Getting to the Hamptons Can Be Pretty Stressful

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Almost there.
Almost there. Photo: Bloomberg/2011 Bloomberg

With a trio of (class) warring articles on the different modes of transport one can use to get from the city to the Hamptons, the New York Times  has pointed out something that every New Yorker already knows: Regardless of the destination, public transportation can be crowded and unpleasant, and the presence of drunk people makes it that much worse. 

Take, for example, the Long Island Railroad's Montauk Branch, which moves 8,000 to 12,000 people "out East" every Friday in the summer. Because the LIRR allows alcohol onboard, it attracts a particularly aggressive brand of weekend warrior. As one traveler told the paper, "It begins at Penn Station. You grab a little breakfast, and then you start boozing." Another explained that the bottle or so of sparkling wine she'd consumed on the train made the three-hour trip "feel more like vacay." And if you're sober?

Some riders carve islands of civility amid the packs of partyers. On the Friday train that carried the Johnsons, Hunter Brooks and Nevin Shetty, both 28, sat with a wooden chessboard balanced between them on their knees. “Do you have to party on a train?” Mr. Brooks said. “It’s nice to have a conversation.”

That was definitely a minority opinion. “We’re going there to have a good time,” Conor Tennyson, 21, said. “People probably do feel some sort of way about us — us being, maybe, hooligans.”

Meanwhile, on the (more expensive) Jitney, things are slower, both literally and figuratively — the bus is at the mercy of deadlocked Long Island Expressway traffic, but there's no BOB option. (The Ambassador line, which costs $5 more than the regular Jitney, does provide wine.) Still, there's always the chance of getting stuck next to another flawed human. "They should hand out Xanax," said one Jitney-goer, before providing this harrowing tale: 

She said she had been sandwiched between two women whom the attendant recognized as regular passengers.

One woman asked for two snacks. The attendant said no. The woman asked for two newspapers: The New York Times and Dan’s Papers. The attendant said she could have one or the other, not both.

“That was the woman in front of me,” Ms. Kirchhausen said. “The woman in back of me was quiet for a little while, then says to the woman next to her, ‘So what do you do?’ The woman says, ‘Real estate.’ That’s all the woman in back of me needed: ‘Oh, so my husband was thinking about buying on the Upper West Side. Do you think that’s a good idea? What about the East Side?’ She talked nonstop.”

The gist? Just take a helicopter. For a $567-per-person fee, airborne weekenders can be at the beach in 45 minutes, plus they get an invaluable "moment for gloating" as they pass over the aforementioned clogged highway at 2,500 feet. The more you know!