The Aesthete

Boff, Marry, Kill: The Hamptons, Part I

The Aesthete decides what you should and shouldn't do in the Hamptons this summer so that you don't have to

by Alexandra Peers

We know well what’s wrong with the Hamptons. At its worst, you drive 110 miles and three hours to run into the same people you see all the time, only snobbier, and with their leg hair showing. But at its best, it makes you feel, with its wide-open spaces, dizzying menu of cultural events and its sweet beaches, like you’ve gotten a million miles away.

So, how to navigate the slew of parties, author readings, meditation classes, benefits, club openings, performances, dinners and polo matches? Enter Boff. Marry. Kill. This triumvirate of choices, a game played in college and immortalized on 30 Rock, helps you triage between options. We looked at each weekend’s events to determine which we'd bed (sheer fun), which are worth marrying (classic quality) and which we'd skip (because there’s a lot not worth the traffic).

Missing are the tough personal invites (but if Spielberg is having you for barbecue, ask us along). Instead, we’re rating the events that any good New York operators can, by dint of checkbook, cohorts or charm, likely schmooze their way into. Enjoy.

Friday, July 5th through Sunday, July 7th

Marry: Pick your diva—Liza Minnelli and Audra McDonald are at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center and Guild Hall this weekend, respectively.

Kill: The Maidstone Club. This old-money institution on East Hampton’s main drag will be packed and preppy this patriotic weekend; pick another time (if you can even get in) to rub shoulders with the swells.


Friday, July 12th through Sunday, July 14th

Boff: The Southampton Writers Conference. U.S. poet Laureate Billy Collins, Garry Trudeau, Alan Alda and Tom Wolfe are just some of the writers who have lectured here as part of the smart-as-a-whip summer program. Enrolling in a week of classes may be beyond you time-wise, but performances and readings are often open to the public. 

Kill: Shelter Island House Tour. This is a great event, and we love Shelter Island. Stay off it; the fewer visitors the better.


Friday, July 19th through Sunday, July 21st

Boff: The James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne. Pretty much a guaranteed great time, this is a benefit for culinary school students where name chefs try to out-do each other serving high-quality snacks. Wine free-flows like a river. (And if you can sneak your way into the chef’s mostly-secret party at Southampton’s Oso Restaurant the same weekend, that’s even more fun.)

Marry: The LongHouse Reserve Gala. An East Hampton arts institution, this quiet refuge offers gorgeous greenery, a spectacular sculpture garden and regular meditation classes. Well worth supporting.


Friday, July 26th through Sunday, July 28th

Marry: Super Saturday 16 is something of a flea market with top fashion designer goods, plus a slew of celebs shopping for them. This is also one of the few major events that benefits ovarian cancer research—and it’s heady fun.

Kill: By this weekend, many restaurants will be packed. Forget the wait at the bar for a table at Nobu Southampton and try the sushi at Sag Harbor’s Sen, a favorite of local summer resident and Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert. 


Friday, August 2nd through Sunday, August 4th

Marry: Southampton Hospital Annual Gala. Don your jewels: The toniest of all the benefits (Douglas Elliman and Jean Shafiroff chair) is for an indisputably good cause. This raises seven figures and draws more than 1,000 guests.

Kill: The Perlman Music Program. You want music? Go to Tanglewood this weekend, when Stravinsky, Ravel and Beethoven are spotlighted.


Photo credits:

Eric Firestone Gallery: Eric Firestone Gallery
Parrish Art Museum: Hufton + Crow
Havens House Barn: Shelter Island Historical Society
The Watermill Center: Patrick McMullan
Montauk Playhouse: James Katsipis