After You Chopper In, Hamptons Five-Star Subway Awaits

Hamptons Subway train arrives at aHampton Bays station, which was not reopened for Five-Star
Hamptons Subway train arrives at aHampton Bays station, which was not reopened for Five-Star

If East Hampton Town decides to close down the East Hampton Airport later this winter, it will leave those who come out by helicopter with no place to land except at the Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach. There are a lot of helicopters that come to East Hampton. More than 8,500 takeoffs and landings take place every year. Gabreski, however, is a long way from East Hampton.

An enterprising young developer named Charles Leanbottom, fresh out of the Clarabell Business School, however, thinks he sees an opportunity here. And he is poised to open Five-Star Subway Service. We caught up with him last Wednesday.

“There’s a flight of stairs that go down to the Westhampton platform of the long-abandoned Hamptons Subway system right next door to the Gabreski Airport’s little waiting room building,” he said. “I went down there. The stop is in perfect condition. I’m going to reopen it. And well-to-do people will land at Gabreski, go down those stairs and take Five-Star to their Hamptons destinations.”

“You’re going to open the subway line?”

“Yes, but it will not be every stop. I believe the old Hamptons Subway system failed because they had too many stops and couldn’t charge enough to make any real money. Not at $1.75 a ride.”

“What will you charge?”

“$100. Pocket change for the rich. Go down the stairs and a single private subway car will be waiting for you at the Westhampton platform, engine idling. The folks coming out in the chopper will have summoned it by calling ahead when they are on the approach to Gabreski.”

“Sort of like a taxi service?”

“Sort of.”

“You’ve talked to the Hamptons Subway people?”

“There are no Hamptons Subway people. It’s abandoned.”

“Oh.”

“People arriving in the Hamptons in a helicopter want to be five or 10 minutes from their homes. That’s why they like the airport at East Hampton. They won’t want to come in to Gabreski and then battle traffic on the highway for another hour. That’s the whole point. With the Five-Star Subway, it saves that hour.”

“How is that?”

“Five-Star Subway can get up to 80 miles an hour on a straightaway. Almost the speed of a chopper. This is a win-win situation. More than 50 subway cars from the old Hamptons Subway are parked on sidings underground at the Westhampton station. This was the end of the line. They are in perfect condition, just waiting to be used. Once the call comes in, our uniformed staff boards the first car in the line and within minutes has motored it out to the platform. You come off the noisy helicopter and walk down the stairs. A butler awaits at the sliding doors. Soft music. A bar. Sofas and lounge chairs. Your personal car. We whisk you away.”

“At $100 a trip?”

“No. $100 a person. You paid $800 a seat on the chopper. This is nothing.”

“What’s the maximum number of people per car?”

“It’s 12. Same capacity as the biggest choppers. And no more. This is not a party car.”

“The subway cars currently say Hamptons Subway on the side. You will redo them?”

“They are being done as we speak. Interiors by Le Bichon de Paris. I’m sure you know them. Chrome, leather, mink and gold. And all the outsides of these cars are now black with ‘Five-Star’ on the side in gold. And just below is our slogan: “Your Time in the Hamptons Begins with Five Star.”

“You will be making all the stops?”

“Not at all. We are reopening the eight high-end stops. We are remodeling and repainting the platforms at Quogue, Southampton, Mecox, Sagaponack, Georgica, East Hampton, Amagansett and Montauk. It’ll be clear sailing ahead at high speed to your destination.”

“So the other 12 stops remain closed?”

“We whisk right by.”

“And you won’t stop at any of them?”

“Nope. Just one of the eight high-end platforms you’ve hired us for.”

“What about Westhampton Beach? That’s high-end.”

“Dumb question. You can be picked up at Gabreski. You’re already there.”

“And not Sag Harbor?”

“Sag Harbor won’t let us upgrade their station. They say it has to stay at its original 1935 style. People can meet you at the special Georgica Station 5 miles away that the Hamptons Subway added in 2010 just before it shut down. It’s already high-end. And it has a string quartet on the platform on-demand.”

“And you have COVID precautions?”

“Another dumb question. There’s no COVID underground.”

“Is there a pickup service?”

“To take you back to Gabreski? Of course. You order it online.”

“How do you make a reservation?”

“It’s all done online. You have to open an account. Password and so forth. And you have to answer some questions. Then you’re in.”

“What questions?”

“Name. Address. Year of birth. Credit card info. Financial advisor. Your credit score. Prior year’s federal income tax return. Felonies.”

“Felonies?”

“We all have felonies. So it depends what kind. We want no riffraff.”

“Is there a cost to open an account?”

“Yes. But it’s a pittance.”

“Like what?

“Everybody knows what a pittance is.”

“Like what?”

“Except you.”

“When will this service begin?”

“One week after the East Hampton Airport rolls up its runways.”

“So you’re fully staffed and ready to go?”

“We’re ready to go. But not yet fully staffed. We’re looking for butlers, chefs, bartenders, security guards, motormen, pole dancers and classical musicians, especially those who do string quartets. Join the Five-Star team.”

“Anything else?”

“Yes, no pets. And we’re looking for investors. We’re a stock company. Get in on this on the ground floor. You won’t be disappointed, I assure you.”

“But you have the basic investors.”

“Yes we do. Just looking for a few more alert people who want to get in on a sure thing.”

“How can they reach you?”

“Have them reach you first at [email protected] I don’t want to waste my time on anybody under $10 million. Above that, I’ll take it from there.”

“Got it. Good luck to you.”

“Sayonara.”

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