Authenticity Watch: The Hamptons

Obviously, I’m a sucker for stories that explore the subtle (and not-so) mechanisms of status display, especially when that display masquerades as a quest not for status but for the authentic. That kind of story is the meat-and-two-veg of the New York Times style section, and today’s is great.

It’s summer, so the piece is about the Hamptons of course. How do the long-time locals secretly signal to one another, behind the backs of the tourists and the arrivistes? By their t-shirts, naturally. Anyone from Jersey can pick up a MONTAUK t-shirt along main street, but there’s only one place you can find a Ditch Witch shirt — out of the back of a car beside an obscure food truck:

It signals localism, but a “friendly localism,” said Ms. Adams, who cooked for years at restaurants in East Hampton and Montauk before parking her truck in the sand. It suggests that the wearer is in on something, has the key to what Tracy Feith, the surfer and designer who operates a shop at the Surf Lodge in Montauk, called “the authenticity everyone’s trying to find in the marketplace.”

But now the Times has gone and ruined it. I wonder if the uproar from the Hamptonites will lead the Times to “unpublish” this, just like they unpublished their story about the secret climbing gym in Brooklyn?