America’s current economic woes have finally reached that seasonal haunt of the idle/ self-idolized rich and famous: the Hamptons, where the ghosts of Jay Gatsby and his Daisy forever play. Despite the fact that hard times in that privileged land of devil-may-care displays would be as detectable as costume jewelry in a Tiffany’s show window, the “recession, Hamptons style” has somehow arrived nevertheless.

Reduced prices are the most insidious symptom of hard times in privileged lands; especially when places like the Hamptons at the height of their season are charging off-season prices. Something’s wrong when a lobster salad that went for $100 in summers past is now $40. The hotels and inns are booked due to drastic price reductions of their own. But even though they’re saving on where they lodge and where they dine, tourists are spending far less at stores now offering discounted merchandise. And while real-estate sales are up, in most cases they’re up because prices are down.

And yet, the rich and famous still flock. Madonna moved into her house on Lily Pond Lane, and Lady Gaga might be out later this month, renting. A woman from Tampa spent $500,000 for a two-week rental and didn’t even look embarrassed talking about it on The Joy Behar Show. The earliest you can get a table at Nick & Toni’s on a Saturday night is 10:45 p.m. Revlon’s Ron Perelman gave his annual July Fourth Gala at the Creeks, where he again played drums with Jon Bon Jovi, and Lally Weymouth gave herself another sit-down birthday dinner at her Southampton estate, with guests invited three months in advance.

Where is F. Scott Fitzgerald when you need him in this day of cockeyed riches and facile fame? He’d probably be writing about it all over again, but from a safe distance this time around…probably from a brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where the children of a lesser if equally absurd god reside.

Daily Intel



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