Weekend in the Hamptons

Bewley’s Airport Hotel in Dublin is pretty throughput. They take a huge bus of people from the airport and process them into their rooms pretty fast. Plane touchdown to in-room was an hour almost exactly, and that’s changing countries.

I told the passport control guy the story of Washington Multi Thomas when he seemed interested in the Mali visa. I felt very Irish and gabful at conversing so long with a passport official. Too bad all my ancestors who lived in Ireland came on the coattails of the British invaders. Although, they were escaping religious persecution on there own (How does that work, exactly? You’re being religiously persecuted at home in your empire, so you flee to a colony of the same empire. The Pilgrims came to Massachusetts, the Quakers went to Ireland. If the Dutch crack down on the Muslims, will they end up in Aruba? Do American drug and sex offenders go to Puerto Rico?)

I also was able to check my suitcase through from Dubrovnik to NY just as Dave checked his suitcase from Kiev, and I took the problematic map as carry-on. The signs in New York are largely in English. I can almost understand what people say.

Just as people truly phone in their performances, so they spend actually a weekend in the Hamptons. You think of it as being a movie set but there really are all these huge mansions with the characteristic Long Island architectures, and a bunch of people who own boats with big socialite grins.

You know, if you give a big smile every time a camera points at you, nobody will every have a picture of you scowling and you’ll never appear in the National Enquirer. A lot of people, including me, think that all they have to do is wince and somehow they won’t show up on film, but it doesn’t work that way. I was taking pictures every which way at the Clam Shucking Contest, part of “Harborfest” which is how Sag Harbor closes its summer season, and there was this one woman standing behind me who smiled every time my camera or anybody else’s camera was pointed in her direction, and I thought, there is no bad picture of this woman, anywhere. Her smile came up with no more thought than a rock being illuminated by a flashlight. You swing the camera, the smile appears, you swing it away, and it fades. And I realized, that’s how all those pictures get in Gentry. She did not have a stunning model’s face or teeth, in fact now that I think of it, she might have been old — but she was always on.

There’s a chain of high roller socialite magazines like “Gentry” but “Gentry” doesn’t appear to be part of it. Just as with the wheat and the beggars, 80% of rich neighborhoods have their society thrown back at them through the graces of “Niche Media”. Their website hints at the following franchises:


It’s so democratic. You can see samples of the localized smiles here.

Long ago, in a company far far away, a very nice person named Traci left to go work with her brother on movies and we’ve stayed in touch. She lives in Sag Harbor now. It is nice to catch up with people other than on facebook, especially since I don’t even know if she’s on facebook, so I made the very complicated Hampton Jitney connection out to the end of Long Island.

Note to Hampton Jitney connectors: No taxi driver at JFK has ever heard of the “Airport Connection”. It isn’t in their GPS. The Airport Connection is nothing more than a bus stop that the Hampton Jitney stops at. The thing you must tell them is that you want to go to the address

190-02 Horace Harding Boulevard
Fresh Meadows, New York

They will drop you off in front of a movie theater and you will wait by the pole for the next Hampton Jitney. Theoretically you should have a reservation but I was 2 out of 2 as a walk on.

Traci and Joe took me out for Lobster, and the next day to a really fine restaurant called “The Coast Grill” which is decorated like any bayfront dive in the world, but is blessed with an imaginative chef who must be new there because the Zagat reviews from last year don’t seem to be talking about the same guy.

Sunday is a working day for real estate agents, so I walked around the Harborfest and shops in the downtown area where unsaturated blue things are for sale. You get to a certain income level and suddenly the whole world is Wedgwood color, especially by the ocean. There were blue thing stores in Dubrovnik, as well. One thing that was not blue was a red and black cocktail glass that had the graphic for isopropyl alcohol on it. I thought this was funny because I guess that the artist was intending to draw the kind of alcohol found in cocktails, but didn’t realize there was an issue when you look up alcohol wherever you looked up such images if you weren’t a chemist and the Internet hadn’t been invented yet (it was an antique). After I went to the trouble of explaining why this was funny to Traci and the two antique owners of the shop, Traci said I should buy it. Since I was mailing back the map in a tube, I was free to acquire other inconvenient or fragile items to care for.

Monday Morning I fed the black capped chickadees in the Elizabeth A. Morton Wildlife Refuge and took the jitney to Manhattan.

In Manhattan I stayed with Emmett and Tollef and had a front row seat at their ongoing efforts to find an apartment, and in Tollef’s case, a job. Tollef has moved to New York because of a White House sex scandal though he won’t admit it. I think Emmett may find him a gig as a producer. I heard the day after I left they have found a place. They are moving into a mid-19th century home for indigent old ladies which has gone condo, and, post real estate collapse, gone rental.

The real estate market is tough all over. Traci’s company has lots of Bernie Madoff fallout homes on its block, homes owned by Madoff investors who are forced to downsize into appliance cartons under the Tri-boro bridge.

A guy I had met at Burning Man joined Emmett and me for dinner at a wine bar. He was doing some kind of sociology paper on the use of public spaces, and it had made him dangerously extroverted. We went walking out on the Lower East Side around midnight and he struck up conversations with total strangers to ask them what they were doing here, and why. Whenever I learned about New York as a child, it was that you really didn’t talk to people out here.

The next day I took Southwest from La Guardia to Baltimore to Denver. La Guardia is ridiculous. You taxi for one hour for a 35 minute flight to BWI. It’s all built into the schedule, but why is the schedule thus? The driver who took me from Emmett’s house to La Guardia was born in New York. His father was born in Ireland in 1908 and came to America when he was 19.