An Auction for the Upscale Beach Bum

A house facing the ocean is the holy grail of Hamptons real estate. And Peter Brown, a public relations executive (and former Beatles manager), has been renting one for 27 years.Mr. Brown’s two-bedroom house is one of 13 units known as the Sea Spray Cottages, which are owned and maintained by the Village of East Hampton. Mr. Brown had been spending summers in the cottage since 1983; each year he signed a lease that gave him the right to renew for the next season.But now his furniture is in storage, and on Feb. 27, the village will auction the right to spend the summer in what Mr. Brown had come to think of as his cottage. The tenants who had to vacate their cottages last fall include Nancy Shevell, a trucking company executive who has been dating Paul McCartney since 2007. (The tenant names were provided by Larry Cantwell, the village administrator of East Hampton Village, who said on the phone that he was revealing them reluctantly. “I hate to do this,” he said, “but the names are public information.”) To the village, the auction is a way to increase revenue and make cottages available to people who, in some cases, have been on a waiting list for decades.
By Fred A. Bernstein, Feb. 17, 2010 NYT

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