The affluent New York City residents who fled to the Hamptons during the COVID-19 pandemic are spending their days getting $1,500 Botox, hiring security to guard beaches and buying even more mansions.
As the pandemic continued into a seventh tumultuous month this August, the rattled economy and health fears have done little to sway the wealthy New Yorkers who have camped out in the Hamptons.
By May, around 420,000 of New York City’s wealthiest residents left and their absence was cemented with the arrival of anti-racism protests in June.
They’ve ignored Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s pleas – and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s chiding – to return to the Big Apple to help offset the projected $30billion deficit over the next two years.
Instead, Vanity Fair reports that they’ve been spending money on cosmetic surgeries at the luxurious Topping House spa.
Swarms of wealthy residents fled New York when the city went into lockdown in March and became the coronavirus epicenter of the world. Pictured, the village of Sag Harbor
Dr. Dennis Gross, a notable New York City dermatologist with an office on Fifth Avenue, told the publication he set up a satellite location in Bridgehampton.
With 30 percent of his clientele already in the Hamptons, Gross told patients in an email that he was limiting services to ‘Botox and fillers’ when he arrived.
The demand from wealthy patients, according to Gross, was so large that it took only five weeks to clear his waiting schedule.
‘It means a lot to people to know their face looks good even though their life is falling apart’, said Gross.
‘They’re having a harder time figuring out what to do with their hair color.’
But the Botox and filler treatments don’t come cheap and cost anywhere between $550 to $1,550 depending on how many areas are tended.
A demand for cosmetic surgeries, like Botox and fillers, has hit the Hamptons after wealthy New York City residents fled earlier this year. Pictured: Topping House spa in Bridgehampton
Dr. Dennis Gross, a notable New York City dermatologist (pictured): ”It means a lot to people to know their face looks good even though their life is falling apart’
Gross said he only sees two patients an hour, two days a week in a ‘controlled, socially distanced environment.’
He added that he enjoys the relaxed Hampton environment compared to the bustling big city.
‘It feels like I’m a country doctor. I walk to work in 10 minutes and instead of carrying a doctor’s bag, I carry syringes,’ said Gross.
Meanwhile, some residents have gone as far as to hire security to safeguard certain beach entrances from others.
A private road association in the Dunes in Amagansett, a small district near the ocean, reportedly considered hiring professional security guards to stand at the end of the street and prevent others from reaching the beach using their road.
It’s not unusual for street associations to hire teenagers in the summer to make sure private paths are only used by residents, but Vanity Fair reports that the reason this time was to protect residents health.
According to Indy East End, East Hampton recorded 235 cases on Thursday and Southampton had 1,116.
In the end, the street associated settled on hiring bouncers from a local bar.
In an email chain, residents reportedly said they were actually helping unemployed residents during the pandemic.
But the hawkish over watch of beaches in the Hamptons were exacerbated when, at the advice of New York officials, several beach parking lots lowered the number of available spots by one third.
One street association in the Hamptons reportedly hired local club bouncers to guard to private walkways from beachgoers
‘People are stressed and fighting for spots,’ one resident told Vanity Fair.
The public health guideline was implemented to cap the crowd size at beaches and promote social distancing as New York continued mitigation efforts.
Parking space shortages have frustrated Hampton beachgoers who own costly, limited parking permits because the solution has reportedly done little to deter guests.
Instead, people have just become more creative.
‘More people are taking their bicycles,’ the same resident added.
‘More people are walking on the roads to the beach. More and more people are going in and out of various lots searching for places to park.’
Last month, the United States economy shrank by 33 percent from April to June in a grim record breaking milestone.
It was the worst quarterly plunge and surpassed the previous record, a 10 percent drop that occurred during the Eisenhower administration in 1958.
And nearly 1.2million Americans applied for unemployment in the last week after the pandemic caused several jobs to disappear and entire industries shuttered.
In New York, more than 423,000 cases and 32,000 deaths have been recorded since January.
In the Hamptons, the rich have caused a surge in the local real estate market by buying additional mansions.
Several Hamptonites have reportedly been ‘compounding,’ which mean families buy two or three eight-figure homes on the same street for their family children or family members.
‘With so many adult kids leaving the city and moving into their parents’ homes, people feel they need more room,’ a Hampton real estate agent told Vanity Fair.
‘They can see this could be a long-term gig, having the kids live here with them. I have one client with a $10 million main house buying another one with a whopping price tag next door for the kids…. I have another client who’s trading up—from a $5 million home to a $10 million one.’
The second-quarter report from Corcoran showed closed sales surged 21 percent on South Fork.
A number of deals totaling to more than $15million caused a 292 percent increase in sales volume in the Village of East Hampton.
‘There’s no inventory. We’ve never had a market like this before,’ the agent said.
‘In every price range: $750,000 to $10 million deals are ending in a bidding war and tears.’
Additionally, well-to-do New Yorkers have reportedly stockpiled on leafy vegetables and other status foods.
Some residents secured fresh local produce by pre-ordering Community Supported Agriculture vegetable boxes and harvesting memberships. Items like that can cost up to $1,200.
‘When people started leaving New York City, I read articles about them heading to the Hamptons and hoarding freezers to stockpile food,’ one resident said.
‘I imagined what it would be like to get a tomato in August,’ she said, adding that she spent more than $500 for a summer’s worth of items.
Pictured: Hamptons in the age of the coronavirus pandemic showed people lined up at the IGA Market in Amagansett area in Long Island
Private chefs with prepared meals have also been staffed as Hamptonites attempt to dine and feed themselves during the pandemic.
‘I was waiting for a loaf of pickled rye and a $16 thimble-size bottle of olive oil (it looked bigger online), watching a woman fret over two boxes of prepared food she’d ordered,’ said one shopper at Carissa’s Bakery.
‘”What do I do with it? I plan on eating it in two hours.” She was asking the bakery staff what to do with an already-cooked rotisserie chicken…even through his mask, [the clerk] looked confused,’ they said.
Last month, residents in the Hamptons were scrutinized by Gov. Cuomo for flouting social distancing orders during a drive-in concert.
‘Videos from a concert held in Southampton on Saturday show egregious social distancing violations. I am appalled,’ Cuomo wrote on Twitter.
He added that an investigation will be conducted and ‘We have no tolerance for the illegal & reckless endangerment of public health.’
The ‘Safe & Sound’ charity drive-in show on Saturday had about 500 drive-in parking spots that reportedly sold for up to $25,000 each and welcomed a couple thousand attendees in Water Mill, New York.
Despite the concert’s design to have ‘safe zones’ for cars with up to six people, posts on social media showed people leaving their cars, partying together, and dancing without masks.
Organizers praised the event as a success on social media boasting that guests had temperatures checked and were confined to parking spot areas, but footage of crowds show large groups close together without masks, defeating those safety efforts.
And a source told Page Six: ‘There was definitely a section of people in front of the cars that did not adhere to social distancing. But you could really be safe there if you were smart enough and mature enough to do it.
‘You could go from your car and then have your square [of space] and have no contact. I think the intentions were good, but there is no way you can control those kids who feel immortal.’
The concert is now under investigation by New York’s health commissioner.
Mayor de Blasio dismisses rich New Yorkers who fled the city as ‘fairweather friends’ and says their taxes should be raised – days after Gov. Cuomo begged the city’s top 1% to return to prop up its ailing finances
By Rachel Sharp and Jennifer Smith
Mayor Bill de Blasio has dismissed rich New Yorkers who fled the city as ‘fairweather friends’ and said their taxes should be raised – days after Governor Cuomo begged the city’s top 1 percent to return to prop up its ailing finances.
Swarms of wealthy residents fled New York when the city went into lockdown in March and became the coronavirus epicenter of the world.
Despite the city reopening and bringing the outbreak under control, New York has failed to lure back its richest residents with many upping sticks altogether for areas where they can enjoy lower rent and taxes.
Residential and commercial properties now lie abandoned across the city, crime is soaring with shootings up a staggering 201 percent compared to the same time last year, homelessness is rife and the streets are overflowing with rubbish following budget cuts to essential services.
But while fears mount the Big Apple is headed back to the dark days of high crime and poverty seen in the 70s and 80s, De Blasio, who has a personal net worth of $2.5 million, has added yet another nail to New York’s coffin by calling for a spike in taxes for the wealthiest which could wave goodbye to this much-needed tax base for good.
‘It’s time to look it in the face and say you know what? Wealthy New Yorkers can afford to pay a little bit more so that everyone else can make it through this crisis,’ de Blasio said Thursday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio (pictured at Thursday’s press conference) has dismissed rich New Yorkers who fled the city as ‘fairweather friends’ and said their taxes should be raised – days after Governor Cuomo begged the city’s top 1 percent to return to prop up its ailing finances
Speaking at his press briefing from City Hall, the mayor insisted the city will ‘not make decisions based on the wealthy few’ and blasted wealthy residents saying that ‘as everyone else is suffering the rich are getting richer’.
De Blasio himself has fared well amid the pandemic, raking in $9,000-a-month from three rental properties as an ample side hustle to his $258,000 salary as mayor, all the while cash-strapped New Yorkers have struggled to pay rent.
‘I was troubled to hear this concept that because wealthy people have a set of concerns about the city that we should accommodate them, that we should build our policies and approaches around them,’ he said.
‘That’s not how things work round here anymore.’
He continued: ‘This city is for New Yorkers, this is for people who live here, work here, fight to make this place better, fight through this crisis.
‘There’s a lot of New Yorkers who are wealthy, who are true believers in New York City, who will stand and fight with us and there are some who may be fair weather friends but they will be replaced by others.’
An analysis of data reveals that robberies are also on the rise in other affluent New York City neighborhoods – despite the fact thefts are down citywide – which is not likely to draw residents back
A whopping 80 percent of some commercial real estate tenants didn’t pay rent in April and May which takes a huge chunk out of the city’s tax revenue base. Retail has resumed but it remains unclear just how many stores have been able to reopen
De Blasio insisted the mass exodus from the city and the dire spike in crime is only a short-term challenge sparked by a ‘perfect storm of temporary problems’.
‘I think you’ll see a certain number of people who leave and after an appropriate time, after a vaccine will come back,’ he said.
‘I think you’ll see some people who decide they want a different kind of lifestyle and I think a lot of those people will be replaced by other people coming in.’
He brushed off the uptick in crime saying ‘you’re going to see that turn around… because the coronavirus crisis will be over soon’.
New York City’s wealthiest neighborhoods have been rocked by a spike in violent crimes in the last month, with Manhattan’s Upper East Side recording an alarming 286 percent increase in robberies compared to the same period last year.
Robberies on the Upper East Side have also increased by more than 200 percent.
NYPD data for the city also revealed murders are up 50 percent in the last month compared to the same time last year, shootings are up 201 percent and burglaries up 29 percent.
NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea this week described the current crime crisis as ‘challenging’ but De Blasio, who cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s budget in June, insisted the city is bringing it under control and that this will not deter people from returning to the city in the long term.
‘I do not hear people making the decision on that – I think there’s a pretty strong understanding out there that people are paying attention that this is a temporary reality caused by a perfect storm of temporary problems,’ he said.
De Blasio’s attack on the rich and unwavering optimism over the future of the city comes in direct opposition to comments made by Cuomo days earlier, who issued a plea to New Yorkers to return to the Big Apple and save it from economic ruin.
At a press conference Monday, Cuomo said he has spoken with some of New York City’s wealthiest residents and fears upping taxes will drive them out for good.
‘I literally talk to people all day long who are in their Hamptons house who also lived here, or in their Hudson Valley house or in their Connecticut weekend house, and I say, “You gotta come back, when are you coming back?” he said.
“‘We’ll go to dinner, I’ll buy you a drink. Come over, I’ll cook.”
‘They’re not coming back right now. And you know what else they’re thinking? If I stay there, I pay a lower income tax because they don’t pay the New York City surcharge.’
It is not unusual for Manhattan to clear out for the month of August, when temperatures between the skyscrapers soar and send many fleeing to Long Island’s beaches or further afield.
But this summer, with the ongoing lack of appeal in the city and after many have already set up permanent roots in their second homes in the Hamptons or upstate, the likelihood that people will come back in the fall is shrinking.
NYC VIOLENCE IN THE LAST MONTH COMPARED TO THE SAME TIME IN 2019:
- Shooting victims +165%
- Shooting incidents +201%
- Murders +50%
- Burglary +29%
- Grand larceny auto +52%
- Rape -3.5%
- Robbery -1.3%
- Felony assault -2.1%
The huge exodus sparked by the pandemic was compounded further by the chaotic riots and looting in some of the wealthiest parts of the city in the wake of the Memorial Day ‘murder’ of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop.
Cuomo said he is resisting mounting calls from lawmakers to boost taxes on the city’s highest earners to try to plug the $30billion deficit that was left by the pandemic.
‘A single per cent of New York’s population pays half of the state’s taxes and they’re the most mobile people on the globe,’ he said.
He wants the federal government to step in with help in the final stimulus bill that is due to pass soon, and has warned that unless more financial aid is given, the country is on track for a ‘real recession’.
‘If they don’t make this bill right, frankly, they shouldn’t pass it because it will be the last bill.
‘If this bill does not have funding for state and local government you will see a real recession, not just in New York but across the country [by] forcing state and local governments to lay off people,’ he said.
The state’s tax base has taken a beating from the sheer number of tenants who failed to pay rent, and with almost no retail or dining occurring for the best part of three months during lockdown.
Tourism has also been all but depleted with international travel bans rumbling on and travelers from 35 states now required to undergo a 14-day quarantine on arrival into New York.
With a gaping deficit in the city and state’s budget, essential services like garbage collection are suffering.
The city’s sanitation budget was cut by $106million to try to reduce outgoings. It resulted in trash piling up all over the city.
The NYPD also faced a $1 billion chop to its budget, despite the city already recording more shootings in 2020 than there were by the end of the year in 2019.
Homelessness is rife across the city, with stark images last week showing a growing crowd of drug addicts shooting up in broad daylight in Manhattan’s upmarket Midtown neighborhood.
Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly warned last month that the future for New York City is ‘very bleak’ and that crime could increase further to levels not seen since the 70s and 80s.