Hamptons Summer Sizzles with Benefits and Dinners Galore - The Jewish Voice
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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Hamptons Summer Sizzles with Benefits and Dinners Galore

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By: Lieba Nesis

Arriving in East Hampton on Thursday July 21st my first stop was Stephen Talkhouse a music mecca located at 161 Main Street in Amagansett.  Since it opened in 1970 it has attracted over 50 musicians from the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame including Mick Jagger, Van Morrison, Billy Joel and Paul Simon.  Despite the scorching temperatures, I was astounded at the hundreds of millennials crowded into the small space ready to dance with drunken abandon. The entry fee was $30 and the bouncer claimed they closed at 4 AM-a rarity in the Hamptons on any night.

The Thursday night crowd at Stephen Talkhouse

Residing in East Hampton for the weekend, I was able to peruse the town for the first time since the pandemic and was slightly disappointed at its transformation from a small town village, to a mecca of luxury boutiques. Prada, Valentino, Gucci, Chanel, Balenciaga and Cartier are all located within one block of each other, and always seem to be closed.  Banging on the door of Prada at 5:15 PM the storekeeper made a choking sign-which I am assuming meant they had ceased operations. Cartier was thankfully hosting customers and I along with a handful of Hamptonites perused the limited collection.  I am convinced luxury stores have set up shop to advertise their brand to uber wealthy clientele, without the necessity of conducting major sales in their small 2,000 square feet stores.  And yet once again designers such as Chanel, Marni and Rebecca Minkoff held dinner and cocktail parties to celebrate their brand’s presence in the Hamptons.

East Hampton Beach

Another disappointment was the ubiquitous and much loved closing of ice cream shop Scoop Du Jour-a staple of East Hampton and a social hotspot that attracted hundreds during the scorching summers. In its place is an artisanal ice cream shop called A La Mode Shoppe, that was nothing short of disheartening. The signless outpost is noted for its locally sourced fare- free from contact with nuts, eggs or sesame seeds.  The flavors were lackluster, the consistency was clumpy, and the aura of excitement was gone-despite my open-mindedness I was left dejected.  I headed to Starbucks hoping a mocha Frappuccino might cheer me up, but the overloaded garbages and filthy floors were a turn-off.  Citarella was unfortunately shuttered as I found myself knocking on a locked door at 7:05 PM-wondering why they would close at 7 PM during the busiest months of the year.

The Shabbat Service at East Hampton Beach

I was joined by a host of other unhappy customers who were hellbent on doing some last minute food shopping for the weekend.  Kudos to the gourmet Citarella for consistently maintaining a clean, well stocked, array of food and drinks that leave hard to please Hamptonites more than satisfied.  Another superlative destination is Bilboquet Sag Harbor that gorgeous manager and model Marian told me had set a record on Saturday by welcoming over 1,000 customers to this mega dining destination. Celebrities including Amber Heard, “Real Housewives” and socialites love the food and water views and getting a table remains one of the great challenges of the summer. Hoping to work off some of the confectioneries I consumed, a jog to the beach Friday night led to an unexpected spiritual interlude as I was greeted by a crowd of hundreds from the Jewish Center of East Hampton conducting a Shabbat service comprised of dancing and singing despite the near 100 degree heat.

Prada Store in East Hampton

Saturday evening was a bit cooler and the LongHouse Reserve held its annual benefit benefiting the gardens and sculptures located on the 16-acre property in East Hampton.  300 revelers including Nathan Lane, Robert Wilson, Fern Mallis and Jean Shafiroff paid $1,250 per ticket for a night of dancing and fraternizing that raised over half a million dollars. Prior to the pandemic, a lengthy extravagant dinner was the norm for this event honoring worthy individuals under a lavish tent; whereas, this evening a lengthy six hour cocktail hour, that has become a Hamptons trend, allowed the charity to avert wasting millions.  I myself am a fan of the dinners where organizations can delve into the purpose of the foundation and attendees are able to get to know one another in a more intimate and appealing setting.  Nonetheless, the benefit was a success as guests had a chance to view the bamboo pavilion which artist Cheng Tsung Feng schlepped with his team from Taiwan.

The Signless East Hampton Ice Cream A La Mode Shoppe

The Watermill Center is similarly holding a lengthy cocktail benefit in lieu of a dinner, to celebrate its 30 Anniversary on Saturday July 30th from 6-9 PM with $750 tickets already sold-out and $1,000 tickets remaining.  This happenstance is tragic as this dinner was one of the most exciting of the year as surprise guests such as Robert Downey Jr. and Sharon Stone were just a couple of the luminaries bidding on the priceless pieces of art. However, past dinners which raised a measly $2 million probably cost close to a million leading the organization to decide it was disadvantageous.

Jean Shafiroff, Jon Marder and our writer and photographer Lieba Nesis at the LongHouse Reserve Benefit

As the weekend concluded I Ubered to the magnificent newly constructed house of Seth and Jennifer Miller to celebrate the Chabad of Sag Harbor’s capital campaign.  Real estate guru Seth described the meticulous detail that went into building his mansion which included importing extrusions from Poland to create deep windows to enhance the unobstructed views.  On that note, I headed back to New York to make arrangements for the following weekend which include a Southampton Hospital cocktail party, Polo, a St. Jude’s event and a luxury yachting experience.

Legendary Photographer Patrick McMullan and Fern Mallis at the Longhouse Reserve Benefit
Max and Bridget Padway, Jacque Acoca and Ruth Miller, and Jennifer and Seth Miller at Chabad of Sag Harbor event
Brocha and Rabbi Berel Lerman, Seth Miller, Ruth Miller and Jacque Acoca
Rosanna Scotto, Larry Scott and Lieba Nesis (to the far right) at Bilboquet Sag Harbor

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