Friday, July 23, 2021. Nice weather generally for the past week in New York. Some rain showers but less humidity. By yesterday the haze from the smoke that drifting over from the Northwest forest fires seemed to have been lifted.
It’s been bright Sun and blue skies with big, tall white cumulus clouds drifting by. And temps in the 70s with even a RealFeel of low 70s and lower humidity. It’s a beautiful time of the year in New York. These are moments to be grateful for in troubled times.
The social life you find on this Diary is always much quieter in any summer. The action is out of town, namely the Hamptons and other oceanside communities north, east and south where New Yorkers migrate to this time of the year. That means the Big Town is quiet(er). And there is much to see and admire and be awed in just touring on foot.
For example, the Tribeca Film Festival premiered a screening of a revealing short documentary Radical Love on the life and work of Michael Kennedy, the late lawyer, and his wife Eleanora. Radical Love explores their political activism and their connection to many well known members of the 1960’s anti-war movement, including their close friends Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers from The Weather Underground.
Before the screening, Eleonora invited 50 friends to join her at Whitman’s on 406 East 9th Street. This was “Michael’s kind of joint,” she told her guests, relaxed, “downtown” when it was a real Manhattan old neighborhood in transition like everything else in New York at that time.
Michael Kennedy was a very prominent lawyer representing many clients from the business worlds as well as their divorces. The one that brought him a lot of tabloidal prominence, fame even, was Ivana Trump’s divorce from The Donald. That was headline front pages in the tabs – the The New York Mirror, News, and Post and in the mags, New York and People. And made Liz Smith a star divorce reporter.
And Michael had Eleanora. They were a team. You could almost call them inseparable (except he had to go to the office). But their lives were intertwined 24/7. It was a perfect example that occurs occasionally where the two makes one. To the public he was the listener (especially when his wife was speaking) and she was the live wire. I knew them both well enough to know this was a team, however, 50/50 all the way and with a lot respect for each other. Michael’s fascinating and worldly life and excellent marriage came to a premature end to many who knew him. He died of cancer in 2016. And the moon went down.
Eleanora described the sold out screening as “A wonderful bittersweet night with family and a few good friends … all happy to finally have the premiere after a two-year Covid delay.” The filmmakers [Academy Award winner Caroline Waterlow and writer/director William Kirkley] had approached Eleanora about a documentary on Michael’s work and the story of their marriage.
She initially liked the idea when the filmmakers came to her, describing it as the high-minded notion that the film would inspire young people to become activists. The filmmakers “did a fine job of bringing out Michael’s fierce courage. His eloquence, and his compassion and love.” He was at source, a gentle man. And a helluva lawyer.
About making the film, the director/writer Kirkley felt that “Eleanora and Michael, along with Bernardine and Bill’s story, could not feel more relevant than it does today. I’m grateful to them for putting their faith and trust in us to share their story.”
The film will continue on the best festival circuit before becoming part of The New Yorker Documentary series.
Meanwhile out-of-townsman in the Hamptons, Steven Stolman and Rich Wilkie celebrated their new home in Southampton, which they named Kittywampus as a nod to “their crazy, mixed up lives” From PB to Kittywampus, and an occasional stop over in old Manahatta. Those are Stolman’s words of which he always has quite a few to keep things lively.
Southampton is actually an old stomping ground for Mr. S. as he had a seasonable residence 30 years ago when it was actually a much quieter community — people and traffic-wise. It was a 15-minute drive from SH to EH on a Saturday afternoon. Now you avoid even making the trip one way or another or even the back roads, unless it’s very early the morning or very late at night.
Returning to topic, the inside-outside drinks party that brought together many of those who “ricochet” (again Stolman’s word for it) between New York City, the Hamptons and now Palm Beach.
Stolman-Wilkie were there last summer fulltime also. Stolman added “but you would never have known it.” (I wouldn’t have because I wasn’t out there.) “Like everyone else, we kept to our own little bubble. It was basically Rich, me, our virtual jobs, Netflix and our spin bike. Obviously, this is an improvement, for as long as it lasts!”
Meanwhile, across the Hudson in Essex County, New Jersey, kitchen and bath maestro Jim Dove, along with his great friends from Cambria, hosted a garden party at the home he shares with Bob Carey, who served as director of refugee resettlement at HSS during the Obama administration.
Located on the edge of the Seton Hall University campus, the Dove/Carey home is a lovingly restored Victorian. But the real surprise for visitors is the lush walled garden, bursting with limelight hydrangea, crepe Myrtles and a dramatic apple tree. It made for the perfect place to cool down with a cocktail on an otherwise steamy summer night.
Also, not everybody stays home even out of town. Out in Watermill, Best selling author Laurie Gelman celebrated the release of her new book Yoga Pant Nation at a private residence. The event was hosted by Laurie’s husband, producer Michael Gelmand and Ali Wentworth. Family and celebrity friends and supporters were in attendance to celebrate her third installment of her “Class Mom” series.
Among those attending were Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, Bethanny Frankel, Katie Couric, Dylan Young, Steve and Deana Hanson, Darcy Miller, Jamie Gelman, Richard Kind, Jessica Mulroney, Mireya and Josephn D’Angelo, Noah Tepperberg and Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, Vicci and Don Rose, Marian Brown and many others.
Photographs by Patrick McMullan (Yoga Pant Nation).