Well, folks, it seems it’s time to dust the cob webs off of this little blog. Especially now that the Hamptons dining scene is going through a bit of a rollercoaster ride “post summer.” We’ve bid a tearful (or maybe not so tearful) farewell to not one, but two of our beloved eateries. First on the chopping block was Buttero, or should I say “Doppo”? Apparently, they decided to undergo a transformation from a charming Italian joint into an Italian steakhouse, because, well, the Hamptons definitely didn’t have one of those. Guess they thought we were all clamoring for more beef and fewer carbs. Bravo, Buttero, or Doppo, or whatever. It had a great staff, good food and an incredible location so this one has me a little sad.

But that’s not all, dear readers. The Hamptons foodie rollercoaster continues with the impending closure of Wolffer Kitchen in Amagansett Square. And what was their brilliant strategy for going out with a bang? Hiking up their prices and embracing an even darker atmosphere. Because, clearly, the best way to win over Hamptons diners is to make them squint in the dark while their wallets weep. Maybe if they started serving meals by candlelight, just to complete the ambiance. Darkness can be quite appealing (not that I’m commenting on bad face lifts).

MEANWHILE… In a truly shocking twist of events, rumors are swirling that TV producers are calling real estate agents and scouring Amagansett for a place to shoot a reality show, and word on the street is that it might be the return of MTV’s “Jersey Shore.” So, does this mean Snookie is heading to the Hamptons to hang with the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Stella McCartney this summer? Well, it would be quite the culture clash, wouldn’t it? The Hamptons, where Prada, Louis Vuitton and quiet sophistication could soon collide with fist-pumping and tanning oil – what could possibly go wrong? As a guy from “Jersey” i just love the ideas. Stay tuned, dear readers, because this summer promises to be one heck of a show, on and off the reality TV screen.

It’s D-Day #1 in the Hamptons… What it Really Costs to Operate on the East End!

Just in case you didn’t know, today is D-Day in the Hamptons for real estate agents (the second D-day is the first Friday in August).   It’s the day when most of the seasonal rentals move into their houses.    While many tenants get confused and call it “check in,” I’m here to remind them that renting a house is not like checking into a hotel and your real estate agent isn’t a concierge.   But while I’ll no doubt get a few calls this weekend complaining about broken toasters, lousy towels and confusing pool heaters… and yes I will try to answer them…  there is something I won’t have to deal with this season.   It’s the sticker shock from what it costs to operate a Hamptons home!    Why?  Because my mantra to every tenant is you’re essentially owning this house for the next few months and that means you’re going to have to pay for it!

So what does it cost to operate a home during the summer season on the east end?   I’m going bare bones here but let’s take a look:
They charge more to wear this!


1) Maid Service – most rental contracts require the tenant to hire a maid and clean the house once a week.   Some landlords insist you use their current housekeepers (aka spies) in order to keep the house in the same order as when the tenant walked in the door.  So let’s figure 8 hours once a week at an average rate for housekeepers of $20 per hour.  Add $160 to the weekly cost and we’re off and running up that tab!
2) Lawn Service – Unless you’re willing to pull that cord on your Briggs and Stratton you’ll have to fork over a few bucks to maintain that lush green Hamptons yard.   While some yards are bigger than others (not a Smith’s song), I’m going to put the weekly lawn maintenance at about $90 a week.   Some landlords will also require you foot the bill for the gardening but for the sake of erring on the side of caution, we’ll omit that pricey little point!
Hey, you like that guy from NCIS?

3) Phone, Internet and cable – I know a large number of my customers, clients and friends choose that “Triple Play” thing from Cablevision.   For the basic package you’re looking about $80.00 a month.  While it’s not the costliest expense for the summer, if you add those extra movie channels or rent an occasional “pay-per-view”  event or flick it adds up!

4) Pool Service – Sure you can throw some chemicals in the skimmer basket and call it a day but $150.00 per week.   Now, I know you’re saying “HOW MUCH?” but remember this is the Hamptons!  You want you’re pool to sparkle… sparkle… sparkle!!! Once again if you’re a renter this is usually required in the lease and you’ll be responsible to pay for the service plus supplies (chemicals).

5) The Electric, The Heat and the Rest – Now while this depends a lot on the weather let’s put this in a logical way.  If it’s hot outside, you’re not going to heat the pool and you’re going to pump the air-conditioning.   If it’s cooler outside, you’re gong to open the windows and crank the heat on the pool.   Either way you’re going to want to spend the money (unless of course you’re my father who would never turn on the air conditioning unless it was 95 degrees) Now I might be a little high here but I don’t think I’m totally out of the park.   I’m going to put this somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 a month and that’s based on a 3500 s/f house.

Benjamins are required!!!

Ok, so let’s tally this puppy up….. click click click click click click…. change the calculator battery… clack clack clack clack!   Our grand total to own or rent a house out east is about and I say ABOUT… no haters here….  about $2500.00 per month or about $620 a week more or less.     So there you have it and I didn’t even include the $100/person pizza dinner at Serafina (which I have a new respect for… went last night and it was really good).    This isn’t the Jersey Shore folks!

Speaking of which, the New York Daily News quoted me today and I want to clarify.  I love the Jersey Shore and I’ve been many times.   I grew up going to places like Margate, Long Port and Long Beach Island.  So when I say people don’t want the Hamptons to become the Jersey Shore, I’m talking more about the show then the actual area!      Now, will someone tell my friends from home to stop giving me grief over this!  REMINDER:  I just wrote about how to get rid of house guests (scroll down)!

Kardashian Schadenfreude and Summer Rental Warnings from the PeanutGallery… Volume 3!

If nobody wants them can we put them on

In case you were wondering, that giant retching sound you’ve been hearing lately isn’t from a new wave of salmonella poisoning on the East End it’s the reaction to reports there are new residents coming to town.  Yes, the buzz on social media this week is all about the Kardashians!!   Which is also  spawning something I’m calling “Kardashian Schadenfreude.”    Sorry Kortney, Kim and Klanapin the buzz for your impending arrival is not so good.     East Hampton resident’s are cheering they’re “going to Southampton” and Southampton residents are saying “uh-uh, they’re going to East.”   Either way, it could be a Katastrophe for Kourtney and Kompany.  So while only time will tell where they’re actually going, I would like to offer the ladies some advice: learn to spell your names Korrectly and see if Snooki has a share available in her house… you’ll be much happier

So, we are coming down to the wire for the summer rental season.  In spite of the snow this week, Memorial Day is still coming.    So in addition to my warnings for all potential renters about the danger of becoming Earhardt’s (HC  6/6/11)…. and making sure to use a camera or I Phone to record the condition of their house… I have a few more items they may want to double check before signing on the dotted line and sending that wire transfer!  So, why revisit this topic?  Because everyone is a critic.   So after reading a few,  “You forgot to mention, this, this and this.”   So being the professional whiner listen to-er I am, I decided to mention a few more.   Here are some of the top summer rental disasters than can easily be avoided!    And if the peanut gallery isn’t happy, go write your own blog!  (insert a mental happy face emoticon here!)


This is not a pool heater!

1) Hot, Hot, Hot!  – In case you weren’t aware, many times the agents who rent your home are not the agents who put the house into the listing system.  Mistakes happen and unfortunately when an agent rents a home saying there is central air when there isn’t (this one happens more often than you think) it get’s uglier than a “Mama’s Family” reunion movie!  For renters, look around for the vents for central air, check the thermostats and do a quick scan for window units.  If you’re a landlord, make sure you go online to the agency that’s renting your home and check the information they have on their website.    While I can’t say how it works at other companies, at, it’s as easy as writing your address on the search bar.  It’s also not a bad idea to make sure the heat is functioning for those early and late summer nights.  Come to think of it.. you may have rented house with a heated pool but it’s not such a bad idea to make sure there is an actual heater.  Sorry but coffee warmers do not constitute a pool heater.

2)  Tour Groups – Now I’ve been on every side of this equation and it really isn’t much fun for anyone involved.   The house is rented and a listing agent has to show it! Many of these tenants have paid top dollar to spend their summer out here sitting on Route 27…errrrr.. I mean enjoying the beach and fresh air of the Hamptons.  Imagine how they feel having truck loads of people coming in and out of their homes while trying to recover from the night before at Pink Elephant!   In fact, I showed a listing last year where my customers were contemplating a purchase only to be told by tenants, “the house stinks!”   It’s only too bad the listing agent wasn’t there to run interference.    So get an agreement before hand, it could prevent everyone from being perceived as nasty tenants, mean real estate agents, nosey buyers or crazy landlords.    Speaking of landlords, you may also want to make an agreement about when they can stop by as well to get that jacket out of the storage locker or their kids bike pump.   It’s good to keep everyone happy… happy… happy…. like that Pharrell song!

Sweaty summer sittin’

3)   Sittin’ and Grillin’ – Once again, it’s a good idea to have your agent get a list of what lawn furniture is included in the seasonal rental and if an outdoor grill is part of the deal.   Some leases include all of this others don’t… read your lease and find out!    In fact, if the furniture is yet to be purchased, I suggest making sure it’s indicated in writing what type of furniture will be made available.  I couldn’t think of anything worse than thinking of a nice teak set which instead turns into a strip nylon folding chair.    Landlords have been known to do it… and it’s a no-no…  an ounce of prevention!   Also, It would be a disaster if you had our daughter’s wedding at the house and there was only one lawn chair not as described! *
*obscure 80’s reference, if you get it let me know and I’ll owe you one!  No googleing!

4)  “Dah Plane Boss Dah Plane” – Yes, we know you come to the Hamptons for peace and quiet but we also have highways here and airports… and a train too!    Here’s two simple words I can tell everyone “Google Earth.”   Yep, check the address out and look at the aerials.  If you’re near an airport or a train or a highway, you know you’re going to hear things.    But remember, it’s not Queens so it’s probably not going to be as bad as you think but it doesn’t hurt to be forewarned.

Now, hopefully this is my last dire warning rental blogs.   I’m starting to feel like Chicken Little!