Hampton Strangeness by Claudia Brennan

I only spent three days in East Hampton, Long Island but it didn’t take long to be struck by the strangeness of it all. Of course, it was all picturesque and filled with beautiful buildings and beaches and people but in its beauty, in its perfection there was something undeniably strange. The architecture in the area is so uniform and so idiosyncratic that it almost resembles the suburb in Edward Scissorhands, without the pastel (although there was plenty of that to be seen in the cashmere twin sets lurking below winter coats).

| East Hampton, image by Claudia Brennan, 2012 |

The entire place looks like a feature article in Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP. Naturally, Gwyneth has a compound in the area, as does the reigning queen of this white-picket fence aesthetic: Martha Stewart. In that vein, although I have seen them in movies and read about them in novels denigrating suburbia, the Hamptons offered me my first experience with literal American white-picket fences. Complete with red, white and blue flag adornments, and accompanied by perfectly manicured hedges. Hell, even the local graveyard was perfect; aligned flawlessly and totally symmetrical.

| East Hampton, image by Claudia Brennan, 2012 |

I have loved the Maysles’ 1975 documentary Grey Gardens for a long time, and after experiencing the place for myself, I can almost understand why the Edies and their innumerable feral cats and raccoons chose to create their own little dilapidated oasis in the midst of all that perfection. In a way, the decrepitude and faultlessness that existed in this place in symbiosis were both symptomatic of the totally distinctive craziness of the Hamptons themselves, which remain an image of what occurs at the intersection of wealth and a beautiful, almost perfect island.

| Albert and David Maysles’ Grey Gardens, still, 1975 |

Claudia Brennan

4 comments

  1. Anonymous

    This was great to read thanks Claudia.

  2. Wonderful observations and connections Claudia. Thanks!

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