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Eighty miles from New York City, and spread across forty miles of the Atlantic ocean, Southampton has a large divide that not many people realize exists. Although the median income is $78,815, down the street from a $100 million home lies a food pantry that serves over 400 people a month. Where does this divide come from, and how does it affect the citizens so harshly?
Many of the summertime residents with multimillion-dollar incomes claim they are residents of elsewhere, reports The Seattle Times. Doctors and nurses work 24+ hour shifts, and then walk down the street to hospital-owned homes for a quick nap and cup of coffee before going back to work. Hundreds of workers make a commute at an average of two hours one-way. “The image is that we’re all pretty much rich, hoity-toity, well-to-do people,” says Kimberly Piazza, who is a secretary for a sodding business owned by her husband.
“While you do have some of those people, a majority of us are still working class," she explains as she outlines the expense that comes from a $6 gallon of milk and $4 cost for a dozen eggs in the center of Southampton. According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, the average selling price of a Southampton home is $1,845,431. These figures are some of the highest in the country, and it only causes the financial divide within the city to be even more apparent.
In June 2014, the town board unanimously approved an upcoming financial plan to build a 28-unit apartment complex near the center of town. This is part of a long-term plan to provide affordable housing for those who live and work in the area. Many of the wealthier residents are opening up more about local concern about year-round workers who travel so far and cannot afford to continue providing for the city. According to R. Couri Hay, a Manhattan public-relations executive, there are many new philanthropic events and fundraisers planned for the upcoming year, with some tickets to the events selling for up to $1,000 a ticket.
"They're spending money to show support for the community," Hay explains.