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Events Guru Lawrence Scott on Finding a Sense of Community in the Hamptons

As Told to Stephanie Davis Smith | August 30, 2018 | People

Lawrence Scott, the Hamptons event planning guru, is feeling reflective. In a rare reprieve from the melee of putting on back-to-back killer events out East, the self-made businessman takes a moment to look back. In his own words, he talks candidly about how buying in the Hamptons has changed him.

larry-scott-0001.jpgLawrence Scott with his wonderland-inspired installations at Hamptons’ 40th anniversary bash.

The demographics in the middle of Long Island remind me a lot of what happens with a volcano. The volcano’s erupting and that mixes up the land; the geography reinvents itself and melds together and makes new forms of land. My business, Lawrence Scott Events, has always done a lot of work around Old Westbury, Brookville and the middle of the island, but over the years those clients went out to the Hamptons and kind of brought me out with them for events and parties.

I’m like Starbucks. There’s familiarity in me. Even though they move to the Hamptons, they want the people they’re comfortable with. So, I started getting more and more work out there over the years. My longtime clients will do their kids’ birthday parties out there now that they have the property—they can do the blow-up bouncy houses, petting zoos, and they are entertaining differently. They don’t have to go to Chelsea Piers to throw a party. It’s changing... space matters again.

larry-scott-2.jpgThere’s nothing like a Larry Party, especially when it’s held at Lawrence Scott’s own home in Water Mill.

There are a lot of people I know that wanted to get out of the city, and they re-created their urban lives out in the Hamptons—only with more room. They made their apartments a pied-à-terre and spent more time out East. They didn’t want to be in Manhattan all the time, but they didn’t want to go all the way to Florida.

For years, I fought coming out here and went to Fire Island, Greece or Ibiza in the summer. But then I thought, why do I run there instead? I don’t want to be part of this community and not give back to it. I decided to buy north of the highway last year and found there is a whole world up there that no one even realizes. It’s the best-kept secret. I mean, Madonna lives north of the highway!

You’re in the woods and it feels like you could be in upstate New York. I’m five minutes from the beach and six minutes from Bridgehampton and Water Mill and all those great restaurants if I want that scene.

larry-party.jpgMoonlight mingling at a summer soiree at Scott’s Water Mill home.

OK, here’s the thing about wealthy people: Even though they have money, they want value. Affluent people don’t want to go to a restaurant and get a little small piece of fish. I know this from throwing parties for 30 years—they want to pay, but they want value. They want to come home from dinner with a little extra steak and vegetables. I don’t understand these people who don’t bring home leftovers! But that conversation is for another day and another time...

So, I finally built a home in the Hamptons last year. The city was grinding on me. I know they say, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” But they also say, “If you don’t get out of New York, it will eat you up.” It’s a balance. What I love is there are gorgeous horse farms out here... and fireplaces! I love making a fire. There’s so much to do out here. It’s not just in the summer; it’s spring and fall, and we came out at Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

larry-scott-team.jpgScott’s first family holiday in the Hamptons.

Listen, I came from humble beginnings. We were five kids growing up with two parents, we all crammed in the living room to watch TV together and we waited in line for the bathroom. I’ll never forget where I came from. I’ve lost my sister, mother and father, and the part that really resonates with me is we didn’t have the room to run and spread out that I do now. We were on top of each other. But with all the TVs and all the bathrooms, we all ended up in the same room watching the same TV together. It doesn’t matter how much you have in life, if you don’t have people. And that’s the truth.

I’ve found that the Hamptons makes you stop and smell the roses. All you need is a great fire going, a port wine and family time. You don’t have to keep chasing the carrot. Maybe once you get the carrot, it doesn’t always taste so good. Have you thought of that?