It has been an interesting vacation week in the Hamptons (and 10 degrees cooler than NYC). My wife’s family have owned a beach house here since 1961. I spent summers in grad school on Fire Island; once we got engaged, summer weekends moved further east.
Some anecdotal observations:
The stores have not been jam packed. Southampton was not particularly busy. The one crush was the town of Westhampton Beach on July 4th — you can see most of the fireworks display walking through town. Sunday night was totally jammed.
The RE situation appears to be the same as last year. Dunno if you call that stabilization or something else. On our usual 2 mile route to the beach, we have seen 16 houses for sale; last year it was 14 for sale (2008 was also ugly). I also noticed a whole lot of rentals — 4th of July week is quite late for that many empty investment properties (or people who are renting out houses ’cause they need the income).
The party atmosphere remains . . . but it is different.
I’ll try to quantify this more before the week is over . . .