Are the Hamptons Nonetheless Hip?

Are the Hamptons Still Hip?

In a clampdown reminiscent of “Footloose,” even dancing can be punishable.

Shagwong Tavern, an unfussy, old-school restaurant and bar in Montauk that dates back to the 1920s, was a haunt visited by John Lennon, Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol. “Get Off of My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones blasted from the jukebox, and people shimmied shoulder to shoulder into the A.M.

Present day, a sign out front reads “piano player wanted must have knowledge of opening clams.” All walks of life have known that they can come together there through music.

“It’s for everybody — the fisherman, the Wall Street guy, the celebrity, the contractor,” said Jon Krasner, who bought the tavern in 2015.

Last year, a building inspector ruled that moving furniture to allow dancing meant that Shagwong was illegally operating as a nightclub, which is a special permitted use in the region.

“We’re not going to make money being the best filet mignon place in town. We’re a bar,” Mr. Krasner said. “If people want to listen to a band and dance, then hell yeah, that’s what a bar is for.”

But who are the Hamptons for?

It’s a given these days that it takes money to enjoy the Hamptons. During the pandemic, many New Yorkers moved to the Hamptons full-time and the region’s D.N.A. changed — more businesses stayed open year round, and school enrollment went up. According to census data, the population of East Hampton rose by more than 30 percent from April 2010 to April 2021.

Prices went up even more. For the first quarter of 2023, the average sales price of a home reached a record-breaking $3.08 million, according to Douglas Elliman. Rentals aren’t cheap either. “For a relatively updated three-bedroom house with a pool, you’re looking at like $1,000 a night,” said Joseph Van Asco, a broker. “The high end begins around $100,000 a month.”


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