Parking and Lodging
There is very limited motel space within walking distance of East Hampton village, and you can be quite certain all the rooms are booked. If you are staying anywhere else, like Montauk or Hampton Bays, for example, you’ll need a car.
The trick is knowing where to park it. The only sure way to dump your wheels and zone out in the theaters for 14 hours is to locate the long-term parking lot in the village. It’s just north of the train station, just east of the YMCA, and behind Herrick’s Park to the north. Set your GPS to Maidstone Lane or Pleasant Lane. There is a fee and an automated machine, but it’s reasonable, safe, and secure. HINT: There is a path going right through the park and into the Park Place parking lot behind Main Street.
If you are staying with friends, be advised there is virtually no public transportation, and cab service is expensive and spotty (Unless of course, UBER is in town for the weekend.) If you can’t walk to the venue, make sure you have a ride.
If you are in the village all day be advised merchants frown upon freeloaders looking to use the facilities. So, unless you are willing to buy an $850 puce mohair V-neck, hear me and hear me now: There is exactly one public bathroom, and it is in the Reutershan parking lot behind Main Street, west of Newtown Lane, on the north side near the tennis courts.
The movie theatre itself is the next best bet. Tip: Use the facility and then buy the popcorn. Just sayin’.
The biggest stars and the hottest names attending the Hamptons International Film Festival will almost surely go to the place where they are sure to be seen: John Papas Café (631-324-5400). But they aren’t there to pose. The big stars put their pants on one leg at time, whatever that means. What we’re trying to say is they have to eat, and when there are six great movies scheduled for the afternoon, it’s gotta be quick and it’s gotta be good.
Papas fits the bill. Papas is also cool because breakfast can be had all day. Alec, Jerry (Seinfeld, that is), Sarah Jessica Parker, Liv Tyler, and many more stars are in there all year long.
Our faves? Challah Bread French toast, Chicken Souvlaki (all the Greek dishes are good) and the dinner specials — try the prime rib, a steal at $23.
If you are new to the Hamptons, here is our little secret: Route 27, Wood Lane, East Hampton Main Street, Pantigo Road, and Montauk Highway are the same road.
Know this, and you’ll know how to get to Bostwick’s Chowder House at 277 Pantigo Road (631-324-1111) and Goldberg’s Deli (631-329-8300) which is on 100 Pantigo Place around the corner from town hall. Buoy One (833-286-9663), over on Race Lane by the train station, is another.
One of the oddities of the East End is that there are very few places to enjoy the kind of fare you expect from a seaside fishing community, and Bostwick’s fills the bill, and at reasonable prices.
Some HIFF attendees don’t realize we have a real pizzeria right in East Hampton Village that is as good as any Brooklyn has to offer. It’s Fierro’s (631-324-5751), right across the alley from Waldbaum’s on Newtown Lane. They are pros — they’ll get you in and out quickly yet everything is made fresh. Hint: You can also buy candy for the movie there and save a bundle, especially if the kids are with you.
There are a terrific variety of slices or whole pies, hot and cold heroes, and a lot of stuff you wouldn’t expect, like salads and wraps, and even paninis. There are tables inside, or get it to go. They also have those neat little bottles of Chianti you can smuggle into the theater.
Across the street next to the school, hidden down the alley next to the middle school, is an authentic Chinese take-out place, oddly enough named Chinatown (631-324-1999).
We love the pupu platter for two and the sweet and sour chicken. There is no place to eat inside but the park is right across the street. They also deliver.
If you are heading east on Main Street, you’ll see the Dutch Motel on the right, Chen’s Garden (631-329-0333) is right next door, and the take-out is excellent. It’s at 478 Pantigo Road, which is really Montauk Highway, which is . . . well, you know.
Mary’s Marvelous (631-324-1055) on Newtown Lane has all the favorites from the Amagansett store, including delicious home baked treats and hearty sandwiches and soups for lunch. Eat all the sugary stuff you want, just make sure you put some kale in your smoothie and wear your gym clothes and you’ll convince everyone at the theater you are still diligently working out.
By the way, the Golden Pear on the other side of the street is another good place to grab a bite in a hurry. Call 631-329-1600 to place an order. All these places carry The Independent, which will come in handy while you are waiting to get in the movies.
Head west to get to Southampton (don’t worry about what road you are on). La Parmigiana (631-283-9752), on Hampton Road, a short walk from the theater, is another authentic Italian restaurant with pizza to go — or, sit down and grab a hot meal and have a glass of wine or two. Sip ‘n Soda (631-282-2800), right down the block, is the quintessential luncheonette, and has been for generations. And yes, Gary Cooper ate there (Note for Movie Trivia Quiz: he’s buried in Southampton.) Citarella is right down the block (there are also branches in Bridgehampton and East Hampton).
Hampton Coffee in Water Mill (631-726-2633) at 869 Montauk Highway is a filmgoer’s paradise. The coffee is the best around, there’s fresh baked muffins and scones, a smoothie bar, and breakfast and lunch served all day. Look for its mobile unit as well.
In Sag Harbor, the Corner Bar (631-725-9760) is right across the street from Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor. The burgers are great, the drinks flow, and the patrons are friendly. There is a Golden Pear on Main Street, as well as on Newtown Lane in East Hampton and Main Street in Southampton.
Just south, on Madison Street, sits Il Capuccino (631-725-2747), a sit down Italian restaurant that has been doing it for almost 50 years. They should make a movie about the garlic rolls — they are that good.