It was 4 p.m. last Friday and a 30-something New Yorker who’d just flown into the East Hampton airport was seated on a bench outside the terminal, typing into his laptop, a pair of orange Hermes bags to his side.
Nearby was a guy in his 50s, wearing a black T-shirt, board shorts and a Patek Philippe sports watch.
Helicopters descended one after another, depositing visitors and well-off Manhattanites who had turned this summer playground into their full-time home last year. Many arrived via Blade, an Uber for the skies that usually costs around $795 a seat. Goyard totes were in abundance, as were nannies and goldendoodles, the current must-have dog breed among the Hamptons social set. (Their fare on Blade is $95.)
Some were picked up by suited drivers in Suburban SUVs. Others had spouses waiting for them in Jeep Rubicons. Virtually no one wore a mask, save for the Blade attendant on the tarmac offering Panna water and Perrier. (Indeed, when one spots a person wearing a mask outdoors, chances are high that the person is attending to the rich.)
Overall food prices rose 0.4 percent from March, and are up 1 percent from a year ago, according to data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Friday. The price of pork soared 2.6 percent in the month of April and 4.8 percent from a year ago, adjusting for seasonality. And while beef and veal prices stayed fairly flat for the month, they are up 3.3 percent from a year ago.
In a season that routinely sees increased demand for beef and pork, this goes far beyond people excited to get back outside to barbecue.
Michael Nepveux, an economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation, ticks off the factors contributing to skyrocketing prices: Labor shortages in the meatpacking industry on the heels of months of slowdowns and shutdowns due to covid-19; a surge in restocking food service as restaurants reopen; high grain and transportation costs; and strong exports and domestic demand.