Last call for the Hamptons -- free towel and television script!
This is it, the last official weekend of summer at the beach, of clogged streets, battles for the best table of alfresco dining and drunken parties of 20-somethings at summer shares before New Yorkers are forced to face the reality of their lives in city.
As beachgoers stood in line on East 86th Street and Third Avenue on Friday afternoon to catch a bus to eastern Long Island for the Labor Day weekend, they were offered a television script and free beach towel emblazoned with the word "Revenge."
Stacey Williams and Stephen Schulman, both young and struggling creative types, were being paid to hand out the freebies as part of a promotion for ABC's new television drama about the Hamptons premiering this month.
"Wealth, beauty and status define the people in this town, but one woman is willing to destroy everyone for the sake of revenge," said an ABC synopsis of the series. The show takes place and was shot in the Hamptons, according to the promotion material.
Williams and Schulman said they were under instructions to give handouts only to customers waiting for the Hampton Jitney -- the service with the familiar big green buses that can be seen crawling all summer along the Long Island Expressway.
When a construction worker in a torn Yankees T-shirt emblazoned with "Mantle" and big 7 on the back asked for a red, white and black "Revenge" towel, Williams first apologized but declined to give him one.
"They're only for people riding the jitney to the Hamptons," she said sweetly.
The last time she and Schulman turned down such a request, a construction worker grumbled at them, "So they're only for the rich people?"
Williams said, "I felt really bad about that."
In the meantime, the folks in line who were facing at least two hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic were already making use of their freebies.
A young boy in a purple polo shirt wrapped it around his shoulders; a man eating a turkey sandiwch and balancing two suitcases used it to wipe his mouth; and a woman slapped the script on top of the novel she was reading and perused the first couple of pages.
"Hmmmm. Sex, love, drama, the Hamptons," she said. "Tell me something I don't know."
--Geraldine Baum in New York
Photo: Stephen Schulman was on Manhattan's Upper East Side Friday afternoon handing out free towels and television scripts for “Revenge,” an ABC television series premiering this month. Credit: Geraldine Baum/Los Angeles Times