I feel like such a princess saying this, but I really wish we were still at my mom's summer home on the end of Long Island. There seems to be a proportional rate of holiday happiness: high happiness level = great sadness when it ends. So I've made this post as a kind of consolation prize to myself - memories of two different summer events, in the hope that this one isn't quite over, just yet. Click here, as per usual, for your sound track:
I took the surf shots in the Dominican Republic, last summer, with one of my best friends, Annie, and her young boys (her husband was back home in Connecticut at the time). The restaurant shots are from the Surf Lodge, on the end of Long Island, Montauk, with another best friend, since childhood: Sherri. We were with HER two kids, Lana and Brandon - now grown - while Marc, also a childhood friend, worked in NY. (Confused yet? Try it with jet lag).
When we were teenagers, our parties were like secret clubs that moved around depending on whose parents were away. Since my parents tended to travel with us (except when they went to Russia and China - oh and Brazil, come to think of it).. well, I just didn't have parties when my parents were away. But the ones that did.. total chaos, total scene. Even without the use of cell phones, twitter, internet, no technology apart from landlines, somehow word would get out and you'd see tons of cars lined up alone one particular street.*
That's what the Surf Lodge was like. Quiet, chilled out Montauk - the beach town of my youth - was suddenly lined on a back road with expensive cars and this old motel, while the same architecturally, was transformed. And a big white clapboard building that wasn't anything special had the words 'the surf lodge' spaced out in san serif type... something was definitely up. And the music. And just the.. attitude.
*(I ONCE tried to have a party: my parents, bless them, went to see a film, and I ended up ditching the party - left it in the hands of my friends - and went for a bicycle ride with my friend Marc - bizarrely, now Sherri's husband - and came back to find that my parents had come home, and the party had fizzled out. The end of my party planning career: it's just not my thing).
I love what they did with the place, actually. Very much my taste. I couldn't get good shots at night without flash, so click here to get an idea. Since I don't follow American TV I've been oblivious to the story of a Sicilian-American chef from Charlotte, North Carolina named Sam Talbot, best known as a semi-finalist on Season 2 of Bravo's Top Chef.
Lana had gone to the place earlier in the summer, when she'd stayed in Montauk for the weekend and her friends had met a guy, also named Mark. He and his friend took them there - knew everyone - paid the $1000 tab - and while this place is booked up a month in advance, that night he had made the reservation for us.
Except, when we arrived, the girl at the door said no, go away. We went to the bar - I bought them drinks, $38 USD for three drinks in plastic cups - and Lana made a few calls. Next thing we know, the same girl was all over her new BFF Lana, and we had the best table: on the water, centre stage. The chef himself, Sam, came out to greet us (top right, above).
The food is good: tuna tartare on little crispy bits, with wasabi, and the freshest lobster roll - an expensive take on the old fast food of childhood summers - and fresh crab with popcorn and bluberries (all local produce, but a bit of an acquired taste for me). The crowd was.. I think I'm spoiled in London, frankly: I just think the style here is more individual, more confident, better. I saw lots of hats on girls, and yes there was the smell of money in the air (this place is not cheap) but apart from Sherri, Lana and Brandon - who sported a long sleeved aqua fitted tee and white jeans, (when I asked if he'd been there before and chose his outfit accordingly, he smiled and said yes)..
I know what it is: NY style - and that extends all the way to the end of the Island - is safer, I feel, than London. I'd forgotten what it's like - that hysteria to get into the latest exclusive place - in London, places are cool, but anyone can go there, if they know where to go. I know I'm generalising, but then again, I don't go to NY for street shooting - I go to swim, and hang out, and see friends.
Which is what I did, that night. And a year ago, with Annie and the boys and Norris, the wonderful nanny from the villa, who became a friend, on the beach. And now, enough chit chat, we're off to Hampstead. And we're dressing warm.