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- As wealthy city dwellers fled NYC for the Hamptons, many of the services that cater to them followed suit.
- Avenues, an elite private school where tuition costs up to $56,400 a year, has opened a Hamptons outpost.
- In June, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks both launched same-day delivery services to the Hamptons, and a slew of high-end retailers have opened summer pop-ups in the area.
- Top art galleries such as Sotheby’s and Pace have announced new branches opening in the Hamptons.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
For those who frequent the Hamptons, summer was never canceled. If anything, it started early.
Most summers, wealthy people flock to their second homes starting with Memorial Day weekend. This year, that exodus began in March as the coronavirus started sweeping through New York City.
Wealthy areas of the city — including the Upper East Side, the West Village, Soho, and Brooklyn Heights — saw a residential population decline of at least 40%, The New York Times reported in May. Many city residents fled en masse to their second homes in places like Nantucket, Cape Cod, and, of course, the Hamptons — the famous “playground for the rich,” approximately 100 miles from NYC.
Alexis Wolfe is the director of brand partnerships at dating-advice website NYCDATENITE. She told Business Insider she and her family headed to the Hamptons in May, and that the house-hunting process was harder than usual.
“My parents started looking for homes in March,” she said. “The prices are crazy. There is not a lot of inventory. It’s not easy.” Her parents eventually found a rental home in Sagaponack. Now, she says, they have no plans to return to New York City after the pandemic subsides.
“My parents have been thinking about buying a house out here for years and it seems like this pandemic gave them the push that they needed,” she said.
Now, with the summertime exodus to the Hamptons in full swing and some of those people, like Wolfe’s parents, considering making the change permanent, many of the NYC-based businesses that cater to a wealthy clientele have devised a simple solution: Follow those clients to the Hamptons.
Infosnips Schools, shopping, fine dining
The Hamptons didn’t exactly have a dearth of high-end establishments prior to the pandemic.
There’s the Topping Rose House in Sag Harbor, a luxury hotel known for throwing lively events like Veuve Clicquot’s 4th of July Garden Picnic. There are popular art galleries like Parrish Art Museum and the East End Culture Club. And then there’s the shopping, with boutiques including Reformation Beach House, the Jimmy Choo pop-up, and last year’s Gucci pop-up at the vintage haven Melet Mercantile.
The area is also home to a well-established nightlife scene.
“Every summer my girlfriends and I would plan a handful of trips to Montauk,” Wolfe told Business Insider. “We would look forward to the social aspect of it all — drinks at Navy Beach, day parties at Gurney’s, dinner at Crows Nest.”
But now, a new batch of names is joining the circuit and bringing the big-city element along with it. On the list of new businesses in the Hamptons are not just restaurants and galleries, but schools, boutiques, and services, too.
In May, Business Insider’s Katie Warren reported that Avenues: The World School, an elite private school with locations in New York City, Brazil, and China, will open a new outpost, Avenues Studio Hamptons, in August. The academic classes will be conducted online, but the school will have an open-space studio for individual meetings and collaborative projects to take place.
The tuition for the Hamptons location is $48,000, nearly 15% less than the $56,400 price tag of the Manhattan location. Each student at Avenues Studio Hamptons is set to get a MacBook and an iPad.
The shopping scene is evolving, too.
In June, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks, both of which are famous for the luxury brands they carry and their high price tags, launched same-day delivery services to the Hamptons. Saks also launched its new invite-only Saks at Home service, where customers can try on items at home, keep what they like, and have a Saks representative pick up the rest.
Then there are the pop-ups. On July 13, Page Six’s Anahita Moussavian reported that Giorgio Armani is opening its first-ever pop-up location in East Hampton. Jimmy Choo will be returning to its East Hampton pop up location. And Akris, home to items like a $2,990 cardigan and a $1,990 leather tote, made its Hamptons debut this summer with a Southampton pop-up.
Top-notch NYC restaurants have also announced delivery to the Hamptons.
The Wall Street Journal reported that NoHo restaurants Il Buco and Il Buco Alimentari have headed to the East End, along with the Flatiron District’s Rezdôra. Bakeries like Eileen’s Special Cheesecake and Breads Bakery have started delivering to the area.
Carbone, the Michelin-starred Greenwich Village restaurant where reservations are notoriously hard to come by, has launched both a pickup service and a Hamptons pop-up. Eater reported in May that Carbone Home costs $500 a week for a four-week minimum commitment (totalling a minimum of at least $2,000) and is “designed to be cooked and finished in your home.” The deadline for Carbone Home services passed in late May, and it is unclear if the restaurant intends to restart the service. Meanwhile, Carbone’s Hamptons’ pop-up restaurant features the same signature dishes as its New York City location.
After dinner, residents can now catch an evening art show at Sotheby’s first-ever East Hampton gallery, which opened in late June. The gallery will showcase Postwar and Contemporary art by Andy Warhol, George Condo, and Ed Ruscha, as well as wristwatches by Patek Philippe and Rolex, and jewels from Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Bulgari.
Infosnips Mixed reactions to the influx of new businesses
Most of the Hamptons-goers Business Insider spoke to had positive reactions to the new wave of businesses relocating to the Hamptons, particularly the restaurants.
“If a restaurant has an opportunity to do it, then why not?” said Wolfe.
Andy Wang, who is originally from Los Angeles, has been going to the North Fork for years and headed out there this year in June. He told Business Insider that he loved Carbone’s pop-up service and that in a pre-corona world, he had been to both the New York City restaurant and its Las Vegas outpost.
“I’m planning to order again from them soon,” he said. “Prices are in line with New York City, and it’s worth it for the quality of the food.”
Others, however, expressed something more like ambivalence to the wave of openings. Phillip Michael, a Miami-based artist who summers in the Hamptons, told Business Insider that he typically shows his art in outdoor fairs.
“I’ve been showing my work directly [so the influx] of galleries hasn’t personally affected me,” Michael said. “I’m just reaching out to people that I’ve connected with in the past, and staying active on Instagram.”
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Lizabeth Zindel, founder of the travel guidebook Hamptons Social, had mixed feelings about the new wave of businesses.
“On one hand, you don’t want to see business taken away from the local restaurants. This is their time to make money and they wait all year and the summer is when they bring in most of their business,” she said. “But at the same time, the businesses in New York are suffering, and they have the right to come out here.”
But Tina DeJesus, a private chef currently working for a family in Southhampton, told Business Insider that local establishments have to worry about more than just the influx of businesses from the city. She said many wealthy families are simply hiring people like her to recreate their favorite restaurant meals at home.
“People made the shift to having a private chef because it’s so much more customized, it’s in your home, you’re minimizing the number of people handling your food,” she said. “A lot of private chefs I know, they’re overbooked. This season, small businesses are definitely going to take a hit.”