Life & Culture

What I Learned from my Week in the Hamptons

In his latest column, Raven Smith reveals what he learned from seven days in the favourite holiday destination of the New York elite

  • TextRaven Smith

Last week I went to the Hamptons. Prior to going, my only reference for the place was that episode of Sex and The City where Charlotte gets crabs. I actually rewatched it before going and the script is terrible. At one point Samantha says, “They said this place was shabby-chic, I’m thinking it’s much more shitty-chic”. Sorry, what? I digress. Here’s what I learned from my week in the place where Wall Street’s richest retreat (and drink rosé).

Travel there by helicopter (if you can afford it)

Getting the train was a nightmare. There was some confusion about the toilet carriage which nearly resulted in me urinating myself and, later on in my journey, a man boarded the train drinking Jack Daniels from the bottle. He proceeded to ask me (repeatedly) if I’d “rather lick the toilet seat at Penn Station or Madison Square Garden?” and I’m still trying to work out if he was my worst enemy or my spirit animal. Anyway, for a more pleasant (though admittedly more expensive) journey I’d recommend taking the Blade. It’s a direct private helicopter service from Manhattan, so you can pretend you’re James Bond (if you want to).

You need to think rich

It almost goes without saying that everyone in the Hamptons is dead rich. I handled this by adopting the gait of an oil baron (despite my £27 EVA Birkenstocks) and, even though it was my first time there, saying things like “East Hampton isn’t want it used to be” and “I’ve been summering here since forever”. I felt like Jack Dawson at that dinner in Titanic.

Rosé is the drink to drink

Everybody drinks rosé in the Hamptons and pretends that it isn’t dead mumsy. The women go nuts for it and the men have rebranded it ‘brosé’ (good work guys). In fact, in 2014 the demand for the drink was so high that the whole place reportedly ran out of the stuff (lol). Now there’s a ‘rosé drive-thru’ that offers “summer in a bottle”, which is possibly the most depressing name for a drink I’ve ever heard. That said, I suggest getting involved if you want to blend in.

You need to forget your summer eating plan

Aside from the rosé, my diet mainly consisted of lobster. In fact, I ate lobster three nights in a row – with potato salad as a side (50 per cent cream), and topped off with a bowl of chowder (90 per cent cream). By day three my entire insides ground to a halt. You don’t need details...

Montauk is great

Montauk, a village at the east end of the Long Island peninsula, isn’t technically the Hamptons, but it’s well worth a visit. After a false start at Sloppy Tunas, which smelled of feet and served me one of the worst margaritas I’ve had in my life, we went to The Lobster Roll (the same Lobster Roll as the one in the The Affair) where I ate more lobster.

Raven Smith is a London-based creative director and the former commissioning director of Nowness. He is’s columnist, writing about life and culture.