went to Michael’s
for lunch (sound familiar?) and the place was pulsating with names,
bold-faced, pretty-faced and high profile-faced. Such as: Ted
Hartley and Dina Merrill with Dr. Ian Smith, Beverly
Camhe with ole Bold
Face herself, Joyce Wadler, producer Louise
Westergaard and her husband
Steve O’Neill, vid-exec John Sykes,
Stephen Swid, Caroline Kennedy and her beautiful young daughter (who looks like her beautiful
grandmother) Rose Schlossberg, Valerie Salembier of Harper’s
Bazaar with Jean Zimmerman, Joe Armstrong, Steven
Greenberg, Owen Laster with Larry Ashmead, Quest’s Chris
Meigher with his executive
editor Sian Ballen, Jim Brady with Peter
Boyle, Gil Schwartz with James Atlas; Court TV’s Henry
Schlieff, Larry Kirschbaum, Good
Housekeeping’s Ellen Levine, Jack Myers, Charlie
Rose, William Lauder with Sally Susman, Don Welsh with David
Granger, Sara Nelson; Michael Rourke with Hamilton
South and Candy Pratts Price, Harpers
Bazaar EIC Glenda Bailey, Alice Mason, Peter Gregory and brother
Alexis Gregory, and Ed Kelly.
List, of sorts: Southampton Summertimes by the Book. Or:
one of the NYSD’s Social Sleuths:
and Reed Vreeland on the steps of the Southampton
Bathing Corporation in the late forties. (Photo
credit: Pragoff Cantor, Diana Vreeland Archives.)
Southampton Bathing Corporation (which is
the official name for the beach club out there — members
usually refer to it as the Bathing
Corporation), is considered one of the most exclusive private
clubs on the East End of Long Island. Venerable old names
from the Social
Register of yesteryear can still be found amongst its membership,
and each year there is a story or two about newcomers hoping
and praying to make new membership.
The Bathing Corporation has a reputation for
being a “WASP” club
although technically it is not. It has many members who are Roman
Catholic as well as Jewish (It also has been falsely regarded
as sometimes “anti-Semitic”).
The easiest way for a newcomer to gain entry is either through
legacy (a child of a member) or through marriage. Otherwise there’s
always the little matter of the Black Ball, and alas, that little
matter has loomed its large less than lovely face from time to
time, and as recently as last year.
In the matter of marriage, however, the club has, like some Palm
Beach clubs, the curious custom of not including some of the spouses
of members in their official published membership, unless the member
insists upon having the new (or latest) husband or wife included.
That member then goes before the board with a formal request.
Members often don’t make the request for a listing of a spouse
if the spouse is “new” (a second or third – or
fourth marriage) for example. One of the most obvious reasons is
that the member might be afraid the board might reject the request
because he or she knows something that if revealed might bring
the embarrassment of notoriety.
Southampton Bathing Corporation
Nevertheless there are exceptions to everything. There is the matter,
for example, of one longtime member whose previous wife, though
remarried, is a member, but the current wife is not. This is because,
to my Social Sleuth, the previous wife (still a member) made a
request that the board not grant membership to the new wife.
There are also cases where the member may choose not to request
membership for the new spouse because the member’s new spouse doesn’t
give a damn, one way or another, or even just doesn’t want
A new wife or husband of a member can of course “use” the
club’s facilities. He or she just can’t “belong” so,
on the face of it, everything continues to go swimmingly.
Amongst the list of members and non-members are a number of boldfaced
New York names, such as:
Muffie Potter Aston is listed as a member although her husband
Dr. Sherrell Aston is not. The Astons also do not summer in Southampton.
Dr. Dan Baker is listed. His last wife, Nina Griscom, is
also listed but she returned to the name Griscom, gained from her
marriage to a member of a well-known Newport family.
Mrs. Schuyler Chapin is listed. As Catia
Zoullas, she was a member
before her marriage to the distinguished Mr. Chapin but he is not
Ford, daughter of Charlotte Ford and Stavros
listed but her present husband is not listed. Neither of Elena
two husbands have ever been proposed for membership. She
also doesn’t have a residence in Southampton anymore,
lives in Detroit, and vacations on her own yacht.
Louise Grunwald has been married to the distinguished former editor
of Time Magazine Henry Grunwald for years and has never made a
move to obtain membership for her husband with whom she shares
just down the road from the club.
Mai Hallingby, the former wife of Paul
Hallingby, has been married
to Ridgely Harrison (who is not a member) for
several years but continues to be listed under her former married
Paul Hallingby is listed but his present wife is not.
Jean R. Little has been remarried since her late husband Jack
Little died several years ago and she
is still listed as Mrs. Jean Little.
Gordon Morford has been remarried almost a year, plenty
of time to include his new wife who is constantly in the Palm
oodles of committees,” but she is not listed.
Rayner has been married for a number of years to
that great heiress Kathy Johnson daughter
of one of America's richest women, Ann
Cox Chambers. They live in East Hampton, but he
remains a single-o at
the Beach Club. I’d bet that’s because Mrs. Rayner
has no interest in membership.
Francesca Stanfill Nye has been married for more than a year to Richard
Nye, the private investor who has been married to a trifecta
social types. He is not listed.
Frank H. Wyman has been married for about two years to Victoria,
since the death of his wife of more than forty years, Angel, but
my Social Sleuth claims there is no current sign of him putting
the new wife up for membership.
Dr. Natalie Wayne Geary (wife of Marc
Glimcher) is a member but
her husband’s name does not appear in this year's
club roster where she is listed as Natalie Geary (step daughter of Hilary).
Cristina Greeven Cuomo, is married to Gov. Mario
son Chris. She is a member, he is not.
William Mann, widower of automotive heiress Lydia
Buhl is married
to Anna Murdoch, the former wife of publishing tycoon Rupert
Murdoch. They have been married several years now. He is
listed and she is
Jessica Mezzacappa, fairly newly married daughter of Damon
Mezzacappa is listed but her husband Robert
Friedberg is not.