Hip in the Hamptons....... A place where you can never resist.
“Guys, give it up for our first bingo winner!” whoops Zach Bliss, the host at the 1950s-themed Electric Eel lounge. I am in the Hamptons, on Long Island, but a world away from the prim yachting, golfing and tennis club scene of popular imagination. The Electric Eel is part of Ruschmeyer’s, a revamped motel that, since opening last year in the village of Montauk, has become a sort of summer camp for hip New Yorkers, and Thursday night bingo is the week’s key social event. The prize is a song on a ukulele and a kitsch, choreographed rendition of I’ve Had the Time of My Lifeby the bar staff.
The End, as Montauk is known because of its situation at the easternmost point of Long Island, is the least developed of New York’s beach resorts and its sleepy, traditional charms have long been cherished by surfers and residents eager to remain apart from the high-spending summer society that colonises much of the Hamptons. Instead of the chichi shops of main street Southampton – Montauk’s upmarket cousin along the coast – there are avenues of grey shingle summer houses, and miles of sand dunes and seagrass. But things are changing.