Hamptonite of the Week: Nancy Atlas
June 11, 2012 | Talk of the Town
Occupation: Singer/songwriter, The Nancy Atlas Project
When did you start coming to the Hamptons and how has it changed since then?
My first trip was when I was 4-months-old, and I’ve been out here every year since then. My folks bought a cottage in Lazy Point [Amagansett] when I was about 7-years-old. We used to live on a dirt road with no telephones. Now it's paved with WiFi. By far the biggest change has been the post-season. It used to be so quiet out here right after Labor Day. And surfing; Montauk surfing has exploded. Note to hipster surfer wannabees: if you drive around with a surfboard sticking out of the back of your fabulously vintage car and it has no wax on it, then you look like a poser.
What’s your best, worst, or most hilarious Hamptons memory?
Years ago my boyfriend Thomas Muse—who is now my spankalicious husband—hosted the most outrageous full moon parties at Sagg Main. This was way before the drum mayhem that happens there now. It would always end with a skinny dip and naked surfing under the moon. Good times. Lots of young fabulous artists, writers, musicians, and surfers. It was definitely a youth moment and one for the books. The Hamptons at its finest.
Do you have an inner circle or group of friends that you hang out with most often when you’re here?
A basic mash-up of who I hang with could be defined as surfer-girl rock stars with a sprinkle of old-school buddies and six degrees of Elmo. That’s about as close to defining my 'inner circle' as I’d like to get. I will say that I have friends from all rungs of the ladder out here, and I love that. The prince and the pauper. Add sun, music, and a sunset and everyone is dancing together beautifully.
What are your East End traditions or summer must-dos?
Bonfires on a Monday night after a long week of gigs. Watching the kids run down the beach. Marshmallow roasting. Ghost stories. And a chilled glass of fine French rosé. Heaven. I also like to go clamming, surfing, and get in a few trips to Gosman’s Dock to feed the seagulls. This year, post-baby, my schedule is getting a tad hectic. I’m looking at it and literally not taking gigs on Mondays and Tuesdays so that I can have downtime to soak in some of this good stuff.
Who throws the best parties?
Us. We are underground and local, baby! Each August my husband and I throw something called FOTLAS: Food of the Land and Sea. The date is set when I catch blue claws. It is literally thrown together within about six hours. I set up a long, Italian-style table and every single thing consumed at our party is local.
Where do you go for a drink and what’s your usual?
Depends on the time of year. During spring and fall, I go to The Dock at Montauk and typically have a Bass ale. In the summer, I'm at the Harvest on Fort Pond drinking rosé or Veuve.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten in the Hamptons?
I recently ate a watermelon salad at The Surf Lodge that was literally insane. I put my fork down and stopped chewing to prolong the experience. It was that good.
Where do you go to totally unplug?
If I told you that, then I wouldn’t be able to unplug the next time I go there, because I would be thinking about how I told everyone about my secret spot. It’s very special and lovely.
What’s your summer anthem?
Silence. When you play music for a living—and this may sound harsh, unless you are a musician gigging six times a week—the one thing you crave on your day off is silence.
Last night of the summer, where can we find you and what are you doing?
If summer ended on a Saturday, then I am gigging to about 428 people at the Talkhouse. If it’s a Sunday, then I’m on my couch, rubbing my feet, and listening to NPR, preferably Garrison Keillor. My six-year-old is probably asking me for something to eat and my baby is probably trying to rip out a chunk of my hair.
What’s the difference between a true Hamptonite and a weekender?
A weekender hates Mondays. A true Hamptonite loves Mondays. A weekender knows a good store to buy fish and a true Hamptonite knows a good fisherman. A weekender longs to go to the Hamptons and a Hamptonite longs to go to Block Island.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARYELLEN MATTHEWS