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The Hamptons – what the world-famous playground of the rich and famous is really about

The Hamptons consist of the two ‘townships’ (roughly municipalities) of East Hampton and Southampton, located on the southeast end of Long Island right on the Atlantic Ocean. They include a number of small towns and villages, some of them tiny.

White beaches, waves crashing against the surf, the cawing of seagulls and the salty air are among the natural charms that have attracted wealthy New Yorkers to spend their summers, or at least weekends, here since the late 19th century. The ideal geographic location did the rest. The Hamptons are between 130 km and 200 km from Manhattan, far enough to offer relative seclusion but close enough that a quick visit is no problem.

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In the 1980s, actors, musicians, designers and other celebrities began to discover the Hamptons for themselves and the region acquired a worldwide reputation as a playground for the rich, beautiful and famous. It is said that stars appreciate being able to move freely here, as paparazzi and other intrusive contemporaries are frowned upon in the Hamptons.

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The Hamptons are a world apart, and insiders report important differences. For example, East Hampton, where Jackie Kennedy Onassis also spent her summers, is still home to a lot of “old money.” Southampton, on the other hand, is known for its club and restaurant scene, and when you hear stories of celebrities in the Hamptons, there’s a good chance it happened there. The lines are said to have blurred in recent years, but one thing didn’t change. Summer parties remain the ultimate social experience in any scene – seeing and being seen at the highest level.

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Real estate in the region is among the most expensive in the entire U.S., and prices have continued to rise since the Corona crisis erupted. Properties located directly on the Atlantic Ocean continue to set new price records. Here is a real estate video in which the property ‘Jule Pond’ in Southampton is offered for 147 million USD.

Even in the Hamptons, most people are not rich. Jay Schneiderman, the ‘town supervisor’ who handles town finances in posh Southampton, explained in an interview with the NY Times that the income of ordinary people who live here year-round is often quite low. “These are largely service workers who clean the homes of the rich, cook for them or mow the lawns. There’s a lot of work in the summer, and it pays well, but during the rest of the year there’s considerably less to do.”

“Often people then live in older, sometimes run-down houses away from the beaches and the luxury estates. But even this type of accommodation is quite a bit more expensive than comparables elsewhere and often people even share rooms. In the same way, we have many people with normal jobs, like teachers or policemen, as they exist everywhere. Once you get away from the front row by the ocean, it quickly becomes a different world.”