Friday Night Fever

Most things out on the South Fork are pretty much the way you left them last Labor Day – that is, if you discount the scores of raw neo-old mansions now blocking yesterday’s views. Route 27 remains a cruel joke, as do real-estate and restaurant prices. There are still the extraordinary beaches, the hallucinatory light, the vestiges of true rural charm. But every spring, there appears a flotilla of sparkling-new restaurants, stores, clubs, and inns where the chic restaurants, stores, clubs, and inns of yore docked previously. Discovering them is, for the most part, a welcome distraction. As are new home renters and owners Katie Couric, Helmut Lang, Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, and Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid, all attempting to assimilate into the increasingly fragile egosystem.

Before planting even one Clergerie sandal on the Jitney, eligible candidates ages 15 to 70 are asking their doctors to order LYMErix, the brand-new vaccine against Lyme disease. The first two injections are given a month apart; the third comes a year later, when immunity is 79 percent complete. The trio (including the actual doctor visits) can run you as much as $250, and for about two days after each injection, it will feel as though a deer nipped your biceps. But it’s better than having to wear socks with your flip-flops when you step outside to snip the price tag off that new Japanese zelkova tree.

If you’re not vacationing with your usual hive of staff, check out the Website, which is offering unlimited concierge service for the season to the first 100 people who sign up; the fee is $1,000. Specific jobs cost $75, and tips and favors cost a minimum of $7.50 for every ten minutes spent catering to your whims. Hamptons Survival Guide author and publisher Philip Keith says he will find you a maid, order the salmon, deliver the champagne, and “get you into the best events and book you into the hottest restaurants.” It may not be as flashy as having live-in help, but remember, a virtual butler can never write a tell-all book about you.

The Website is also hoping to click with the prosperous populace by offering some similar shopping services. Author Steven Gaines, who has partnered up with Hamptons Online owner Robert Florio (no relation to the Condé Nast Florios), is betting that those who liked his best-seller Philistines at the Hedgerow will want to read more of the same in his regular columns, which promise to be a cross between Matt Drudge and Samuel Pepys. Not in place yet are beach and traffic cams that promise real-time footage of the suntanned and the stalled. Rona Jaffe will be advising e-mailers on “noisy neighbors and wandering husbands,” she says, and there will be tips on hot for-sale properties.

One of the conveniences of the soon-to-be refurbished Inn at Quogue is that the Jitney stops at the front door (47-52 Quogue Street; 516-653-6560). Disembark here, even if you aren’t an overnight guest, as Alison Becker Hurt has opened a restaurant inside. Based on her track record (Alison on Dominick in the city, Alison by the Beach in Sagaponack), Alison in the Inn at Quogue (52 Quogue Street; 516-653-6800) will surely be double-parked with youngish big wheels dining out on American country bistro or a separate menu in the bar. The 70-room inn is being renovated by Scott Sanders, a consultant for Ralph Lauren, with the brand-new rooms (starting at $300 a night in the Main House and $200 in the outbuildings) being allowed to rejoin the rest of the flock as they are finished. Landscape credit will go to Mecox Gardens, the Ralph Lauren of South Fork shrubbery.

They’re not going for the Instant English Ancestor look at the Atlantic; the boutique motel is more Jetsons than Masterpiece Theatre and will open for business on July 1 where the Sandpiper Resort once stood (1655 County Road 39; 516-287-0908). What the answering-machine message describes as “a utopia-lifestyle inn” is restaurateur Jeff Salaway’s latest acquisition; Salaway already owns Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton and on the Upper West Side and also runs the new Colina near Union Square. Salaway and his two partners are filling the rooms on this four-and-a-half-acre property with custom-made stainless-steel-and-white-maple furniture. A large pool and two tennis courts are other inn rarities that you’ll spring for: $220 to $290 per weekend night and $140 to $210 weeknights. Salaway seems well on his way to becoming the Ian Schrager of Suffolk County; he’s keeping his eye out for other local lodgings.

The Southampton Inn (91 Hill Street; 516-283-6500), however, is already spoken for. Under new ownership, it has been the recipient of an eighteen-month, $5 million makeover, so it no longer resembles an aging Best Western. The hotel now features an octagonal gazebo room with fireplace, a wraparound deck, a technologically correct conference center, a new phone system with data ports, an elevator, and a children’s playroom. Among the 90 pastel-palette rooms are four “magnificent, extra-special ones,” says co-owner Dede Gotthelf; they were designed by Paloma Picasso, decorator-author Chris Madden, and Nicole Miller. Of course, their cost is extra-special, too (starting at $349 per night), but a portion of the fee goes to a pediatric aids charity. (Regular rooms start at $229 weekends and $149 midweek through June; after Memorial Day, they start at $329 weekends, $179 midweek.)

The town of Southampton, which has no intention of becoming a summertime Fort Lauderdale, is now targeting its nocturnally active teenyboppers. The town council passed a resolution imploring the State Liquor Authority to sandbag clubs spilling over with underage drinkers, meaning that places like Conscience Point, Flying Point, and Jet East stand to become less rowdy halls.

In the meantime, club owners and promoters have been playing musical banquettes. Party pusher Mark Baker, at one time associated with Conscience Point, is now point man for Life at Tavern (125 Tuckahoe Lane; 516-287-2125), the post-merger name for what happened when the crew from last year’s Life assumed part of Tavern’s summer lease. Look for house music, a new D.J. booth, and what Baker hopes will be a well-toned and generally tonier over-21 crowd.

Baker sneeringly describes competitor Conscience Point (1976 North Sea Road; 516-204-0600) as “a nightclub in a box”; the new owners there are keeping the kids off the terrace, sealing them up inside newly soundproofed walls. Naturally, the Conscience Point people see things differently. They’re proud of their Cynthia Rowley-redecorated-and-downsized dance club. There’s no VIP room here, probably because the crowd is too young to have spawned many fitting that description. Consultant Andrew Sasson works both sides of North Sea Road. Last summer, Tommy Mottola, Chris Rock, and Leonardo DiCaprio all taxied into his other club, Jet East (1181 North Sea Road; 516-283-0808), where the lounge has since been revamped with a big new bed to crash on and thick new curtains for Leo to hide behind.

When the VIP room palls, steer the Mercedes CLK320 Cabriolet in the direction of Amazonia, a Southampton churrascaria at 450 Montauk Highway (no phone yet; open July 4) that will serve until 2 a.m. on weekends. Local caterer Janet O’Brien (who fed the hip-hop hordes jerk chicken last August at Puff Daddy’s “white” party) and her husband, João Garcia, Boom’s last chef, must have felt that the land of pink paisley pants and the blondes-only Bathing Association could use some Latin fire. Garcia will slice chicken or prime Brazilian beef off the skewer right at your table, but the Anglo-friendly menu also includes burgers, fish, and a salad bar.

If you’ve had trouble finding just the right antique copper church steeple to gussy up the guest house, you may be relieved to hear that Privet Cove (41 Jobs Lane; 516-287-5685) happens to have one in stock at the moment. This new alleyway shop carries an eclectic assortment of antiques ranging from folk art to formal highboys to rustic, peeling country pieces, with lots of garden stuff, like a High Deco urn, outside.

Across the street, the venerable Boot Tree has been supplanted by Jildor (30 Job’s Lane; 516-283-2450), a shoe store so like its predecessor that you wonder why they bothered; a men’s Boot Tree remains at the back of the store. If you’re from Great Neck or Cedarhurst, you can save yourself a trip and buy your Stubbs & Wooten knockoffs at the Jildors there.

Down the road, Biba Kids (89 Jobs Lane; 516-287-7045) is a tiny spore from the Biba’s women’s-fashion shops in South and East Hampton, with clothes to fit infants through size 10. A child-scale seating area with vivid poufy couches and a colorful mural will placate the kids for, oh, at least four minutes. The Children’s Museum of the East End (516-537-8250) is renting space this summer at 71 Hill Street. Recently founded by Bridget LeRoy (daughter of Warner) and Beatrice Alda (daughter of Alan), the museum offers children under 10 hands-on activities like a magnetic fishing pond and “reach-in discovery boxes.” The displays all relate to the South Fork, though no dioramas featuring extinct poor people have been planned so far.

There are no more piles of junky T-shirts at 98 Main Street; instead, you’ll find the ubiquitous $425 to $525 pashmina shawls at the high-end women’s boutique Touché Couture (516-287-9660) – it gets a little brisk in the seafront saltbox at night. Alligator- and ostrich-skin belts, purses, and shoes are an unexpected detour onto Rodeo Drive.

Water Mill
At the Water Mill Shoppes – anchored by ye olde Blockbuster Video – Aesthetics Home Furnishings (760 Montauk Highway; 516-726-5381) is new to the colonies. Proprietor Richard Tutching has an eye for decently priced antiques and contemporary imports. So no jokes about being taken to the cleaners, even if there is a new one (Water Mill Village Cleaner; 516-726-6400) in this same miniplex. Here in the craw of the Water Mill traffic bottleneck, you may wish you were spending August in New England. Enter the Vermont Farmer’s Market (516-726-5396), complete with a real Vermont barn and sugarhouse; fresh produce is a natural extension of the giftware-and-candle product line.

If you were the chef-owner of a restaurant named after a wife you’d since divorced, it would be understandable that you’d be eager to name a new place after yourself. Robert’s (755 Montauk Highway; 516-726-7171) sign now hangs where Jenny’s used to be. But Jenny wasn’t married to Robert Durkin; his ex is Karen Lee of the eponymous, highly respected Bridgehampton restaurant that’s now defunct. Durkin will be sending out “Italian coastal upscale” cuisine (translation: lots of expensive fish and pasta).

The new Inn at Box Farm (78 Mecox Road; 516-726-9507) is an intelligently preserved seventeenth-century farmhouse on the National Trust for Historic Preservation list. Five airy bedrooms, most with fireplaces, all with central air, TV, and Hermès toiletries, are furnished with country antiques so distressed, they’re probably on Prozac. The Garden Room has a view of a neighbor’s beautiful pond; Jackie Onassis rode horses here as a little girl. Loquacious innkeeper Craig Hanzelka, a former pastry chef at Nick & Toni’s, makes the croissants and muffins served with each morning’s Continental breakfast.The price ($250 a night) and the proximity to the highway are this idyll’s downside – even if hedges do an admirable job of muffling the noise.

Peconika is the first and only Hamptons vodka, made from potatoes harvested on Ludlow farm; be the first on your cul-de-sac to try it in your Cosmopolitan. It will cost about $23 at Amagansett Wine & Spirits and Wines by Morrell in East Hampton. (God knows what they’ll be charging for a shot at restaurants like Della Femina, Peconic Coast, or the Laundry.) Or, better yet, invent your own indigenous product. Think of the possibilities: Shelter Island deerskin bags. Georgica goose pâté. Eau de Bonaker. Cavernous Caldor in the Bridgehampton Commons is still awaiting a new tenant (although word is it’s being turned into an extra closet for the Rennert family).

Lisan & Co., the importers of painted furniture and cheery home accessories with a warehouse on Butter Lane, decided they’d give TJ Maxx shoppers another reason to live. The store in the Commons (42 Snake Hollow Road; 516-537-1260) is a fine place to find moderately priced teak steamer chairs and Balinese tchotchkes to replace your summer landlord’s unraveling wicker living-room set and Hummel-figurine collection.

In town, last year’s head chef at Bobby Van’s has crossed the street to cook global Italian at the affordable World Pie, an Italian saloon with indoor and outdoor seating (2402 Montauk Highway; 516-537-7999). World Pie is owned by the Mannino family, which also owns O’Mally’s in Amagansett and Noyac. It’s a reminder the Manninos have red sauce in their veins. So is the boccie court outside.

The space at 2495 Main Street has had more incarnations than the Dalai Lama. Replacing the Bridgehampton Café is Henry’s (516-537-5665), and Paul DelFavero, once executive chef at Nick & Toni’s, is master of the Franco-American menu here, with $20 to $30 entrées like lamb-shank-with-white-bean cassoulet. Buttery-yellow walls and Provençal-fabric-covered banquettes cozy up the place. People are wondering if DelFavero will draw the same demographic of stars and chiropodists he nourished at his last post. If you can get a reservation at Henry’s this weekend, it means the jury’s still out.

On the other side of the street, the old Bridgehampton National Bank space will once again be filled with the aroma of fresh money, which now smells just like over-priced caffé latte. An ambivalently awaited Starbucks is finally on its way. If the rumored Barnes & Noble ever actually opens next to Carvel in Bridgehampton, Route 27 will have finally completed its transition into Columbus Avenue with sand.

Meanwhile, all the colossal new houses will require truckloads of believable heirloom furnishings. The Design Studio, which opened last winter in the vacated Kitchen Classics store at 2393 Main Street (516-537-1999), is full of antidotes to eye-glazing shabby chic and knotted pine. Among the custom furniture, antiques, and fancy fabrics are nineteenth-century painted Chinese rice barrels that won’t be found on e-Bay.

The idea of a Hamptons thrift shop had become oxymoronic, which is why the one at 2442 Main Street gave way to Comerford Hennessy at Home (516-537-6200). Karen Comerford designs the modern hardwood furniture, and her husband, Michael Hennessy, builds it. They also sell accessories for that $3,500 seven-foot-long walnut dinner table. Don’t know enough people to fill the seats? That’s why publicists were invented.

Suzanne and Michael Wudyka, the midwestern couple who just bought the Bridgehampton Motel from Alexis Stewart and have renamed it the Enclave Inn (2668 Montauk Highway; 516-537-0197), weren’t fans of her stark South Beach style. The Wudykas have slathered the exterior with mocha paint and removed all traces of irony by installing blinds and area rugs in the rooms (which still come with cable TV, VCRs, and air-conditioning and share a heated pool). Even though the price has skittered downward, the $199-per-weekend-night rate remains more Miami than Michigan.

Balkanization is in the salty Sagaponack air, with some villagers seeking secession from Southampton Town. Still furious at the town for signing off on Ira Rennert’s 66,000-square-foot seafront caprice, they’re unfazed by the notion that Rennert’s staff of 25 or 30 could control elections if their tiny village incorporates. Residents are also bummed by the FOR SALE sign in front of Doug’s Vegetable Patch farm stand. At least Sunshine, Cloud, Flurry, and Sky – the South Fork’s last dairy cows – were saved when their home on Kominski’s farm off Sagg Road was sold; neighbor Christian Wölffer of Sagpond Vinyards agreed to acquire the bovine refugees for his cheese-making operation. Flurry’s Sagpond Farmstead Swiss-style cheese goes for $15 a pound at the vineyards (139 Sagg Road; 516-537-5106) and is stocked by Loaves & Fishes and such city restaurants as Union Pacific and Picholine.

Sag Harbor
The much-anticipated summer-traffic perma-jam in Sag Harbor is not to be: The Chinese puzzle of a roundabout at the end of the turnpike is being scrapped for a “smart light” that can sense how many cars are at a standstill in all directions. Renovation of the North Haven Bridge is beginning shortly, but traffic will not be squeezed into a single lane until after Labor Day.

David Loewenberg, who was the front man at Bridgehampton’s 95 School Street in its salad days, and Kirk Basnight, his partner at Southampton’s Red/Bar Brasserie, have acquired a great room with a view: the former Water St. Café, renamed The Beacon (8 West Water Street; 516-725-7088). Diners will get a cinematographer’s sunset along with their fruits de mer. Chef Paul LaBue is yet another graduate of the Nick & Toni’s culinary institute, which means he’s comfortable making things like soy-glazed salmon with sesame-cucumber slaw and rock-shrimp hash.

Sugar Reef (21 West Water Street; 516-725-7500) has swallowed the old Sunset Café across from the marina, as well as Boom bistro, which went bust. The barbecue-seafood menu will be casual and the ambience St. Barthic. Otis Day & the Knights and the Wailers are among the performers slated to appear in the big room next door.

Other Sag Harbor Main Street bulletins: Citron has been empty since Jimmy Buffett bought the building. It’s rumored he’ll use the upstairs for his own offices and guest quarters. Harbor Rose is also vacant. Zinnia (Main Street at Long Island Avenue; 516-725-1711) has filled the former Hat Box with sportswear to cart back to the waiting yacht.

Hedges, selling chic home accoutrements from Italy and Provence, has set up shop (127 Main Street; 516-725-8255) across from Fisher’s antiques; it seems inconceivable that this whaling village survived so long without $140 handmade Italian pewter butter dishes and toile de Jouy breakfast trays.

Estia’s Little Kitchen has moved into the blue-collar-but-beloved Tony’s Coffee Shop (1615 Sag Harbor Turnpike; 516-725-1045), and the seats are now filled by gay architects, cranky journos, and abfab expressionists. It’s a diminutive branch of Estia in Amagansett, where Alec Baldwin snacks on Big Al’s burrito while rereading his latest letter in the East Hampton Star. Open for breakfast through late lunch, this is a fine place to eat your egg-white omelet and critique the Sunday-morning media baseball game at Mashashimuet Park.

Shelter Island
It may not have the Balaszian cachet of Sunset Beach, but the Med-Mex cooking promised by the Lucida Roadhouse (85 North Ferry Road, on Route 114; 516-749-1900) on Shelter Island makes it a logical tapas-and-margarita pit stop after an afternoon spent on an Hermès beach towel at the bay.

Over in Wainscott Village, Georgina Fairholme and Company (342 Montauk Highway; 516-537-3732) is the new home-accessories shop with enough cachepots and needlepoint pillows to gratify an ambitious house guest’s entire roster of summer hostesses. Praying hands form the base of a pair of bedside lamps in the window. (If you exit turning right, pray you don’t provoke the police car hiding off Wainscott Harbor Road.)

East Hampton
Customers who recognize Lars Bolander’s taste in aristocratic rarities are not the types who fall into tag sales. They will find his European-antiques shop newly relocated from behind East Hampton Village to behind the Red Horse Market (Red Horse Plaza; 74 Montauk Highway; 516-329-3400).

Zizzi Balooba (47 Montauk Highway; 516-329-9821), which opened last November across from the Red Horse Market, is the kind of casual place that thanks God it’s Friday with free buffalo wings, quesadillas, and local-band jams. The pack of Gen-Xers who can afford the cheap fajitas, pizzas, burgers, and pastas will doubtless get the Pee-wee Herman reference.

Loving Touches, the Hallmark-named high-end decorating store that was in Wainscott, is also on this side of Route 27 (65 Montauk Highway; 516-329-8700) with a new lighting wing. Next door is the new Antique & Furniture Factory (65 Montauk Highway; 516-329-3344), with Adirondack chairs, mirrors, and antique pieces that render this swath of the highway a one-stop home-shopping network.

The tiny Quiet Clam has metamorphosed into Nichol’s (100 Montauk Highway; 516-324-3939), a funky hangout with two patios open from breakfast through dinner and two satellite TVs – this is where you head to watch the Yankees when it starts to rain on Main Beach. The new owners got used to cooking quesadillas and chimichangas when they lived in the Southwest. The best part for us: raw clams and oysters, burgers, and lobsters priced under $20. The best part for them? No more Arizona summers.

On Main Street in East Hampton, the sound of shuffling credit cards was a siren call that Cartier heard in France: At the end of June, a trial branch will move into 48 Main Street (no phone yet) with a new jewelry collection called Paris Nouvelle Vague and a less-stuffy store design Cartier hopes will attract those who don’t think twice about picking up a new bauble with their Dreesen’s doughnuts. The life expectancy of an East Hampton store is the same as that of a Georgica Pond-born mosquito; Main Street’s short-lived Andrew Marc store has made way for M-A-G (75 Main Street; 516-329-8095), where high-end knitwear, separates, and cashmere pieces begin at around $220. Kenar’s moment in the UV rays has been similarly curtailed; French chain store Blanc Bleu (53 Main Street; 516-329-2552) has stocked the space’s roomy first floor with classic French sportswear like cotton cable-knit sweaters in white, blue, beige, and gray. It’s exactly what you’d be wearing in St.-Tropez this very moment if only you’d invested in AOL or An upstairs art gallery displaying on-their-way-up French artists attempts to elevate the shopping experience for otherwise material girls. (A second, smaller store is also opening in Westhampton.) Pick up your thank-you notes at Hamptons Cards and Gifts in the store that was White Wash (38 Main Street; 516-324-7866).

Rumrunner Kid (41 Main Street; 516-329-5870), a branch of the grown-up furniture store, is selling handmade toys and furniture like a junior four-poster that should go over well with your Olivia and Cameron. (They’re sweetest when they’re asleep, anyway.) Upgrade to a new fly-fishing rod from Ocean Merchant Trading (The Circle, No. 59; 516-329-4084). Roberta East Linens, formerly of the Red Horse Plaza, is now bedding down in East Hampton (The Circle, No. 62; 516-324-2518).

If the kind of fashion labels you tend to wear read like record jackets (Juicy, Shop Girl, People Used to Dream About the Future), stop into Scoop Beach at 47 Newtown Lane (516-329-8080), a branch of Scoop in Manhattan, which carries cutting-edge women’s designers not usually spotted within this Zip Code. These include Matt Nye, Shoshanna, and Jade Jagger, a trio who know what cool looks like.

The two BookHamptons have changed hands, but new owner Hal Zwick vows to maintain the lofty literary standards that have kept Vonnegut, Doctorow, Caro, and Matthiessen coming by for years. He’s expanded the Southampton store (91 Main Street; 516-283-0270) and added more reading areas and a bigger children’s section in East Hampton (20 Main Street; 516-324-4939). There’s fax service, a bigger selection of periodicals, and computer terminals for rent.

You’ve filled the bookshelves, but that just makes the beach-house walls look all the more bare. Plaster them with fine-art photos from Pingree Gallery (66 Newtown Lane, second floor; 516-324-7060) or the pictures painted by musicians like John Lennon, Jerry Garcia, and Bob Dylan at Image Makers Art Gallery of the Stars (The Circle, No. 61; 516-324-6344). The Wally Findlay Galleries’ minuscule new basement branch (2 Main Street; 516-329-9794) challenges the notion that galleries require space and light. There is, however, wheelchair access.

You may need a wheelchair to roll home after a grueling “Gotham Box” class at Summer Kicks (5 Railroad Avenue; 516-537-2610). Pat Grantham’s aerobics studio has snagged Rique Uresti on weekends; his Tae-Bo-like exercise program is New York’s latest way to chop away inches and aggression at the same time. Grantham’s also got Olympic cyclist Jim Minardi to teach a “Team Minardi” class; he will give groups of 26 the serious training they need to keep up on the East End bike rides he plans. One class costs $20; a package of any twenty costs $300, good for as long as you live.

Watermark, in the Maidstone Marina where the Monterey Seafood Grill used to be (313 Three Mile Harbor Road; 516-324-0000), is a mainly seafood spot with harbor-front, setting-sun views as well as prices to cross the highway for: entrées like “mahimahi macadamia” and shrimp-and-scallop linguine range from $15 to $22.

NV Tsunami remains nailed to Danceteria’s foundation (44 Three Mile Harbor Road; 516-329-6000). This year, the dance club brought in decorators to turn the VIP room and adjacent patios into an upscale restaurant. (You know it’s upscale when they start calling it a “supper club.”) A Pacific-Rimmed menu by the former chef at Pisces in the East Village features such things as lotus-wrapped diver scallops with lemongrass and lime; the restaurant turns into a VIP room after the plates have been cleared.

Hundreds of rabbits will be left homeless when the East Hampton Golf Club (Accabonac Road; 516-324-2447) begins planting flags in their holes. Third-home-owning neighbors tried to block the 124-acre course, using scare words like pesticides and ground water, which is what people do when they don’t want balls crashing through their screening-room windows. At least they managed to delay the opening, which won’t occur before the fall, when people will be shelling out $100,000 for the privilege of belonging.

Viveka (160 Main Street; 516-267-6906) was last occupied by utilitarian Brookstone. But the women’s clothing store now reflects owner Viveka Wilner’s winning taste for similarly utilitarian (at least in these parts) designers like Daryl K, Alice & Trixie, Red Engine, and Juicy, plus pants fashioned out of Indian saris. An antiques store called Turtle Bay is advertising itself in an empty space at 303 Main Street (516-267-0730).

Land Shark (78 Main Street; 516-668-6294) has your typical I SURVIVED … T-shirts. But for the ultimate souvenir, Pegasus Body Art (726 South Elmwood Avenue; 516-668-3131) is providing tattoos – real and henna – and body-piercing to match the thong bathing suits also for sale here. No green-papaya salads have made it onto the menu at Pig ‘n’ Whistle East (2095 Montauk Highway; 516-267-6980), an outpost of the Langan’s bar and restaurant on West 47th Street beloved by New York Post-stained wretches. There’s classic saloon fare and bartenders paid to listen to weekend war stories.

On the way back, if there’s any room left in the car for shopping bags, stop in at the Tanger Factory Outlet Center in Riverhead (1770 West Main Street; 516-369-2732). New storefronts include Ralph Lauren and Banana Republic in a building now next to the Phase II stores.

Then try not to speed home. Forget the troopers; if you hit a deer near the Brookhaven National Lab around Exit 68, it may, according to recent studies, be radioactive. Or, for only $5,975, you can be one of 50 people to buy a ride share in a swanky jet-powered helicopter. Manhattan-based Gabriel Aviation is offering a deal entitling members to fifteen weekends of flexibly scheduled round-trip chopper travel from three Manhattan locations to Southampton and East Hampton Airports. This works out to $199 per flight. (Shoreline Aviation, one of fourteen charter companies that also make the trip, charges $239 each way.) Or book one of the five seats on Air Hamptons’ Cessna 210 (800-248-4311). This new charter service charges $250 an hour, for a minimum round-trip (plus any airport landing fees). Flights to Westhampton and East Hampton airports depart from Teterboro, La Guardia, Newark, and MacArthur airports. With the fee divided among four friends, a one-way trip (which lasts approximately 45 minutes) can cost you as little as $125. Until the day that a privately financed MOV (millionaire-occupied-vehicle lane) is installed on the L.I.E., it’s the best way to do the easterly commute.

Friday Night Fever