Lists and more Lists. It was a beautiful sunny summer day in New York with temperatures in the lovely 70s.
Looking east towards Fifth Avenue from inside the Conservatory Gardens. 5:15 PM. Photo: JH.

I 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.

Another List, of sorts: Southampton Summertimes by the Book. Or: Musings from one of the NYSD’s Social Sleuths:

Diana and Reed Vreeland on the steps of the Southampton Bathing Corporation in the late forties. (Photo credit: Pragoff Cantor, Diana Vreeland Archives.)

The 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.

The 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, according 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 to belong.

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 previous 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 listed.

Charlotte Ford
Louise Grunwald
William Rayner

Elena Ford, daughter of Charlotte Ford and Stavros Niarchos is listed but her present husband is not listed. Neither of Elena Ford’s 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 a cottage 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 name.

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 Beach papers and “on oodles of committees,” but she is not listed.

William 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.

Frank Wyman
Cristina Cuomo

Francesca Stanfill Nye has been married for more than a year to Richard Nye, the private investor who has been married to a trifecta of well-known 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 Cuomo’s 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 not.

Jessica Mezzacappa
, fairly newly married daughter of Damon Mezzacappa is listed but her husband Robert Friedberg is not.

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June 30, 2004, Volume IV, Number 106
Photographs by Jeff Hirsch/


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© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/