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Time Off for Good Behavior

Amagansett resident Pat Kiernan, aka the lovably deadpan NY1 morning news anchor and host of WABC’s 5PM radio show, shares his venerable wisdom on how to leave those urban urges—honking, hurrying and cursing the lack of 4G cell reception—back in the city.

NY1 anchor and WABC radio personality Pat Kiernan finds respite from the city on Napeague Bay beach.

Welcome to the beach, city dwellers.

The peak of summer’s here, and it’s time to unwind. But for those of us who devour our email with breakfast and go to bed basking in the light of an iPad instead of the moon, certain adjustments need to be made.

Herewith, a primer on how to get the most out of your vacation so you return to the daily grind feeling as you should: relaxed.


The first lesson you must internalize is a crucial one: Leave your city stress in the city. Make this your mantra. You’re on vacation now, so act like you mean it. You’ll be doing yourself a favor—plus, you’ll get along better with everyone who’s already made the switch to vacation mode.

Another behavior to jettison immediately is the urge to moan about the traffic. Just delete the “traffic is terrible” discussion out of your conversational repertoire. We all know the traffic is terrible; nobody forced you to visit. There’s nothing interesting about a discussion that doesn’t have a solution.

On the topic of driving etiquette, a friendly reminder that on the East End, the horn is a device used exclusively for emergencies. And no, being late to meet your nanny at the Bridgehampton train station does not qualify as an “emergency.” If you find yourself leaning on your horn out of anger, aggression or simply habit, remember that this is the behavior you’re here to escape. Resist the urge.

Or do one better and take this opportunity to engage in some immersive cultural therapy and practice the courtesy wave. It’s a simple motion to thank a driver who helps you out. You raise your right hand near the rearview mirror and twist your wrist slightly. We’re all on the same side: Team Vacation. Perform at least 10 reps a day.


While we’re modifying behaviors, let’s take the opportunity to remember that 4G LTE service is not a birthright. In fact, its absence should be seen as a blessing. Spend your time talking to the people you’re actually with—your kids, your family, your neighbors. Or spend it not talking at all. Vacation is a chance to reflect and recollect—you can report and recount later.

Another thing you can do later? Drink your Starbucks. Complaining that Starbucks isn’t staffed up for Saturday morning is bad vacation behavior. Banish it and branch out. Stretch your coffee legs.

And when a friend tells you the apple pie is fantastic at Vicki’s Veggies, don’t grumble, “Why didn’t you bake more?” when you get there and find they’re sold out. Remember: “farm stand” isn’t a marketing term—it means they only sell what the farm provides. Chill out. Be cool.

Heed the same advice when you see a celebrity. They’re on vacation, too—and for them, that should mean a break from selfie-seeking fans.


Finally, it’s easy to see the photos in magazines and feel pressure to make everything in your Hamptons home perfect. Whenever you have those moments, repeat this phrase: “It’s just a beach house.” For those who aren’t yet fluent in vacation-ese, that means it’s supposed to be a place that’s easy and restorative. 

So relax and put your feet up. And encourage your guests to put their feet up, too.