Saturday, June 15

East Hamptons Proposes Drinking Ban to Combat Surge in Rowdy Beach Parties

Bad news if you like rowdy beach parties: Officials in one town in the Hamptons, the area of New York state known for its mansions and cocktail parties, are looking to crack down on alcohol-fueled beach parties.

Indian Wells Beach, once a family-friendly stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, is now being referred to by disgruntled residents as “Fratster Beach” for the past two summers after out-of-towners started holding spring break-style parties there. As a result, East Hampton lawmakers are close to passing a ban on alcohol at the beach.

Residents and officials say that the worst offenders become publicly intoxicated, pulling such antics as stumbling drunkenly into the ocean, using sand dunes as toilets and exposing children and other beachgoers to “unseemly” acts.

East Hampton is currently the only municipality on the east end of Long Island that allows alcohol on the beach, and one of the only tourist destinations in the country where it is allowed as well. Places such as North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida began banning drinking on the beach in the 1970s; San Diego banned alcohol in 2008 after a violence Labor Day incident.

Long Island residents say that the town is behind the times waiting to enact a law against drinking on the area’s 26 beaches.

For Independence Day weekend, which is expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors to the area, the town trustees have decided on a compromise: a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ban on alcohol on the main 2,000-foot stretch of the beach, which is whether life guards will be posted and most beachgoers stay.

Sylvia Overby, East Hampton councilwoman, proposed a ban this spring on drinking at Indian Wells during those daytime lifeguard hours. The town will host a public hearing on the proposed ban on July 17.

Authorities, such as Supervisor Larry Cantwell, state that “It’s the behavior that’s being created by the drinking that’s the problem,” not the drinking itself.

Those planning weddings and parties in the area may want to reconsider the location if they had picked the beach.

More recently, East Hampton has become famous for hosting Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian, filming scenes for their reality show, much to the annoyance of local residents.

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