- Local Hampton residents are trying to discourage Manhattanites from coming out East by shaming them on social media and highlighting their lack of hospital beds.
- Some real estate brokers are steering clear of rentals as owners fear that they could have the coronavirus and infect their homes, and possibly never leave.
- The owner of a Hamptons baby gear rental business says she has seen business skyrocket this month.
- Despite the negativity, Manhattan residents are standing their ground and settling in at the beach to wait out the coronavirus.
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As wealthy New Yorkers flee the city to practice social distancing in the Hamptons, they aren’t exactly being welcomed with open arms by the locals.
On numerous Hamptons Facebook pages, “STAY HOME” messages sit alongside pictures of empty store shelves, citations of the rising number of coronavirus cases, and even anecdotes of state troopers – all meant to dissuade city dwellers from infiltrating the full-time residents’ offseason sanctuary.
One poster wrote: “For those looking to rent homes out East during this outbreak…Our hospital is grossly understaffed and undersupplied for the amount of people that have decided to come out here recently. I know the fresh air of the Hamptons might be tempting… But if your concern is leaving COVID behind, you are way better staying where you are and retaining the option of your regular doctor and plentiful hospital beds.”
The pleas haven’t worked.
Social media shaming
Pictures of Manhattanites stuffing their cars with toilet paper and cereal are being posted online and stories of bad behaviour proliferate, such as the NYC woman complaining that she couldn’t find a Hamptons caterer for her 100-person quarantine party.
Tanya Malott, a full time Sag Harbour resident since 2001, is begging restraint and calmness among all the residents.
“Shop like it’s Tuesday, not the end of the world,” she said. “The only reason I can think of to spend $US5,000 at Citarella is to be giving away a whole lot of food to people who can’t go shopping, or to feed an entire nursing home. No one person or one family needs 50 bags of groceries right now – or even 25 at Citarella prices!”
The tension isn’t new, but it is more pronounced than ever before
According to one local Hamptons mum, the tension between the haves and have nots is nothing new.
“There’s always tension between the year round people and the summer people,” she said.
“This is just inflating it. It’s getting a little out of hand.”
“I’m a single mum. I’m not working for the next two weeks and that’s $US600 per week. For some people $US600 is lunch; to me, $US600 is feeding my child and paying for the heat,” said the Hamptons mum.
“Meanwhile, a lot of city mums are talking about how to get their nannies out here. The entitlement is always there but this is putting it under a magnifying glass…..It’s almost like the 1% and the rest of us.”
Even real estate brokers out East are feeling stressed.
“Coming out here, however pleasant in the abstract, doesn’t get us away from whatever we are running away from. It’s not a panacea out here,” said Hamptons broker, Diane Saatchi.
Some brokers are steering clear of rentals, as owners are worried that renters will infest their homes with germs and possibly never leave.
Some locals are happy for the increased business
Of course, there’s always a silver lining.
Meg Heckman, co-owner of the baby equipment rental company, “Hamptons Baby Gear,” said she’s seen her rental business skyrocket since the coronavirus hit.
“In March 2019, we received just ten rentals for the whole month. As of today, we have received more than 40 rentals for the month and we still have nearly two weeks until month’s end,” said Heckman, adding that she’s had an uptick in clients requesting to rent brand new items instead of used gear.
City dwellers aren’t being scared off
Despite the tension, Manhattanites like publicist Nancy Held, they are standing their ground.
“The posts that say, ‘Don’t come out!’ are awful,” says Held, who lives in a 38-story building on the Upper East Side.
“We are homeowners like everyone else. I don’t feel like I’m imposing on anyone else’s space. I don’t want to be with anyone more than they want my city breath near them.”
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