If you have been on a Caribbean island for the last six months, or don’t read the New York Post, if you spent the spring in Marbella and haven’t paid attention to any of the real estate gossip in the Hamptons, here you are.

In the Hamptons, people talk about home prices the way people talk about movie grosses in Hollywood. Everyone knows what a house was listed for, the final asking price was, the real sale price. They also know how much the owner paid for it three years ago. Who owned it before that. What made him or her sell. And on and on.

Every house has a history. Some go back hundreds of years, but sometimes the ones that go back 25 years are juicier. Consider the legal battle between Martha Stewart and the developer Harry Macklowe in 1997.  We bring it up because — news! — she sold her house on Lily Pond Lane to Ken Lerer for $16.5 million this year.

The New York Times, Sunday, January 27, 1997

The contretemps was over trees and bushes. Trees and bushes! Ms. Stewart claimed they were planted on her land, and that they blocked her view of Georgica Pond. A mere trifle of a dispute, but lawyers, injunctions, a ruling by the East Hampton Town Council about property lines, expert removing, and then replanting ensued.

It was chronicled in The New York Times.

The new owner, Mr. Lerer, (you remember him?) probably cannot find any sign of the vegetation that caused the ruckus, or even, perhaps, the notorious property line. Otherwise, he might be able to give tours.

The point is that people used to get a little thrill when they saw Martha Stewart pick through the strawberries at a market in Southampton. No one will get a similar jolt of recognition when they see Ken Lerer squeeze a cantaloupe, even though he was a co-founder of the Huffington Post and is a former chairman of Buzzfeed. No slight to Ken Lerer, a fine fellow, he. But his name isn’t on cookbooks and sheets, and he wasn’t on a television series for years.

Such will be the fate of the Hamptons as celebrities sell their homes for inflated prices and buy, instead, say a small Italian hill town. Perhaps one called Lunigiana, in Tuscany, which dates back to 1700. It is for sale these days for less than $1 million. So cheap. It includes 18 buildings, olive groves, orchards, pastures, woodlands and spring water. Of course it’s a fixer-upper, but maybe some bored Hamptons celebrity will sell out and buy it. You know, invite friends to pick fruit and make olive oil. It’s Tuscany.

More old real estate news about celebrities, in case you were not paying attention.

from realtor.com

This modest, 1,200-square-foot beach house is for rent for $95,000 for the summer, Memorial Day to Labor Day. Three bedrooms, one bath. Outdoor shower.

Seems a lot?

Well, howabout we say that Sarah Jessica Parker is your landlord? Not that she is going to hand you the keys, even for $95,000.

It is one of three homes she and her husband, Matthew Broderick, own in Amagansett. There is the one in the village and they own at least two on the beach.

This seems to be one of those two beach shacks, so presumably SJP will be your summer beach neighbor. (Unless she goes back to the city doing post and publicity for “And Just Like That…” Season 2.)

(Photo credit: Craig Blankenhorn)

This 1940’s house has a private path to the beach, a nice outdoor patio and interior décor that is cottage-core rather than sophisticated.

from realtor.com

Perfect for a beachy July. There is no pool, fool. The beach is right there. See information and many more photos on realtor.com

— Linda Lee


Linda Lee is a former editor and writer at The New York Times