Planning on getting out of town most weekends the next few months but not going points further than a 300 mile radius? Perhaps out East, on Shelter Island or Martha's Vineyard? If you answered yes, please be sure transport doesn't involve helicopter or, god help you, a car, because roads as a means of transport have been declared "over."
Andre Balazs has a new toy. He is part owner of a seaplane, an eight-passenger Cessna 208 Caravan Amphibian aircraft that has been refurbished and painted bright red, the color that has become synonymous with his hotel chain. StndAir looks like an adorable figment of Snoopy's imagination. It operates off the pier at 23rd Street and the East River. The plane can travel within a 300-mile area of New York, and it can be chartered to go to places like Martha's Vineyard ($4,875), Provincetown ($5,575) or Montauk ($3,275). Through the summer, it will make regularly scheduled stops in East Hampton for $495, and Shelter Island for $595. There is also something slightly confusing called an online Flight Board where individuals can book tickets for off-peak flights for as low as $30 a seat. Small pets are welcome on the plane, luggage allowance is 20 pounds and no golf clubs are permitted.
On Friday, twenty minutes before takeoff, an employee of Mr. Balazs was waiting on the dock welcoming passengers. "Would you like some water?" she said, grabbing a miniature bottle branded with StndAir's red logo on it from a basket. "While you wait, we also have suntan lotion and spray if you need to put some on." Inside was plenty of room, and the niceties were especially, well, nice. Before take off, gummi Swedish fish—the color of the plane—were distributed through the cabin. So was a red thermos that read "Rosé."
And in a blink, StndAir was in the water, pulling up to the beach at Shelter Island. There were dogs on the sand and a naked child waving. It felt very St.-Tropez. "Roads are over," said Mr. Brambilla, [a friend of Balazs] as he stepped onto the shore.