In the 24 years I’ve been writing this summer newspaper, I’ve never seen such optimism about a coming summer season. Frankly, I have to agree. It is going to be a corker, and here’s why.
1. ECONOMY. The economy is undergoing a major rebound from the bottom of a depression. The stock market has brought billions of dollars to the New York economy. In western Long Island, another base of our summer visitors, we have a strong and growing economy based on high tech industries (computers, electronics) and on defense (Grumman, Fairchild). Thanks to Ronald Reagan there is lots of defense money on Long Island.
2. THE AREA. In spite of very rapid growth in the Hamptons, our town fathers, prodded by citizenry, have kept a good handle on things. One could argue about the rate of growth, but not about its quality. It is first quality. Furthermore, our parks, recreational facilities, historic renovations and other public amenities have kept pace. Only big bottleneck here is traffic on the highway. But lots of people are taking the Jitney.
3. THE MYSTIQUE. The image of the Hamptons is better than ever. We have become known in the last few years as a dazzling resort of international reputation. Famous writers, artists, and actors have for a long time worked and vacationed here. Now they have been joined by celebrities from television and the movies.
4. THE DOLLAR. Oddly, the strength of the dollar against foreign currencies has been an important factor in the rise of the Hamptons. When Europe was an incredible bargain, as it was in the late 1960s, summer people flocked to the south of France and other such places. Europe got atrociously expensive in the seventies, and many summer people gave up Europe for the Hamptons. It is somewhat cheaper in the 1980s in Europe, but it is still no great bargain there. The summer people will stay.
5. THE REAL ESTATE MARKET. Rentals this spring have rebounded from the almost disastrous level of 1982. Sales are strong. And prices seem to have weathered everything the recession threw at them. Want something to rent for July and August for $40,000? Better hurry before it is all gone.
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