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  •     Autumn seems to be film festival season on the South Fork. This weekend, the World Peace Initiative Hamptons debuts at Guild Hall. As a satellite of Artisan Festival International, its mission is to promote peace and cultural diversity by showcasing both the work of artists and over 25 films from around the globe. The community has been invited to attend along with international guests including environmental engineers, diplomats for peace, filmmakers, fine artists, and fashion designers.

  •     After 23 years at the helm of Cafe Max, Max Weintraub has turned over the wheel to Sami Krasniqi, who began his restaurant career at the iconic eatery as a dishwasher two weeks after it opened. But not much, if anything, has changed. Mr. Weintraub is still involved from afar and has inked a deal with Mr. Krasniqi in which the two share in profits.

  • The usual game of musical chairs — or, in the case of East Hampton, musical stores and restaurants — that takes place each year is hotter than it’s been since the downturn. Buildings and restaurants are selling, and stores are renting — at consistently higher prices.
  •     If you had told me last month that I would be missing a 45-pound bundle of muscle and joy, a “hound mix,” according to ARF, I wouldn’t have believed you.

  • The playground of the famously rich requires drones to service plutocratic wants and whims. Yet, with market-driven real estate values, where can these almost-afterthoughts find affordable housing?
  •     If you picture the Hamptons Organic Beauty Bus as a spa on wheels, you would be almost right. Conceived and operated by Karen Clement, a former model born in Grenada, the idea for the enterprise is to deliver beauty services directly to the client’s home. The “bus,” actually a converted Ford Windstar sedan, is painted with a purple live bar code that, if scanned with a cellphone, takes potential customers directly to Ms. Clement’s Web site.

  •     Each year since 2006, the John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor has held One for the Books, a literary-themed fund-raiser. Up until this year, the idea was that various hosts would serve dinner and a book chosen by the event committee would be discussed (between tidbits of local gossip). To add a smidgen of intrigue, guests chose the book they wanted to discuss first, and only then was the host’s identity revealed. The books could be any kind: old, new, obscure, whatever.

  • The tech factor is a huge component in team forming. Many veteran brokers pair their market know-how with a younger agent’s marketing savvy
  •    Annette Azan-Baker, a fashion industry veteran who lives in Sag Harbor and North Carolina, has embarked on a new career, and is blazing through such uncharted territory that she hasn’t found a name yet for the service she performs. While, in essence, she guides clients through redesigning their homes and wardrobes, she doesn’t want to be called an interior decorator or personal shopper or image consultant or any of those other limiting names.

  •    Barbara Feldman, an East Hampton interior designer, has found her calling, and it turns out to be a composite of her previous careers. A former designer of commercial and medical interiors, a real estate agent, and a house stager, she reinvented herself not long ago after analyzing the demographics of the South Fork and realizing that a plethora of young families live here. “They need a different kind of design,” she said.

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  •      That was a question asked on Colin Ambrose’s Facebook page this week when the chef-owner of Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor posted a picture of his hand, dressed in bandages. His right hand that is. The chef wondered aloud how he would cope in the kitchen with only his left hand.

  • When Linda Haugevik, an agent at Sotheby’s International Realty, put North Haven’s six-acre Strongheart estate on the market in July for $65 million, there were those who accused her of being on “hallucinogens,” she said.

    In other words, even though the property belonged to the actor Richard Gere and his wife, Carey Lowell (who have since filed for divorce, according to the tabloids), it was perceived by some as overpriced. Nine months later, the price has been reduced to $56 million.

  • Last week, when Stacy Ludlow was driving down Halsey Lane in Bridgehampton en route home to Mecox Bay Dairy where she and her family make cheese, she noticed that a lovely old farmhouse dating from circa 1720 was being torn apart.

  • The Arc House, a residence on Green Hollow Road in East Hampton that is a kind of glamorized Quonset hut will be featured Sunday on the Travel Channel.  Designed by Maziar Behrooz, an East Hampton architect who just opened an office in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, the nearly 5,200-square-foot structure is made of corrugated steel and held up by 14 “ribs.”

  • Move over East Hampton. That village was once voted the “most beautiful village” in America by National Geographic.

    Getting its day in the sun, Sag Harbor was ranked number 4 of America’s most romantic towns in January by readers of Travel and Leisure, behind Simons, G.A., Beaufort, N.C., and Amelia Island, FL.

    Where?

  • When Paul Rice, an architect who has designed houses throughout the South Fork with his partner, Ward Welch, for 25 years, purchased a house at 78 Meeting House Lane in Amagansett in 2008, he set to work gutting it and adding 1,200 square feet. The timing couldn’t have been worse.

    Plans were for a 4,500-square-foot, updated gambrel-roofed traditional but construction, which only extended to the exterior of the house, was stopped as the market dove south. The interior is framed, but unfinished. 

  • A nearly six-acre property with a Tudor-style 12,000-square-foot house built in 2005 for Richard Demato, who is a Sag Harbor gallery owner, and his wife, Harriet Sawyer, an artist, closed Tuesday for just over $31.7 million. Though the deal does not set a record for the most spent on a North Haven property — that honor goes to Tyndall Point, a 55-acre sub-dividable parcel with a main house built in the 1950s that sold for $36 million in 2011 – it does set a record in the hamlet for a single-family residence.

  • While we’ve all been snowbound these past weeks, some intrepid souls have made pilgrimages to BookHampton in East Hampton for diversion. Kim Lombardini, a manager at the shop, shared with us winter’s most popular reads.

    FICTION    
    “The Goldfinch,” Donna Tartt’s anxiously awaited third novel published last year about a boy who loses his mother in a terrorist attack in an art museum, takes its title from a painting of a bird the boy filches as he flees the wreckage. At a hefty 771 pages, it is selling like hotcakes.

  • The next time you grab a cup of joe or a Slim Jim at the 7-Eleven in Montauk you might want to congratulate Cecilia or Donovan behind the counter.

    The Montauk franchise, yeah the one that many locals thought would spoil the ma and pa feel of the hamlet, is the highest grossing of all 7,800 stores in the national franchise chain. With annual sales in the low millions, the Montauk store's owner, Chris Stephens of Syosset, said that he sells about $100,000 in beer and $50,000 in coffee monthly. Not to mention hundreds of brain-freezing Slurpees.

  • Not only did Bridgehampton National Bank, which displays pictures of local success stories in its branches, report total assets of $1.9 billion at the end of 2013, up $272 million (17 percent) from 2012, it has also swallowed up First National Bank of New York, a smaller bank based in Melville. This is not bad for a bank that began life in 1910 with $25,000 in capital and about $2,200 in deposits.