Certainly no visit to Southampton Town would be complete without a stop at the beach, and Shinnecock East in Hampton Bay is majestic.
Haute Living How long have you lived in Southampton?
Linda Kabot I was born in Southampton about 41 years ago. With the exception of my four years at college in upstate New York and a little stint in Washington, D.C. after college, I have lived here all my life.
HL What does your role as Town Supervisor entail?
LK My role is to preside over the Town Board meetings. The Board is comprised of five members: four council people and one supervisor. I am the chief fiscal officer for the town. I prepare the budget and, with the town controller, deal with the aspects of managing the town. I’m also the chief administrator for all of the department heads. The supervisors of townships do not have veto powers; we’re not the same as a mayor of a city or a governor of a state. Majority rules-three out of five on a town board have to agree for a law to be made or money to be spent.
HL What are some of the most exciting events that take place in Southampton each year?
LK The Hamptons are a total lifestyle experience. It’s all about the shopping and the scenery, the high-end parties under the white tents, the beach and the like. It’s about ambiance, and the Hamptons is a place like nowhere else. It’s beautiful here.
Some of the bigger events are the Hampton Classic, which is a horse show. It’s dramatic. There are VIP tents and corporate sponsors and, of course, all of the fun and excitement of watching the competitions. It typically takes place the third week in August.
Since I was born and raised here, I look forward to things like the Fire Department and Ambulance Dinner dances, community group fundraisers, and parades with our local veterans. In the summer, my family and I love to go fishing. We love the great outdoors and enjoy the beaches, which are always jumping with activity.
The fishing holes in the Shinnecock Inlet, which was created by the hurricane of 1938, are robust with fluke and other catches. In the ocean, you find larger catches, like bass. If you can’t enjoy a boat trip, you can just cast off the jetties and local fishing piers, and if you can’t catch it yourself, you can order it from one of our wonderful restaurants.
HL Who are some of the town’s most notable residents?
LK Many celebrities live here-Rudy Giuliani, Christie Brinkley, Alan Alda, Jimmy Buffet, Kelly Ripa, Susan Lucci, Billy Joel-actually, I think he might have moved to East Hampton now-and others, but it is our local residents who make the community so special.
HL What are some of the must-see places in Southampton?
LK The Southampton village area has quite a host of wonderful restaurants, shops, and boutiques, as well as a slew of cultural resources and historic treasures. Certainly no visit to Southampton Town would be complete without a stop at the beach, and Shinnecock East in Hampton Bay is majestic. When you are coming over the Shinnecock Bridge, it looks like God’s country-its just pristine and beautiful. Sag Harbor Village is also a wonderful village with a beautiful main street where history abounds, with lots of restaurants and shopping and a good time for all.
HL Can you tell us the role philanthropy and fundraising events have in the community.
LK The Hamptons has become synonymous with special events and big-white-tent parties. These gatherings give people a chance to be seen, have a good time, and contribute to a good cause, such as the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, the local historical society, or the Southampton Hospital.
HL What are some of the notable projects/developments that are in the works or on the drawing boards for Southampton?
LK The Francis S. Gabreski Airport, which is owned by Suffolk County, has signed Rechler Equity Partners to build a full-service hotel with all the trimmings. New beach pavilions have been built here recently as well as some new parks in the North Sea, Hampton Bays, and East Quogue areas.
HL Given the economy, are you expecting more or less visitors this summer?
LK It’s tough to predict. Due to the seasonal nature of some of our areas, we could be negatively impacted, or we may be positively impacted. Some may choose to not travel as far this summer, but will come to the Hamptons instead. Some of the robust activity we were seeing in real estate sales dissipated, and we are seeing some decrease in restaurant activity. But rental homes aren’t at a complete standstill. Hopefully this year, every weekend will bring folks to our area, and they will patronize our local stores and restaurants, giving continued prosperity to those that call this place home.
HL What is Southampton like during the fall and winter months?
LK Our year-round population is nearing 60,000, and that triples mid-summer. When I was a kid, it was very quiet in the fall and winter. Now, people are enjoying the “shoulder seasons,” which is what we call the spring and fall. They come earlier in the spring to watch the flowers start to blossom and stay in the fall to see the beautiful foliage.
HL Why should someone choose to live in Southampton over other nearby towns?
LK Everything you like about the Hamptons is here and available, such as the beaches and the bays, and even business areas to do local shopping. We have a little something for everyone. The history in each of our hamlets and our villages is so rich, and with the architectural treasures and cultural activities that are available, I believe that Southampton is the best of what the East End has to offer.
We’re not just the land of celebrities and mansions. We have many local people who add a special taste and character to the area. It’s a small-town environment where people enjoy raising their families.