In the peaceful Hamptons, these arts-and-culture hotspots are worth making noise about
May begins New York City’s getaway season, as city-dwellers and visitors both jaunt to the Hamptons to relax on the beautiful tip of Long Island. However, a slower pace is not synonymous with a lack of cultural experiences. These four are good enough to elicit excursions out of the city on their own rite.
Grand master of the Abstract Expressionism art movement Jackson Pollock created his most influential work not in his Manhattan studio surrounded by artistic peers but alone on the floor of a barn in Southampton. After moving to the white-shingled house on Long Island’s East End that is now the Pollock Krasner Home & Study Center, he remained there creating art until his death in 1955, as did his widow, artist Lee Krasner, who survived him there until 1984. Visitors can tour through and see the floor of the barn still covered in Pollock’s paint drippings, his personal library and jazz record collection, original furnishings, tools and materials left as artifacts. The white-shingled home overlooks the Accabonac Creek, a beautiful setting that undoubtedly inspired each artist’s work, which the Center now uses to educate people about the beginnings of the art movement. Tours and admission can be spontaneous most months, but in May, the Center is only open Thursdays through Saturdays with required reservations for an hour-long guided tour. (830 Springs Fireplace Rd., East Hampton)
While Broadway beckons in Manhattan, Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor entertains theatergoers with more intimate but no less impressive performances. Newsday has ranked its caliber as on par with some of the best off-Broadway theaters, and CBS considers it one of the most preeminent regional theaters in America. Its summer season kicks off May 27 with the world premiere of Conviction, a family drama about a model community member accused by a student of crossing boundaries into inappropriate territory and the crises that ensue. In addition to its dramatic performances, comedy clubs, classic film and documentary screenings, workshops and educational programs keep the box office busy. (1 Bay St., Sag Harbor)
Founded in 1898, the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill re-opened in 2012 in a new building designed by Herzon & de Meuron three times the size of its former location in Southampton Village – a change applauded by art enthusiasts now able to see more of its private collection of more than 2,600 works of American modern and contemporary art. Pieces by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein, Cindy Sherman, Chuck Close and plentitudes of others adorn the walls of seven galleries filled with natural light. Specifically, the Parrish seeks to celebrate the art of Eastern Long Island, which has served as America’s most instrumental artist colony since the early 20th century. Book release parties, gallery talks and workshops all fill its events calendar for May, as does the first Jazz en Plein Air – a free outdoor jazz concert that takes place the last Friday of every summer month. (279 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill)
Five acres of the Peconic Land Trust comprise Bridge Gardens, a capsulated paradise of sorts with all the botanical diversity and stylized design of a full-fledged botanical garden. In the inner gardens, there’s a Spanish-styled knot garden, ivy maze and walk, vegetable garden, rows of more than 30 types of chilies, herbs of every medicinal and culinary genre, and a hidden bamboo room. In the outer gardens, visitors can meander through the fragrances of lilacs and roses. A soft field of wheat is reminiscent of pastoral countryside; European Beech hedges transport strollers to the formal gardens of France. (36 Mitchells Ln., Bridgehampton)