So the Hamptons are more crowded this year than last. But yet, everyone from shop keepers and especially real estate agents (talking rentals) are saying that business is off. One thing I always do when I take my stroll around town trying to look better dressed than the next guy, I always ask shop owners “how was your season?” The response I keep hearing “not great.” But it’s so crowded, which leaves me wondering what gives!? Well some folks are blaming the increasing popularity of those short term rental websites for the problem. For example, you can rent a house in Southampton from a website called Marquis for a nightly rate of $1,100 a night even though this is in violation of town code which requires a minimum of 14 days. So, according to some there lies the problem. You have a house which advertises an occupancy of 12 people each essentially paying $100 per person, they’re not the types who are going to be spending money about town in the shops and restaurants. By the way, I like that the Hamptons are becoming more accessible to folks who wouldn’t normally be able to visit but by allowing overcrowding in houses it’s more like a spring break location than quiet escape from city living. What do you think?
Finally, I got the chance to visit the new Topping Rose by Jean Georges last night and I can say is it was worth the wait. Although the reservation lines need some fixing… about 45 minutes of holds, hang ups and transfers… the total experience was great. The menu is unpretentious with everything from an amazing mini pizza to a terrific kale salad and a really solid cheese burger. Service was solid and entrees arrived within a half hour of ordering. I had the penne with meatballs and thought they were over the top awesome. My dinner guests ordered the burger and the salmon, each earning a thumbs up from each. I also recommend the heirloom tomato salad which right now is on the tail of being in season so go try it now. This is a huge step up from last year’s outing by Tom Colicchio.