Yesterday we spoke of a summer less ordinary. We talked about the "Hamptonization" of magical Montauk. For me the Hamptons was a land that I would blow by at 3MPH, its traffic snarls confirming my profound distaste for the place … at least during season. I designed Dune out there at one time for Noah Tepperberg, Jason Strauss, and Matt Shendall yet I never attended it while it was open. Montauk seemed different. It was a town too far for the napkin tossing Electronic Music or Mash-Up heads that squished together in make believe clubs. In the off season I’d walk the lonely beaches near a friend’s home in Amagansett with my dogs and my gal or grab a bite in Sag Harbor with townies but I’d more than likely go the extra miles to Montauk. Surf Lodge (pictured) changed the game. It brought a chic style that was an acceptable alternative to the quaint fixings of the last town on the strip.
As usual the end of a Friday night had us at the Olympic diner on Essex Street, a stone’s throw from the Williamsburg Bridge – the yellow brick road to my BBurg Oz. It’s a couple eggs over easy amongst a club crowd of workers and late night revelers. No one at Olympic was discussing the Olympics. No one I know is discussing it. It’s all over my Yahoo! as I start to write today, mostly Enquirer-level tales of fat Olympians, or sexy ones, or "hurray for our team!" chatter. I don’t care what Michael Phelps’ mom has to say, although she seems like a nice lady. I’m beat up, burnt out, and shouldn’t even be here (on a couple of levels). I told my editor to expect me only Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday through Labor Day as I want to get busy with being lazy for a few weeks. Yet here I am.
I don’t do The Hamptons. Although I have great friends that love the prospect of driving hours in a car through the cultural desert of Long Island to hang with people I strive to avoid in Manhattan while eating $50-a-pound potato salad, the idea has never appealed to me. I have done it and done it right, but I do remember spending a year there one night . I did design Dune at one point but never actually graced it with my divine presence. During the winter months, my clan treks out to Montauk to huddle around fireplaces and beachcomb. The water, the light, and the lack of crowds made me a believer years ago. I’ll be there come the cold. Apparently they have built this wondrous place called The Montauk Beach House and I have been told it’s a game-changer. My pal Paul Sevigny DJd there recently. When I was considering a story about Bastille Day and looking through my online emails and evites, I saw a big name pop out at me: Paul Oakenfold, one of the top DJs in the world. He’s doing a gig at The Montauk Beach House this Saturday, July 14th at 3pm. Take a look at the pics – it’s gorgeous. My pal Terry Casey is booking the joint and DJing as well. He called me about playing there come August so I asked him what the heck is going on.
What the heck are you doing out there? Who have you had already and who’s coming up and who’s coming to this place and …tell me all about it!
I GOT ASKED BY EVENT SOCIETY (RENE AND FRANCOIS) TO BOOK AND PRODUCE A MUSIC SERIES AT MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE WITH A GOOD FRIEND: MATT THOMAS. HE’S A BRIT AND WANTS GOOD MUSIC AND IS VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE. OWNER CHRIS JONES ALSO DESIGNED NIKKI BEACH, AND MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE FEELS LIKE A MIAMI HOTEL SO IT’S A NEW CONCEPT IN MONTAUK…RENE MANAGES OPERATIONS AND DOES IT WELL AT MONTAUK BEACH HOUSE; HE’S THE OWNER OF EVENT SOCIETY. IT EXCITED ME TO DO AS I’VE BEEN GOING OUT TO MONTAUK FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS – I FEEL MORE AT HOME THERE THEN IN THE HAMPTONS. I USED TO DJ IN HAMPTONS CLUBS AND FEEL LIKE I SOLD MY SOUL. I STILL DO A FEW WILD HOUSE PARTIES IN THE HAMPTONS, BUT THAT’S VERY DIFFERENT TO THE CLUBS…THE CLUBS IN THE HAMPTONS ARE NOT MY THING. MONTAUK IS MORE LAID-BACK AND LOT OF SURFER CULTURE …THERE ARE BIG CHANGES HAPPENING IN MONTAUK; PLACES LIKE SURF LODGE AND RUSCHMEYER’S HAVE SET THE PACE…LOTS OF FRIEND HAVE MOVED TO MONTAUK AS THEY PREFER IT.
WE DID A SOFT OPENING WITH PAUL SEVIGNY LAST WEEK AND HE PLAYED A LOT OF GOOD ROCK, SOUL, FUNK ..HE ROCKED THE PLACE….A GREAT DJ AND REAL RECORD COLLECTOR PLAYS VINYL AND LOTS OF IT. IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET HIM OFF THE DECKS. I GAVE UP AT 4AM, HAHA. I PLAY ROCK AND ELECTRONIC SO IT’S NOT ALL ONE STYLE …AND THE MUSIC SERIES WILL MIX UP BANDS AND DJS…ALL SUMMER…
FOR THE DAYTIME BY THE POOLS, WE HAVE DJS LIKE BRIDGET MARIE AND SARAH RUA. THEY PLAY MORE HOUSE, AFROBEAT, SOULFUL VIBES.I’ve rarely enjoyed the music out east during the summer.. you told me Montauk is different… tell me why that is.
MONTAUK IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE YOU FEEL AWAY FROM NYC. THE HAMPTONS FEELS LIKE AN EXTENSION OF PEOPLE’S BAD BEHAVIOUR IN NYC…PEOPLE ARE STILL RUSHING AROUND…YOUR SUPPOSED TO BE CHILLING OUT…ON VACATION.
I GO TO PLACES LIKE BANZAI BURGER AND FEEL LIKE I’M AT THE BEACH OR IN THE CARRIBEAN. BANZAI IS ALEX DUFFY AND STEVE KASUBA’S NEW PLACE OUT EAST. THE FOOD THERE ROCKS…I GOTO SURF LODGE AND RUSCHMEYER’S. THEY’RE ALL GREAT PLACES AND ALL VERY DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER.
Are the townies coming or is it a hipper visitor, vacationer, weekender?
ALEX DUFFY LIVES IN MIAMI AND THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE FROM MIAMI, NEW YORK, AND OUTSIDE THE US COMING IN. AND, OF COURSE, THERE ARE LOCALS. ON WEEKENDS A LOT OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE SICK OF THE EVENTS IN THE HAMPTONS ARE COMING TO MONTAUK FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT…IT’S THE SAME REASON PEOPLE IN MANHATTAN GO TO WBURG …THEY’RE OVER MANHATTAN AND ARE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING LESS CHEESEY.
At the end of the summer, will you try to continue this series in a NY venue? How would you describe the state of NYC clubland?
I’VE BEEN APPROACHED TO DO MORE EVENTS IN NYC AND MIAMI AND I HAVE PROJECTS IN MUSIC IN THE WORKS. I LIKE THAT THERE’S MORE CLUBS BOOKING MUSIC ACTS AND LESS MODEL PROMOTERS …BUT NYC NEEDS MORE BALANCED MUSIC AND SOCIAL CLUBS. I WISH THE FESTIVALS WOULD BOOK MORE LOCAL DJS…WE ARE BOOKING TALENTED LOCALS LIKE JESSE MARCO ,CHAINSMOKERS, DJ VIKAS, JULIO SANTO DOMINGO, KRIS GRAHAM, LIQUID TODD, SHORTY, AND MANY MORE..THESE GUYS ARE LOCALS AND TRAVEL THE WORLD.
Paul Oakenfold. Like …how do you swing a name like that?
PAUL OAKENFOLD AND YOUNG EMPIRES (LIVE) …YES, ME AND MATT HAVE CALLED A LOT OF FRIENDS TO GET PEOPLE TO PLAY ALL SUMMER FOR SMALL FEES IN A 200-400 PEOPLE VENUE BY THE POOL….WE HAVE A LOT OF ACTS COMING LIVE AND DJING….I DONT WANNA SAY WHO, AS EVENTS ARE INVITE- ONLY.. BUT EXPECT MORE HUGE ACTS.
Memorial Day Weekend is just days away. Do you have plans yet? You could do the typically debauched thing, eating, drinking, dancing, and carousing, all for your own pleasure. But if you head out to Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk, you could do all of those same things, but for a good cause. Two good causes, actually. On Sunday, May 26, the grown-up summer camp-themed resort is hosting an event called the Rockaway Plate Lunch Truck Yard Party, and it kicks off Ruschmeyer’s summer-long series of Reggae Sundays parties. A percentage of the proceeds will go to support two charities, the Rockaway Plate Lunch Truck, which works to "fill plates and build spirits" with a food truck staffed by top New York restaurants, and Waves for Water, which provides clean water for those without access to it. They’re both noble causes, and it won’t hurt a bit to support them, as this party’s hosted by Mike D (of the legendary Beastie Boys) and designer Robert McKinley, while the tunes will be provided by DJ’s Mike D, Stretch Armstrong, and Tito Cruz. You like reggae? Good, because you’ll get your fill with a irie set by the Easy Skanking Band. And you thought skanking was hard.
The event is open to the public and there’s no admission fee, so you can just roll on by any time from 6-9pm and get your groove on. And if all that dancing makes you a bit peckish, there’ll be food from the Smile team. Eat, drink, and be charitable.
If you’re without plans for the 2nd of June, and you dig posh picnics and polo ponies, we highly suggest the fifth-annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic held at Liberty State Park, less than thirty minutes from BlackBook’s humble offices. Gentlemen dress thee dapper. Ladies, avoid stilettos, as the field may be loamy (May we suggest these.). Go forth and lighten your rigid summer schedule with some quality time with NYC’s most regal citizens. Naturally, you’ll need some snacks while you’re watching the action, but this is no backyard barbecue. That’s where luxury goodie purveyors Silkstone come in.
It’s another sizzling summer in that opulent New York playground known as the Hamptons, and a new crop of exclusive spots has opened to cater to the sybaritic whims of its visitors. Chief among them is Ruschmeyer’s, a stylish hotel, restaurant, and club complex in Montauk that’s already drawing the luminaries of Manhattan society. We caught up with Ben Pundole, who, along with partner Rob McKinley, opened Ruschmeyer’s on May 30, and got the scoop on the hottest summer camp this side of Lake Minnewaska.
BB: Where did the idea of opening Ruschmeyer’s come from? Ben Pundole: It was a reincarnation of the original Ruschmeyer’s, which was built in 1952. We wanted to create a modern day, nautical, summer camp getaway with great food and a great bar.
What kind of atmosphere do you hope to create for your guests? We want to create a place where you can relax, eat and drink well, laze in a hammock and read a book, or take advantage of the many activities we offer, from cycling and horseback riding to paddle boarding, kite surfing, and yoga. We also have a wellness center offering massages, facials, and body wraps. What is your role in Ruschmeyer’s? What’s an average day like for you? There is no such thing as an average day. Both Rob and I do everything and anything it takes to make it the place we want it to be. We have a strong focus on real hospitality, so whether it’s design, music, service, food, or cocktails, we do whatever we can to ensure the guest has the best stay possible.
What do you enjoy the most about your job? I love creating an immersive experience for the guest, from the s’mores kits and canteens in the mini bars to the yoga and tepee on the lawn to the fantastic breakfast we serve daily in the Nook.
What do you have planned for Ruschmeyer’s this season? We have some really exciting programs planned this summer, including an artist-in-residence program and an outdoor theater production.
What, in your view, is the secret to a successful Hamptons venue? I think the key to success is based on the people you work with, from Ben Towill and Phil Winser from The Fat Radish, who have created a fantastic food and beverage program with us, to the servers, bartenders, hotel staff and groundsmen. It should be as enjoyable a place to work as it is for the guests to visit.
What do you do for fun when you’re not working? Honestly, I have so much fun at Ruschmeyer’s. It’s everything I really ever wanted to do. Rob surfs, I’m a terrible surfer but have just started training for the New York Marathon.
After a few sleepy summers, shit is once again getting real in the Hamptons. What’s that mean? It means throw some wedges and a DSO-worthy outfit in the Birkin bag you’ve been using for the gym, because you are not going to have time to work out with all the new openings out east, though you’ll definitely have an opportunity to work it.
Under the best of circumstances, Hamptons properties see more flips than the schedule board at Penn Station, but this season has been off the charts. To wit:
Out: Madam Tong’s/ Madam Tong’s Redux In: Southampton Social Club Ian Duke (of NYC’s Prohibition) and David Hilty took over Jen Luc’s ill-fated Madam Tong’s last year, but not in time to change the concept (they just amended “Redux” to the offensive name), but this year they’ve taken the place speakeasy chic.
Out: Jean Luc East/Prime 103 In: The Beachhouse Micheael Gluckman, proprietor of the Boathouse, has added one of the marquee spaces to his “house” line. The huge space, with indoor and outdoor seating, has not had a restaurant worthy of it in quite some time. Will this one be different? Signs point to yes.
Out: Bamboo In: Shiki Gluckman unloaded his sushi place in East Hampton, perhaps to concentrate on Beachouse. There’s another sushi place there now. Raw fish and cold sake will set you right.
Out: Le Maison In: The Pomme Café The last vestiges of Jean Luc were exorcised from the Hamptons when the Trata guys took on JLX to make a go at their own French Bistro. It didn’t last. This season the folks behind The Pomme, a successful bistro in Astoria, toss their chapeaus in the ring.
Out: Almond In: Agave Almond vacated the building it’s been in for years for greener pastures. A yet-to-open restaurant called Agave will take its place. Do you really need to be told that it will serve Mexican food and tequila?
Out: Ocean Grill In: Almond Almond’s new digs are right on Main St. in Bridgehampton, and its loyal following is sure to follow to the larger space (with the added benefit of sidewalk cafe tables).
Out: Capri In: Capri Languishing after its Pink Elephant heyday, the Capri Hotel’s new owners (Steven Kamali of the Surf Lodge among them) have classed up the joint with a Nobu, a Cynthia Rowley boutique and a daytime/nighttime hang space called The Bathing Club.
Out: RdV In: South Pointe One of the largest dance halls in the Hamptons goes through yet another change of hands, and this time it gets spruced up with tiki bars and “extravagant” crystal chandeliers. Why is there an “e” on the end? Probably so they don’t get sued by the Vegas club “South Point.” You see, it’s totally different.
Out: Polish people In: The Elm OK, that’s not entirely true. Long ago the space now occupied by a veritable superteam of veteran club promoters was once a Polish social hall, but in recent years has been an event space for hire. It’s another cavernous Southampton space, and this summer is sure to be an nightlife epicenter, with high-profile acts and the Koch brothers “Day and Night” champagne brunch for daytime revelers.
Out: Lily Pond In: SL East Michael Satsky reportedly had liquor sponsors in place and had even put up a billboard on Hudson St. in NYC inviting people out to Lily Pond for summer 2011. Then his landlord turned around and gave the venue over EMM Group’s Eugene Remm, Mark Birnbaum and Michael Hirtenstein, who will bring their SL concept to the perennial club spot on the outskirts of East Hampton.
Out: Second House Tavern In: Ruschmeyer’s Another one one bites the dust in Montauk. By which we mean, another flea-ridden family motel (OK, some might say “old-guard piece of nostalgia”) bites the dust, as part of the team from Surf Lodge takes over another hotel/restaurant and makes it over in their own hipster-beachbum-no fleas image. Expect local cops to get writer’s cramp ticketing lines of cars on both sides of Fort Pond.