How Did the Pandemic Change Hamptons Life?

Fewer dive bars, more cellphone boosters

Southampton at sunset.
Hamish Duncan/Unsplash

As the season tilts towards summer, plenty of people in and around New York City have turned their sights on the area’s beaches, and of the oceanfront communities that neighbor them. For a lot of people, that means the Hamptons — and with the summer of 2021 looking more “normal” than the one that preceded it, that holds a lot of promise. But the Hamptons that people are returning to might not be exactly as they remember it.

A new article by Alyson Krueger explores the changes that came to Montauk in the last year. What that comes down to is an overall mood of caution, tempered with more restrained bars and eateries, as opposed to the over-the-top dive bars of the past. “[E]ven as bars and clubs reopen in New York State, town leaders and business owners hope to repel wild crowds and keep the shenanigans away,” Krueger writes.

That also means that some bars are reopening under new management and altered business models. Kruger notes that the rental market in Montauk is relatively tight right now, and thus “young beachgoers looking to come for a weekend are getting priced out by older, richer tenants.”

Dive bars aren’t the only thing it could be harder to find this summer. Another issue at hand? With more people spending more time in the Hamptons, the region’s infrastructure for phone calls and internet connections is being pushed to its limits. Writing at the Times, Hannah Selinger describes this season’s hot new accessory: a cellphone booster.

One area resident who spoke with Selinger spoke about the paradox of cellular service (or a lack thereof) in the Hamptons, pointing out the area’s relative affluence and its proximity to New York City. It might not be where you’d expect to find a group of cellular dead zones, but then — this year has eluded expectations in a number of ways. Why not one more?


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