Daily Grind

It made sense when Vineyard Vines, a shop known for preppy apparel, opened in Southampton, land of the Bathing Corp., Meadow Club, and assorted world class golf courses.  Having just opened a pop-up store on Main Street in East Hampton Village, the jury is still out on how well it will do in the burgh that is home more to Hollywood types and artists than socialites.

The Stamford, Conn. chain, with outlets from Alabama to Nantucket, is known for such goods as whale-emblazoned ties, checked pants, nautically themed belts sporting signal flags, and shirts with anchors. It brings surprisingly affordable prices to a village known for ultra high-end retail flagships. A polka-dot women’s crewneck sweater sells for $98; flipflops start as low as $39.50. 

For visitors without cars, residents who want to help alleviate traffic, or those who want an affordable solution to drinking and getting around, the Hamptons Hopper has hit the road.

Last week marked the maiden journey of the "retro chic" shuttle bus that bills itself as a mode of both “transportation and socialization.” The service, with a fleet of sea-green converted school buses, utilizes a mobile app for iPhone (and soon Android) to let riders see where the stops are and when to expect its arrival.

The Hopper makes weekend runs starting at 4 p.m. on Fridays and runs hourly all day Saturdays and Sundays till 2 a.m., stopping downtown in East Hampton, Amagansett, and Montauk , and at popular establishments such as Cyril’s on Napeague and the Surf Lodge in Montauk. It will schedule more pickups as word gets out.

“Getting around the Hamptons can be aggravating, expensive, and even unsafe,” said Derek Kleinow, the founder.

The cost is free for first-time riders who download the mobile app. Afterward daily memberships start at $20. Weekend, monthly, and seasonal passes also available.

Another installment in our sampling of East Hampton shop prices this summer. Prices speak for themselves.

The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, which supports the study of New York and Suffolk County history, has donated $30,000 to Suffolk County Community College for a Town of Islip history scholarship.

Every year until 2018, three $2,000 scholarships will be awarded to students who live in the town and study history at the college.  The foundation was established in 1986 by Robert David Lion Gardiner, who lived in East Hampton and  owned Gardiner's Island jointly with his sister, Alexandra Gardiner Creel, until his death in 2004.

Mr. Gardiner’s family connection with Islip goes back to 1758, when Jonathan Thompson purchased a house and land there for 1,200 pounds and gave it to his son, Isaac, who married Mary Gardiner of East Hampton in 1772. The couple expanded the house, adding nine rooms. George Washington is  believed to have spent a night there while touring Long Island in  1790.

Mr. Gardiner became the owner of the property, known as Sagtikos Manor,  in 1935, by which time it had become a 42-room mansion. He was the last member of the family to live there, and he deeded it to the foundation in 1985. It is now owned in conjunction with Suffolk County and run as a museum by the Suffolk County Historical Society.  

First West Elm, an edgy furnishings chain, opened this spring in Water Mill. Then ground was broken on land in Wainscott for a Home Goods branch, the discount home décor adjunct of T.J. Maxx.

Now Petco, a pet store chain with more than 1,200 locations, plans to open an outlet in Bridgehampton Commons in the space where a Banana Republic was for many years. “Petco is a neighborhood pet store, and we typically open new locations in growing neighborhoods where other retailers are located to make sure our customers have a convenient shopping experience,” said Lisa Stark, the company’s manager of corporate communications. “We’re thrilled to become part of the Bridgehampton community, and we look forward to helping pet parents in the area provide the best possible care for their animal companions.” She estimates that the store will be open by end of summer.

Regina Kravitz, a veteran fashion designer, has partnered with Stitch, a Southampton boutique and tailor shop where her contemporary Hamptons line called ReginaKravitz for Stitch will be available.

In Ms. Kravitz’s collaboration with Rose Dios of Stitch, the pair have focused on separates that are “easy to wear, feminine, multi-functional, packable, and affordable,” according to a press release. The predominant fabrics in the collection are Spandex knits, but there are also laces, Italian silks, soft rayons, cottons, and luxurious silk jersey. “We also like a bit of bling,” said Ms. Kravitz.

The emphasis is on figure-flattering daywear and glamorous evening outfits, with the collection comprised of over 20 different silhouettes including Capri leggings, sundresses, and long halter “gala dresses.”  Ms. Kravitz’s signature item, the jumpsuit, is represented in lively prints and solids, and can be dressed up or down.

The designer is sensitive to women’s figure issues. “A simple V-dress has a built-in lining to reduce its fit by a size,” she said. Hallelujah. 

First time renting? Here for a short stay? Read on and stay tuned for a few ideas that offer an introduction to the South Fork for some and a welcome back for old friends.

In terms of the beach, East Hampton's Main Beach is popular for spending the day, with outdoor showers and a snack bar that serves hot and cold foods like burgers and ice creams. Rated as one of the top beaches in the country, it can be crowded, so other lifeguarded beaches like Two Mile Hollow and Georgica in East Hampton Village or Atlantic Avenue Beach in Amagansett or Kirk Park in Montauk are often a good option. Nonresident village beach permits (to park at Georgica, Main, Egypt, Wiborg's, and Two Mile Hollow Beaches) are sold out for the 2014 season, but Main and Two Mile Hollow offer daily parking permits for $25, on sale at the Main Beach Pavilion on a first-come-first-served basis. On Saturdays and Sundays, only 40 daily parking permits are available.

Nonresident town beach permits, for parking at most other beaches from Wainscott east to Montauk are always in supply and cost $375. The only town beach where you can pay to park for the day is Atlantic Avenue Beach in Amagansett, which also boasts the Snack Hut. Parking costs $20, weekdays only, with no daily parking available on weekends. Parking is free and no permit is required at Kirk Park in downtown Montauk.

Those without beach permits, who don't want to hoof it all the way from the long-term parking lot in East Hampton Village, can catch a lift on one of the Free Ride's free electric shuttles, leaving for Main Beach from the long-term lot off Lumber and Gingerbread Lanes and several other spots around the village. Free Ride also operates in a loop from Amagansett's Main Street to Indian Wells, and Atlantic Avenue Beaches. In Montauk, stops include Atlantic Terrace Motel, the Sloppy Tuna, and Navy Beach. A Southampton route shuttles passengers from the train station, down Main Street, Job's Lane, and to Cooper's Beach.

Furry friends are allowed off leash on most East Hampton Town and Village Beaches before 9 a.m. Early risers might make a date of it with a doughnut and coffee from Jack's Stir Brew Coffee in Amagansett, open at 7 a.m., and then head out to stroll on nearby Indian Wells. For an impromptu puppy play date, Wiborg's Beach is supposedly the beach most frequented by morning dog walkers. There are strict rules about cleaning up after your dogs (and fines for not doing so), and don't be surprised if fellow beachgoers remind you about them. Bags are provided.

If you're planning a beach fire on an East Hampton Village beach, ensure that the fire is lighted no sooner than 6 p.m., and in a metal container no wider than two feet. All charcoal and wood remnants must be removed after the fire is extinguished with a bucket of water, not sand. On town beaches, fires do not have to be in a container, but should be no larger than 30 inches in diameter. They can be lighted anytime after 5, and must be extinguished by 11:59 p.m.

Surfers looking for a beach to catch a wave, will find Montauk's ocean beaches to be their best bet, generally the farther east, the better. Rather than give out specifics -- you know how surfers can be -- we'll let you find your own favorite break. Additionally, kite boarders and wind surfers have established Napeague Harbor in Amagansett as a go-to place for their water activities.

Bay and harbor beaches will have gentler waves, so little ones can safely have some of their first seaside experiences at beaches like Louse Point in Springs, Fresh Pond in Amagansett, or Gin Beach in Montauk.

Maxfield Panish, an East Hampton local who attends the Manhattan School of Music, is hoping to raise money to buy a professional level Sverdlik violin. Mr. Panish has been playing the violin since he was five years old and now, at the age of twenty, he is preparing for a professional career in music. 

In order for Mr. Panish to become a professional violinist, he needs the proper instrument. Unfortunately, the violin that Mr. Panish currently plays is no longer suited for his level, and according to his campaign page, it "does not have the ability to resonate well enough to be heard in a concert hall." The violin that he hopes to buy will be made by Boris Sverdlik and will cost $30,000 dollars. Mr. Panish believes that this violin will be comparable in sound and quality to the million dollar instruments that professionals play.

Mr. Panish's college education is quite expensive, and for this reason, he is asking for the community's help in raising money to purchase a new instrument. Mr. Panish's fundraising campaign page can be found at www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-professional-level-violin-for-maxfield#home. He is offering a different "perk" for each donation level. Some perks include a one-hour private violin lesson and the use of Mr. Panish's skills at a party or event.

Donald Robertson, who is also known by his Instagram handle, donalddrawbertson, is a nonstop art-making tour de force.


Donald Robertson making art at his Ping-Pong table work desk at Eric Firestone Gallery              Jennifer Landes photos

Those who long for the days of Andy Warhol’s Factory but were too young or not fabulous or freaky enough to experience it, will want to trek on down to Eric Firestone’s Newtown Lane gallery to get a sense of that lost world.

Donald Robertson, who is also known by his Instagram handle, donalddrawbertson, is a nonstop art-making tour de force. But rather than delegate or take the artist’s hand out of the work, he opts instead for a constant stream of self-generated and mostly painterly images taken from the quotidian objects that surround him.

It helps that he is the head of creative developmet for Bobbi Brown, a division of Estee Lauder, and that his inspiration is often from the fashion world. Yet, just as frequent in his work are the leaf bags, cereal boxes, Whole Foods shopping bags, and pizza boxes so common to suburbia, in his case, Larchmont, where he and his wife, Kim Gieske, raise five children from a recent set of twins up to 18.


The family Robertson

While a family portrait was on display in the gallery, much of what drew the eye on a visit on Thursday were the often wry fashion world references and Mr. Robertson himself, who has taken over the gallery as a mobile studio, knocking out work as it struck him. It is fascinating to watch his process, with paint, markers, tape, surrounding him, set up on a Ping-Pong table and putting up new drawings like a short-order cook with customers lining up virtually through his trendabl account or in the flesh, like his friend Lisa Perry, who stopped by to assert her claim on several works in the gallery.

Mr. Robertson said Ms. Perry was the one who introduced Mr. Firestone to him. He wanted a gallery space, and she recognized a similar aesthetic through her acquaintance with Mr. Firestone, as retail neighbors in East Hampton Village. The two hit if off immediately.

“I went to his studio and a few days later backed up a truck and loaded the whole thing up,” Mr. Firestone said.

So much was taken, including Mr. Robertson’s art supplies, that he said that he had to come to East Hampton in order to do his work. “He kept showing up at 4:30 in the morning to be let in to the gallery,” Mr. Firestone said. “Eventually,” he said, pantomiming the bleary-eyed process to let him in, “I gave him his own key.”

The artist’s genius with paint and tape notwithstanding, what really makes his work pop is the immediate reaction to the sights and scenes around him. It can be his World Cup-inspired series of bikini-bottomed models with the flags of countries who have teams of interest like Brazil, Portugal, and  Germany (and, of course the U.S.) or the village traffic control officers who march by the gallery window hourly.


East Hampton Village T.C.O.s, "Drawbertson"-style

What is most engaging, however, is his happy and welcoming persona, something that manages to come through even on his Instagram account, which has more than 52,000 followers. He may have fans such as Carine Roitfeld, the former editor of French Vogue, but “I don’t want to get too exclusive,” he said, particularly in the art world which, he said, had a similar insider-outsider vibe.

His has found that the instant adoration of the social media cognoscenti has carried over to his day job at the cosmetics giant Estee Lauder. “I have this whacked-out aesthetic that’s not focused grouped,” he said. At first, the corporate powers didn't understand it, but seeing the response has caused them to rethink how to promote their brands, his drawings of pouty and colorful full sets of lips leading the way.

Mr. Robertson was also one of three founders of MAC Cosmetics, which raised $260 million in funding for AIDS-related charities through its VivaGlam line. In addition, he launched Marie Claire in America and was responsible for a redesign of Glamour magazine.

His understanding of fashion history, including the fluid illustrations so popular in 1930s magazines, informs his quick-stroke, summary application of paint. There is energy and brio here in the stroke of the artist, an element no less interesting than the packing tape, cereal boxes, and Louis Vuitton logos that also populate his work.

The show will be up at Firestone until Wednesday. 

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