Graydon Carter

The lost magic of the Hamptons

Southampton, Long Island They’ve honed the skill of attracting attention by building some of the largest and ugliest houses this side of the Russian-owned Riviera ones, yet the luminous little village still retains signs of a bygone civilised era. A few grand houses built a long time ago are proof that not all Americans are nouveaux-riches, and some even have good taste in decoration – you know the kind: wicker chairs, yellow and white umbrellas, and long green lawns. I used to own a house like that, with swimming pool, tennis court and a cellar full of wine, but I sold it because of its proximity to a relative of