Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Foreigner's Guide to a New York Summer

This weekend is the Memorial Day weekend. Although officially this holiday is to remember the fallen from first the Civil War then consequently other wars, for most of New York it really means the commencement of the "summer season".

For 13 weeks until the Labor Day holiday, there are summer work hours, an increase in waxing bookings and a mass exodus from Manhattan to either the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore (but really you wouldn't associate with someone who went to the Jersey Shore).

So what does this weekend mean for the uninitiated? Let me share some insights:

It means that you're finally allowed to wear white even though the rest of the world thinks it's ok to appear in this color at any time of the year.

It means run down to Calypso and get your floaty boho beach cover up.

Invest in a pair of Jack Rogers sandals.

Hope like Hell that a friend owns or has rented an enormous house with a pool at the Hamptons so you can escape the scorching Manhattan heat without getting sand between your toes.

Reserve your seat on the Hamptons Jitney months in advance in order to avoid the throng of screaming twenty something's on the train.

Start reading local literature to get up to speed on the who, what, where.

Then, once happily ensconced at the Hamptons, here's how to fit in like a true New Yorker:

Don't be misled into thinking you travel out east to relax. Ensure your calendar is full of benefit lunches, dinners, golf tournaments and soirees.

Pick up your free weekly copy of the Hamptons magazine to make sure you were photographed at said benefits.

If you forgot to pack something in the rush to be at the front of the jitney line, don't panic! Main Street of East Hamptons has everything you could possibly want, from Tiffany (because of course you wear diamonds poolside) to Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Hermes - and as of this year, Balenciaga!

Angst over whether it's cooler to go to the polo at Bridgehampton and be in the marquees with the beautiful people, or sit on the "other side" of the field, where all the polo people sit (note I said "go" to the polo and not "watch" the polo).

Once the sun lowers on the horizon, chill over a glass of rose on the deck of the Surf Lodge in Montauk, wearing a Tracy Feith maxi dress.

Or for something more prosaic, eat a lobster roll and drink cheap wine out of a plastic cup at the Clam Bar, while standing on the side of the Montauk Highway.

And when you have had enough of the posing and cameras and Hamptons shenanigans, jump into a car and cross onto Shelter Island for a more leisurely pace at Andre Balazs' super cool but laid back Sunset Beach.

Happy Memorial Day weekend and let the summer fun to begin!

Images: calypso, jack rogers, elle decor, hamptons jitney, dans papers, hamptons guest of a guest, mine, surf lodge, concierge, flickr, concierge, haute living

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