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Real Life in the Hamptons
The Hamptons in Summer
I live in "The Hamptons". You know, the one you always hear about in movies if the movie takes place in New York. "My friends just rented a house in the Hamptons", "I hope to eventually own a house in the Hamptons", "My lawyer is at his house in the Hamptons" blah blah blah.
If you have heard of it you know it is also dubbed "The Playground of the Rich and Famous" or the Rich and/or Famous, not everyone is both, some of these clowns are just rich. Some incredibly rich. Others are obscenely rich. The estates and the excess and the finely groomed lawns are plentiful. Some tourists come to "The Hamptons" and drive 15 mph just to view all the houses. I love this when I am in a hurry to pick up my son from camp in the summer or late for an appointment. You see, I LIVE here. All year. I am not just here to visit. This is my life. And for those "summer people from the city, Jersey, Pennsylvania, weekenders, etc..." here are some reasons why I might sound just a tad bitter.,,,
- City people - You never drive. You take your cars out on Friday to go to your home in the hamptons, but you don't signal, observe proper road etiquette or know where the hell you live. I am constantly behind you people who "forget" if your house is this block, no this one, no wait it's the next one... get a freaking GPS, god knows you can afford it!
- Rude. Rude. Rude. Rude. I will say it again, only louder, RUDE. I realize you think that because you have a house out here and a place in the city or wherever, and tons of cash, that you can do whatever the hell you want and talk to people in any old manner, but you're wrong. You sound like a pompous ass and you look ignorant. Yelling at sales clerks, being snooty and acting like you are somehow more special than the person behind you, in front of you or next to you, garners you nothing. You do however confirm our belief that money cannot buy class.
- There is no double parking on our 1 little road through the Hamptons, none, not even for YOU. So cut it out, you are blocking traffic. (A little secret - you are not the ONLY person out here)...
- Even you are not allowed to create your own parking space - anyplace. If you don't see the little yellow or white lines outlining a spot for you, you don't get to just make one up! I don't care how bad parking it out here.
- When you are walking down the crowded Main Street and other people are walking in your direction - MOVE! What the hell are you waiting for? They move out of your way and you in all your arrogance just "stay the course". And then you get an attitude if someone bangs into you. Seriously?
- This is the country, that is what you call it right? Then why would you think that in our quiet little place, beeping your horns like complete a*s***** is okay? Learn Patience and wait just like everyone else. Where are you going in such a hurry anyway, the spa?
- I go to the gym all year round, so I know the rules and one rule is, 45 minutes on the elliptical. Don't cover your time with your towel, a magazine, or change it so we don't know your OVER your time. There are other people here too who deserve a chance to work out and we know your selfish little tricks. You just keep making yourselves look bad every chance you get.
My entire life changes in May due to the fact that I live in a tourist area that gets jam packed year after year with these kind of people.
From Mid-Thur to Monday I cannot go to the Bank, likewise I cannot go to the Hardware store, CVS to pick up my sons medication, have my nails done or my eyebrows waxed, get my hair colored, pick up office supplies, get my kids pizza, go out to dinner, go to the movies, go food shopping or get a Starbucks because there are NO parking spaces. Anywhere. If I end up having to go someplace on those days and actually do get a parking spot, I will have to wait at least a half hour on line. If it took me 15 minutes to do in the winter, it will take me about 45 minutes to do once tourist season begins. This weekend (Memorial Day Weekend) I do not leave my house.
The Locals in The Hamptons
Oh this is going to be fun. Now that I have ripped apart the tourists (I am just telling the truth you understand), now I will discuss the locals. Oh by the way the tourists that come from other parts of the world are just magnificent. And so many people do come from all over the globe. You hear at least 6 different languages throughout the summer. They are lovely people.
First, we have the locals that are generational. They gave themselves the name "Bonackers". (I know right?) They think they are Hamptons Royalty but the rest of us , well, don't.
It is very political out here. This means that if you are a local that is generational or you miraculously got "in" with one of them your child will be on the best Little League Team. They put together the teams based on who is coaching and if 3 locals get together and have sons that play well, the build a "team" around them and don't allow any mediocre players, then the other coaches do the same and then there are the kids with no pull who get thrown into a not great team but has good spirit and works really hard to win!! (I like the latter team better, don't you?) This is no secret, all us parents know it. Good luck doing something about it though.
The Bonackers are the most cliquey people I have ever met and they are not warm and welcoming to anyone who has just moved to the Hamptons. And they love to gossip. They endlessly talk about other people, even each other. I find this offensive as I have never been a fan of gossip. I like to mind my own business and I don't want anyone else minding my business either.
When I first moved out here people told me it was the most corrupt place. I laughed, its corrupt everyplace I argued. No, not like in The Hamptons, they told me. We are now in a deficit. I wondered, how could a place that collects mega-millions from real estate taxes alone be in the red? Well lets backtrack a little bit. It is so inbred it is practically incestuous and no one outside ever gets in. Absolutely perfect grounds for corruption with no disruption from outside forces. So if you are wondering where all that money went...and why there is never an investigation into these people...
The other group of locals in the Hamptons are the ones they never, ever, ever talk about. The Hispanics. They are from everywhere; Guatemala, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, etc. They are the "service people" in industries such as housekeeping, landscaping and cashiers. The Hamptons is now at least 50% hispanic. These people are called "the workers". And they sure are. When people say to you who are for the Hispanics being here "They will do the work that the Americans won't" this is not B.S. They DO do the work the Americans will not do. They work hard and they work 12 hour days. Sometimes 13 or 14 and 6 days a week. They are unreal when it comes to wanting to make money. And they are paid $12 $15 an hour. Sound like a lot?
Living in the Hamptons is incredibly expensive. If it is normally $4 it will be at least $7 in the Hamptons. Back, when gas was normally $2.89 a gallon, it was already $3.79 here. Price gouging at the pumps is normal. We all expect the gas prices to go up when tourist season begins because they always do. There never has to be a reason. The gas stations want to make their money on the tourists, but they forget (or just don't care) that we locals have to buy gas too and it effects the Hispanic's who have to work very hard for that money and the small businesses as well. Considering what gas and oil companies are making in profits, and you really should know, is this really necessary at all?
We have food pantries out here too. We have shelters for women being abused and for some reason there is plenty of that. Generally speaking, men out here act like they have been raised in the barn (lots of farming out here). They never hold open doors (although women do it), they never let a lady go first, they don't even say 'Thank you', who raised these men??? Other women and I out here have discussed this and we can't figure it out. Although to be fair, neither women or men say "Excuse me" when they walk in front of you. I suppose one could say the Hamptons people are just not big on manners.
Back to our Hispanic friends...not all of them out here can find work. They will do virtually anything, but there aren't always enough jobs. The Hispanic population has now grown to 50% of the Hamptons. The churches help all they can with food and clothing but people will rent small ugly spaces in unfinished basements and charge them $1,000 a month for this honor. Many of them struggle. The average rent for a 2 bedroom house in the Hamptons is $3,500.00 unless it is on the water, then it is much more. Prices have gone down a bit. Summer rentals (Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day) have run anywhere from $15,000 to a whopping 1.7 million. Yes for 3 months. It depends on the size of the house and where it is. There have been seasons when the rentals were even more.
Shopping In The Hamptons
Elie Teharie, BCBG, London Jewelers, Blue and Cream, East Hampton has all these stores and more. In fact, this is how it worked; there were what we called "mom and pop" stores on Main Street and Newtown Lane, then the owners of these prime pieces of real estate got incredibly greedy. They raised rents from like $4,000 a month to $15,000 a month certain the mom and pop stores couldn't afford it, and they couldn't. This enabled the greedy owners to get in Top of the Line ridiculously expensive stores that could afford it and eventually all the mom and pop stores disappeared to be replaced by places where none of the locals can afford to shop. Many people I know don't even bother to go into town anymore except for pizza, food shopping, banking and the movie theatre. Absolutely no shopping whatsoever.
But what does it say about an area that doesn't even care for its own? That allows all the greed and selfishness and arrogance to permeate their neighborhoods? Their town? Who in this country goes into their "Town" shopping area and can't even afford to shop?
What do we do? We go "up-island". We go to Riverhead which has Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Walgreens, Toys R Us, (the only toy store we have is terribly expensive as well and has little mainstream toys anyway). Although we have a K-Mart it just isn't sufficient. In Riverhead there is also Tanger Mall which has endless outlets. This place gets ridiculously crowded at Christmas. And many people will venture even further up the island to indoor malls.
The people who own these other stores don't care that the locals cannot shop there and in most cases even close for the winter. They are not renting here for us, they are renting here for the tourists. To keep their names fresh in the minds of people who can afford them.
EVERYTHING is more expensive in The Hamptons. I don't even know what's "normal" anymore. Seroiusly, you forget.
Sex and Drugs Hamptons Style
Did you really think we wouldn't have that stuff in a place where the kids have practically nothing else to do? There is nothing for kids in the Hamptons (except little ones) because they are just kids and kids don't generate revenue. The one Rec (recreational) center they begged and pleaded for money for at the movie theatre before each showing years ago, ended up being a dull and boring YMCA that teenagers are not the least bit interested in. But the adults love for working out cheap and swimming lessons.
The drugs and alcohol start in 8th or 9th grade and gets worse from there, every single year we have at least one kid die in a car accident on our ridiculously winding roads. Every year. I can't be positive if alcohol is ever involved (but I am sure it has been), but they happen nonetheless.
Drinking is huge out here and it took the High School years to admit there was a problem. Drugs are even more prevelant. Not just benign stuff like pot, but oxycoten, xanax, cocaine, etc. You would never know about it because no one talks about it and the local papers print nothing about it. In fact, a lot of crimes are kept out of the papers "police blotter" so people don't think any real crime occurs in the Hamptons. Well, ok, we can't hide murders, but they happen so infrequently to begin with. Secrets and lies are serious for business out here. They are important to maintain.
Clubs are a big night life. After all you only have clubs and private parties. Some parties are open, many others you must have your card from the invite, or be on the list. Ahhhh yes, The List. Getting on the list. When you are young and in your twenties this crap impresses you. Even better is if you get a shot of someone famous. I have been to a lot of those parties through my husbands business and you know how people who have never met someone who is famous say they are no different from you and I? Well I have met plenty and you know what? They are no different from you and I. It is no big deal. If you have never met anyone that falls under that label, you are missing absolutely nothing.
When my husband first moved me out to the Hamptons and I first saw Christie Brinkley he excitedly said to me "Did you see who that was, did you see HER?" I said "yeah, it was Christie Brinkley" as if I just said "Yeah that was my sister". I was never impressed with fame and this made my husband nuts. By the way, she really is beautiful in person, I don't think the magazines touch her up much...
I stopped going to these parties several years ago. I don't like them, not the pretention or the super loud music. I prefer to stay home with my kids, read or write or even catch a good movie.
Now, if you want to get into the popular clubs and you are not on "The List" you can only get in if your a hot girl that rich men will want to use for sex.
While I understand you young girls are looking for a rich sugar-daddy, which I find repulsive by the way, all you are usually going to find is a rich guy looking for some fun in the Hamptons and he can get plenty just like you so don't delude yourself with some bizarre idea that your special.
It's a sad fact that a lot of young pretty girls out in the Hamptons spend a lot of money to look hot enough to get into clubs where they can "hook Up". These hookups are of course, short lived. The club owners pander to this. They have their very especial rich clientele come to the clubs and then they screen the girls outside to ensure these men only get the creme de la creme to choose from. Sounds like high class prostitution doesn't it? Well it is, except the girls have no idea that they are prostitutes.
Who Pay's The Bills?
In a masochistic mood? Wanna get burned? Work for someone wealthy and then try to get paid.
I am speaking generally of course. There are are wealthy people who pay their bills, but on average (and you can speak to any business out here, especially small businesses), 7 out of 10 of them don't. My grandmother used to say that "The wealthy are wealthy because they don't spend their money"...well sorry grandma, but you obviously didn't know any wealthy people.
Wealthy people are wealthy because they don't pay their bills. Here is what they tend to do:
- You send them an invoice and they decide you charge too much so they go ahead and lower your rate. Like they're special and don't have to pay the amount other people pay.
- They argue about each and every point and in the end you get paid a couple thousand less.
- They just don't pay at all and say to take them to court and our legal system is so incredibly screwed up, although you have all your paperwork and its clearly a case of greed on the clients part, you end up with half...if your lucky.
My husband has had clients that actually have a track record of hiring people and not paying them. One was a lawyer. He took her to court and she won on a technciality that she knew about because she initiated his business. He of course did not know about the technicality and rectified it too late. It actually did not matter to the courts that he had done the work and did not get paid. It is easy to get screwed in this country as the law is not on your side weather you are right down to the bone or not. So do not ever go into court thinking "Well of course I am going to win, it's a clear cut case" or "Of course I am going to win, I know the truth and they're wrong..." It doesn't matter. Law has nothing to do with truth. Not anymore. This lawyer has left a trail of people who's services she used and never paid any of them.
My father was a hard working middle class man and he would sweat it every time he needed to pay someone and couldn't. Even the guy who mowed his lawn. It would freak my dad out. It mattered to him that these people had to be paid. They did their job. Do you know why he was that way? Because he was an honorable, decent man. Middle America, thank God, tends to be that way.
Wealthy people don't give a damn that you did the job or provided a service. that this is what you do to earn a living and feed your family. You are NOTHING. It is far more important that they step all over you on their way to holding on to their money for more important things. Like a new Porsche. Understandable right?
We have had clients cut back on our services but buy a $4 million dollar painting the week before (It was in the papers). We had a client that bought a Ferrari and then bitched about his bill from us being too high. Clients who went on a month long vacation and then returned and complained that they had to cut back on services this year. Oh it gets worse, now I'm really going to make you see red.
They whine about the economy and how much money they've lost. Think about this for a minute. They are multi-millionaires and they whine about how much money they lost. Some of these people lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but they can still afford to live in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. How do you even muster up any pity for someone like that?
These people lost the amount of money that would take most of us about 6 years to make. Assuming most of average 50-60 thousand a year. They get depressed. I am no kidding or exaggerating, this is a fact, they actually get depressed.
Jake the carpenter lost his job and doesn't know how he will continue to feed his 3 children and live on his wifes $20,000 a year salary but these people are depressed. Sometimes I just don't know what to say.
One day my husband went to a clients house and found the guy on the floor in the fetal position. Big pharmaceutical guy. He was on his way to making the Top 100 wealthiest people on Forbes list when this happened. My husband sat on the floor and spoke with him for hours. He suggested he might feel his life was more meaningful if he did for others, try philanthropy my husband suggested.
He did. He was giving to charities all over the place. Of course he sent out mailings letting everyone know what he was doing. But he felt great about himself and a few years later, forgetting all about the incident, fired my husband because he was "too expensive". It boggles the mind who people are.
The wealthy people who don't like to pay their bills like to spend their money on worthwhile endeavors, like stuff they can show off. Cars, art, fancy parties, designer clothes and shoes. But then they curl up in the fetal position in the middle of all their stuff and wonder why they're not happy.
This is The Hamptons
This is the Hamptons. It is not a great place to raise your children, or even live yourself unless you are an introvert like me and don't really care how much you socialize or not.
It is cliquey, snooty, crowded in the summer, way too expensive, too many tourists, and presses on your nerves and tests your frustration level at every turn.
One plus, it is a beautiful place. It has large open fields, farms, lots of woodsy areas, gorgeous beaches and beautiful homes in a great many places and you can get super fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer also. So I guess that makes it a great place to visit but you wouldn't wanna live here kind of thing.
Real life in the Hamptons isn't what they portray on TV and in Movies. It isn't fun fun fun parties and a great lifestyle. There is a whole service industry and they work work work. Without them there is no Hamptons. None of these wealthy people would come out here if there weren't nannies, housekeepers, drivers, caterers, landscapers, delivery people, and caretakers. Because they don't know how to do any of this stuff themselves.
On the flip side, the service industry wouldn't be able to make any money without these sick and deranged people coming out here demanding to be taken care of in every capacity.
So I look forward to the day I move from this place and go back to the normal world, where everyone worries about the bills sometimes, but they know it isn't money that makes them happy because they are usually happy anyway, even without it.