From the locked-down megalopolis, per NYMag — “The City’s One-Percenters Flee the Rest of Us to the Hamptons”:
… For those who could afford it — like the rich who fled plague-stricken Florence in the Decameron — salvation, it seemed, might be reached by the Long Island Expressway. Or at least space, and possibly social distance from their social inferiors. Doorman buildings all over New York had SUVs lined up out front, lifeboats against an invisible virus. Towns, just waking up from their winter hibernation, were caught unawares. The Stop & Shop in East Hampton was out of organic lettuce and the Cumberland Farms in Southampton out of firewood. And suddenly the short-term rental market was as hot as August…
“I just had an eight-bedroom house on the waterfront,” says Ms. White, “never rented before. A renter wanted $200,000 for eight weeks. The landlord came back and said ‘How about $750,000?’ I told my client and he said, ‘Fine. We’re on our way out.’” The competition is fierce. Ms. Breitenbach recalls, “I just got outbid in a bidding war for an unlisted house renting for eight weeks. We offered $300,000. Two hours later they had a $400,000 offer.”
Meanwhile, even as demand is up, supply is down. “A lot of people who usually rent [out their houses in the summer] are not going to Europe,” explains Bonnie Aarons, a broker with Douglas Elliman. “This creates a shortage.” And not everyone can capitalize on it.
“I just got a call from a real-estate broker asking whether I’d rent out my place,” says the author Steven Gaines, a long-time Hamptons resident and author of Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hampton. “I said, I’d love to but I’ve got nowhere else to go.”
(Sidebar: I had not known that, according to NYC law, doormen are considered ‘essential workers‘ during this pandemic.)
It’s all fun’n’games, until the proles realize where the richest, softest targets are. From the NYPost, “‘We should blow up the bridges’ — coronavirus leads to class warfare in Hamptons”:
… “There’s not a vegetable to be found in this town right now,” says one resident of Springs, a working-class pocket of East Hampton. “It’s these elitist people who think they don’t have to follow the rules.”
It’s not just the drastic food shortage out here. Every aspect of life, most crucially medical care, is under strain from the sudden influx of rich Manhattanites panic-fleeing, bringing along their disdain and disregard for the little people — and in some cases, knowingly bringing coronavirus.
The Springs resident says her friend, a nurse out here, reported that a wealthy Manhattan woman who tested positive called tiny Southampton Hospital to say she was on her way and needed treatment.
The woman was told to stay in Manhattan.
Instead, she allegedly got on public transportation, telling no one of her condition. Then she showed up at Southampton Hospital, demanding admittance.
“Someone else took a private jet to East Hampton and did not tell anybody ’til he landed,” the resident says. “That’s the most horrendous aspect. The virus is already here, and we don’t have any medical resources.”
“We’re at the end of Long Island, the tip, and waves of people are bringing this s–t,” says lifelong Montauker James Katsipis. “We should blow up the bridges. Don’t let them in.”…
Here’s something that never gets mentioned or seen in coverage of the Hamptons, whether it’s the news or gossip columns or “Sex and the City” reruns: There are actually poor people who live here. There are three trailer parks (one, of course, is already going luxury). There are food pantries for the needy, and that includes schoolkids.
Normally, the haves and the have-nots converge only in summer, and everyone plays their parts. No more..
The offseason, October through June, is sparsely populated and can be very isolating. During that time, local grocers only stock food and supplies for a severely reduced population. There is no FreshDirect, no Whole Foods, no door-to-door food delivery.
Most year-rounders don’t have the ability to drop, as The Post reported, $8,000 in one shot at gourmet grocery Citarella, or import hundreds of pounds of meat as another overlord just did, then stash their hoard in the extra brand-new freezers they just bought…
As of last weekend, SoulCycle and Flywheel were packed, as were bars, restaurants, clothing stores and coffee shops. As of Monday, “there was a line out the door at [East Hampton restaurant] Mary’s and Starbucks,” says the Springs resident. “If you’re going to make such a hoopla over leaving the city and hoarding your food, why not stay in your million-dollar mansion on the waterfront? Don’t go to Starbucks! I’m sure you have a coffeemaker.”
Last weekend, Albronda says, “there were a couple of restaurants so overcrowded that the police had to come and thin them out. No one’s taking this as seriously as they should be. They’re just being selfish. If this disease spreads out here, that will be why.”
And a fair amount of these panic-fleers don’t own homes out here. “We started early,” says East Hampton realtor Dawn Neway, who works with her sister Diana. “We have a lot of high-end clients, and we noticed when the private schools were closing, before the panic, they weren’t going to travel. They were canceling trips to Aspen for spring break. We had one client call, budget range from $400,000 to $1 million, year-round, starting now. I’ve never seen anything like this.”…
Southampton Hospital, which serves East Hampton, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, Noyack, Amagansett, Hampton Bays, Montauk, and of course Southampton, has 125 beds. Only eight are ICU. While a spokeswoman told The Post the hospital is preparing for more, locals here aren’t encouraged.
“How many [ventilators] do you think they have in there?” asks Katsipis. “Ten? Twenty? The city has a lot more hospitals and, not for nothing, better care. Southampton is just not equipped for a pandemic.”
“That hospital is extremely small,” says the Springs resident, who was treated there extensively last year and says there are only four quarantine rooms. “You already get treated in the ER hallway in the summer. We don’t have any medical resources here.”
Compounding the problem is the lack of ambulances. Each firehouse has only two or three, and firefighters and paramedics are not on site — when a call comes in, they’re alerted at home, and they must make the drive to the firehouse and then to the emergency. And all East End firefighters are volunteers.
“It’s a state of emergency now,” says a spokeswoman for an East End fire department.
As a born-and-bred city dweller, I’d much rather be close to a hospital than far from ‘the other’. I understand people, like the Blogmaster, who’d just as lief be entirely self-sufficient… but I have a small house, my dearest friend, our cats & dogs, a tiny yard for isolating-in-place, while also being within easy reach of some of the best hospitals in the world. That’s my happy place! (And, yes, I do realize exactly how privileged this makes me.)
While we’re talking clueless rich people… anyone else remember the Mad-Man-era ‘Aryan from Darien’ jokes that followed guys like ‘Poppy’ Bush around?
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) March 20, 2020
The median household income in Darien is like $208,000. (I wrote about it once!)
— Amanda Fortini (@amandafortini) March 20, 2020
Chloë Sevigny is from there and also calls it Aryan Darien. Also, in the 1958 movie Auntie Mame, the titular character laments that she doesn't want her nephew to move there and become "an Aryan from Darien." So, they've had a bad rep for a long time.
— Levi Wilson (@leviisevil) March 20, 2020
Lots of angry Darien residents in my DMs because I tweeted a story from their local paper!
Also, update from that same paper: there will be a new test site opening at the high school on Mondayhttps://t.co/Ed7D5YAHWg
— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) March 20, 2020