unHampton
Years ago, a grizzled old reporter told me to always avoid the word original, as there is precious little new under the sun. I was reminded of that when I picked up the current Architectural Digest and spotted an article about fashion designer Francisco Costa‘s house in Bellport, New York. The writer dubbed that south shore Long Island village the unHampton, reminding me that I’d done the same 22 years ago in a New York magazine summer profile of the place (pictured at right). I thought I was so clever. But it turns out that the first use of that coinage wasn’t mine. It may not have been Leonore Fleischer‘s either, but a quick check revealed a 1981 “Letter From New York” in the Washington Post, in which the appellation was bestowed on the Hudson River town of Hudson by a vice president of Random House quoted by the writer. “We’re not fashionable yet,” Fleischer concluded of her weekend home, “and if our luck holds good, we never will be.” Fleisher wasn’t that lucky, but she was clever. And she may have even been first.