Debbie’s Week at a Glance: Kids, Kitties, and Karma

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Sunset on the bay.

I am told everyone is here where I am — out East. That would usually be enough to make me want to be anywhere else, but, 1. where would I go?; and 2. I can almost completely avoid the places that would remind me of how damned populous this berg is right now.

There are small, though slightly growing lunches and dinners, socially distanced cultural events. And of course the reason many are here — emerald green golf courses and courts, plus the glistening sea, with nary a shark … yet.

A new cocktail — ginger beer, lemon, and vodka — accompanied the sunset on the bay.

COVID has created many new chefs, and when we tire of cooking, there are myriad restaurants, utilizing every plot of pavement, deck and alley.  And there are more private places that are also experiencing a robust season.

As I guess everyone is here. So are the galleries and auction houses. Pace and Hauser & Wirth, Skarstedt and Michael Werner have opened outposts, as has Sotheby’s. The Parrish Art Museum is opening its new Sculpture Garden next week, and the Museum itself is open as well.

Amanda Ross’s tempting En Plein Air bazaar at the Southampton Arts Center.
Eric Fischl’s “Young Dancers Dancing” at SAC.

The Southampton Arts Center opened a show, curated by The New Academy of Arts, with David Kratz, asking the questions: What will change look like? What do we keep and what should we guard against? 

He was answered by artists like Eric Fischl, John Alexander and Rachel Hovnanian. Rachel was meant to have a major show in Italy this summer, but fortunately for us, showed her new piece, Dinner for Two, here instead.

Rachel Hovnanian at the Southampton Arts Center show, with fellow artist Kate Clark.
Rachel’s Dinner for Two.
Ara Hovnanian, dashing masked hubby … and unmasked.
Kate Clark’s The Sisters Embrace.
New York Academy of Arts and exhibit’s curator, David Kratz; Richard Dupont’s Badende.

Jennifer Creel had a little “ladies lunch” to welcome Rachel. While Jennifer would seem not to eat much, she remembered those of us who do with a splendid spread and a Princess cake that I wish I never knew existed.  Jennifer is in a house that we rented 15 years ago. She learned that fact when she received a piece of mail for us (probably a bill). We spent two summers in that house, and after we bought our house we sublet it to Tinsley Mortimer. Quite a lively little cottage.

L. to r.: Hostess Jennifer Creel; Artist in residence (Jennifer Creel’s), Rachel Hovnanian, for a pre-show luncheon.
L. to r.: Helen Schifter, casually cool; Isabella and Valentina Ayoub.
Mom’s chic Magri handbags.
Helen’s Guccis.
Lunch al fresco awaits.
Settling in.
Did something fall off the plate? No?
How ‘bout here?
Fab fleurs and that cursed Princess cake.

Audrey Gruss, arguably one of the best hostesses here, in New York and Palm Beach, feted her house guest and great friend Sharon Hoge with a perfect lady’s lunch. It was carefully seated and curated with some of the smartest women out here, like Betsy Gottbaum, Patricia Duff and Hilary Geary Ross.

Hydrangea path to Audrey Gruss’s lunch.

We also toasted Sharon’s half birthday, which might sound silly if you didn’t know that Sharon is to birthdays what Saint Nick is to Christmas. Every month, for the last seven years, Sharon has hosted a lunch for all of the ladies of that birthday month. Her invitations include little gemstones for that particular month, and more presents for each guest.

Audrey Gruss with Sharon Hogue, guest of honor, and 1/2 bday girl.
Socially distanced and splendid sunflower inspired table.
L. to r.: Decade-long overdue reunion for me with my pal Betsy Gotbaum; My beautiful seatmate and sis, Patricia Duff.
Hilary Geary Ross being careful and unmasking for me.

Like Audrey’s luncheon, the guests are invariably bright and lovely and strike new friendships. I have asked her for years to document each lunch and she promises she’ll try to ‘get better pictures”. If she doesn’t, I’m hitting every lunch, every month, providing it isn’t aging.

Audrey brightened this slightly gloomy day with a sunflower themed table (and earrings), which is also the color of her charity, Hope for Depression. Sharon toasted her hostess: “Thank you Audrey, for your hospitality and for Hope for Depression. Where there is life there is hope; and where there is Audrey, there’s life — lived beautifully and generously.”

Audrey toasting. Even Audrey’s earrings were in theme … and coveted.
Audrey’s always luscious lunch …

My other favorite hosts, Anne Hearst McInerney and Jay McInerney, served up yet another perfect dinner by their chef Kyle, partnered of course, with Jay’s superb wines. And we got to meet Fizbo, their new Sugar Glider, who only comes out at night, and lands on unwitting guests, like Robert Zimmerman.

Anne Hearst McInerney, Robert Zimmerman, moi and Jay McInerney being very temporarily and irritatedly distracted from the caviar at hand.
Gizmo, the Sugar Glider, landing on Robert.
Anne eases him off … and shows how it’s done.
Handmade birthday gift — a dear friend’s entire menagerie.

I tucked into town for a dinner a few times, always early, and never on a weekend. Candace Bushnell and Laurie Durning wanted to check out Argento and its lovely side patio, and who should seat us but Brooke Shields daughter, Rowan.

Laurie Durning, Candace Bushnell and I tuck into the terrace at Argento.

And of course, we mostly entertained at home, carefully and mainly for the kids and their friends. It’s how I learn new things.

Mini St. George’s reunion.
Off to a white party.
More beautiful kids at home, tolerating me, at least while I’m serving.
Barbara de Portago’s turn to entertain beautiful kids, here, her daughter-in-law, Lindsay Grant.
Jesse Williams and Barbara’s son, Russell Grant.

While we dine on our deck, our new beloved kitties, Bella and Minky, gaze longingly from the bedroom window above. They have doubled in size and our love for them has grown commensurately. Kitties and kids. It’s what I’ll remember about this time, and what get me through it.

Now five months old, Bella and Minky.
Cats ascending a stair case, and not.
How do people adopt just one?

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