Monday, July 6, 2009

Washington Social Diary

The finale of the Washington July 4th fireworks, with the Kennedy Center and the Potomac River in the foreground.
By Carol Joynt

Just like a good story, a week can have a theme, too. The past week in Washington was, for me at least, defined by the weather. It started with the most sensational of evening’s – a gorgeous night and a rooftop dinner for friends – and continued on to various dinners al fresco, that got rained upon, and one dinner indoors out of the rain at my own pub, and wound up the way it began, sensational. Literally. A Fourth of July bikini party during the bright sunny day at a Georgetown mansion, and the stunning Fourth of July fireworks on the Mall as viewed from the Georgetown Waterfront Park.
Jayne Sandman and Jeff Dufour, who will be married in September.
MONDAYRachel Pearson and Mark Ein hosted a pre-wedding dinner for Jayne Sandman and Jeff Dufour and 20 or so of their closest friends. It would have been just fine with the company, the food and wine, but Rachel and Mark tossed in something extra – the rooftop of the Hay-Adams Hotel. The setting is what you see in the movies, but in this case for real.

The roof terrace is tent covered and breezy and the view is straight on at the White House, its lawns, the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and Virginia to the far horizon. The Hay-Adams is separated from the White House only by Lafayette Park. In other words, so close its possible to see the sharpshooters pacing the mansion’s rooftop. Oh, well. We figured they checked us out and determined we were harmless.
A view like no other, from the rooftop of the Hay-Adams Hotel
The table before the guests were seated. The view from the Hay-Adams rooftop of St. John's Church, known as The Presidents Church.
Jayne is in public relations and marketing. Jeff writes a “gossip” column. They plan to marry in September. They are perfectly matched, like geese, one of those couples who just make sense. That sentiment was reflected in the many toasts made by their friends.

In addition to Rachel and Mark, the guests included Joydi Ovalle, Pirooz Sarshar, Tara Engell, Winston Bao Lord, David Sutphen, Almus Thorp, Sally Stiebel, Becky and Bill Sammon, Scott Logan, John and Barbara Martin, John McCaslin, Lisa and Erik Huey, Lyndon Boozer, Elizabeth Thorp, Lydia Logan, Henry Harris, Tina D’Souza and Chuck Conconi. During cocktails, Mark Ein, who is not without means, wondered whether the hotel would cede the rooftop to him, with maybe the floor below as a residence. Coming from Mark it’s not an outrageous fantasy. He already owns Katharine Graham’s former Georgetown mansion, and never moved in.
Lyndon Boozer, Jayne Sandman, and Rebecca Fishman.
Jeff Dufour and Chuck Conconi. Erik and Lisa Huey.
Cocktails on the terrace before dinner.
Sally Stiebel and boyfriend Mark Ein, who wondered whether he could buy the Hay Adams rooftop for himself. Jayne Sandman and Tara Engell.
Even in traditional Washington, stripper kicks are the rage.
Lisa Huey and John McCaslin, author of "Weed Man," about his favorite Bahamian getaway, Harbour Island. Very tall Bill Sammon.
Elizabeth Thorp, Mark Ein, Lisa Huey, John McCaslin and, oh, the White House.
Jeff Dufour makes a toast.
Rachel Fishman, CJ, Winston Bao Lord, and Rachel Pearson.
The rose champagne flowed - Sally Stiebel, Almus Thorp and Rachel Pearson.
There's something about a beautiful night, a rooftop, endless wine and champagne, and June. Lyndon Boozer and Rachel Pearson. After dinner conversation.
Nighttime in the capital of good and evil? To the left the White House, to the right the Administration's primary office building, known as the Old Executive Office Building. They sit together in a well-guarded compound.
TUESDAY - NYSD contributor Ned Brown, visiting from his homes in the north and south, took a few of us to dinner at Café Milano. The evening was so beautiful we sat outside on the terrace. But within a half hour the skies darkened and a monsoon arrived. Not just rain, but buckets of rain. Rain so heavy it spilled off the restaurant’s canopy like a waterfall. We got splashed but were generally protected. However, that’s not the remarkable part of the evening.

Just before the deluge, a man walked in with two handsome Bull Mastiffs on leashes. A woman followed behind. They marched with confidence into the restaurant and then were marched right back out and were seated at a table next to ours. A flourish of ordering, a bottle of wine arrived, the rain started. Their table, and dogs, were moved under the awning of the restaurant’s entrance, though the woman remained standing in the rain, sipping her white wine. Two dinners were served: one fish and one steak. The man took both plates and emptied them onto the terrace for the dogs, who made quick business of the meal.
Rain so heavy it poured off the Cafe Milano canopy. Two bull mastiffs who were fed very well by their owner: steak, fish and roses.
The woman still stood in the rain. A gypsy arrived with his basket of flowers for sale. The man bought a bouquet of roses. “Ah,” our tabled sighed, “he’s going to give her some roses. Nice.” Wrong. He fed the roses to the dogs, and they made quick business of them, too.

The rain stopped, the check was paid, the man, the woman and dogs departed, leaving behind a terrace strewn with fish bits, meat morsels, and a few rose petals for the Milano staff to clean up. All of us on the terrace, who had been transfixed, returned attention to our meals and each other.
Ned Brown and Cristophe Gardin, smiling though getting drenched by rain.
WEDNESDAY – My friends Rachel Pearson, Republican, and Myra Moffett, Democrat, met me for dinner at my own pub, Nathans. My son, Spencer, joined us for a little while, too. This evening was remarkable because of the warm company of good friends with affable but differing political points of view, heavy servings of “off the record” gossip, glacial martinis, and my son agreeing to spend a little time with his “boring” mother. Oh, and this: we decided to eat indoors to avoid the rain. Well, it didn’t rain at all through dinner. Instead, it held off until the moment we departed to walk home.
Dinner at Nathans, Spencer Joynt, Rachel Pearson and Myra Moffett.
Putting the corner pub to good use.
Inside out of the rain. Matt Brown mixes up at martini at Nathans.
THURSDAY - The forecast was for sunshine all day long. Not many people in Washington noticed the weather on July 2, though. What they noticed was the story on about Postgate – publisher Katharine Weymouth scrapping plans for a series of “salons” at her home that would link up paying subscribers with various Post reporters. All the media jumped on the story and all the wags wagged.

That night a friend from Middleburg, Sally Hosta, drove the hour into Washington so we could go to Oyamel for margaritas. We got a terrific table outside under a bright red umbrella and ordered the cold lime and tequila drinks as well as some of Oyamel’s fantastic guacamole. All good. But, of course, a half hour later the skies darkened, and the monsoon arrived. I decided it follows me around town. Everyone ran indoors but Sally and me and a manager, who held on to our umbrella to make sure it wouldn’t fly away in the lashing wind. We got drenched but the margaritas almost made the rain clouds go away.
Sally Hosta and the manager tough it out in the pouring rain at Oyamel's outdoor cafe.
Oyamel's signature ice cold margarita topped with salty foam.
The Oyamel guacamole, made fresh at the table, before getting washed out by rain.
FRIDAY - A day off from dining out, which meant a day off from dining out in the rain, therefore allowing an opportunity to watch live coverage of Sarah Palin’s odd, rambling, defensive, kooky quasi-explanation of why she is stepping down as Alaska governor with meaningful time left on her term. Odder still that she would pick a Friday, a news-dump day, and particularly the Friday of a holiday weekend, making it the mother of all news-dump days. Was this to avoid attention or to own what attention there was to be had? The mystery of Sarah Palin continues to be written.

SATURDAY - Bill Dean is CEO of M.C. Dean, Inc., one of the very top, if not the top contractors for federal government electronic systems, engineering, electrical and telecommunications installation projects. In plain English – little projects like setting up the critical top secret wiring of the Pentagon. His company’s reach extends well beyond Washington and government, but Washington is its base and Georgetown is his home. He bought and renovated the beautiful Dodge Manson on P Street, where from time to time he throws loud, lusty and lush parties. When Bill invites me to a party I always try to go because it will be like none other in Georgetown.
Bill Dean's beautiful Georgetown home, also known as the "Dodge Mansion."
Bill Dean's Georgetown mansion, dressed for the 4th of July. Patriotic towels for the pool and jacuzzi.
His home is what MTV calls a “crib,” which means it is a fantasy abode for young, unmarried men like himself, who enjoy kicking back at the high end with big boy games and fun and lots of attractive and, preferably, scantily clad women. His Halloween parties always are reliably outrageous, and his “3rd Annual Fourth of July Pool Party” did not disappoint. The “bartenders” alone were a team of bikini-wearing models, but they got the job done.

The thing I like about Bill is his double life. He works very hard running a company of 2,000 employees, travels all over the globe nailing down rich contracts, is as serious about his business as any other beige or gray corporate titan, but when playtime arrives he adopts the believable persona of a dude with nothing but down time to pop a sick pack and chase girls.
The view from Bill Dean's roof deck.
Sherif Abdalla, Michael Kosmides, and Bill Dean.
The bartenders arrive at Bill Dean's July 4th pool party.
Dressed to go swimming.
Many try to get into Bill Dean's parties, but the list is limited and the security tight. New arrivals at the Dean party.
The bars were made of ice.
Keeping the brewskis ice cold.
Bill Dean's staff set up the downstairs bar. The roofdeck bar.
Relaxing by the pool.
The deejay. The host's private videographer.
A never-ending supply of hot dogs and burgers on the grill.
Chicken, fresh off the grill.
"Bo," the littlest guest. The hula hoop - timeless fun.
A couple relax with beers and burgers.
Some of the guests pose for a group shot.
Bill Dean removes a piece of pool gear. It's called dishing.
Dressed for a pool party.
Georgetown on the Fourth of July. Somebody's four leaf clover is showing.
A few of the more physically "fit" guests.
JULY FOURTH FIREWORKS - What can be said about Washington’s Fourth of July fireworks that can’t be said better by pictures? Except, it didn’t rain. In fact, the weather Saturday was clear and comfortable from morning to late night, feeling more like June than July. We chose to watch from the new Georgetown Waterfront Park, where many people were gathered on blankets, with picnics and children and lazy, happy Independence Day good cheer.
The Georgetown Waterfront Park a few minutes before the start of Washington's July 4th fireworks.
A lone kayaker paddles in the glow of the Kennedy Center and the National July 4th fireworks display.
Watching the national fireworks from the Georgetown Waterfront Park.
The finale of the Washington July 4th fireworks, with the Kennedy Center and the Potomac River in the foreground.
Photographs by Carol Joynt. Carol is the host of The Q&A Cafe, a talk show at Nathans Restaurant in Washington, D.C.