It's Memorial Day Weekend, and that means the beginning of Jim Rutenberg's enviable summer-long post in the Hamptons. For his first story, the New York Times' hard-hitting national political journalist has applied the reportorial skills he brought to the 2012 election to an age-old "Styles" section question: Who exactly belongs in the Hamptons? According to Rutenberg, this season's debate has an especially topical twist. "Some residents are fearing that the shift in the societal order could be made worse this year by a new wave of partyers from New Jersey, driven north by rebuilding efforts at their own rowdy beaches," he writes. As is often in the case, the people willing to address this kind of issue on the record do so "with only half-mock horror."
"With the devastation of Sandy, we’re all a little nervous," said one Hamptons woman, Dayna Winter, who was sure to note that she didn't "want to come across as snooty" about the prospect of sharing a beach with Snooki. David E. Rattray, the third-generation editor of the East Hampton Star, told Rutenberg, "To us it’s one big blur of people from 'away.' That fear of Snooki thing may be the last people in pulling the ladder up behind them." It seems those fears are not unfounded: "Some local real estate agents have been approached by more young people than usual who are looking into share houses. Kieran Brew, a real estate agent, reported getting calls from people 'who got washed-out of the Jersey Shore,' adding, 'I don’t want to get anywhere near that sort of thing.'" And this doesn't even take Sandy's effect on the already-increasing numbers of "less obviously moneyed" day-trippers into account.
As the New York Daily News reports, Snooki, who is actually a Long Island native, was greeted less-than-warmly by Governor Chris Christie at the reopening of the Sandy-damaged Seaside Heights boardwalk yesterday. The negative interaction probably wasn't enough to drive her off the Shore permanently (Christie is a longtime critic), but perhaps it will inspire her to make the premise of this trend piece a reality for at least part of the summer.