The pace is supposed to slow after Memorial Day, but I don’t see it happening. Could it be a portent of the busiest summer ever?
June has usually been a respite between the weekend that traditionally marks the beginning of the season and the madness of July and August. Although second-home owners have long since stretched “the season” into fall and spring (and for some the winter holidays, too), it seems that this year June is being swept into the maelstrom.
We know that the economy is largely dependent on the summer, but will the crowds reach a tipping point and begin to turn people away? Will this be the summer the South Fork bursts its seams?
Most of those who live here all the time develop strategies for staying off the beaten paths. People will tell you that they never go to a supermarket on a Friday or that they just stay out of the village until it is all over. Those who know how to avoid driving on the main drags when the traffic gets heavy are sorry to say the back roads have been discovered. You can almost mark the change of the season by the number of cars on roads like Narrow Lane and Scuttlehole Road in Bridgehampton or Water Mill. You drive along pretty much by yourself until, without warning, there are cars in long lines.
And what about the beaches? My husband doesn’t like to let a day go by without at least taking a look at the ocean, but he came here first in a summer family, so perhaps the wonder of it all is bred in. On the other hand, I am among those who rarely get to the ocean beach when the season is upon us; just knowing it is there is good enough, just seeing in my mind’s eye how thrilled the last dog I took to the beach used to be chasing gulls at the water’s edge. Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? It was inevitable, given the increase in the number of people at the beaches, the dogs would have to go.
And does the metropolitan press have to turn its focus on us every year at this time, adding to our popularity? The South Fork may be a sought-after summer destination, but did Dr. Beach, Stephen P. Leatherman of Florida International University, have to designate East Hampton’s Main Beach number one in the country, better than any on Hawaii or elsewhere, as he just did? I’m not so sure.
Those of us from a Jewish background probably have heard the Ashkenazi superstition invoked against praising something or someone, especially grandchildren, too much for fear of causing the opposite to come true by bringing in the evil eye — giving it or them a “kina hura.” Dr. Leatherman’s choice of Main Beach may have done just that. The good news is that having once been cited as number one, Main Beach won’t appear on Dr. Leatherman’s top 10 again.