New Yorkers who escaped to the Hamptons during the pandemic have hunkered down for the year as they avoid paying city taxes and some rental properties charged $300,000 ahead of winter.
The arrival of the coronavirus pandemic prompted a number of Big Apple residents to flee to the affluent communities along Long Island’s South Fork.
The Hamptons have long been a coveted holiday destination for wealthy Americans, who breezed into the towns for summer and left just as quickly with the arrival of autumn.
Normally, Labor Day Weekend marked the final ‘hoorah’ for vacationing New Yorkers but local residents said those people haven’t left yet – and there’s no sign they will anytime soon.
‘Nobody is f****** leaving,’ one resident told Vanity Fair. ‘The town is bursting at the seams.’
Local residents in the Hamptons said that wealthy New Yorkers who arrived early in the pandemic will likely stay through winter
The publication reports that the population in East Hampton, where the median household income is $103,000, usually records a year-round population of just over 21,000 people.
But in the summer, it’s estimated that the population quadruples in size.
Over the years, the Tuesday after Labor Day has been dubbed ‘Tumbleweed Tuesday’ for the array of empty wine bottles and vacant beaches left behind.
During the pandemic, however, businesses across the Hamptons have said no such exodus has happened this year.
‘I officially canceled Tumbleweed Tuesday on Facebook because it’s not happening this year,’Judi Bistrian, of East Hampton’s Reutershan Firewood, told Vanity Fair.
People walk along the beach during Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus in Monatuk New York
Local resident: ‘Nobody is f****** leaving. The town is bursting at the seams’
Businesses that usually saw a drop in customers post-summer said that is not the case this time around.
Bistrian said residents began stockpiling wood for the winter in March when New York City became inundated with coronavirus cases and lockdown restrictions were implemented.
In fact, some customers ordered half a cord of wood every other week.
‘I asked one of them why they needed so much. “It’s for ambiance,’ they said. They kept it burning all the time,”‘ said Bistrian.
Reutershan Firewood has already started making nonstop delivers at a level that was previously reserved for the chill of October.
‘We expect to run out before the holidays this year. It’s so crazy out here,’ she said. ‘That break we used to get is gone.’
Noel Roberts, a Nest Seekers agent featured on Netflix’s Million Dollar Beach House, said rich city-dwellers’ decision to stay in the Hamptons can be seen in the current housing market.
Noel Roberts, a Nest Seekers agent featured on Netflix’s Million Dollar Beach House, told Vanity Fair that beautiful Hampton houses are sill being rented into winter
Surfers carry their boards in to the water in the Hamptons, where wealthy New York City residents fled to in the early stages of the pandemic
‘I’m going to be showing houses on Thanksgiving. I’m going to be showing houses at Christmas,’ said Roberts.
‘I have a rental in the Northwest Woods, on the lower end of the market, a $2.5 million house. It’s going for $35,000 for Labor Day to the end of September.
‘I also have another rental that just went for $300,000 for September, October, and November.’
And Rita Bonicelli, an attorney who works with real estate, said she’s done twice as many closing compared to last year.
‘It seems like a lot of young families are moving in to stay,’ said Bonicelli.
‘That’s a community changer with consistency in one area—a huge volume of deals concentrated between Southampton and Montauk.’
Vanity Fair reports that local schools expect increased student enrollment, while some New York City private schools will open satellite schools.
At Amagansett School estimated that they’ll receive twice as many students this year compared to last – a boost from 75 to 150. The Ross School is reopening a second campus to house students.
Pictured: Life guards wear masks while guarding the East Hampton Main Beach after wealthy New Yorkers escaped to the communities earlier this year
Billy Schmitz: ‘I’ve never seen anything like it since March. Good times or bad, people keep drinking’ Pictured: : People walk among the dunes leading to the beach in the Hamptons
But staying in the Hamptons could mean more for New York City residents than coastal views near the beach.
After spending six months out of the city, those residents can list the Hamptons as their primary residence on their 2020 tax filings and avoid paying New York city income taxes.
Meanwhile, residents preparing for winter have dropped hundreds of thousands on renovating outdoor spaces and installing the latest must-have: firepits.
‘Everybody wants a firepit,’ Michael Derrig,the owner of the luxurious Landscape Details.
He added that it’s not uncommon for people renovating their property landscapes to spend around $500,000.
‘July and August are slow for landscape construction,’ said Derrig, but this year ‘we were full steam ahead.’
‘Usually in September I get a real break. Not this year. We’ve been busy since COVID, and I see it going through the fall.’
Billy Schmitz, of Shelter Island Wine and Spirits, shared those sentiments and noted a consistent demand for alcohol.
‘I’ve never seen anything like it since March. Good times or bad, people keep drinking,’ he said.
While the uptick in residents is good for businesses, local officials fear the additional people could harm their infrastructure and large crowds could cause tension.
‘Police have handled it all well so far, but they had more responsibility than usual keeping people separate on the beaches and masking,’ an official said.
‘There was more partying in Montauk than usual, and that will likely continue.’
But the largest concern is the potential for a second wave of coronavirus cases.
‘The numbers here have been low,’ an official told Vanity Fair, ‘but that is the weird thing about the numbers—we don’t really know what they are.
‘If someone visits from New York City and tests positive, it doesn’t get recorded here. I think that results, to some degree, in complacency
Suffolk County, where the Hamptons are found, has recorded 45,258 infections and 2,006 as of Monday evening, which sits behind New York City’s 241,000 cases and 23,000 deaths.
New York state has amassed more than 444,000 cases and a death toll of 32,500.