Psychiatrist Greg Dillon sat in a white rocking chair on the porch of his East Hampton rental home on Sunday and diagnosed the panic some of his Wall Street patients are feeling these days.
“You lose half of what you’ve got in the bank and, to them, they’ve lost half their ego,” Dillon, 39, said. “The volatility in their mood tracks pretty evenly with the volatility in the market. There is a sense of things falling apart.”
As the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped as much as 8% from its all-time closing high on 19 July over fears of a credit crunch, some shrinks were enjoying a bull market for their services. But in the Hamptons, the summer home of many Wall Street traders and executives, most people seemed to be taking the financial news in stride.
Thr Good Life: A polo match in progress at Bridgehampton, New York, on 18 August
At Bobby Van’s Steakhouse in Bridgehampton, where the menu includes $41 (Rs1,706) broiled lamb chops, every table was filled Friday night. “We could seat the restaurant three times over,” said manager Kristin Regan.
On Saturday morning, dozens of people waited in line to buy coffee, pastries and fruit at the Amagansett Farmers Market. Many customers were eating their breakfast in a garden area with plastic chairs and tables. “You wouldn’t know anything is going on on Wall Street,” said Jeff Huettner, manager of the 54-year-old market. “People here are driving Bentleys, Ferraris and Porsches like they drive a Chevy anyplace else,” he said. “This is fantasyland.”
At Stephen Talkhouse, a music club in Amagansett in Suffolk County on Long Island, where Paul McCartney’s estranged wife, Heather Mills, was spotted Friday night, at least 30 people were waiting on line to gain entrance at as late as 1am.
“The Hamptons are recession-proof,” music promoter Nick Kraus said. “We’re the type of place that would be busier if people lose their jobs. They’ll just drink more.”
Not everyone is so relaxed. Javier Sumavielle, a 45-year-old emerging markets trader with New York’s Pali Capital Inc., has cut his normal summer four-day weekends in half. He said the demands of the job have reduced his playing time at Buckskill Tennis Club. “I’ve never seen a crisis like this,” he said, referring to the fallout from subprime mortgage losses, not his tennis game.
Jenny Baker, co-owner of Sangha Yoga studio in Montauk, said there’s been no slowdown in her business. She said residents worried about Wall Street’s woes actually benefit from her service. “Yoga is a good option for them,” she said. “They can find some peace.”
At a polo match in Bridgehampton, a hedge-fund analyst, who asked not to be identified, said he knew a “a lot of guys who have gotten crushed” by the market plunge. “At the end of the year, it will be the haves and have-nots,” he said.
Janet Finkel, a Brooklyn Heights resident who owns V2K window treatment company, said she’s selling her home in East Hampton for $1.7 million as soon as possible because she’s concerned that their financing may fall through if they wait any longer to close the deal.
Paying for flights
Anthony Ottimo, president of the leasing firm JetOne Jets, said hedge-fund managers are skittish over the market’s volatility. “A lot of guys, who used to fly and mark it off as personal travel, are now paying for their own travel,” he said.
Most of the Hamptons residents interviewed over the weekend applauded Friday’s decision by the Federal Reserve to cut the interest rate it charges banks. The Dow soared 233 points on Friday after dropping 812 points over the previous six sessions.
In Bridgehampton, Donald Trump was promoting his planned restaurant and catering facility in Jones Beach and handing out awards at the polo match. A glamorous crowd socialized in the VIP tent, drinking from small champagne bottles through a straw.
I have a feeling he knows exactly what he’s doing,” Trump said of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.