My Hamptons adventure truly began when I breathed in the crisp, fresh air of a Saturday morning along Montauk Highway in Amagansett – weather that is not too hot nor too cold, but “just right.” And, although the city is many miles away, I could feel the hustle and bustle of New Yorkers all around me as I ordered an egg sandwich on warm brioche from the Farmer’s Market featuring bread from one of the city’s most famous grocers, Zabar’s.
I sat on a plastic lawn chair perusing the staple reads of the town: Dan’s Paper, The Long Island Pulse and Hampton’s Magazine. As I flipped the pages of each magazine, I began to desire my life in NYC once again: the glamour, the celebrities, the parties, the fashion. The ads splashed across every page made me long for that fast-paced life – exhausting, but with no shortage of excitement.
After breakfast, I sipped a hot mocha from Jack’s Stir Brew as I strolled through the green, green grass of Amagansett Square lolligagging in and out of the unique, yet overpriced boutiques – no brand names just ridiculously expensive oddities designed to profit from the open wallet of eager vacationers.
In East Hampton, however, I found a miniature New York – more of exactly what I was expecting from the Hamptons – a main street lined with designer shops, intimate restaurants and equally fashionable people clutching their Starbucks lattes in one hand and multiple shopping bags in the other. The difference I did notice was the choice of attire – bright and colorful, rather than black or gray – the country air freed everyone from dressing in defense against the soot of the city. And I loved it – I had managed to transport myself to a little piece of the city, everyone a bit more relaxed, but equally as focused.
A trip to Montauk proved to me that I was indeed out of the city. I enjoyed a delicious lobster roll and oysters – oh so fresh – from a simple pull-off restaurant along the side of the road in Napeague.
Montauk has all the look and feel of a friendly surfer town. A group of friends gathered with us for drinks in the easygoing atmosphere of The Sloppy Tuna. Everyone at the bar was slightly red-faced from a romp in the sand as this watering hole was nestled right on the beach welcoming patrons clad in little more than swimsuits. At this bar, shirt and shoes are definitely optional.
Slipping out of the casual chaos of The Sloppy Tuna, we made our way to The Surf Lodge – comfortable, yet classy – the place in Montauk to see and be seen while marveling at the sun as it dips below the water to conclude another shimmering summer day. Women swayed in brightly colored maxi dresses to the beat of the Brazilian band on stage, clutching their glasses of rośe as eager men in aviators with popped collars watched with pursued interest. This was the life, and unlike Manhattan, or even Miami, everyone had left their judgment behind and embraced the brilliance of the evening, finding friends among strangers.
Touring winding roads and scenic waterways, it was only a quick, outsider’s glimpse of a part of New York that seemed to be a mere fairy tale rather than a reality. I could hardly believe it was time to go home. I watched rain drops dance down the window pane and the world speed by on the train back to the Jamaica/Queens station, where I would make my way to JFK airport and ultimately home, to Florida.
In the rows behind me, I could hear an elderly couple murmuring to one another. The conductor came down the aisle to punch tickets, calling the couple by name and exchanging a familiar greeting. I listened as the couple recounted the debacle that led them to finally make this train. The conductor gave his condolences for their troubles and trudged the rest of the way down the train punching tickets. As he walked away, I heard the woman say, “Frank, I don’t know why you don’t just keep your keys in your breast pocket. They won’t fall out there.”