sat in traffic the entire way, barely making my bus, to then begin the commute out east. There were six or seven stops on the way to Montauk, and that stoppage time added up to well over an hour, and I ended up not getting out East until around 12:30.”
Surfing was out, but an idea was born.
Enter ROVE. The first venture for co-founder Jake Sosne and Brinkley-Cook, ROVE is designed to replace the mix of trains, buses, and friends many of us use to make our way from town to country.
ROVE splits the difference between the available transpo options, although it falls a lot closer to the LIRR than to a Blades chopper out of Manhattan. Booking through a sleek website, riders can sidestep the whole Midtown nightmare and choose a departure point downtown or in Brooklyn, where they’re encouraged to enjoy a pre-takeoff cocktail or three at a partner property like the SIXTY SoHo Hotel or Williamsburg’s William Vale.
Once on board the 13-seat Mercedes Sprinter vans, the usual bag of chips and mini-bottle of Poland Spring has been replaced with a Cynthia Rowley-designed beach tote full of millennial-approved swag like Just Water, RXBars, and CBD Gummies by Sunday Scaries. The journey then takes a direct route to a single destination – Amagansett, Bridgehampton, and Montauk will be the first on offer, with others rolled out as demand dictates.
It’s true, bypassing all that dreaded stoppage time is gonna cost you: seats are $65 ($75 for Montauk) — or about twice the cost of a one-way Jitney ride. But really, what’s that extra hour of surf time worth to you?
“Our ideal customer,” says Brinkley-Cook, “sees the convenience in not having to commute to the commute.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Rides are available starting May 23 at www.ridewithrove.com.