On this weekend, for more than 40 years, I have helped chair The Parrish Art Museum’s Midsummer Party. I started with the Junior Committee when were still in Samuel Parrish’s old digs and it was black tie. Co-chairs have included Vera Wang, Pia Getty, Katharina Otto-Bernstein, and honorees like Ross Bleckner, Dorothy Lichtenstein and Beth DeWoody.
Today we celebrate in the in the seven-year-old, Herzog de Meuron designed museum … or we did until now. Covid, of course, has waylaid all large in-person gatherings, and not-for-profits are scrambling to find ways to maintain the income from their all-important, annual galas.
Zoom has lost its luster, so everyone is trying to offer compelling, clever ways to retain that support. The Parrish has asked all to “Save the Plate” — instead of attending the party, to purchase a plate … or 12, designed by artist Mary Heilman in a limited edition (parrishart.org/.event/midsummerparty2020/).
Southampton Hospital is offering a catered dinner for 10, including flowers and a seven minute (promise?) zoom call with special guests. Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center can’t even operate this summer — as it houses artists from around the word in a cozy, collective space. But it still offering its important auction online, through Christie’s, as I write.
It will be interesting to see once we are able to have large parties again, if anyone will want them. Without an exciting performance, or more ideally, a very compelling connection to the cause, interest in galas seemed to be on the wane, even before Covid. Event people everywhere are turning up their creative combustion to work around these challenges.
Out East, where I keep being told “everyone is,” people are largely being very careful. Masks are de rigueur, lunches and dinners are rarely larger than six people (except for the unfortunate Farrell party for 200).
Of course, outdoor dining is a must, and lovelier anyway. Those fortunate restaurants with alleys and outdoor space are thriving, and those without, have flooded the streets with tables. And people lucky enough to have access to ocean side dining are filling the socially distanced tables.
Clever Andrew Saffir and his Cinema Society are hosting regular drive-in movie screenings (more about that next week), and golf and tennis tournaments are back in force, with participants better rested up for it than in years past.
Ghislaine Maxwell has been mentioned though not often, and no one would admit any inside info anyway, even if they had it. Epstein’s unredacted address book has made the email rounds, and while fairly outdated it lists, in anal precision, every possible way to contact hundreds of people, many of whom you know. It was one party I was very happy to be left out of.
My cats, as you are probably seeing with rolled eyes, are very well, thank you. And the gloriously caring Southampton Animal Shelter made our parenthood official. I think of Ogden Nash’s “The trouble with a kitten is that eventually it becomes a cat.” They are in a different phase now, bigger, stronger, but even more affectionate and entertaining. I’m besotted.
And we’ve had a few birthday celebrations, for Amy Hoadley, and my very own daughter. Smaller numbers mean more sincere gatherings in my book. They’ve been a pleasure.
I was close to filing an on-the-road mother/son cross country diary with the idea of hauling my son’s belongings back home, as he is returning from five years in L.A. That was until I read about the hotel choices we’d have — with a U-Haul in tow — and thought more about eight hours of driving each day. I am very happy there are nice people doing it for us, and even happier he’s coming home. L.A., like New York, sadly, are not the hubs of promise right now that they used to be.
And on a sadder note, we have lost three wonderful women in the last few months: Nancy Tighlman, Lana Wolkonsky Fortsmann and Barbara de Kwiatkowski. All incredibly special, beloved and terribly missed.