Monday, June 30, 2008

Debbie Bancroft

One of the most photographed women in New York, one of the most social, most socializing women in New York, one of the most ubiquitous women on the New York-Southampton social axis, a number of years ago she married into one of the most socially prominent families of the now bygone days when the Social Register determined one’s pedigree in the scheme of things.

Debbie Bancroft
In that earlier era (the first half of the 20th century), the Bancrofts were related to the Woodwards (banking) and the Bedfords (oil). Several Bancrofts are still very much a part of the North Shore, Long Island, Locust Valley, Piping Rock set. The “social prominence,” i.e. however, has come from the interest and efforts of the women in the family and not the men, many of whom loathe society (other than their golf and club buddies) and publicity.

Her name is often on list of chairs and co-chairs of many charity benefits, from hospitals, to schools, to neighborhood houses, to theatrical philanthropies such as the Drama League.

She’s a very friendly woman in the neighborly sense, and because of it she has all kinds of friends from all walks of life. When Michael Bloomberg was running for mayor, the suggestion was floated around that Debbie Bancroft would have been a perfect chief of protocol for the city. That never happened but it might have been a brilliant selection because she’s a woman who loves people, loves meeting people, loves getting around, loves the high life and loves the tradition that protocol requires. She knows everybody, as they say, and moves among several different social crowds.

She’s ambitious and always brimming with energy for new projects. I once suggested to her, unsolicited, that she go into the public relations business as a “catalyst,” bringing people along socially -- for which there is always a market in this great city of commerce. If you want to meet somebody in New York, Debbie Bancroft can make that introduction happen, so wide-ranging is her circle.

In a way she has put that talent to work by writing a social column once a month for Avenue and summertimes in the Hamptons Magazine. Her style is an intimate and homespun wit with which she reports on the party lives of the moneyed and the glitterati and How They Spend It.