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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Hamptons

Just got back from a weekend in Amagansett, where my brother rented a place for a few weeks (not the place pictured above).

I was trying to put my finger on exactly what it is about the Hamptons that betrays its pretentiousness, figuring I'd get a blogpost out of the weekend if nothing else. The one time I left the house I went to the East Hampton Y, and kept my eyes open for examples of the Hamptons' character. But I didn't find anything there; YMCA's are by definition unpretentious places.

But there are a lot of grandiose houses south of the highway, all of which announce "I have arrived!" in highly unsubtle fashion. Many are built in Cape Cod clapboard cottage style, but "cottage" is the wrong term for these monstrosities.

Probably the one thing which best illustrates the true nature of the place is the number of people on Wall Street who'll tell you they have a place out there, then in the next breath say, "Oh, I'm not really into, you know, The Hamptons, the social scene out there. I just like the beach, that's all."

(I always wanted to reply, "Then why not go to Jones Beach? The beach itself is actually nicer there, and it's closer to the city.")

As I pointed out two posts ago, nobody ever bothers to deny something they haven't been accused of unless it's true.

If you meet someone who volunteers that he is honest and has a lot of integrity, put your hand on your wallet.

If you meet someone who volunteers that he's not an uncompassionate guy, expect no mercy.

If you meet someone who, apropos of nothing, tells you he's not stupid, prepare for a lot of uninsightful comments.

And if you meet someone who tells you he's not into the trappings of wealth, expect ostentation.

You'll meet a lot of that last type in the Hamptons.


Anonymous said...

Come of it, those houses aren't monstrosities. In my view you are responding to your feelings about the people who build them, rather than to the aesthetics of the houses themselves. Most fine architecture from the Taj Mahal down was built by people who would be repugnant to modern liberal sensibilities. I believe that if these houses had been built hundreds of years ago you would recognise that they are attractive. I can only wish that rich people here in England still built such tasteful and appealing houses.

John Craig said...

Anon --
You've got a point; by "monstrosity" I was referring more to their size than their style; I've nothing against Cape Cod clapboard.

And, yes, I suppose I am responding to -- and talking about -- the people as much as the houses.