The crash of Hamptons real estate has been widely chronicled of late, with unmistakable Schadenfreude, and since real estate in the Hamptons is the Hamptons, a distant reader might be forgiven for imagining life here had stopped altogether: hedge-fund managers on the Maidstone Club’s grass tennis courts frozen in mid-serve, the Friday-night crowd at Nick & Toni’s (Howard Schultz of Starbucks, developers Harry and Billy Macklowe, architect Charles Gwathmey, director Steven Spielberg) an eerily silent tableau vivant. It’s so bad that even the brokers have stopped trying to deny it:

  • “It’s like trying to catch a falling knife,” says Mala Sander, of the Corcoran Group in Sag Harbor. “Listings that were $6 million last year which should have been $4 million, now they’re going for three and a half.”
  • “This is beyond anything I’ve seen in 22 years,” says Tara Newman, also with Corcoran. “I’ve gone from low expectations to no expectations.”
  • “Where is the market?” sighs Peter Turino, of Brown Harris Stevens in East Hampton. “At all levels we’re struggling to understand. We’re still in shock. We’ve left a period behind. A period of history that’s well behind us, it’s gone.”

By Michael Shnayerson, July 2009, Vanity Fair Magazine

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