Reporting and Photography: Lieba Nesis
The Hamptons, notorious for housing the most illustrious clientele, has been allowing one dangerous group to live rent free. As article after article documents the rising rents, with summer dwellers deciding to reside in the Hamptons year-round as rentals skyrocket to $75,000 per month and more; a group of insects known as bees have been flying around wreaking havoc on unsuspecting dwellers. Unfortunately, I was amongst that group. After my delightful one and a half hour $38 ride on the Jitney Wednesday night September 2nd I guilelessly arrived at my $600 per night spotless hotel. Unwittingly, I ran to Citarella Thursday morning to indulge in a delectable chocolate chip muffin on the outside porch. Before I had a chance to digest, 6 bees relentlessly attacked me as I ran to seek refuge at a nearby clothing store.
Jogging to the beach for some tranquility I made a pit stop at the bathroom. I emerged with three bees on my tail. Kicking and swatting my flailing hands left a nearby woman puzzled “are you okay”? she inquired. Soon she saw the group of unwanted intruders trailing me “ is there any way I can help?” she yelled. I ran frantically as one bee decided to encamp in my ear. Two miles and ten buckets of sweat later, I arrived at White’s Apothecary to purchase a bee repellent made of lime and eucalyptus oil-salvaging the rest of my Labor Day weekend. While running into dozens of bees during the next four days, I passed by confidently with my repellent in hand.
Thursday night was delightfully reminiscent of pre-Covid days. I attended the Southampton Animal Shelter party hosted by Jean Shafiroff at Capri Southampton where more than $60,000 was raised. Next stop was a party hosted by Jared Epstein at his Water Mill home for the Chabad of Sag Harbor. Publicity maven Adam Weiss, who is the go-to for Republican honchos, was toasted by Rabbi Berel Lerman and 60 others for his tireless work and enthusiasm for the synagogue. Friday night was similarly busy with a party hosted by CEO of Douglas Elliman Dottie Herman, as well as a fundraiser for GOP candidate Chele Farley. Dottie Herman, the kindest female power player in the Hamptons, welcomed guests such as Ramona Singer and Mitch Modell to Capri Southampton. Hours later I attended services and dinner with the always dynamic Rabbi Rafe Konikov whose wife Chany cooked one of the best meals to date.
Saturday Southampton Main Street was replete with protests for Blue and Black Lives Matter. Zach Erdem, whose restaurant 75 Main and Blu Mar unfairly lost their liquor license, could be seen outside watching the rallies with a smile on his face. While Zach’s business has suffered immeasurably his ubiquitous popularity has resulted in loyal customers frequenting his establishments even if liquor wasn’t on the table-so to speak. Saturday night was no less busy as John Catsimatidis held a highly exclusive birthday party at his East Quogue home attended by the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Ray Kelly and Rita Cosby. Temperatures were taken before entering the party and social media and photographs were strictly prohibited for the approximately 60 guests.
A competing but no less illustrious event, was held nearby by the ultra chic Libbie Mugrabi and her beautiful mother Jane Scher at their Bridgehampton mansion. Scher is a nurse injector for the Manhattan elite and she joined her daughter Libbie for an elaborate evening where dozens of waiters served copious amounts of food and alcohol until the wee hours of the morning. Mugrabi’s ex husband, David, owns over 1,000 Warhols, and she continues to take the social world by storm as she and boyfriend, Brock Pierce, travel the globe pursuing his candidacy for president. Pierce, a blockchain billionaire, regaled partygoers with a speech about universal health care and compassion for all as the mesmerized crowd snapped pictures of the powerhouse. If Libbie ever enters the White House, she will undoubtedly be the First Lady of fashion with her Size Zero figure and effortless style. Some other notable guests at the Mugrabi party included Cuba Gooding Jr. and Mitch Modell-owner of Modell’s Sporting Goods. Modell, one of the gentlest moguls around, was in surprisingly good spirits despite Modell’s recent liquidation, with him excitedly mentioning he will be moving to Florida in the upcoming months.
Sunday was no less scintillating with a planned luncheon with designer to the stars Helen Yarmak, and an equally fascinating evening with fashion powerhouse Fern Mallis. Mallis held a panel and movie at the Southampton Arts Center discussing the genius of designer Pierre Cardin who democratized fashion to the masses by licensing over 800 products. Despite a dinner party Monday night I decided to jump on an Ambassador bus to New York on Sunday at 9:45 PM. The spacious vehicle only set me back $62 as I arrived in New York an amazing one and a half hours later. Talking to the ebullient 25-year-old bus monitor Jaden was enlightening as she recounted her arduous six day a week schedule which included: working from 7 AM until 5 PM at the Southampton Cheese shop and then making a round trip Montauk to NY excursion from 6 PM until 2 AM. The bubbly twenty something whose three hour a night sleep schedule left me dumbfounded was the antithesis of the spoiled rich kid paradigm of the Hamptons-a welcomed reminder that the underpinnings of the Hamptons are made up of hard working middle class heroes.