Affluent Europeans Discover Appeal of Western Long Island

Is change coming to Hampton Bays?

Hampton Bays
Hampton Bays, seen from the air.

Long Island’s Shinnecock Canal can be described as a divider of sorts. A recent 6sqft article by Devin Gannon called it “the unofficial official separation between the Hampton’s budget-friendly (for the area) western side and star-studded, multi-millionaire-dollar homes on the east.” But that separation might be in the midst of a change. Hampton Bays, a Hamptons hamlet that has traditionally been more working-class than most, is in the midst of a change few of its residents ever anticipated.

In a new article for Air Mail, Elena Clavarino explored why this particular location has been in flux in recent years. Hampton Bays is home to over 13,000 year-round residents, and fishing remains a large part of the local economy. Compared to some nearby hamlets, Hampton Bays is affordable — though Clavarino notes that real estate prices have increased by 20% since the pandemic began. That it’s 90 minutes from New York City by train certainly can’t hurt.

There’s also a group of affluent European families living just north of the hamlet — what the article describes as “a small community of billionaires and industry magnates,” including the Malle family and the co-owner of the bakery chain Ladurée. One anonymous homeowner made a French Riviera comparison. The article gives the sense that they, too, enjoy the relative isolation and quiet of the region.

As the Air Mail article describes it, Hampton Bays is a unique place facing a familiar challenge: can it balance its singular qualities as interest in it grows? The coming years may offer an answer.

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