I toured a luxury trailer park in the Hamptons where people spend 'silly money' on tiny, million-dollar trailers by the ocean. Take a look inside one of New York's best-kept secrets.

Benjamin Okorie
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Montauk Shores

  • Montauk Shores Condominium is a luxury trailer park that's home to the mega rich, and it's located right in New York City's ultimate resort area: the Hamptons.
  • The trailer park is in Montauk — a ritzy town located on the eastern end of Long Island with a median listing price of $1,495,000.
  • The 20-acre, gated community is filled with amenities that include a clubhouse, a playground, and a massive outdoor pool.
  • It's not unusual for trailers here to sell for over $1 million.
  • In late November, I took a four-hour train ride out from Manhattan and got an exclusive tour of the trailer park.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

On a sunny November afternoon in Montauk, New York, I toured a luxury trailer park that's home to the mega rich. 

Located at the end of a secluded paved road, Montauk Shores Condominium is a 20-acre trailer park with features that include security, outdoor amenities, and "million-dollar" ocean views.

Though the park started out as an oasis of sorts for blue-collar workers, today, it's not uncommon to see hedge-fund managers, CEOs, and investment bankers alike buying and selling trailers worth over a million dollars. 

In fact, as Jennifer Gould Keil reported for the New York Post in 2017, big players who have called the park home include Vitaminwater co-founder Darius Bikoff, hedge-fund manager Dan Loeb, and film producer Karen Lauder

I met up with real-estate agent Peter Moore from The Corcoran Group, who has been selling units in the park for around 15 years, to see what the hype is all about.

Keep reading for a walk-through of the wealthiest trailer park I've ever seen.

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Montauk Shores Condominium is in the very far-eastern tip of the Hamptons, a series of beach towns and villages that extend across the end of Long Island. In November, I took a train from Mineola to Montauk, for an exclusive tour of the luxury trailer park.

Mineola and Montauk are about 100 miles apart. I spent roughly four hours transferring trains and waiting on various platforms before I finally arrived at my destination.



The Long Island town is no stranger to high price tags. According to real-estate platform Zillow, there are currently seven homes on the market there asking for more than $8 million.

The median listing price in Montauk is a jaw-dropping $1,495,000.



The Hamptons are known around the world as a destination for ultra-wealthy vacationers. The area is recognized for its stunning beaches, five-star dining options, and massive, multimillion-dollar homes.

The Hamptons are often visited by celebrities including Brooke Shields, Anderson Cooper, and Neil Patrick Harris.



But when a taxi driver picked me up from the station, he told me that if I'm looking to spend time in Montauk during the off-season, I should bring a friend. "You won't be meeting a lot of people out here," he said.



As he dropped me off on Main Street, I saw what he meant. Main Street, a popular strip in Montauk during the summer months, is like a ghost town in November.

Consider this: Montauk is home to just 3,662 year-round residents but welcomes an estimated 30,000 visitors over the course of the summer months. 



A lot of the restaurants and shops were closed, and the ones that were open were mostly empty.



I sat for a late breakfast at John's Pancake House. While a couple of people shuffled in and out during my time there, the waitress told me that if it were a summer afternoon, the place would be packed.



Then, it was time to head to my real destination: Montauk Shores. It was a roughly 10-minute drive from Main Street.



The trailer park calls itself "Montauk's Best-Kept Secret," and its entrance fits the bill. The entrance to the 20-acre property sits off the end of a paved road and atop a bluff that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean — but it's so unassuming that I almost missed it.



Even the humble, light-blue welcome sign is easy to miss.

Source: Montauk Shores Condominium



The gated entrance to the community was unlike any trailer-park entrance I'd ever seen. It only opens to those with a pass. Fortunately, I was meeting up with real-estate agent Peter Moore from Corcoran, who has been selling units in the park for around 15 years.



Montauk Shores started out as a campsite in the late 1940s. In 1976, to save the property from bankruptcy, a group of residents bought it and formed the first mobile home park condominium in New York.

Source: Montauk Shores Condominium



The community is made up of 152 owned sites and 47 leased sites. Moore explained that years ago, before the park became a hotspot for the wealthy, it was an oasis of sorts for firefighters, police officers, teachers, and surfers.

The community is managed by a seven-member board.



According to Moore, the park is still occupied by a handful of retired and active blue-collar workers who have owned their units for years. But many of the park's original residents have been priced out as prices have skyrocketed.

 

 



The park is made up of seven blocks that run perpendicular to the ocean, and two blocks that run parallel to it. Edgewater Drive is home to the coveted oceanfront homes — and, as I learned on my tour, some unbelievably high prices.



The park has a variety of amenities, including a gated playground and a gated set of pools, which were closed at the time. As I walked around, I felt like I was in a beach club rather than a trailer park.

 

 



About 80% of the park's residents use their units during the summer, which explained why, on a November afternoon, no one was around.

Source: Montauk Shores Condominium



Along with outdoor amenities, residents also have access to a clubhouse. As I walked around, I also found a plot of land filled with parked boats for the winter.



Moore explained that there are two types of units in the park: single-wide units and double-wide units. These homes can be as tiny as 200 square feet or as large as 1,400 square feet.

Source: New York Post



A handful of old homes in the community are permanent, but most have been wheeled in. Some of the oldest trailers in the park date back to the 1960s.



Moore refers to these older units as "pull aways." Instead of tearing down trailers to build new ones, owners simply roll out the old and roll in the new.



As we walked, Moore explained that it's not uncommon for units here sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. In fact, some of the oceanfront units are valued in excess of $1 million. The light green trailer pictured below sold for $540,000 in 2017.



On Zillow, the prices of for-sale units in the park range from $699,000 all the way up to $1.5 million.

Source: Zillow



This two-bedroom trailer is currently on the market for $890,000. I got to take a look inside.

Source: Corcoran



To the left of the front door is the kitchen, which, while small, includes all the essentials: a fridge, an oven, a sink, and a stove.



The kitchen's simple color scheme and beautiful natural lighting made it seem bigger than it really was.



Next to the kitchen is a small, blue bathroom with a tub and a shower.



In the back of the trailer is one of the two bedrooms. The room was nicely decorated, but the big bed left narrow walkways and little space for additional furniture.



Back by the front door and to the right of the kitchen there's a small living room.



I was surprised to see that the second bedroom in the trailer was large enough to fit a bunk bed and a dresser.



Despite its expensive price tag, this trailer doesn't come with a view of the ocean. Instead, it's located near the center of the park and boasts a patio, trees, plants, and a shed.



But the park's crown gems are the oceanfront trailers. That row of trailers is divided by a large pathway that leads up to a deck that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.



These units are often valued in excess of $1 million. Like all the other units in the park, these are all still trailers, which shows just how much people are willing to pay for oceanfront views in the Hamptons.



Moore refers to the strip of oceanfront properties as "silly money." These homes attract big players including hedge fund managers, CEOs, bank investors, and business owners.



Some of these people include Vitaminwater co-founder Darius Bikoff, hedge-fund manager Dan Loeb, and film producer Karen Lauder.

Source: New York Post



To better understand how expensive these trailers are, consider this oceanfront property. This roughly 600-square-foot, two-bedroom unit sold for a whopping $1.25 million in 2018.

Source: Corcoran



And as for this one, Moore estimates that if it were to hit the market today, it would go for upwards of $1.5 million.



The jaw-dropping prices of these units are often defended by the breathtaking views they offer of Ditch Plains Beach.



Ditch Plains Beach is considered one of the best places to surf on the East Coast. Up on the deck, I got a glimpse of the views worth millions.

Source: CNN, Out East



On a clear day, the views of the ocean stretch for miles.



After I left the park, I walked about half a mile to Ditch Plains and could still see the trailers in the distance, just barely peeking out over the bluff.



The day I spent walking around Montauk Shores made one thing clear to me: The trailer park's evolution is a microcosm of what's been happening with Montauk's real-estate prices at large.

Like Montauk Shores, the Hamptons as a whole are pricing out locals. As The Guardian previously reported, with few opportunities to work locally and increasingly expensive real estate, low-to-middle income households in the area are struggling to get by.

Towns in the Hamptons sport median home values well over $1 million, forcing even those who have grown up in the area to move away.

And while oceanfront views rarely come cheap, the prices at Montauk Shores are, simply, astonishing: The Hamptons are so expensive that a trailer will cost you over $1 million.



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