What are you going to do all year?
By Michael Casper
In the wonderful Broadway musical “GreyGardens”, the character of Little Edie sings a song at the end of the show called “Another Winter in aSummerTown”. She has realized that she will not escape her fate of being inEast Hamptonwith her domineering mother. To her, it is a future of loneliness, made worse by the isolation of her town in the winter. It is a very sad and dispiriting song. It is also is a good representation of what a lot of my friends thought when I told them that my partner and I were moving toSouthamptonfull time. The most popular question was ‘What are you going to do all year?”.
To many people, theHamptons’ season basically starts on Memorial Day and ends when Labor Day rolls around. When I was asked what theHamptonswere like during the rest of the year, my answer was that I didn’t live in the “Hamptons”, I lived in a wonderful town calledSouthampton. I would have to explain that, yes, there are actually interesting things to do year round and I love it.
The reason I moved out here permanently was that my partner of almost ten years decided to retire. He couldn’t fathom spending any more time inNew York Cityand I had come to tire of it as well after 23 years. It was at the point where we couldn’t even look at another subway. Bob had bought ourSouthamptonhouse in the early 80’s and while not a mansion by any means; it was perfect for the two of us.
When I first started coming out with Bob, I was like my friends. I thought, “How can anyone spend all their time out here?” I enjoyed our weekends, but the idea of not going back to NYC at3:00on Sunday was unthinkable. I knew right from the start that it would happen at some point, but I put it in the nebulous category of “in the future”. Bob was also worried. During our first year together, I still remember the look on his face when I got off the train upset because I had looked at the LIRR schedule and realized how few trains went from Southampton to the city off season. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to pop into the city to visit friends or go to a show. I was depressed and Bob felt horrible. He was sure it was over. I would never agree to move out. When we got home, he casually said “You do know there is the Jitney”. I felt like an idiot and it started the change in my thinking, but neither one of us was sure about what would happen.
We continued coming out every weekend all year long. I changed careers and we kept on in the city, but we both knew that the time to move was getting closer. However, instead of being troubling, it was becoming something to look forward to. I was able to slowly come to realize all the wonderful things that theEast Endhad to offer. We didn’t have a deadline, so there was no pressure to adjust in a certain time frame. Bob was very patient, waiting for me to fall in love with the town that he already had. Eventually, I did.
So, whenever my friends ask what is there to do once the pool is closed and the crowds go home, I tell them about fall in theEast End. You can drive along theNorth Forkand look for pumpkins and visit the wineries. I even got Bob in a corn maze, which will never happen again. I tell them about looking forward to the apples and fresh cider. When they come to visit, we can go to the empty beaches and get into all those restaurants that were too crowded during the summer. We can actually drive to Montauk in under five hours. Not exactly an activity wasteland.
When winter rolls around, I can talk about how beautifulSouthamptonis during the holidays. I show them pictures of the Fire Truck parade and the tree lighting. Bob and I are major Christmasholics, and instead of a small space to decorate in the city, we have a whole house. We can drive and look at the decorations of the other year round residents, instead of hoping to see a tree in someone’s apartment window. One of the most amazing Christmas Eves I ever had was when we were driving home from a dinner at friends. We got out of the car and looked up at the most amazing sea of stars. Bob told me to get back in the car and we drove down to the beach and watched the waves under the winter evening light show.