The Hamptons

It’s Almost Summer…Just in the Nick of Time

karen amster-young :: The Beach Chair Chronicles

…weekly observations & discoveries from manhattan to the east end…


Hillary and Obama. Foreclosures and layoffs. Mind-boggling, horrific natural disasters. Rising, ridiculous gas prices. Ted Kennedy. Captivating but questionable tell-all books by Barbara Walters and others. Shamed politicians.

The media is dripping with harsh reality, irony, and layers of news from a scary and seemingly hypocritical world. Adding to this, we all, each and every day try to process our own, individual realities, losses, and challenges in the tiny little space we take up on this planet.

And then, just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, just in the nick of time, the “American Idol” finale aired this week. Aaah…mindless escapism. David Cook won? How could that be? Didn’t he have a bad night on Tuesday? Didn’t even Simon exclaim, “David you won the night,” the day before the finale? We love our reality television now. Even my workaholic, banker husband is watching “Dancing with the Stars” when he can; and forget about calling my TiVo-less Mom when it is airing. “Real Housewives of New York City” is frequently brought up at dinner with my girlfriends. And, the ultimate, truly first “reality” show, “Sex and the City: The Movie”, is opening next weekend after endless months of pre-release hype and buzz. Countless women between the ages of 25 – 45 have already pre-purchased tickets and are planning outings with close friends — an incredible phenomenon considering most of us have not gone to a movie with a “group” since high school. I have to admit I pre-purchased my ticket already.

So what does this all mean? It means we are increasingly seeking to escape reality – even for an hour or two. I think we would all go crazy without our escapes – whether it’s an hour of watching American Idol and contemplating the over inflated ego of David Cook and asking yourself if David Archuleta truly is as bewildered as he appears; anticipating the release of SATC: The Movie; playing tennis; retail therapy; laughing; good sex; good food; running, walking, biking, antiquing; whatever it is that takes you away from reality (as long as it’s legal?). Perhaps that explains the ever-growing popularity of reality television and, more importantly, the appeal of descending upon the Hamptons once again for the season. It’s great to get away. It’s as simple as that.

The Hamptons provides it’s own kind of escape. That is why many of us return, summer after summer and even year-round. Whether you just sit in your backyard or the beach, there is something about the Hamptons that we all love, despite our incessant complaining about traffic and crowds. Is it those very things that annoy us that actually transport us? Lines at Hampton Coffee and Citaralla; $40 drinks at Summertimes; bees on the beach at Cooper’s; another Jean-Luc restaurant; incredibly long lines at the movies in East Hampton on a rainy day. Are we exchanging one reality in Manhattan for another out East? Perhaps, but for some reason it all feels better out here after a day on the beach and an overpriced lobster dinner in your backyard. If you look at it another way, the Hamptons is a bit like a reality show, especially if you attend the “right” parties and are part of the non-stop social scene out here. “It’s like being IN a reality show,” my friend Lisa tried to explain to me as she rattled off the parties she plans on attending in the coming months. “That’s why the T.V. shows have their season finales before the summer.” I tried not to roll my eyes and simply said, “Of course, I know, but I am talking about doing things that get you away from the nonsense and the news.” “Oh”, she sighed as if I had just told her the tooth fairy doesn’t exist. “Listen I said, I am just saying that for every person escaping reality is different. Sometimes it is going to the hottest parties and clubs on the East End but sometimes – or most of the time in my opinion – it is about doing things that you can only do out here.” “I know what you mean,” she replied a little bewildered.

So, to ensure that “all the Lisa’s” out here don’t spend the entire summer hopping from one reality show to another on the East End, I have compiled a list of some great suggestions for escaping the news or whatever your reality is this summer on the East End.

• Picnic on the beach at sunset
• Drive aimlessly on the back roads (convertible preferred but optional)
• Go to Lunch in Amagansett and wait on line to eat a Lobster Roll (yes, waiting on line is allowed for this particular experience)
• Take your kids to see the ducks at Agawam Park
• Sign-up for an art class at the Parrish Art Museum (this place is NOT just about their annual Midsummer Party)
• Go to Tide Runners and escape the “scene” while listening to great local bands with people who live in the Hamptons year-round
• Bike from anywhere to the Montauk Lighthouse
• Book a massage at Oasis Spa on weekday
• Go to K-Mart in the Bridgehampton Commons just to get away from the boutiques and find a pair of sneakers for your 7 year-old that doesn’t cost $90.
• Read a good book…alright, I’ll say it: Audition: A Memoir by Barbara Walters is getting rave reviews.

And, if all fails and you find yourself annoyed standing on line at Golden Pear or Schmidt’s or filling up your tank for $4.51 a gallon, I promise you that you can find repeats of “American Idol”, “The Biggest Loser” and “Dancing with the Stars” somewhere on some channel this summer. I’m also pretty sure that “Sex and the City” (the series) will continue to have late-night airings on TBS. Oh, and don’t forget about Obama and Hillary. Even if Hillary has to hit her head on a wall to actually stop campaigning, the Obama – McCain battle is sure to be entertaining when you think about it. The Reverend Wright is sure to rear his ridiculous self again and scare us even more about Obama as President while McCain will try to figure out how to distance himself from the disastrous Bush administration while not alienating the entire Republican Party. Okay, maybe that’s too much reality…

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!



Karen Amster-Young, formerly principal of Amster-Young Public Relations, Inc., is a freelance writer living in New York City. She lives with her husband, Ben and 6 year-old daughter, Alison. She continues to work as a public relations & marketing consultant and is currently working on a non-fiction book. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including magazines on the East End. She can be reached atkaren[at]thehamptons.com

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May 23rd, 2008 Posted by | Beach Chair Chronicles | one comment