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Nine Ways to Get to the Hamptons

It's a Friday afternoon in the summer, and somewhere east of Mastic there's a margarita with your name on it. But before the weekend can officially begin, you need to get there from here.

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Updated June 2005; Originally published in the 2002 Summer issue of New York Magazine

1. Helicopter
Sound Aircraft Services (631-537-2202 or 800-443-0031; one-way fare is $475; 45 minutes) departs on Fridays from the Wall Street heliport at 5:15 p.m. and returns from East Hampton airport at 7:45 a.m. on Monday. There's a five-passenger maximum, so book early. Also available: five-person chartered helicopters for $2,500 each way.

2. Yellow Cab
Yes, it's been done. Taxi rides beyond the city limits are negotiated—try to talk him down to under $350.

3. Blimp
Right now, the only customers the Lightship Group (407-363-7777) has are corporate advertisers. But think about it: For roughly $200,000 a month (three-month minimum), this ride can be yours. It would take three hours to get to East Hampton Airport at a cruising speed of 32 mph, carries four passengers (or two parents and two children), and is at your disposal 24/7. Price includes crew, maintenance, helium, hangar fees, and hotel accommodations for the ground crew. And it lights up at night. Oh, the amenities! For more information, visit lightships.com.

4. Speedboat
No one in the city rents high-performance speedboats for more than a day, but for $22,000 you can buy your own twenty-one foot long Yamaha LX210 from Staten Island Kawasaki (718-447-2020). Weather permitting, you can hit speeds of up to 60 mph and be in Hampton Bays in under two hours.

5. Rail
Still the cheapest and least likely to incur delays. The LIRR Montauk Line makes five daily trips (718-217-5477 or 631-231-5477; round-trip fare is $40 peak, $29 off-peak; two hours and 40 minutes to Southampton). FYI: The Cannonball Express departs Penn Station at 3:58 p.m. on Fridays and gets you there in two hours. Reserving a seat (718-558-8070) costs $32 ($17.50 seat charge; $14.50 ticket). For more information, visit mta.info

6. Bus
This can take anywhere from an hour and a half during off-peak times to three and a half hours or more during the rush hours. There are two rival services now. Hampton Luxury Liner (631-537-5800, hamptonluxuryliner.com; $32 one-way, $60 round-trip; daily), the new kid on the L.I.E., is positioning itself as a first-class alternative to the Hampton Jitney. The buses are the same size, but with half the number of passengers there's more legroom, and every row has its own TV screen for the in-transit movie. On the Jitney (631-283-4600 or 800-936-0440, hamptonjitney.com; round-trip fare is $47; twenty-four trips daily) you can bring a pet, in a lap-size carry case, for a $10 fee. The Jitney's Ambassador Service offer leather seats, more legroom and an attendant serving complimentary refreshments and snacks ($35 one-way, $60 round-trip).

7. Limo
Starlight Limousine service (800-800-7440, starlightlimo.com) offers a '33 Packard that fits four for $700 plus gratuity and tolls each way. Not impressive enough? Its 35-foot Hummer can bring you and twenty friends out over the traffic for $1500 plus gratuity and tolls one way. Bob Marc Limousine (631-586-2490, bobmarclimo.com) charges $850 one way for a eighteen-person Escalade limo with three flat-screen TVs and DVD players.

8. Seaplane
Pack light (most folks bring only a book or newspaper) and absolutely no hidden golf clubs—apparently this is a big issue (there's a 20 lbs max.) and the crew has gotten quite good at uncovering hidden woods and irons. Sound Aircraft Services (631-537-2202 or 800-443-0031; one-way fare is $375; 45 minutes to East Hampton Airport) has three departures on Thursday (3, 5, 7 p.m.) and four on Friday (1, 3, 5, 7 p.m.) from the East 23rd Street floating marina, and two returns late Sunday afternoon (4:30 and 6:30 p.m.) and two on Monday morning (7:30 and 9:15 a.m.)from East Hampton Airport. Planes max out at nine passengers, so reserve early.

9. Chartered Helicopter
You can charter your own whirlybird through Helicopter Flight Services (888-933-5969, www.heliny.com). The Bell 206 Long Ranger carries six people with light luggage and costs $2610, plus landing fee, each way to East Hampton Airport. Another outfit, Liberty Helicopter Tours (888-692-4354, libertyhelicopters.com), charters a six-person A-Star for $2500 each way; and you're welcome to bring booze onboard.


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