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Monday, March 29, 2010

The Hamptons

Passion for living in New York City is perhaps only bettered by the passion of many residents to get out come summertime. At one time when I was taking music lessons, I was forewarned by my teacher (a Manhattan resident) that she refused to be in the city in the summer - if I really wanted to, I could travel to her summer cottage outside the city. She had stressed that it was not fancy at all, but it was out of the city.

I have heard many extol the benefits of being in New York City in the summer - that it is easier to get tickets to many activities, things are less crowded, and there is an enormous number of summer events throughout the 5 boroughs. This is all true - I have spent most summers here, many without the occasional weekend getaway.

But there comes a time when it is so hot and humid that all this chatter about the benefits of summering in the city seems like cheap talk. I recall one summer night after an opera performance standing on a subway platform. It was so sticky, it made my skin crawl, and clothes just seemed to be an insult to injury. Yes, I had procured great New York City opera tickets easily and inexpensively, but those who were enjoying ocean breezes certainly must have made a better decision.

Getting away for the summer is not unique to the city - our suburban and rural brethren often take to the hills or the beach. And summer homes for the urbanite is a practice going back in time around the world. A good case in point are the Medici villas around Florence, Italy.

In New York City, the Hamptons (along with Montauk and Fire Island) are virtually synonymous with summer getaways. However, having made a decision where to go and the financial means to do so is only part of the solution. Getting there becomes another hurdle. For those who have selected the Hamptons, traveling 100 miles from Manhattan is now the challenge. There are a number of travel options: car, bus, train, plane or helicopter. Few can afford flying, and traffic congestion on the limited number of roadways out can be a nightmare.

In 1974, Hampton Jitney was founded with a single van by James Davidson, a resident of the Hamptons. Train service was and still is available from New York City but has limited frequency, with delays and service complaints. On the other hand, the Hampton Jitney has service as frequently as every half hour, leaving from multiple locations on the Upper East Side. I have never summered on the East End, but if I did, I think the Jitney or train would be the way to the Hamptons :)

Note: The Hamptons are a group of villages at the east end of Long Island. The area is a long time seaside resort known for its affluent residents and celebrities from New York City and around the world. You can read more about them here.

1 comment:

Vivien said...

It is a good idea. I would like to try this sometime.
Thank you for your wonderful blog!