Wall Street’s woes have humbled the Hamptons this year—at least for the Americans. But, like Soho overwhelmed with scruffy bargain-hunting foreign tourists, the East End is filling with higher-end Euros bearing euros, encouraged by the very favorable exchange rate.
“Real estate in the Hamptons is especially strong among Europeans,” says Neal Sroka, president and COO of Douglas Elliman Worldwide. “It’s more reasonable for them to buy or rent in the estate section of Southampton than in Saint-Tropez, Cap Ferrat, or Cap d’Antibes.” His firm, with a complement of multilingual agents, will take its Hamptons property file on a road show to Moscow and Monte Carlo starting in September.
So many Europeans are visiting the area that restaurants like Nello Summertime and Annona, among other Hamptons retail outlets, are accepting payment in euros. And bottle-service-loving Wall Streeters are being supplanted by free-spending continentals. “At about midnight, if a bottle-service table is available, I’ll auction it off,” says Michael Satsky, owner of East Hampton’s Lily Pond. “The Europeans will get into a bidding war, and it’ll end up like $6,000 for the table. Without a blink, they pull out the credit card. You can spot them when they come in, because they are more dressed up than Hampton regulars. They are the ones in the Gucci and Prada.” And not worrying about losing their jobs as the U.S. slips into a recession.