July 05, 2006
Welcome To The Jungle
As an East End resident, it's disturbing to witness the onslaught of ritzy boutiques on Main Street in East Hampton (Gucci, Elie Tahari, and BCBG, to name a few). I suppose I should bite my tongue, since I too frequent those establishments (and work in one two days a week). Boy, am I a hypocrite, but at least I'm aware that all this trendy, unaffordable shopping comes at a price — one more exorbitant than those seen on sales tickets.
East Hampton Village has lost much of its charm and with the Fourth upon us, the streets are absolutely mobbed with people. In addition to the usual Manhattan breed, a new animal has been unleashed in the jungle: The Daytripper from Louisville. At least I think that's where they're from. The nametags they don say things like "Bertha from Louisville." (Yes, they sport name tags and have tour guides. I wonder what credentials are required to be a Hamptons tour guide.)
As if this wasn't peculiar enough, they seem to travel all this way just to dine at the Golden Pear and window shop (in my extensive observatory experience, this species of out-of-towner rarely buys anything. Drats!) Now, I don't mean to sound like a xenophobe, nor do I discount the fact that tourism is a significant source of revenue for the area, but come on — has the Hamptons grown so notorious that Bertha from Louisville wants to sit on a bus for hours just to eat a panini at the Pear? Who knows, maybe the local cuisine is worth the trip.
One cosmopolitan sophisticate seemed to think so, and ardently articulated her viewpoint outside of Babettes, the popular breakfast eatery, which was closed for the day due to construction. The world came to a halt for a brief moment and mourned for all those poor souls who were unable to gorge themselves on roasted tofu. "What will we do now?" many of them asked, as they cast their gazes towards the heavens. Their prayers remain unanswered.
So many bourgeois problems, so little time. Truth is, we can't have it both ways. With the benefits of tourism come the pitfalls of inanity. Tell those locals to quit their griping.
If we can't beat the wild beasts, do we join them? Proceed at your own discretion.
Erin Harris is a senior at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where she studies English and Theater. She is an East Hampton resident and a second-year intern at The Independent.