Saturday, June 02, 2012

UK Vogue - Lifestyle, The Hamptons

UK Vogue, June 2012

New York By The Sea

What do Bruce Weber, Steven Spielberg and Julian Schnabel have in common? The answer is the Hamptons, the summer playground of New York's rich and famous.

Julie Earle-Levine finds out where's 'in' - and how much it costs to join them.

Gwyneth Paltrow is in denim cut-offs that show off her golden tanned legs, a tank, flip flops and is looking utterly gorgeous, sans any trace of makeup. She’s dining with her kids at the latest hot spot restaurant Ruschmeyer’s, in Montauk, and no one blinks a lid.

Welcome to the Hamptons, the summer beach playground for New York City’s rich and fabulous. It’s where actors, hedge funders, media, real estate tycoons, photographers and models spend their summer from Memorial Day to Labor day, partying and relaxing and even, being anonymous.

This summer is no different. Never mind that the economy is wobbly and that home prices have slipped, some say by 30 per cent in the past three years, even at the top tier. By all accounts, sales and rentals are heating up as summer nears and the rush to the Hamptons begins.

“People pay for rentals far more than most people’s incomes across the country,” said Andrea Ackerman, a Brown Harris Stevens broker. “Some people are spending upwards of $500k or more for summer rentals – some are only for two weeks.”

Many arrive by private jet or helicopter. Ackerman notes the people with money seem always to have money and transactions are starting to happen briskly again.

Mind you, a beach shack – that’s the one bedroom, needs TLC kind costs a million or more. A mid-range house is $3 to $5 million, but there are properties being sold for $13 million and $22 million that aren’t even on the water. Last year a property in Sagaponack on the ocean sold for $44 million. The house was torn down.

Dolly Lenz, vice chairman at Prudential Douglas Elliman has international clientele vying to buy into the Hamptons want-for-nothing lifestyle.

“The Hamptons has some of the most expensive homes in the world, and they are all second homes.” The allure is the pristine beaches, farm fields, wineries, hundreds of sprawling estate homes, restaurants and shopping, just 90 miles from the cultural and financial center of the world, New York City.

Fabulous is sprinkled across the entire Hamptons, but waterfront is naturally the most coveted.

There are the estate areas in East Hampton with all the designer stores, and Southampton, Watermill and Bridgehampton have manicured high hedges. Bridgehampton and Sagaponack are where there is major activity, says Ackerman noting they were once potato and cornfields. Sag Harbor has the charm of restored captains houses and sits right on the water.

In East Hampton, where first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis spent her childhood and Jackson Pollack created an artists colony, the town has kept its wealthy reputation. Gwyneth has a 5-bedroom, 7.5 bathroom home alongside Russell Simmons and Steven Spielberg, and there are plenty of properties on the market.

“We’re seeing a lot of activity this year, especially international buyers,” said Krae Van Sickle at Saunders & Associates. “It’s all the movers and shakers.”

Southampton, where hotelier Ian Schrager has a home, attracts both the star crowd as well as the quiet, obscenely affluent.

Amagansett and Montauk, on the farthest tip of Long Island have gone unnoticed for a long time and are now hot again. At parties at Andy Warhol’s Montauk waterfront estate, Bianca Jagger, John Lennon and Halston were among guests. These days, Julianne Moore, Ralph Lauren, Robert de Niro and Cynthia Rowley own homes in Montauk. When the sun goes down after a day of surfing, and yoga, the chic set move to Navy Beach restaurant for toes-in-the-sand dining. Friends can arrive by boat.

Ben Watts, the celebrity photographer bought at Ditch Plains in 1999, and recently scooped up his neighbor’s house. “Now I’ve got a compound.” “Montauk has become more of a playground for young people, there’s great food, cool restaurants like the Crow’s Nest (by hotelier Sean MacPherson) and definitely a scene.” Other artistic royalty in Montauk includes Julian Schnabel and Bruce Weber.

Some are opting for luxe beachfront apartments at the Panoramic View on the old Montauk Highway that is buzzing with VIPS including real estate mogul Steve Roth and Jan Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone.

Adam Manson, director of the Panoramic View said more than $27 million in sales closed in recent months. Designer Rachel Roy, Kimora Lee Simmons and Hype Williams, Kanye West’s video producer are among those who have been seen at the property. One to five bedroom units, from 1,200 square feet to 4,800 square feet are available from $2 to $7 million.

Some say Montauk could well be the next Miami. It’s not such a stretch of the imagination. The sparkle of a pair of sequined Louboutins, being worn by a model at Panoramic’s pool on a recent summer day was dazzling.

Andrea Ackerman -

Dolly Lenz –

Panoramic View –