Saturday, June 25, 2011


You might think of New Yorkers as an independent minded lot, if you were to generalise. Since I am in the business of making sweeping generalisations, allow me to continue. I'll let you into a secret.

New Yorkers are the biggest conformists ever.

A chic, stylish woman I met recently was horrified at the thought of wearing white after Labor Day, for instance. One should only wear white between Memorial Day in May, and Labour Day in September. It's an actual rule that even young, hip people who don't follow formal clothing etiquette will stick to. Weird, isn't it? I can't think of an equivalent British clothing rule.

Also peculiar to New York is the mass exodus in the summer. Everyone we know is headed for the Hamptons. Families take a house for the whole summer, so the yummy mummy can decamp for weeks on end while her hard working husband comes up on the Hamptons Jitney at the weekends. Those without responsibilities rent an expensive beach house for a month or two  in East Hampton and come up for long weekends. And even those who aren't subscribing to Hamptons real estate will still head up at least once or twice over the summer.

Even the independent minded dude we saw walking down 23rd Street in PVC budgie smugglers one sunny morning last week will probably be there.

I've lost count of the number of times I've heard people say 'It's so easy to get a reservation now it's summer and everyone's left the city'. Actually the population of the city remains the same, because tourists swoop in to take up the sidewalk space given up by New Yorkers. But since they're eating their dinner at Outback Steakhouse, the hip New York night spots are opening up for lesser mortals - those New Yorkers who don't disappear for the summer.

Like the 'no white after Labor Day' rule, I can't think of a British equivalent. It would be as if every other Londoner rented a holiday home in Whitstable for the summer. Which we don't.

Despite being puzzled by the level of conformity... I've decided to fit right in. Which is why I am typing this blog from a lovely beach house in the Hamptons. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

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