The American summer tradition of clearing out of cities for the beach every weekend is at odds with an equally strong tradition of avoiding inconvenience. But for some reason the beach always wins.
Six hours on the road with small children in the back? No problem. A two-hour tailback? Just part of the package. A three-hour journey out of Penn Station to East Hampton, on a train so crowded you have to stand the whole way? Deal with it.
I have, in my nine years in the US, done every one of these journeys multiple times and now approach the summer with a certain dread. Granted, unlike in Britain, where you can stand up for hours on a train to get to a beach that looks like a large mudflat, at least the sand on Long Island is pretty. The dunes are pristine, the weather is hot and, if you trudge far enough from the path, you don’t have to see another human for hours.
How fucking much does a place in the Hamptons cost?
The English equivalent of this is some Londoner whining about how long it takes to get to Rock on a summer weekend. It’s rather a 0.1% problem, isn’t it?
There are times when that urban intelligentsia really does have a tin ear.