The Hamptons is comprised of the towns of Southampton, East Hampton, West Hampton, Bridgehampton, and Amagansett, located on the east end of Long Island in New York. The beaches of East Hampton are ranked as some of the best beaches in the US. It's beautiful, clear, blue, and has great waves.

The Hamptons are somewhat wrongly regarded as being snobbish and exclusive, because you need a resident's pass to get on most of the beaches. You also need a resident's pass to park anywhere, if you can find parking at all. Real estate prices have recently gone through the roof, as it costs about 5 million to get a house, any house. Recently, I've noticed a phenomenon of tacky excess-- including pointless things like gold faucets and separate swimming pools for pets. Expect 5$ cartons of milk, and a Saks Fifth Avenue located in a white-clapboard-victorian cottage-mansion on Main Street in Southampton. However, parts of it can also be very low key and casual.

It takes 2.5 hours to get to Southampton, the town that is quintessentially Hamptons (the good and bad) from Manhattan by the Long Island Expressway and then partly up the Montauk parkway, with no traffic. However, with the normal weekend traffic, it could take up to 5 hours each way. People with too much money and not enough patience can hire a helicopter for a few hundred dollars. To avoid much of the traffic, one can leave very early on Saturday morning and return early Sunday morning.

Lately, the Hamptons have gotten very crowded. Locals complain that the Manhattanites are rude and self-absorbed. Southampton especially is famous for its night life, evidenced by the current scandal of the publicist for the Conscience Point Inn backing a Mercedes SUV over dozens of people. The nightclubs are generally filled with dodgy climbers searching for meaning in 'society'; I mean, it doesn't make any sense to go out to the beach when you're only going to go out at night, which is easier to do in Manhattan.

I never came in contact with many Hamptons weekenders, because I don't get out much and am not part of the 'scene', so I automatically considered most of them probably snobbish and rude based on reputation. However, last weekend returning to Manhattan, the car broke down, because of a coolant leak in the radiator. At least 8 people pulled over and asked us if we needed any help. One family in the identical pedestrian-killing Mercedes SUV offered to drive to the nearest gas station, pick up some coolant, and bring it back (something that absolutely never happens in New York City). Like everything in New York, you take the good with the bad.

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