Southampton Village: Where Society Has Summered For More Than A Century

0
807
Anne Lenz, Countess Mara Thernycheff and Col. Serge Obolensky at the Southampton Beach Club. Courtesy of the Bert Morgan Collection/ Southampton History Museum
It all started here, in 1640, when white settlers from Massachusetts landed a small party not far away, at Conscience Point, and a village named Southampton was soon established by families with names like Sayre, Halsey and Walton, which can still be found on mailboxes here today.
In the ensuing 381 years, Southampton Village has become a resort town with an international reputation, its very name conjuring the notion of a “Summer Colony.” But it very much remains a small town, with a growing year-round population and a history that few small towns can match.
Its evolution during that time can be seen in its many facets. There are longstanding, resilient institutions like the St. Andrews Dune Church, built so close to the ocean that it is regularly threatened by major storms, and had to be rebuilt after the 1938 hurricane.
There’s Coopers Beach, which is regularly named one of the nation’s best and is a playground not just for the wealthy but for families who know the value of a great stretch of sand. Luxury boats share the waters with commercial fishermen. There is a wide range of restaurants, both trendy and tried-and-true. And there is the lively downtown, with shops that help set a standard for summer fashion around the world.
If you think you know Southampton — well, you probably do. But there’s always more.
Chester Dale, Robert Moses, Mrs. Angier B. Duke and Jay Rutherford in Southampton circa 1961. Courtesy of the Bert Morgan Collection/ Southampton History Museum

Then & Now: A Changing Social Scene

By Steven Stolman

Don’t it always seem to go

That you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

-JONI MITCHELL

Every year, right around this time, I am traditionally asked to write a piece about old Southampton. Timed to the appearance of the daffodils and hyacinths, in come the inquiries: “What was it like back then? How do you think it’s changed?” I realize that this is mostly a fishing expedition for the run of the mill trashing of the Hamptons — you know, the usual laments — the traffic, the congestion, THOSE PEOPLE. And while these observations may be justified, they aren’t new. They aren’t new to this particular summer, and they absolutely aren’t new to just the Hamptons. As society evolves, so too do the getaway destinations that attract people of means. I can guarantee you that this same discussion is happening on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, the charming coastal towns of Maine, the delightfully all-American villages that surround Lake Michigan, and pretty much everywhere else that people in-the-know go to escape city heat and now, the pandemic. “They’ve ruined it for the rest of us!” cry the naysayers in places as far flung as Montecito and Aspen. But who are “they?” And what exactly is it that they have ruined?

In Southampton in particular, a place still frozen in time, it all depends on what you’re looking for and where and how diligent you are in trying to find it. For the Old Guard, that subset of folks whose identities are defined by their memberships in exclusive clubs, nothing has changed.

“Exclusive to what and restricted to whom?” asked Rosalind Russell in the Broadway play which became the iconic film Auntie Mame. “I’ll get a blood test.”

It’s a squidgy subject, but if one wants to truly understand what made and still makes a certain aspect of Southampton tick, one needs to lunch at the Bathing Corporation or cocktail at the Meadow Club. There, amongst breathtaking traditional architecture and exquisitely manicured foliage is the epicenter of “that world.” It’s a bubble of people who have kept to their own kind for generations, bolstered by copious amounts of Southsides, clams on the half shell, and the kind of food typical to a respectable assisted living facility.

Pshaw, you might say, but I still question the appeal of hot turkey and mashed potatoes on a blazing summer Sunday, or the curious jiggle of tomato aspic, which is basically a congealed Bloody Mary. More curious, however, is what do these people actually have to say to each other, given that they have all lived their lives in each other’s faces, day in day out, for decades? Outside of their clubs, they see each other ad nauseum at the same cocktail parties and the same veranda dinners. The operative phrase here is “the same.” And in that respect, Southampton is indeed the same. So what’s the big whoop?

Jean Shafiroff and Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren at the 2019 Southampton Fresh Air Home “American Picnic.” Tom Kochie photo

On the streets of Southampton Village, certain things have obviously changed. Bentley convertibles, Maseratis and Range Rovers have replaced the old woody wagons and beat up “beach cars” full of sand with back windows practically obscured by coveted village beach parking stickers. And as much as the young people engaged for the summer try to keep traffic moving, many times it’s a losing battle of honking horns, loudmouthed drivers and less-than-neighborly behavior in pursuit of a parking space. This too isn’t new, although its certainly been compounded by the sheer volume of people who sought refuge from the Covid-fraught city in the spring of 2020, and simply stayed. Indeed, there was no “tumbleweed Tuesday” last summer (that dreaded-by-retailers/welcomed-by-locals moment when the streets of the village become eerily deserted.)

Yet amongst the newer shops selling the kind of clothes that one would expect to be worn by those practicing the world’s oldest profession, there are elements of timelessness in more than a handful of establishments. All one has to do is enter the front door of Herrick’s Hardware, where a parrot still squawks somewhere in the back and one can buy summerhouse essentials like Tahiti mats, tiki torches, and galvanized steel buckets containing citronella candles, along with every nail, screw and lightbulb known to man. Around the corner, on patrician Jobs Lane, Herbert & Rist still purveys hooch, as they have since 1933, although the selection of rosé has grown increasingly more robust in the past decade, along with modern-day must-haves such as Aperol and Skinny Girl Margaritas.

Back in the day, there were many retailers who would simply close in the late fall while opening a Palm Beach outpost to continue catering to their clients. During the depths of the pandemic, these satellite stores became the lifeblood of these businesses. Same with restaurants, who were hamstrung for most of the last year. Pre-Covid, there had already begun a shift in the Southampton dining scene. Time-honored joints like John Duck’s, Barristers and The Driver’s Seat (and for true old timers, The Tavern at Bowden Square and the Buttery) have been replaced by more chic establishments, with entrees north of $60 and hedge-funder wine lists. Naysayers can tongue-wag all they want; these restaurants have been uniformly packed.

Regardless of how out-of-control the scene might seem, pandemic-induced influx or not, more than bits of old Southampton endure. Bill Cunningham, the late New York Times photojournalist, famously said, “He who seeks beauty shall find it.” This applies to the search for the Southampton of yore. It’s still there, but it’s definitely been surrounded lately by an awful lot of ambient noise. And the most effective noise-cancelling solution is to actually want to find what’s left of the Southampton that spurred “The Summer Colony”— which is a highly sanitized way of referring to the oh, so social set who spend their days at the clubs, either golfing or sunning, enjoy boozy lunches on cafeteria trays on sunny oceanfront terraces or on shaded porches, then nap, change into cocktail clothes, and hit the party circuit or just the club buffet.

Their comings and goings were, and in many cases still are, breathlessly chronicled by The Beachcomber, the long running social column in The Southampton Press. Written by a variety of folks over the decades (this author being one of them) it’s basically a list of who was where, with whom, and what they were doing. Sometimes it would even document what they wore. Most notably, the column details the many noble causes that hold fundraisers over the summer season (last summer obviously being a challenge.) To this day, folks immediately open their paper to the Beachcomber column to see if their names are there. But so too is the actual beach, which still stretches for miles, with eastern and western reaches disappearing into the mist. Even the occasional presence of a high-roller catered sunset clambake, complete with party lights and a bonfire, can’t interrupt the vastness of Southampton’s iconic seashore. All one has to do is look in a different direction. In this respect, all that was once wonderful about the Hamptons remains intact.

In the estate section, where shingle-style mansions with charming names continue to flank the leafy lanes, and high privet hedges appear as though they’ve been trimmed with a laser beam, the essential feel of old Southampton thrives, as it does on Gin Lane, the tony street that runs parallel to the beach. Save for the presence of late model electrified gates and their ubiquitous call boxes (sure signs that one-percenters live within) along with the occasional tear down/modern house replacement that riles longtime neighbors, things look pretty much the same as they have for generations. Long gravel driveways continue to meander across manicured lawns that boast mature trees and explosions of blue hydrangea. It’s as if time has stopped, that is until the roar of an occasional Masarati interrupts the moment. But it doesn’t last forever.

So this particular go ‘round, instead of lamenting what’s gone, let’s celebrate what’s still there. Honestly, after the year we’ve all had, there’s an awful lot to celebrate.

40 Meadow Lane sold for $42.92 million.

High Value Houses

Top Five Home Sales in Southampton Village

The most expensive sales in Southampton Village closed between May 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021, provided by The Real Estate Report Inc.

  1. 40 Meadow Lane

$42.92 million

This 6,677-square-foot three-story residence on the ocean has seven bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms and was built a few years ago in place of a 120-year-old shingle-style house in the historic district, over the objections of many village residents. More controversy followed as last year the limited liability company that owns the property sought to eject the former principal of a real estate development and investment company HFZ Capital Group, Nir Meir, who the LLC said was occupying the residence without permission, according to The Real Deal. The deal closed April 5, though the property was not publicly listed for sale.

2. 1400 Meadow Lane

$39.5 million

This nine-bedroom, 13-bath, 10,927-square-foot ultramodern residence with pool and tennis sits on three oceanfront acres. Reinaldo Borges, an internationally renowned architect headquartered in Miami, and McDonough & Conroy Architects, based in Bridgehampton, designed the estate, completed in 2019 by Paolino Development, a luxury builder based in Miami Beach. According to the Saunders listing, the home has floor-to-ceiling walls of glass, 4-foot-by-4-foot Thassos marble flooring throughout, a great room with a three-sided fireplace, a dining room and a morning room — all with ocean views — a chef’s kitchen, a prep kitchen and a pantry, as well as a glass wine cellar and display, a state-of-the-art theater and a VIP suite.

  1. 382 Barons Lane

$38 million

This 4.5-acre property with 460 feet of oceanfront is host to an 8,225-square-foot shingle-style residence by architect Eric Woodward built in 1991. It boasts eight bedrooms, seven bathrooms and two powder rooms across three levels, and among the amenities is a 20-foot-by-50-foot gunite pool. According to the Sotheby’s listing, this home has “enormous picture windows and broad ocean-facing decks.” The interior is outfitted with detailed woodwork, including railings, balustrades, window seats, doors and light-toned floors.

4. 1116 Meadow Lane

$36 million

This residence offering 12,800-square-foot of indoor living space was built in 2010 for the late media and entertainment mogul Robert F.X. Sillerman, who owned the 3.7-acre estate up until 2014. According to the Sotheby’s International Realty listing, it has an open living space, eight bedrooms, nine full bathrooms and four half-baths and waterview porches on the north and side sides. The property has 200 feet of ocean frontage and comes with a 35-foot-by-15-foot pool.

5. 55 Coopers Neck Lane

$33.7 million

This estate set a record for the most ever paid for a single Hamptons property with no waterfront. What set this estate apart? The 4.4 acres feature both a new 21,000-square-foot traditional residence — inclusive of the living space on the lower level — plus a 6,000-square-foot guest house. On the grounds, find a 35-foot-by-70-foot pool surrounded by a Turkish marble patio, a spa, an outdoor fireplace, and a sunken tennis court. Hedgerow Exclusive Properties and Saunders & Associates shared the co-exclusive listing.

The St. Andrew’s Dune Church in Southampton Village. Dana Shaw photo

A Church On The Dunes With Tiffany Windows

By Kelly Ann Smith

St. Andrew’s Dune Church, the red shingled church on Gin Lane in Southampton, began as one of many life-saving stations that dotted the New York shipping lane shoreline.

“There was one of these buildings every five miles from Montauk Point to Sandy Hook, New Jersey,” said Sexton Jerome Guerin. “The crew stayed here and rescued ships and cargo that got stranded with big surf boats.”

Guerin hasn’t seen any shipwrecks lately, but he’s watched over the summer resort church for 28 years. This year he opened the church early for a baptism and I got to take a peek at the interior and the many artifacts that adorn the walls, some dating back to medieval times.

Nothing, however, compares to the stunning 45 stained glass windows. Nine of which were produced by none other than Louis Comfort Tiffany and even one by his nemesis John LaFarge. “Those two butt heads,” said Mr. Guerin.

Other beauties include Pre-Raphaelite-inspired panes by the British firm Heaton, Butler and Bayne, Bostonian Wilbur Herbert Burnham, and Sephen Hannock’s opalescent-glass landscape window, installed in 2020, according to the new book “The Stained-Glass Windows of St. Andrew’s Dune Church,” by Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen to be published by Vendome in September of this year.

One of the many intricate stained glass windows at St. Andrew’s Church in Southampton Village. Dana Shaw photo

My favorite is a landscape designed by artist Agnes Northrop who worked for Tiffany Studio, dedicated to the memory of Frederic Henry Betts, born March 8, 1843 and died November 11, 1905, one of five founders of the church. Located on the west wall, it’s inscribed, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusted in thee.”

Originally, the station was built in 1851 by the government as part of the U. S. Life Saving Service about 100 to 200 yards to the east. When the Coast Guard took over, Dr. T. Gaillard Thomas bought the building and it was moved to the land owned by Wyllys Betts. Along with William S. Hoyt and Dr. Albert H. Buck, the founders set goals in 1879 which remain intact today.

“The Liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer and the Hymnal of 1940 are used, and the Rector of Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Southampton, conducts the services, as has been the practice since World War II,” according to a chapbook published by the church.

Everyone is welcome, however, no matter what their religion or beliefs. Guest preachers are invited to give sermons every Sunday of the summer. Singing is highly encouraged at an early age and the children’s choir even has its own cottage snuggled into a dune, so the singers can change into their gowns.

The choir enters and exits through a side door, one of seven doors that usher goodness in, and evil out. The altar is a simple marble-topped table with an ancient tapestry of Jesus in a boat and a heron nearby, waiting for the miracle of fish.

The organ was fished out of Agawam Lake across the street after the hurricane of 1938. “The pews were blown out, and sand,” said Guerin, stretching his arms wide, as if to encompass the whole church. “There’s a bulkhead now, though it’s buried.”

The hurricane left the altar crooked until 1995, when the church was moved across the street in order to install the bulkhead foundation. Not one window cracked, said Mr. Guerin who very slowly moved the church on wheels by remote control. “Inch by inch by inch,” he said. The altar is now straight as a pin.

The interior of the church is shaped like a cross, although you’d never know it from the outside. It is Guerin’s theory that there used to be a staircase in the middle of the church, leading to a tower where guards kept watch. “I’m pretty sure I’m right,” he said. “It makes sense anyhow.”

Everything, from the stained-glass windows, historical tablets, needlepoint kneelers, bronze chimes, medieval stone gargoyles and whale blubber pots turned flower pots, were gifted by congregants. A WWI flag with 45 stars, was donated in honor of the locals who served in the war, under the condition it be displayed at all times.

The church holds 400 people, shoulder to shoulder but a more comfortable 280 is the average for a service. “There’s been 300 weddings since I’ve been here,” Guerin said. “I ring the bell on Sunday and during weddings, when the bride and groom kiss.”

Betts’ wife Louise Holbrook Betts, born May 12, 1847 and died March 2, 1925, has her own window on the north wall, another heavenly landscape of turquoise streams, mossy mounds, red trees, and golden sun streaked through purple skies, complimenting her husband’s.

Betts’ magnificent Tiffany faces the altar, lording over the church in quiet moments. When the sun hits, the rolling hills come alive, the water seems to wrinkle and pink rosa rugosa echoes the garden on the other side of the red shingles.

Such bucolic scenes were a sign of the times, inspired by Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s philosophy “that one finds spirituality in nature.” A message that is more important today than ever.

Outside Sant Ambroeus on Main Street in Southampton Village. Dana Shaw photo

Big Bite In A Small Village

By Kathryn G. Menu and Joseph Shaw

From simple to sublime, and from old-school diners to upscale eateries, the food scene in Southampton Village offers something for every palate. There’s the classic burger, of course, at Fellingham’s or Sip ‘n Soda, and even an entire restaurant at Union Burger Bar dedicated to the craft of the grilled summer classic.

You can find pizza and pasta at Paul’s, sushi at Bamboo and markets with some of the best egg sandwiches in the world (we’re looking at you, Ted’s Market and Sean’s Place!) There are coffee shops galore, including the Golden Pear, a local favorite celebrating 30 years on the East End, and how could we not mention Tate’s, which has some of the best baked goods in the world with roots right here in Southampton, though today it’s more of a corporate outfit.

The Express took a food tour of Southampton Village on a beautiful summer day and some of the stops we had to consider.

Breakfast at Sant Ambroes in Southampton. Kathryn G. Menu photo

For Breakfast, A Step Into Italia 

One bite of a ricotta donut at Sant Ambroeus and you know you’ve stepped into an impressive culinary destination. The restaurant is an offshoot of its Manhattan flagship, but has been serving the best in Italian dining at 30 Main Street since 1992. Famous for its pasta, gelato and traditional espresso bar, the restaurant serves some of the best breakfast items in town, including the aforementioned ricotta donuts, a simple but delicious frittata di patate, with roast Yukon potatoes, cherry tomatoes and basil, and a yogurt parfait with just the right amount of sweetness.

The quality of the ingredients in Sant Ambroeus is outstanding, and you will be asked to pay for it. But during a summer with limited travel to Europe, this may be the closest glimpse of a summer afternoon in Italy.

Also try:  The classic Eggs Benedict at 75 Main are a winner, but so is the apple crumb muffin at the Golden Pear just down the road for a quick breakfast on your way to Coopers Beach. We’d also suggest the coffee cake at Tate’s, but this is swimsuit season.

A salad piled with lobster at Le Chef on Jobs Lane in Southampton Village. Courtesy photo

Summer Lunch With A Southampton Classic  

Southampton’s favorite local bistro, Le Chef, has been on Jobs Lane across from Agawam Park since 1987, serving an eclectic mix of continental cuisine inspired by French, Irish and Caribbean traditions.

We enjoyed a fresh flounder Francaise, with Jasmine rice and spring vegetables, but also had a wonderful special salad with hefty servings of lobster, shrimp, asparagus and avocado — it’s a mainstay special worth enjoying for a light, but flavorful lunch.

What makes Le Chef a bistro worth visiting regularly is its commitment to fresh ingredients, but also a menu that is diverse and unique. L’Escargots and crab cakes join a lovely French onion soup as standout appetizers. The bistro offers tacos as well, including fresh tuna wonton tacos. Salads standout at Le Chef, as do heartier menu options like a Mediterranean seafood pasta, filet of beef with a shiitake mushroom Cognac cream sauce and the bistro’s version of steak frites —a New York strip steak and fries.

A big part of the old-world, white-tablecloth charm of Le Chef comes right from the top as owner Fran Lenihan works the dining room, makes menu suggestions and greets customers on a regular basis. This, coupled with the food, makes it a must stop on any Southampton Village culinary stroll.

Also try: The to-go Mexican cuisine from La Hacienda on Jagger Lane or the sublime sandwiches from The Village Gourmet Cheese Shop on Main Street. Southampton Village is also blessed with three outstanding and well-stocked markets in Schmidt’s, Catena’s and Citarella as well as some great outdoor dining options across the village business district, including a delightful garden patio at Claude’s at The Southampton Inn.

Grilled Mediterranean octopus in a black garlic glaze, romesco sauce and ‘patatas bravas” at Plaza Cafe. Dana Shaw photo

A Local Gem For Dinner

Sometimes it pays to follow the locals.

If there’s a true locals’ insider tip for dinner, it’s Doug Gulija’s Plaza Cafe, tucked away in an unassuming spot off Hill Street. The chef and owner for more than a quarter century, Gulija is a master of the simple preparation of fresh seafood. Like Plaza Cafe’s simple, elegant dining space, his dishes offer subtle support to the main event without overpowering it.

On a recent night, grilled Mediterranean octopus, served with a black garlic glaze and perfect char, on a blanket of romesco sauce, was firm but velvety, with the rich sauce adding a perfect counterpoint to a dish not found on every menu. The tuna and crab tian is a must-have appetizer, a mix of tuna tartare and ceviche-style crab, but the spicy rock shrimp tempura (on the “medium plates” portion of the menu, so there’s plenty to share) was dazzling, the Asian slaw dotted with almonds being the perfect complement.

The entrees are heavy on the seafood, and there are no missteps, but the sauteed local golden tilefish was expertly teamed with local littleneck clams, chorizo and fingerling potatoes, making it a standout. Still, there’s a clear champ on the menu, and, again, it’s a locals’ favorite: the “shepherd’s pie,” which at the Plaza Cafe means a “crust” of chives and potatoes, and a filling of lobster, red shrimp, lobster mushrooms and root vegetables. It’s “comfort food” and exquisite dining at the same time, and thus a nice summation of its home village in a single dish.

Also try: Le Charlot is another New York City culinary outfit now with an East End twist, serving French bistro food including an amazing version of cassoulet. Don’t miss the German dishes at Shippy’s and the Publick House serves its own brew on a delightful back patio 

10 Reasons To Love Coopers Beach

By Cailin Riley

There is no shortage of beaches to choose from for those looking to soak up the sun and frolic in the waves this summer, but for many beachgoers, Cooper’s Beach, located in Southampton Village, will be their top choice. Here are ten reasons why Cooper’s Beach is a must-visit summer destination.

  1. Experts Agree: Cooper’s has consistently been rated in the top five beaches in the country by environmental scientist Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, best known as “Dr. Beach,” for the last decade.
  2. Top Notch Food: The food concession offerings from Henri at Cooper’s Beach are among the best you’ll find at any beach in the area. Beach tacos with sriracha mayo, Thai iced tea, and Vietnamese iced coffee are popular items.
  3. Sunset Sessions: the beach hosts live music concerts featuring local bands, every Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m. starting on Memorial Day weekend. Barbeque dinner will be available for sale, making for a perfect Sunday night plan.
  4. Movie Nights: In coordination with the Southampton Chamber of Commerce, Cooper’s will host movie nights, with dates to be announced, and the concession stand will be open and selling popcorn, burgers, ice cream and more.
  5. Sandcastle contest: The Cooper’s Beach annual sandcastle contest, held on Labor Day weekend, is a highly anticipated event, drawing some of the most intricate and elaborate designs you’ll see anywhere.
  6. Bring Less Gear: Cooper’s offers umbrella and chair rentals, meaning you can pack a little lighter.
  7. Safety First: Highly trained lifeguards, most of whom are year-round community members, are committed to safety and water education, making the beach an attractive choice for families with young children.
  8. Sea Life: Whales, dolphin pods and ocean creatures are regular summer visitors at Cooper’s, and are easily visible from the shore.
  9. Extended Season: Lifeguards are on duty through the month of September, helping beachgoers extend the season.
  10. Natural Beauty: the pristine sand, dunes, blue waters, and a unique pull-through drive that allows early morning biker and runners to soak up the view is another unique feature of the beautiful beach.
Cool summer fashions from Everafter. Photo courtesy of Everafter

Fashion For The Youngest

By Kelly Ann Smith

Once a rarity, Southampton children’s shops have grown with the demand. With the influx of new year-round families to the community, the shops were bustling on a recent weekend. Let’s take inventory.

“Xanadu means ‘a place of comfort,’” said Sharon Kerr, owner of Xanadu and Xanadu Kids at 65 and 59 Main Street, where loungewear was sported long before it became the default attire for all.

Kerr, who calls herself a “Jaimerican,” was born in Jamaica and raised in Queens. “I came to Southampton College and never left,” she said. Her first shop, Norah’s, was located on quieter Job’s Lane but a Jeep plowed through the front window in 2013, two days before Memorial Day weekend. “I had to pivot really quick,” she said.

Luckily, she was able to take over a coveted Main Street space left by Flying Point and added Xanadu Kids. At the time, she noted the village lacked a more casual approach to children’s wear, although that is no longer true. “Competition is fierce,” she said.

Kerr is part of the Business Revitalization Committee, originally formed to deal with the empty storefronts that lined the village nine months of the year. Last year, however, they raised over $10,000 for people who lost their jobs. “We like to say, ‘Shop local because we support the sports teams,” she said.

“Our vibe is relaxed, like trend-driven sweatsuits. We don’t run away from color. Lime green, fuchsia,” she said. “Yellow and gray are the Pantone colors of the year.”

Colors may fade but some things never change. “The glitzier the sneaker the more they want it,” she chuckled.

“Big difference I see is that kids are allowed to express themselves. When I was a kid, you were told, “You’re going to wear this dress to the party,” Ms. Kerr said. “A lot of mothers facetime their kids at home and ask, ‘Do you like this?’ They have a big say so.”

Designer Susan Lazar founded EGG with the ideology that we all hatch from a similar shell, and it is our uniqueness that makes us special. Today the shop, at 63 Main Street, is owned by a small private group of investors.

“We have an amazing team who all work together to buy for our EGG New York stores,” said Kerry Baker, chief merchandiser. “We want to make sure our accessories, toys and gifts complement our EGG collection and work beautifully together.”

Tie-dye has not died down. Expect swirls of color on swimwear and sweatshirts this summer, as well as breezy embroidered dresses. “Most importantly, kids love to be comfortable,” Baker said. “We try and merge comfort and uniqueness with print and color and comfortable materials!”

Haro and Sari Keledjian, founder and former fashion director at INTERMIX, worked together and like a fashion fairytale, got hitched, and sold the company to Gap Inc. for $130 million. More recently, they launched the Westside Shop, dubbed “Bohemian meets Scandinavian.”

Still, they had trouble finding a trend and stylish clothing for their own three children. Hence Everafter was born. Both at 57 Main Street.

The company has two to three stylists for each of their five locations, catering to kids and their parents. “We love styling head-to-toe kids’ looks,” said Keledjian. “All year around you can find a stylist to wardrobe you, additionally in peak summer months we have our Upper East Side stylists join the Hamptons team to ensure every customer sees a familiar face!”

Boxy crops, graphic tees, 70’s stripes, terry cloth, and matching sets are trending. Children’s clothing follow adult fashions. This is no more obvious than the enormous popularity of “mommy and me.”

Roller Rabbit, founded in 2003 by Roberta Freymann, was inspired by an Indian block print. A fabric that told a story of a rabbit’s hunt for happiness. She sold to a group of investors in 2017 but the company continues to offer cotton fabric with colorful prints from artisans around the world.

“We have a huge mommy and me business,” said Michelle Smyth, senior vice president of merchandising and planning of Roller Rabbit, at 53D Jobs Lane. “One of the things we cherish most about Roller Rabbit is that it’s a place where families come to shop together so we love that we can be a part of the special moments in our customers lives starting from birth to beyond.”

“The mommy and me trend is about finding a way to dress like the ultimate role model in their lives – mom!” said Smyth.

As families look forward to the return of summer adventures and celebrations, Smyth sees a move toward spiffing up. “We can’t keep our pretty floral dresses for girls in stock!” she said.

Jennifer Ginsberg, owner of bean2tween, agreed. “I can’t keep floral and lace skirts with little tops on the racks. Boys are gravitating toward skater styles and more unisex looks which is a bit of a change from basic athletic wear.”

Bean2tween has been part of the scene for 11 years and recently moved to a larger location at 71 Jobs Lane. “I handle everything from the buying to the selling and everything in between,” she said. “Selling children’s clothing is a joy. Making kids feel special and confident is what I strive for.”

Kids strive for comfort but style creeps in too. “The older they get, the more interested they are and are really driven by social media and Tik Tok in particular,” she said.

“I expect a busy summer as people have moved out here full time or are still leery of travel,” the shopkeeper said. “I have met so many new clients and given tons of advice to new families who changed their lifestyles and moved to the Hamptons, from pediatricians to athletics to babysitters.”

Comments

comments