Vacationers Turned the Hamptons Into a Year-Round Home. Business Followed.

 Vacationers Turned the Hamptons Into a Year-Round Home. Business Followed.


In the shadow of New York’s oldest lighthouse, summer in the Hamptons and Montauk once meant strawberry ice cream cones from a mom-and-pop shop, and Necco wafers and Pop Rocks from a candy store. known for its fudge. For locals, the influx of new faces will decrease with the onset of autumn.

In the winter, commercial areas sit full of speckled shops as vacationers retreat to New York City boroughs and beyond. Snow will cover a soft East End landscape, hiding year-round residents for a time on their own.

“That dichotomy of life is over,” said Jason Biondo, 47, a lifelong Montauk resident and local builder who retrofitted the lighthouse keeper’s room a few years ago.

Faced with the pandemic, most of the summer people fleeing from Manhattan to the Hamptons remained, and the development of residential land sparked a change in commerce. From health care to dining, new businesses have emerged in the Hamptons. While many health care facilities are welcome, there is a mixed feeling about some of the new restaurants.

“Maybe I can count on one hand, the areas between East Hampton, Amagansett, Montauk and Springs, that’s a very cheap place to bring all your kids to dinner where you don’t drop 300 dollars. , “said Mr. Biondo. “I’m not complaining, because I’m also reaping the benefits as a builder, right? So I will not bite the hand that feeds me; but it is impossible to ignore the elephant in the room. ”

From April 2010 to April 2021, the population of the town of East Hampton, which includes the village of Montauk, increased from 21,457 to 28,385, a 32 percent increase, according to U.S. census data. In Southampton, the population increased about 22 per cent, from 56,790 to 69,036, over the same period.

The New York Times spoke with large hospitals and small business owners about their decision to follow people to the summer resort area.

NYU Langone Health has a Westhampton facility under construction, after opening a 3,500-foot ambulatory care facility in Bridgehampton in May 2021.

“We really saw the opportunity there before the pandemic, and we think there is a real need for quality health care in the East End of Long Island,” said Vicki Match Suna, executive vice president and vice president. dean for real estate development and facilities at NYU Langone Health.

Bridgehampton’s rental of the hospital, on a prominent corner along the Bridgehampton section of Montauk Highway, began in June 2019.

“Most of the available are small, retail types of spaces, which are never available to us and our use; so there is limited availability and it takes some time for us to find a site that we think is available for our needs, ”Ms. Suna said.

At the Bridgehampton facility, NYU Langone Health tried to integrate the culture of the area: The interior walls were decorated with art created by local artists. The accent pieces are made of driftwood, sea glass, and other local materials native to the coastal community.

Tiffany LaBanca-Madarasz saw a “For Lease” sign on a Montauk storefront that for decades had put up a toy store, “A Little Bit of Everything,” and took the opportunity to open her own business that year. July 2021. Poppy Heart is a shop, cafe, gallery, and art studio – a one -stop shop for creativity and community and pivot for Ms. LaBanca-Madarasz, who worked as head of employee communications and engagement for PayPal for two years after 25 years in the communications industry.

Even though she raised her two children in Manhattan, Ms. LaBanca-Madarasz said her family rents a house every summer in Montauk.

“I rent when my kids are growing up, every summer, so it’s always in the back of our minds, like,‘ This is our happy place, here we finally come full time, ‘”Ms. LaBanca-Madarasz said. “At Covid and with the kids going to college, we thought, ‘let’s speed up that plan and see if we can really buy a house.'”

He said being 50 gives him a new perspective. “I was really ready for something bigger, and more interesting, and entrepreneurial, and Poppy Heart was born.”

Poppy Heart provides consistency in a place accustomed to a seasonal cadence. “There’s really not much to do in Montauk, especially in the off season, and in the rainy season, so I built it for Montauk,” he said. “You can paint pottery, you can paint canvases, you can play with clay, you can make jewelry.”

A section of the store is called “A Little Bit of Everything,” and sells nostalgic toys in honor of his successor.

As an established restaurant owner, Donna Lennard resisted bringing Il Buco al Mare to the Hamptons for many years. The right opportunity manifests itself, however, when the pandemic occurs.

“It’s definitely not in the works before,” Ms. Lennard about the pandemic, insisting he still doesn’t want to operate a restaurant in the same area he has a country house. “It’s muddy feet, uncontrollable Donna, there’s nothing to do, it’s not like I have a restaurant where I go to relax.”

Dipped by Ms. Lennard had his toes on first, with a pop-up in summer 2020 at the Marram hotel in Montauk. He described it as, “almost like a small kiosk, with like 80 seats outside on a large terrace overlooking the sea.”

At the end of the summer, members of the Il Buco team told him they were happy in the east. An acquaintance offered to show Ms. Lennard had a spot in Amagansett more than once, and he refused.

“We had about a dozen people working in Montauk, and they said,‘ let’s look at the Amagansett space, ’” he said. “So we did, and everyone liked it, and we offered, and they rejected our offer. That’s why I say, phew! ”

Arriving in January, Ms. Lennard had similar acquaintances to drink with before the fire. He asks who took over the place and learns that the deal has failed. On Memorial Day 2021, Il Buco al Mare is open for business in Amagansett.

Si Ms. Lennard is definitely warming up to the new location. “From kicking and screaming, I really embraced it.”

“It’s a natural progression, I think, that in the last two years a lot of medical buildings have popped up,” said Aaron Curti, the Douglas Elliman broker who leases the space in Weill. Cornell Medicine to open a clinic this summer.

Mr. Curti, who has lived in the East End year-round for 25 years, said that as the Hamptons have moved into a full-time community for most of its residents, a full-service medical facility is in dire need.

During the pandemic, he added, Weill Cornell learned that many of their doctors and employees also had homes in the area.

The clinic, which fills 4,000 square feet of space at the very visible corner of Montauk Highway and Flying Point Road, is designed to improve patient and staff health while honoring the natural elements of the location, said Emil Martone, the director. in organizational design. and building capital planning.

The new practice specializes in primary care-internal and family medicine care-and reproductive medicine. Weill Cornell Medicine plans to offer more specialists if needed, possibly including dermatology and cardiology, according to a representative of the organization.

At Kissaki, a Manhattan restaurant that opened at a Watermill location in June 2020, the omakase counter experience could cost about $ 100 per person or more. But the price will vary based on location.

“I’m sure not everyone living in Southampton is interested in paying $ 200 a person to eat out for dinner,” said Justin Marquez, the restaurant’s director of operations. “Maybe there’s a little push-and-pull among locals about what’s reasonable to eat every day.”

The need for adaptation is familiar to the Kissaki team. The first Kissaki location, in Manhattan, opened in January 2020 and closed in March – “along with the rest of the town,” Mr. Marquez said. The owner and co-chef are pivoting, building a successful business. They decided to open a branch in Kissaki in the Hamptons for a number of reasons, including dropping rents in the area.

“By June of 2020, there will be a lot of landlords in the Hamptons ready to be more affordable,” he said.

Kissaki, which also opened “O’s Kissaki” in East Hampton in August 2021, is also working on its flexibility.

“To be a good partner with the local community, we aggressively re-examined our pricing structure to make sure we weren’t there for a long time and to take advantage of tourists, but that we were there as a good partner providing and good quality product all year round, ”Mr. Marquez said.

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