September Slump

None better, IMHO: Maidstone Beach on Gardiner’s Bay, L.I.

ALL I CAN SAY IN MY OWN DEFENSE (to myself, mainly, but also to readers who may have noticed I’m headed for a record low number of monthly blog posts since starting this endeavor almost four years ago) is that I’ve been in a state of suspended animation for the past few weeks. The thing I really want to blog about, the thing I really want to have happen, is well on its way to happening but hasn’t happened yet — the purchase of an un-winterized 1,200-square-foot house in Springs (East Hampton, N.Y.) that started in the 1940s as a fishing cabin and had an early ’60s add-on that gives the whole a modernist look. Quirky, naturally.

Lawyers are on board, a house inspection has been made, a survey ordered, and a contract of sale drawn up. A few days ago I signed that contract and delivered it, along with a down payment that represents all the bread I’ve ever managed to stash away (and I’m glad to use it for this purpose, because I believe it represents the best investment I could possibly make with the funds). I’m now waiting for the seller to execute and return his copy of the contract — and then, and only then, will I believe this is for real.

Elephant ears of autumn

Meanwhile, sitting here in limbo has drained my motivation for fall planting at my present house (and also apparently for blogging), though I spent September in near-bliss. The perfect weather! The cloudless sky! The peace of it, with the summer hordes gone! I swam in the bay and read on the deck and puttered just a bit in the garden. And wrote an article or two and a column or three.

For the record, I’m illustrating this post with some of the few photos I took of the events and non-events of fleeting September.

Above, Just a few (hundred) people showed up for a massive Women for Obama yard sale in East Hampton, which raised $3,000. I held my own copycat Obama sale the following Saturday

The mob scene at East Hampton’s Main Beach for taschlich, above, the ritual tossing of bread into a body of water (in this case, the Atlantic Ocean) to signify the letting go of unwanted habits at the Jewish New Year. The seagulls were very happy

Offerings of the season at Wittendale’s Nursery, East Hampton

Late summer at Louse Point



Vintage Hamptons Cottage For Rent

UPDATE, SPRING 2015: If you’re looking for a Hamptons beach house to rent for summer 2015 (by the full month for July and/or August), the one in this post is no longer available — I’ve sold it — but no worries, I have another! See some photos here (these are dated and the house is now fully furnished), but you’ll get the idea). Contact me at for more info and current pricing. thanks!


SPRINGS near bay. Vintage 2BR writer’s cottage, tastefully furnished, comfortable, bright. Private backyard, woods, gardens. Nov-May $1,800/mo or year-round.


SPEND SIX MONTHS OR MORE in my 1,000-square-foot 1940s cedar-shingled cottage on a wooded 1/2-acre in Springs (East Hampton), N.Y., a 10 minute walk (2 minute drive) to magnificent Maidstone Beach on Gardiner’s Bay.

Cathedral ceiling living room with skylights; two bedrooms, one with double bed, the other with two twins. Screened porch, huge deck, great outdoor shower. Open kitchen/dining with new appliances (no dishwasher), washer/dryer in basement. Tiled skylit bathroom. Flat screen TV, DVD, microwave, linens, dishware, cooking utensils, etc. included. Just move in!

The fine print: One month’s security deposit required. Utilities (heating oil, electric, cable/internet) extra. Year-round lease also possible at $2,200/month. House can be delivered furnished, semi-furnished, or unfurnished for longer-term rental. Email for more photos and info.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More About the Neighborhood…

Enjoy the Hamptons off-season, when it’s quiet (but not isolated) and peaceful (but not boring). The hamlet of Springs is more rural than suburban, with a historic district including the Jackson Pollock-Lee Krasner House & Study CenterAshawagh Hall, and the beloved Springs General Store.

Long Island’s best ocean beaches are 5 miles away. The new Parrish Art Museum in Southampton opens November 10; there’s opera and theatre at Guild Hall, live music at Stephen Talkhouse. Join the EH Rec Center (pool, gym); do yoga at three great local studios; hike with the East Hampton Trail Preservation Society. Take advantage of off-season happy hours and prix fixe menus at dozens of uncrowded bars and restaurants. Drive to East Hampton (10 minutes), Amagansett (10 minutes), Sag Harbor (20 minutes), Montauk (25 minutes) for restaurants, movies, shopping, art galleries, historic houses, great libraries.

There’s more: art courses, bird watching, writing groups, knitting groups, photography workshops, live jazz… you’ll find some details here, in my “East Hampton Winter Survival Guide.”

Got a book to write? Or books to read, for that matter? Music to compose, or listen to? Want to give the area a trial run while you look around for a house to buy? Rent mine, and get to know the Hamptons like a local.

For more photos and info, email … and please spread the word to anyone who might be interested. Thanks!

Inquiring Minds: Antiques Dealer Tim Lee

TIM LEE is something of a Renaissance guy — he’s an art photographer and sculptor, and has a longtime party design business. But most people here in Springs (East Hampton), N.Y. know him as an antiques dealer with a great eye. He’s often set up at local fairs and shows with vintage industrial wares.

His loft-like house is like a prop shop, full of projects-in-progress. Recently I interviewed Tim about his wide-ranging creative endeavors for my weekly column on the website Curbed Hamptons.

Tim has his own WordPress blog spotlighting his wares and his artwork (such as the sculptures above, meticulously composed of clamshells); you can find Tim’s blog right here.

To read my Curbed Hamptons interview with Tim about how he does all he does, go here.

Photos: (1) Cara Greenberg, (2 & 3) Tim Lee

Inquiring Minds: Long Island’s Modernist Architecture

MORE THAN A DECADE of research — and a whole lot of driving — went into the newly published Long Island Modernism 1930-1980 (W.W. Norton), a scholarly survey of L.I.’s visionary 20th century architecture disguised as a lush coffee table book. For my weekly column on the website Curbed Hamptons, I spoke with author Caroline Zaleski about how what she initially thought would be a “pamphlet and a short list” became a major tome, with a master list of 501 buildings, 25 essays, and more than 300 archival photos. Yes, there’s more to Long Island architecture than suburban sprawl.

Go here to read the whole illuminating interview.

I Do Madoo

THERE’S NOT A BORING SPOT ANYWHERE at Madoo, artist Robert Dash’s garden, 46 years in the making, on two Sagaponack acres. Quirky, playful, and stuffed, in a good way, with ideas for plantings, hardscaping, and garden structures, I had ‘saved’ Madoo — put off a proper visit as I sometimes stall on finishing a book I’m savoring because I don’t want it to be over. I’ve lived on the East End of Long Island for more than three years now, but I wanted Madoo, which I knew I would love, to be something I still had to look forward to.

Finally, I did Madoo (I’ll do it again, of course, but the first time is special). My garden-designer friend Mary-Liz Campbell and I made a late-season visit yesterday, spending well over an hour wending our way through the multi-roomed garden, taking in the confident plantings, well-tended but not overly manicured, deployed in original, unusual ways. More than once I thought of Sissinghurst.

Madoo is open Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 4PM, May 15-September 15 only, so hurry. Admission is $10. The end-of-season cocktail party is Saturday, September 15, 5-7PM; no charge to Madoo members, non-members $30.