by Lillian Kleinman-Litvack
I started out as aFire Islandgirl. No car, no worries! I partied on the beach in a half
share with my best friend for years. Train or Tommy’s (taxi) to the ferry,Fire Island
was easily accessible, an uncomplicated haze of friendship, bikinis, and dancing till
dawn. A night out meant cutoffs and flip-flops, walking arm and arm in the dark
and singing at the top of our lungs.
Then I “graduated” to theHamptons. A half share in Amagansett dunes meant a
walk to the beach but a trip to the market was impossible without wheels. Getting
anywhere was a problem so my best friend suggested I call my now husband who
picked me up for a drive in his black BMW. That was 26 summers ago.
Since then, I’ve since spent nearly every summer out East, commuting weekends
from the city, babies in tow. We feel like original East Hamptonpioneers, although I
know there are many generations before me. Many years ago the green fields
outnumbered the houses and the population was sparse. When we first came here,
most of the town’s shops were unique and you could buy something that you may
not have easily found anywhere else. I still walk around in my workout gear but I
feel like an outsider.
Now the town is full of the same stores you find in any upscale shopping center and
the shoppers dress up to shop the same designers you see everywhere. Weekend
parking and driving is outright scary and it seems like everyone is in a rush. The
town is overrun with up and comers, coming and going it seems, to see and be seen.
It really is sad that the culture here has become like so many other places –
superficial. I know this is an unfair generalization but I find it hard to relax in a place
that places so much unabashed emphasis on wealth.
One sad thing for me is that my dance class is no longer available. Summer Kicks
was originally housed in an old church with no a/c and portable mirrors. Some of
New York’s best talent came out to teach and the mirrors steamed over with sweat
and the music was hardcore. The energy in the room was so dynamic it was
impossible not to feel it. How can a summer resort so close to Broadway theatres
not have dance class? I don’t like to cycle indoors when the sun is shining and I
know I am not alone….
But where else can you find so much appreciation of fine art in all its forms? The
artists need patrons and there is no better market. The galleries are open to
everyone … it is a visual feast unmatched anywhere.
The vistas, their lush landscapes and nearly psychedelic floral displays are ever
present. The vibrant summer colors are abundant and free for viewing and make
up for the emphasis on the synthetic. The fruits and vegetables, freshly picked from
the local farm are expensive, but well worth it.
Last week, my girls and I and their Dad went to the bay to stand up paddleboard. It
was a gloriously gorgeous day. The water was clean and clear and still, the sky was
cerulean blue and endless. Our fellow water enthusiasts were happy to share this
day. Our smiles were genuine; what mattered was this moment in time being one
with nature. It is good to be alive. This is why we make theEast Endhome.