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The End of the Hamptons

Scenes from the Class Struggle in America's Paradise

Corey Dolgon

Publication Year: 2005

Winner of the 2005 Book Prize from the Association for Humanist Sociology

In this absorbing account of New York’s famous vacation playground, Corey Dolgon goes beyond the celebrity tales and polo games to tell us the story of this complex and contentious land. From the displacement of Native Americans by the Puritans to the first wave of Manhattan elites who built the Summer Colony, to the current infusion of telecommuting Manhattanites who now want to live there year-round, the story of the Hamptons is a vicious cycle of supposed paradise lost.

Drawing on this fabled land's history, The End of the Hamptons provides a fascinating portrait of current controversies: the Native Americans fighting over land claims and threatening to build a casino, the environmental activists clashing with the McMansion builders, and the Latino day laborers and working-class natives trying to eke out a living in an ever-increasingly expensive town.

Published by: NYU Press


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pp. -

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pp. ix-xii

My wife and daughter and I were returning from a trip to Vermont when we hit a massive traffic jam just north of our home near Boston. It’s not unusual to find yourself subsumed by an automotive quagmire in Beantown, so I am well practiced in responding to such situations with the rationalized efficiency of all good twenty-first-century professionals...

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pp. xiii-xvi

To tell this story of the Hamptons required an inordinate amount of help and generosity from a lot of people. I could never thank everyone who has had a hand in giving this book whatever good qualities it has. But I would like to try to thank those who have made the endeavor possible and enriched the narrative in significant ways. I interviewed almost one...

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Introduction: Spending Time in the Hamptons

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pp. 1-14

Going West on Long Island remains in a way a trip forward in time. The line between rural-resort and outer suburbia is as clear as the line of smog visible on a sunny day somewhere up toward Patchogue . . . which is about where the small temples of that late twentieth century chimera of the tax-conscious outer-suburban, light industry, first appeared. Farther...

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1: Waves upon the Shore: Coming to the Hamptons from the Earliest Times to the 1970s

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pp. 14-44

It would be impossible to introduce any historical or contemporary study of the Hamptons without starting from the land itself. Natural historians have raved about the many ecological characteristics unique to Long Island’s East...

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2: Houses in the Fields: New York City Moves East

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pp. 45-82

Long before the Twin Towers fell on 9/11, New York City residents had tried to escape their apocalyptic fears of urban life.1 In the late nineteenth century, concerns over congestion, filth, and crime inspired wealthier residents to create what Leo Marx called a “middle landscape”...

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3: Peconic County Now! Whose Quality of Life Is It Anyway?

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pp. 83-118

On Election Day, November 4, 1996, an overwhelming 70 percent majority of voters in the five towns of Eastern Long Island supported a referendum to secede from Suffolk County and to form Peconic County. A local state assemblyman, Fred Thiele Jr., one of the biggest supporters of the initiative,....

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4: Polo Ponies and Penalty Kicks: Sports on the East End

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pp. 119-156

The Walentas family estate and horse farm in Bridgehampton is home to the Bridgehampton Polo Club and the new Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge, a professional polo tournament that now stands, according to one former professional, as “the best polo played in America.” As exciting as polo...

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5: The Other Hamptons: Race and Class in America's Paradise

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pp. 157-196

On February 14, 1997, custodial services at Southampton College of Long Island University (LIU) were contracted out to LARO Service Systems, a company that specializes in providing maintenance to large corporate facilities such as the Port Authority Terminal, in New York City, and...

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6: From Clam Beds to Casinos: The Enduring Battle over Native American Land Rights

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pp. 197-223

On a cold Thursday morning in February 2000, state troopers arrested the Shinnecock activist Becky Genia for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Along with a few dozen other tribal members and supporters, Genia...

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pp. 224-230

Tony Rosalia, one of the many Hamptons residents I interviewed for this project, spoke to me on the phone after he had read the penultimate draft of the book. “I think it’s good,” he said. “You make some important points about the area’s history and recent changes. But, it’s too negative. The...


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pp. 231-258


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pp. 259-270


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pp. 271-276

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About the Author

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pp. 277-

Corey Dolgon is associate professor and chair of sociology at Worcester State College and the editor of Humanity and Society, the journal of the...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814785126
E-ISBN-10: 0814785123
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814719589
Print-ISBN-10: 0814719589

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2005

OCLC Number: 229448264
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The End of the Hamptons

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Subject Headings

  • Hamptons (N.Y.) -- Social life and customs.
  • Hamptons (N.Y.) -- History.
  • Hamptons (N.Y.) -- Social conditions.
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