The city’s loss is their gain.
Suffolk County is preparing for an endless summer amid signs that the coronavirus crisis and surging crime in the Big Apple will lead wealthy vacationers and weekenders to stay put after Labor Day, The Post has learned.
County Executive Steve Bellone and other elected leaders are set Thursday to announce efforts to encourage seasonal businesses to keep their doors open to accommodate city residents who don’t want to return home from the Hamptons and other East End communities.
“Suffolk County welcomes our neighbors from Gotham and planning is underway to prepare for longer and even permanent relocations,” Bellone spokesman Jason Elan said.
“With an extension of the summer season, more transplants mean more opportunities to create a more stable local economy.”
The county’s Department of Labor is in talks with the owners of restaurants, hotels and museums to train local residents who are unemployed or under-employed due to the COVID-19 pandemic so they can replace migrant summer workers, an official said.
Suffolk also plans to help supply businesses with personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of the virus, the official said.
Restaurateur James Mallios, who owns Calissa in Water Mill, said many regulars there were also patrons of Amali, his temporarily closed restaurant on the Upper East Side.
“I talk to 90 percent of them and most of them are staying,” he said.
“A lot of people have talked about crime as a reason why they are leaving the city.”
Mallios added: “They are leaving the city because of the quality of life and [Mayor Bill] de Blasio’s mismanagement and the lack of open restaurants and cultural institutions.”
Michael Pitsinos, who opened the NAIA restaurant at Southampton’s Capri Hotel in July, said his business there has “exceeded all my expectations.”
“We will stay open thanks to popular demand,” he said.
Pitsinos said the hotel “is sold out for September and October,” with many guests “coming for two days and then 70 percent of the time they extend their stay or come back every week or two weeks.”
Earlier this week, The Post reported that the Baron’s Cove resort in Sag Harbor was offering six-month stays for between $14,000 and $20,000, with an owner, Curtis Bashaw, calling it “ideal for individuals and families who aren’t quite ready to return to the city or would like to take a break, but are not ready to give up their apartments.”
Two women from Manhattan who were staying at the Capri said their time there had convinced them to look for a condo or small house to rent in the Hamptons.
“I never thought in my life I’d consider leaving Manhattan and not going back, but that’s what’s happened,” said Natalia Grgurev, 36, a communications and marketing director who lives on Upper West Side.
“It’s not just the virus. The virus, you feel like eventually it will go away. It’s the crime. I have heard gunshots two blocks away from my apartment … I have a small dog and I’m actually very concerned to walk her by myself, even in broad daylight.”
Grgurev’s pal, Julia Pisciotta, a human resources manager who lives in the Flatiron District, said the city “feels unsafe but also devalued.”
“The value of a city is what you can do in the city, and that’s not a thing anymore,” said Pisciotta, 29.
“You can go outside, but how long does that last when December, January comes? I hope that things get better and I can go back, but I’d rather have space, I’d rather have amenities in other areas that can give me that trust factor.”
Socialite and philanthropist Jean Shafiroff said she and her husband, investment adviser Martin Shafiroff, left the Upper East Side in March for their 15,000-square-foot home in Southampton, where they’re living with their two grown daughters, one daughter’s boyfriend and five dogs.
“I love New York and I love it here, but until we have a better idea of what might happen with the second wave, we’re staying here,” she said.
“It’s about my family. I have full confidence that the city will come back, but for now we’re taking it day by day.”
Michael Capuano, a former Long Island restaurant and nightclub owner from the Upper West Side, relocated to his Southampton home with his wife and two daughters in March and has only been back to the city once, for a visit to Times Square in July.
“We thought everything would be open, everything would be cleaned up — and it was horrible,” said Capuano, 63.
“We were confronted by people who were screaming at us and we walked away. It left us with a horrible feeling. There were no police. There was no feeling of security. It’s appalling, just that they could let it sink so low. It was the greatest place on Earth and now it’s a disaster.”
He added: “Look, if I could snap my fingers and everything in the city would return to normal so I could go back, I would. But if I told you we were suffering in the Hamptons, I’d be lying.”
It’s unclear how many city residents will be staying in Suffolk, population 1.5 million, although cellphone data suggests that about 420,000 people — about 5 percent of the population — left town between March 1 and May 1, the New York Times has reported.
Surging school enrollments suggest a wave of new, year-round residents, however, with the private Ross School in East Hampton saying it will have so many more students that it will reopen its Lower School campus in Bridgehampton, the East Hampton Star reported Tuesday.
The school had put the Bridgehampton site on the market for nearly $10 million last year, but canceled the listing in February as the coronavirus began spreading.
Public school districts in Amagansett, Montauk, Springs, East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Southampton have also seen enrollments rise to their highest levels in decades, with the number of incoming K-6 students at the Amagansett School doubling from 75 to about 150, the Star reported last month.
Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, described the situation in Suffolk as “another example of how New York City’s financially devastated restaurants will lose out because government has not provided a clear plan for how and when restaurants in the city will be able to reopen indoors and rehire their employees.”
“Restaurants are vital to New York City’s cultural and economic fabric,” he said.
“If rent relief and a reopening plan for these small businesses does not come very soon, then the economic recovery of the city will be jeopardized.”
But in a stunning acknowledgement of the challenges facing the Big Apple, the head of the Partnership for New York City took Suffolk County’s efforts in stride.
“The Partnership is encouraging New York City to take every measure possible to bring people back to the city, but who can object to localities doing whatever they can to restore and grow their economy?” CEO Kathryn Wilde said.
“We should be glad this is happening in Suffolk County rather than Florida. At least the folks in the Hamptons are still paying New York State taxes!”
De Blasio on Monday dismissed concerns about the potential disappearance of well-heeled New Yorkers, even though the top 1 percent of earners pay nearly half of the city’s income taxes, predicting: “They’ll come back.”
Additional reporting by Julia Marsh and Carl Campanile
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