Things are reaching a boiling point in the sleepy crime-riddled hamlet of The Hamptons, USA. There have been Uber shortages, LIRR restriction, helicopter bans, and fornicating yupster Bros aplenty. Dr. NY Times is here to diagnose the problems, which they attribute to an onrush of "strong lawyers, big political and public relations guns and sheer financial brawn."
Everyone interviewed for the piece (as well as many commenters) seems to agree that things have gotten particularly out of control this summer, especially in places like Montauk and East Hampton. (The summer population in East Hampton alone increased 30 percent from 2000-2010.) The Times compares the lust for Hamptons status by the moneyed elite to Manifest Destiny, but with more transportation apps and champagne service.
There seem to be two driving factors behind this Hamptons version of manifest destiny: money and the drive to make boatloads of it, and money, the compulsion to spend boatloads of it accumulated, apparently, after so many years of generous Wall Street bonuses and (at least until now) sizable stock gains.
And then there is that American will to leave one’s mark on God’s exquisite canvas, even if it means inexorably changing it.
This push is a big part of why the Hamptons have been so particularly chaotic this summer, as a gold-rush mentality has combined with a determined expansionism to transform sleepy enclaves of the East End into redoubts of McMansions or unrecognizable party zones.
Yes, the Hamptons have long been home to big money and willful players. And the complaint that the place is becoming overrun has been lodged for a few years. But throughout the eastern hamlets, most acutely in Montauk, there is an overwhelming sense among longtime residents and visitors that this summer the whole dynamic hit a long predicted inflection point.
The article goes on to analyze the urge to "conquer" the area by status-obsessed outsiders, and the ways locals have started to push back, whether by placing size limits on residential construction or limiting the amount of flights to the area. These outsiders are all for it, until it clashes with their own interests
After East Hampton Village went ahead and [placed size limits] this summer, a couple of residents, including the Giuliani administration planning director Joseph B. Rose, filed suit to block them.
Mr. Rose said in an interview that he was “completely supportive of regulations that protect the village and stop oversize houses being developed on smaller lots,” but that the regulations were “ill-conceived” and would prove counterproductive.
"We have to find positive ways to move forward and reclaim our Montauk," Diane Hausman, chairwoman of Montauk’s advisory committee to the town board, said about the disruptions in their town, including the arrival of a new batch of tacky night-life spots like the Surf Lodge and the Sloppy Tuna, which have been attracting the hordes of public fornicators. “We’re not going to do that by catering to party animals coming in here to take over and disrespect everything that we love so much.”
When life starts imitating Joni Mitchell songs, maybe it's time to step back. Take, for instance, the case of private equity mogul Marc Rowan, who recently bough lobster takeout shack Duryea's from the family that founded it 80 odd years ago:
The ambitions of these investors do not always stop at the limits of town zoning. For instance, Mr. Rowan submitted conceptual plans for Duryea’s this year that would knock down the iconic shack and replace it with a 6,350-square-foot restaurant. The space is effectively zoned for a seafood store and takeout counter. He also plans to destroy the Duryea family home across the narrow street to make way for a large parking lot, which is literally a Joni Mitchell song. The town has asked Mr. Rowan to reconsider his plans, and he says he is doing so.
As if to hammer all this home, the Post published two stories today about more local complaints. With presidential hopefuls in town for glad-handling potential donors, locals say they're dealing with terrible traffic and suffocating security. And then there's Andy Sabin, whose "Hillary for Prison 2016" signs keep disappearing. "Living in a town with a lot of left-wing wackos, that’s what happens," Sabin said.