“New York City has so much life and energy that it’s sometimes overwhelming. Out East, everything is quiet and peaceful.”
During the summertime, flocks of New Yorkers migrate to the Hamptons and Montauk on the weekend. “It’s a refuge from the chaos of the city,” Long Island native Natasha Berg explains. Growing up in Quogue, a town incorporated into the town of Southampton, Natasha was constantly surrounded by the outdoors. From riding horses to fishing, the beach was a focal element of life and embraced by the locals. Now as a senior publicist in the New York office at Shamin Abas Public Relations & Special Events, Natasha manages a dynamic range of luxury lifestyle accounts. The firm has a satellite season in the Hamptons during the summer months, giving her the opportunity to return to her home turf for business and a little R&R.
We caught up with Natasha to learn a bit more about how the scene has evolved and to get the scoop on the latest hotspots in New York’s summer playground.
You’re a Long Island native — tell me more about your upbringing in Quogue.. did you grow up surrounded by the Hamptons social scene?
My family moved to Quogue when I was about five years old, and all I really knew about it was that my back yard was bigger than it had been previously, and I lived close to the beach. Since there aren’t too many people who live in Quogue year round, I spent a lot of time outdoors: on the water, fishing, climbing trees, playing soccer, and riding horses. Busy summers and quiet winters were just routine. It made sense that people from the city wanted to come to the beach when it was nice out, and I didn’t think too much about it passed that. I knew that I lived in “The Hamptons,” from a geographical perspective, but I didn’t begin to grasp the implications, or understand the hype surrounding the label until I was around sixteen. In the winters, Quogue is very quiet, and not too many things are open in the surrounding towns, so as I got older, the influx of new people in the summers became more appealing.
How has the landscape changed over the years? Where is it now?
In the past few years a lot of the social activity has migrated to the Montauk area. There are still a few great bars scattered throughout the rest of the East End, but it seems that a lot the people who used to go out in Southampton and East Hampton are heading even further out East. Montauk is a pretty far away from other areas in the Hamptons, so rather than jumping around between the towns like they used to, people are booking weekend houses in Montauk and staying there the whole time.
Favorite restaurant to go out with the girls?
Sunset Beach on Shelter Island is great if you want to make a day of it. Take a boat or the ferry over, have some rosé with lunch and then sit on the beach. Rumba in Hamptons Bays is really fun too. It’s Caribbean cuisine, and a very mellow vibe, so it doesn’t really feel like you’re in the Hamptons, but its something different than you’ll normally find out East. I also love John Scotts on Dune Road in Westhampton Beach. It’s right on the water, has live music in the evening and turns into more of a bar scene at night. It really just depends what you’re the mood for, and how far from home you’re willing to go.
Best hidden beaches to avoid the crowd?
Any public beach that you’ll go to will be crowded. If you really want to be somewhere secluded, I’d suggest making friends with beachfront access, or parking somewhere public, and sneaking down onto private beach. In the morning the beaches aren’t as packed, so if you get there early enough, you can get some quality time before the crowd arrives.
Imrie in Westhampton Beach & Montauk (at Solée East) is the absolute best for everyday essentials, and incredible bikinis. With stores in Maui, and St. Barths as well, the Imries just have a very cool, casual and comfortable style. Michelle Farmer Collaborate in Bridgehampton is great for discovering an assortment of beautiful, easy to wear outfits & dresses from new designers worldwide. MFC also offers the possibility to work with the designers on your own bespoke pieces, which is something you don’t find in many other Hamptons boutiques.
The Quogue Wild Life Refuge & South Fork Natural History Museum. So many people come out East to vacation or to party, without taking time to really appreciate their surroundings. Both the Quogue Wildlife Refuge (QWR) and SOFO do incredible work to educate the local community, and preserve the natural environment that makes the East End so appealing in the first place.
To stay up to date on Natasha, follow her on Instagram.