Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Which Hampton is Your Hampton

Have you picked up this month's Homes of the Hampton's Magazine?

Sharing with you Andrew's most recent feature... "Which Hampton is Your Hampton".
Volume 23, Number 2, Page 44
-----------------------------------


Which Hampton is Your Hampton?


While sitting poolside this past Friday afternoon, my wife and I received a call from our friends, Ted and Luisa, who inquired what to bring to their Hamptons retreat from the City, and I began to wonder, do I live in the Hamptons? I know my house is located in a boating community within East Moriches, but is that the Hamptons?

In fact, what are the Hamptons? Are they the Hamlets and Villages that comprise the Towns of East Hampton and Southampton or are they the beaches, farm stands, boutiques, and restaurants that comprise the South Fork of Long Island? Are the Hamptons marked by the division of local governance or by the unique cultures that they emulate? And, what are those unique cultures? Where are those Hamlets? Better yet, what is a Hamlet?

Moreover, what’s the difference between a Town, a Village, and a Hamlet; and why does it matter? Before I delve into the answers to these vast inquiries I first thought it appropriate to put forth this proposition: “Your Hampton is your Hampton, even when it’s not a Hampton”.

Let’s start by understanding the legal answer to our inquiry. Technically, there are two (2) Towns within Suffolk County whose names include the word “Hampton”, to wit: Southampton and East Hampton. In such, it’s also important to note that there are only ten (10) Towns in Suffolk County, to wit: (1) Babylon; (2) Brookhaven; (3) East Hampton; (4) Huntington; (5) Islip; (6) Riverhead; (7) Shelter Island; (8) Smithtown; (9) Southampton; and (10) Southold.

Wait a second. I imagine that you are now shaking your head and asking yourself, isn’t Westhampton a Town? What about Bridgehampton? No and no. To be clear, Suffolk County only includes ten (10) Towns. Moreover, a Town is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as “a center of population that is larger and more fully developed than a village, but that is not incorporated as a city”. Yet, as New Yorkers often do, we ignore this definition and require our Towns to be incorporated.

A Hamlet is defined as “a small village”, although again we are difficult in Suffolk County and add the word “unincorporated” to the definition. Lastly, a Village is defined as “a municipal corporation with a smaller population than a city”. At last, we in Suffolk County can join the rest of the country in this definition. To be clear, all of the beautiful residences within the pages of Homes of the Hamptons exist in a Town, but none exist in both a Hamlet and a Village. A purchaser gets one or the other, but not both.

While those legal definitions sound like a big headache, there is a practical reason that these definitions should be considered in your purchasing decision: TAXES. That’s right TAXES. If you purchase a home in a Village there is an additional level of governance and accordingly where there is additional government there are additional taxes. Plus, there are also additional services, which many find to be a requisite aspect of their life, but both are beyond the breadth of this
article.

So with a better understanding of these definitions, let’s name the Villages and Hamlets within the Town of Southampton. There are seven (7) Villages within Southampton's boundaries, to wit: (1) Sag Harbor; (2) North Haven; (3) Quogue; (4) Westhampton Beach; (5) Westhampton Dunes; (6) Southampton and (7) Sagaponack.Moreover, there are nineteen (19) Hamlets within Southampton’s boundaries, to wit: (1) Remsenburg; (2) Speonk; (3) Hampton Bays; (4) Westhampton; (5) Westhampton Beach; (6) Quiogue; (7) Flanders; (8) Riverside; (9) Northampton; (10) East Quogue; (11) Eastport; (12) North Sea; (13) Bridgehampton; (14) Water Mill; (15) Sagaponack; (16) Noyac; (17) Shinnecock Hills; (18) Tuckahoe; and (19) Southampton.

Let’s also explore the Villages and Hamlets within the Town of East Hampton. There are two (2) Villages within East Hampton’s boundaries, to wit: (1) Sag Harbor; and (2) East Hampton. Moreover, there are six (6) Hamlets within East Hampton’s boundaries, to wit: (1) Amagansett; (2) East Hampton North; (3) Montauk; (4) Northwest Harbor; (5) Springs; and (6) Wainscott.

Now the question remains, are East Hampton and Southampton the only Towns in the Hamptons? Well, certainly the Western Suffolk Towns of Babylon,Huntington, Islip, and Smithtown are out, as well are the Northern Suffolk County Towns of Riverhead and Southold. That leaves Brookhaven and Shelter Island. Are they in the Hamptons? If you believe that the Hamptons are an area abutting the Southern Bays and Oceans of Long Island, then Shelter Island, located within the Peconic Bay is out, and only Brookhaven remains. Parts of Brookhaven are also located in Northern Suffolk County and must be excluded, but parts, such as the Hamlet of East Moriches, are located within a stone’s throw of Southampton and must be considered. Moreover, any local can tell you that the Hamptons are moving West. So, in the end
I am choosing not to correct my friends. They are coming to the Hamptons for the weekend. East Moriches is my Hampton, is it yours?