Clash of the Hamptons Cultures: “We Don’t Want People Wearing Shorts”

For some visitors, the East End of Long Island is a place to inhale fresh air on weekends before blowing off steam, shelling out $1,500 for a daybed on the beach in Montauk, or vying for an on-air cameo by dining at 75 Main during the shooting of the upcoming season of the HBO Max show Selling the Hamptons spinoff Serving the Hamptons.

75 Main in the Hamptons
75 Main during the shooting of Serving the Hamptons.

But, for many residents, the area is hallowed ground, physically just a couple of hours from New York, but spiritually worlds away from the cacophonous urban center with its crime and grit. This is why Hamptonites have never allowed their enclave to be accessed by anything greater than a two-lane road. The Hamptons, for them, is the antidote to a city that never sleeps.

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So, when New York private night spot Zero Bond, which has played host to the city’s mayor, Eric Adams, as well as Elon Musk, Taylor Swift, Tom Brady and Kim Kardashian, announced its intention to take over East Hampton village’s quaint 18th century Hedges Inn, the news unleashed a major backlash. It’s a particularly bucolic area, just a stone’s throw from the homes of Steven Spielberg and Martha Stewart.

In a slew of town meetings, led by the village mayor, locals tried to put the kibosh on Zero Bond, and in May, they succeeded in instituting an 11 p.m. curfew for all of the town’s hotels (this particular property had been zoned for a 10 p.m. curfew for some time), effectively blocking the club, at least for this season. Zero Bond owner Scott Sartiano, who was not to be entirely deterred, quickly pivoted, announcing this week that he would convert the space to an outpost of his restaurant, Sartiano’s, which has its flagship in Manhattan’s Mercer Hotel.

“Mr. Sartiano has greatly watered down his proposal so that it will simply be an Italian restaurant, and if that’s the case, we will roll out the red carpet, but if his ultimate goal is to open another Zero Bond, I think the neighbors should be very wary,” East Hampton Village administrator Marcos Baladrón told The Hollywood Reporter.

Just up the street and across East Hampton’s scenic little pond, another historic inn, The Maidstone, has been purchased by pharmaceutical and cannabis honcho Irwin Simon, along with hotelier Mayank Dwivedi. It is now being run by LDV Hospitality, the owners of Scarpetta, a rousing Nomad restaurant with a club downstairs, and an outpost at Gurney’s Montauk Resort, known for its upbeat scene.

In Southampton, KyKy Conille, who operated New York nightclubs Provocateur, PM and Bijoux, and has a following that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Gisele Bündchen, John Legend and Lionel Richie, has taken over the former Blu Mar restaurant and morphed it into an outpost of his clubby New York Italian restaurant, Il Pellicano, with TV chef Rocco Dispirito at the helm. “It will cater to customers from 25 to anyone who can still walk,” he maintains. But there will also be a club in the back that will be decidedly less democratic.

“We will pick the clientele for the lounge,’’ said Conille. “My doormen will choose by the way they dress. We don’t want people coming in the lounge in the evening wearing shorts. I want to bring back elegance — for people to get excited to get dressed.”

Il Pellicano in the Hamptons
KyKy Conille, whose NYC nightclubs attract Leonardo DiCaprio and John Legend, brings his Italian restaurant, Il Pellicano — with TV chef Rocco Dispirito at the helm — to Southampton.

More goings-on in the Hamptons:
Also in East Hampton, Cedric Vongerichten (son of Jean-Georges) and his wife, Ochi, are orchestrating a pop-up of their popular Southeast Asian spots Made and Wayan, while Jean-Georges himself will add a pop-up of his Latin concept, ABC Cocina, on weekends at the Topping Rose House hotel in Bridgehampton, where he already has his eponymous restaurant. A sibling of the hopping West Village American Italian spot Arthur and Sons has just been unveiled in that town as well, with Chris Cuomo, Matt Lauer and Donny Deutsch already spotted.

Fashion-wise, many new stores have opened this summer, including first-time East Coast locations of L.A.-based Grey/Ven and British royal favorite ME&EM; the classic tailored brand Veronica Beard; and Eric Emanuel, loved by Justin Bieber and Kevin Hart.

Los Angeles fashion line Libertine is doing an activation this season at charming Sag Harbor shop Sage & Madison, where Oscar de la Renta has just co-opted the barn, and Juliane Moore and Beyoncé have been known to pop in. You can find everything from a couture dress to beautifully curated hostess baskets.

Sag Harbor is still a center of activity: Baron’s Cove, a mini-resort in town with live music on the lawn, has formed partnerships with Veuve Clicquot and Wolffer Vineyards to offer cabanas with flowing bubbly.

The area west of Southampton had always been less costly, but it’s become more desirable lately, particularly with Hampton Bays’ Canoe Place Inn reopening as a chic hotel at the end of ’22, and hosting lectures from Naomi Watts and Candace Bushnell. This season, The Hampton Maid, a family-run hotel on 13 acres in Hampton Bays, has added a Spanish restaurant, R.AIRE, along with poolside dining.

Getting from New York to the Hamptons has always been a challenge, but Blade, which offers speedy seaplanes and helicopters to dodge the traffic, has just gone head-to-head with the legendary Hampton Jitney ($49), its slightly cushier Ambassador ($72) and the Hampton Luxury Liner ($34-$60). Roomier seats on the new Blade streamliner motor coaches, outfitted with cashmere blankets, motion-canceling reclining seats, curated dopp kits and a fully stocked bar, go for between $195 and $275, and morning riders will be served breakfast courtesy of Pop Up Bagels, the juggernaut backed by Paul Rudd, Michael Strahan, Constance Schwartz-Morini and John Davis. Best of all, you can bring your pup.

It’s not just Blade catering to dogs, who are notoriously spoiled out east. They are indulged with swimming lessons and massages courtesy of Edward Alava and his Dog Store in Wainscott; a doggie truffle menu at Bistro Ete in Water Mill, and regular “Yappy Hours” around the hamlets. This summer, house-call vet Dr. Cindy Bressler has decided to bring healing therapies to the area’s furry residents, opening a dog sanctuary called Wave Wellness Center and Pet Boutique, providing red-light therapy and sound baths for the canine set.

Wellness is big out east for humans, too. Salon Xavier in Sag Harbor, a favorite of Joy Behar, Julie Andrews and Alexa Joel, has added lymphatic drainage and microcurrent facials from cult favorite Biologique Recherche; and a new spot called Blue Water Spa has opened in Southampton, offering such slimming techniques as Cryo T-Shock therapy, the Icoone machine and fat analysis.

A major wellness club has opened in East Hampton. With an initiation of $35,000 and a lifetime fee of $250,000, it has social aspects like its lobster bake kickoff party for members. But it also offers sports such as padel and pickleball, as well as cold plunge, red lights and compression stations. It is called Bond Lifeclub, and is definitely not to be confused with Zero Bond. This one was welcomed with open arms.

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