THE Hamptons VS the Hamptons

Written By: Brenda Taylor

My family and I moved, from out of state, to the Hamptons in the fall of 2008. We had heard of THE Hamptons but never visited. I remember picking up an issue of Dan’s Papers at the Beach Bakery in Westhampton. I read about celebrity sightings, their attendance at different charity events and their way of arriving to the area. The Hampton Jitney, private planes, helicopters and of course the famous, Hampton Subway! Life in “The” Hamptons, appeared to be a big, happy party! Beautiful people, living in beautiful homes and driving beautiful cars! Locals would tell me, that, if I was to see “them”, treat “them” like normal people.

Settling in my new environment, I began researching the area. I enjoyed Dans Papers so much, it became my guide. I came across Dan Rattiner’s book, In the Hamptons, at a local bookstore. Mr. Dan, made the East End come alive, to this Hamptons newbie! Because of his real life experiences, I decided to explore this unknown land. I headed east on Montauk Highway and as I drove, his experiences and the towns became one! No longer unfamiliar! By the time I reached Montauk, I had to stop the car and experience for myself, the reference point to so many of his stories, Whites Pharmacy.

In February of 2009, Osos restaurant at Southhampton Inn, was hosting dinner with Dan Rattiner. Count me in! My husband joined me to finally meet, Dan, himself! We were breaking bread with, The Dan Rattiner! To me, this was my 1st celebrity experience! At dinner, there was good food, small talk and as the evening progressed I took a bold step to ask Mr. Dan, “Where is the Hampton Subway? My husband and I, even looked on line and cannot find it!” The long table, full of guests, got quiet. Mr. Dan, looked at my inquisitive expression and my husband and asked, “Where are you folks from?”“Texas!” I responded in a giddy, southern drawl. All eyes were on us and then, all heads looked at Mr. Dan, waiting for his response. He snickered and shook his head. “You mean it’s not real?!” My first celebrity encounter became my first, embarrasing, celebrity encounter!

In the 8 years I have lived here, I have seen over 30 celebrities at different times and different seasons. I have waited for the light to change, in traffic, with Matt Lauer doing the exact same thing. I ‘ve blocked, the busy and backed up, intersection of Hampton Rd. and Main St. in Southhampton, making Fantastic Four’s, Reed Richard, actor Ioan Gruffudd, wait to make a left turn. I’ve seen people habitually cross against the light at the corner of Jobs Lane and Main Street. Last year, at MY green light, a group of people decided to cross all the way to the middle of the road, and then half of them went back and two of them ran ahead anyway! By now, my green light turned red and as I was in the process of rolling down my window, to yell at these “cidiots”, a man crossing the street apologized to me. There was something familiar about him, it was Chris Cuomo! The people I was about to yell at, was none other than our very own Governor Cuomo and his daughter!

A couple of summers ago, I was in line at Herricks Hardware store in Southampton. I had gone there to buy a towel rod. As I was waiting in line, I got distracted, not really paying attention to what or more specifically who, this towel rod might hit. Susan Lucci’s head was in the line of fire! I almost hit Erica Kane with a towel rod!!

I love Golden Pear! I have been to all of them, but my favorite is the Southampton location. I was enjoying my cup of coffee outside, when I started to walk around the corner. I ran into Alan Alda! I should say’ I almost ran into Alan Alda, who was carrying a painting, and I was carrying a full cup of coffee! Almost! Not realizing, it was a foreshadow of things to come!

Bridgehampton is another location I enjoy very much. I shop at the Bridgehampton Commons when I can. Once, I saw a lady with an overflowing cart full of TJ Maxx bags. I made the comment to my daughter,” I hope she left something for the rest of us!” Well, the wind must have carried my voice! I promise, I was not loud! The lady and her companion looked up at me, it was Scarlett Johanson!

I always wanted to see a polo match, but the opportunity always ran from me. It just didn’t work out! I had mentioned this to my mother in law who, was visiting and she offered to go with me. On the way, she decided walking on the beach was preferred. So, I took her to Ocean Avenue and we walked and talked until we got the urge to go to Starbucks for coffee. We grabbed our Starbucks and decided to walk and talk some more, while looking at stores in Bridgehampton. As I was walking and talking, I noticed a polo player was getting ready to get into his car. As I continued walking toward Pierre’s, I noticed a group of polo players gathering in front of the restaurant. Let me first say, the side walk, gets VERY tight and quickly congested because of the outdoor tables. I was navigating through the crowd, when I turned my head and told my mother in law,”Hey! We didn’t get to go to polo, polo came to us!” When, I turned my head back, I ran into Mr. Polo, himself, Nacho Figueras! Thankfully, I did not spill my coffee all over him! Lucky for me, he was too distracted, telling his team mates it was time to go! Foreshadowing fulfilled, coffee was spilled on me, instead!

I have seen many celebrities being ‘regulars’ like the rest of us. George Stephanapolous leaves his hair gel behind and enjoys walking in Southampton eating ice cream with his kids. I have seen Star Jones, Bill Pullman and Mariska Hagitay at the Southampton movie theater. Celebrities do grocery shop, correct their kids in public, or simply enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend at Citarellas. I even ran into Brooke Shields and her husband at Bed Bath and Beyond in Riverhead! I almost hit her husband with my cart in the bathroom department. Made a “beep beep” sound and told him to go ahead and cross in front of me. He smiled and (unaware of her presence) Brooke followed him and smiled at me, too!

I even got to greet Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill at Agawan Park. I was journaling when I saw them walking on the sidewalk. I went up to them and said, “Welcome to Southampton! I hope you enjoy your stay!” He gave me a big smile and thanked me. I felt relieved and grateful that I can walk up to a leader of our country and not get slammed to the ground by a Secret Service agent!

I’ve come to realize that one may think you pick ‘THE’ Hamptons, but the Hamptons picks you. I love that it’s a place that allows people of influence and celebrity, be regular joes, like the rest of us. I love it sleepy, I love it awake! I love it even when I’m chilled to the bone and want to run to Florida! (I now get it!) I’ve enjoyed so many of its unexpected surprises and look forward to experience new ones all over the East End!

By the way, last night my family and I attended Author’s Night in East Hampton. Lots of authors and celebrities were there. It was VERY hot and humid and yes, “they” also sweat like the rest of us!