Monday, June 24, 2013

First Summer weekend in New York

Sunset on a sidestreet. 7:15 PM. Photo: Jeffrey Hirsch.
Monday, June 24, 2013. A beautiful sunny first Summer weekend in New York. It turned very warm and humid in the late afternoon yesterday, just as the weatherman forecast.
Down by the river on Sunday afternoon ...
The Theatre of the Absurd. Well, the late Mrs. Astor’s friends finally got their justice: they put her 89-year-old son behind bars for allegedly trying to change her will which would give him millions more than she had allegedly intended. Everything’s copasetic now. We feel certain that Mrs. Astor would have been pleased to know that her boy (who now is said to suffer from dementia) will not be stealing any money that isn’t his.

Besides, after all this folderol, Mrs. Astor’s money isn’t what it used to be. Lawyers took tens of millions. Too bad the charities won’t be getting what (if anything) they had coming either. So too the son who turned on his father. Everybody wins/loses.

I couldn’t help wondering what the lady herself would have thought of what her friends had done. She certainly had a lot of respect and possibly even affection for them and their stature in the society of the city.

She was also, contrary to what some people might “believe,” very close to her son, and he very close to her. It has been suggested to me more than once that certain friends of Mrs. Astor were actually jealous of that closeness. That seems odd yet jealousy and envy are more emotional than rational and often mask a sense of deprivation that is deepseated and otherwise inexplicable.

We had a lot of mail on this case, as you might imagine. The following are two messages from professionals, neither of whom live or work in or around New York. One from a woman and one from a man. One in the Northeast and one from the Midwest.

The first:

Mr. Columbia: ... In my humble opinion, observing social life is a very interesting way to gauge humanity. I do not participate in social media. I don't believe there is anything terribly meaningful in interacting socially on line. This is probably why Americans now believe that litigation is a plebiscite and if you are sued you must be guilty of something. This is simply not true. Stupidly, Americans believe sending everyone to jail or involving them in our "legal system" is a path to justice. We have more people incarcerated in this country than in any other country in the world.

Jail is a business. I am not stating that there is no place for incarceration because there is, but not for most. The financial toll is staggering but the human toll is higher. What bothers me more though is the blood lust and ignorance with which Americans approach ANY judicial process.

I was so heartened to read that you not only questioned the process but also the humanity and common sense of Mr. Marshall's "punishment." It is punishment ENOUGH to be old and frail (something that comes to all of us). He should be left to live out his life in peace and grace. The litigation and controversy was surely an abyss. This was obviously a case of opportunistic attorneys (I hate to write this because I am an attorney) getting their piece of the pie.

And another:

Mr. Columbia: I wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts on Anthony Marshall's situation. I'm a prosecutor/district attorney in (a Midwestern state), and I easily recognize that this situation is completely overblown. I would never recommend a prison sentence for a man suffering from Parkinson's who committed a purely financial crime. Many years ago there was a program called "Biography" on A&E, and I remember an episode about the Astors. The producers interviewed Brooke Astor and another member of the family, a blonde woman who descended from the Titanic Astor. They were edited in separately, but I just got the idea from watching the program that these two women were probably friendly family acquaintances. After reading your stories, I'm thinking that was/is not the case. When I read about the Marshall trial and all the society folk involved I occasionally wondered what that blonde woman (I don't recall  her name) thought about this fight over what could have been her fortune. I don't know the prosecutors involved, but I'm certain the publicity and the opportunity to rub elbows with Rockefellers and de la Rentas may have given them an extra bit of motivation. Agatha Christie's Miss Marple would certainly have a lot to say about the characters involved: Charlene, the vicars's wife! The grandson who doesn't know of a secret agreement that would give him a fortune.

On another note, the Queen's horse won at Ascot. The Queen was ecstatic, the Princesses were overjoyed. Never saw the royal family happier ... all over a horse. Then there was the photo of Princess Anne chatting it up with Camilla's ex-husband, and her ex-boyfriend Andrew Parker Bowles. Diana really didn't stand a chance with all of them.

For more on the Marshall case, click here.
The Hamptons or Bust. Summer’s here and the fundraisers and the galas have moved out East. No black tie’s, thankfully, but lots going on, and the ubiquitous Patrick McMullan ahd his corps of photogs were there. This is just a sampling of this past Saturday.

In Southampton at the Lake Agawam estate of Chuck and Ellen Scarborough, Beth Ostrosky Stern, Christopher Obetz, and Mrs. Scarborough chaired the Evelyn Alexander’s Wildlife Rescue Center’s Hamptons’s Get Wild Summer Gala. The clambake and cocktail party celebrated the treatment and release of native wildlife.

The more populated the area becomes, the more difficult it can be for its native wild population looking for food to subsist. They run into all kind of horrendous problems. The Wildlife Rescue Center is working to assist and help and EDUCATE. 
Ginnie Frati, Kim Renk Dryer, Sharon Kerr, Jane Hansen, and Michael Lorber.
Dubbed "Get Wild," the fundraiser honored three animal advocates and financial supporters, Sharon Kerr, Howard Lorber and Kim Renk Dryer.

Kerr was the co-chair of Wildlife Conservation Gala at the Central Park Zoo in 2012, the same year she first become involved with the Wildlife Rescue Center. Kerr called to report a deer entangled in wire, and center volunteers responded to free it. Howard Lorber, who is the chairman of the Southampton Hospital Foundation board and a member of other nonprofit boards, became a generous supporter of the center since being introduced by Leslie Alexander. Alexander, the owner of the Houston Rockets and Société du Vin in Bridgehampton, is another big supporter of the center's mission. The Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center was named for his mother. Kim Dryer is the co-owner of Sequin, a jewelry line that has a popup shop in Southampton Village, and the founder of a rabbit rescue sanctuary in Rhode Island.

Swedish Culinary Summer catered the event with a vegetarian menu by Swedish chef Jonas Dahlbom and local chef Peter Ambrose of Food For Forks Catering. The beautiful evening featured a performance by Jetty Four. Guests were greeted by an opossum, a red-tailed hawk, and two owls. Guests bid on items such as a cashmere blanket from Christopher Fischer Cashmere and sessions with dog trainer Lisa Hartman. To learn more and to help, visit:
Beth and Howard Stern. Gail and Stephen Greenberg.
Sandi Simpson, Gary Simpson, Melanie and John Wambold.
Sharon Kerr and Melanie Wambold. Paulina Keszler, Michaela Keszler, and Lulu Keszler.
Sharon Kerr. Jean Remmel Little and Sandra McConnell.
Hildegard Jones, Rosalie Brinton, Noel Patton, and Debra Schuster Tanger.
Down the lane from the Scarboroughs at the home of Margie and Michael Loeb, Phoenix House held its Summer Party in the Hamptons, “Triumph For Teens” celebrating the 45th Anniversary of the founding of Phoenix House and its founder Dr. Mitch Rosenthal.

They honored Tony DiSanto, President of Programming at MTV, and Lauran and Charlie Walk, CEO and Founder of CWE Media and Chairman of RJW Collective. The evening featured the music of DJ Cassidy. Proceeds from the event will benefit Phoenix House programs on Long Island.

Honorary Chairpersons include Randy Jackson, Brett Ratner, and Heide Banks. To learn more about the work of Phoenix House:
Rosanna Scotto, Pete Peterson, Dr. Mitch Rosenthal, Tony DiSanto, and Howard Meitiner.
Shirine DiSanto, Tony DiSanto, Samantha Yanks, and David Yanks.
Tom Silverman, Rose Franco, and John Franco.
Elaine Kanas, John Kanas, Rose Marie Bravo, and Bill Jackey.
Nicolas Dumont, Fei Shao, Polly Mizrahi, George Erson, Frank Burnes, and Richard Fung.
Keith Gollust, Barbara Hemmerle Gollust, Pete Peterson, and Nathalie Kaplan.
Laurie Cole, Rosanna Scotto, and Jill Martin. Allison Lutnick and Sara Pilot.
Samantha Yanks, Jill Martin, David Yanks, and Diana Frank.
Karine Chudnoff, Jackie Moffett, Jennifer Trulson, and Aviva Drescher.
Jeremy Loeb, Henry Shapiro, Charlie Shapiro, Tanner Bhonslay, Audrey Shapiro, and Katie Loeb.
Meanwhile farther East in Easthampton, at the Maidstone, there was a 10th anniversary celebration for Patrick McMullan and his book: “So80’s; A Photographic Diary of a Decade.” Patrick was there, of course. The show came about because Patrick had the original photographs wrapped and stored and re-discovered them when he moved into his new studio. Eric Firestone curated this exhibition which will be on display at the hotel throughout the summer.
Deirdre Durkan, Abagail Durkan, Patrick McMullan, Tara Durkan,and Patricia Durkan.
Hilaria Thomas, Alec Baldwin, and Kelly Bensimon.
Marie Havens, Raymond Tseng, Muna Tseng, Chris Gray, Edie Shaw, and Anita Antonini.
Alice Judelson and Andre Pastoria. Jenny Ljungberg and Sophia Baker.
Davey Key, Dr. Paula Angelone, Erin Blake, Brian Daoust, Marzi Daoust, and Jim McDonnell.
Marie Havens, Patrick McMullan, Eric Firestone, and Anita Antonini.

Contact DPC here.