Billy Joel, Alec Baldwin, Madonna and More

Billy Joel, Alec Baldwin, Madonna and More

It’s been a busy past week for Hamptons notables, including this Hamptons Party Girl–though not necessarily notable but definitely burning the candle at both ends of late. As a result, we’ve got lots and lots to catch up on.
Billy Joel has been all over the news lately. It’s been reported that he’s selling one of his Hamptons homes. NOT the one in Sag Harbor, thank goodness, but the oceanfront Sagaponack house that he bought from Roy Scheider in 2007. He’s also gone viral for his two-man doo-wop bit with Sagaponack’s Jimmy Fallon, covering The Tokens’ “Lion Sleeps Tonight” on “The Tonight Show.” I dare you to watch that and not smile.
Alec Baldwin has apparently just bought another Hamptons home, This one’s an East Hampton mansion to complement the Amagansett farmhouse that he owns. I have been hearing not-so-quiet whispers that he’s interested in jettisoning the older estate in favor of his newest purchase. I’m just glad that he’s not leaving the East End.
Then there’s Madonna. The Bridgehampton resident posted a photo of herself on Instagram last week with some (ahem) spectacular new growth. Apparently she is proud to not be follicularly challenged. First the gold grill and now this. I don’t get it, AT ALL, but it’s not like she needs to run her life choices past me. Soooo … to each his or her own.
Lastly, and bear with me on this one because it’s a tangent, but I was watching the film “Hitchcock” last week and was interested to learn something new, so I thought I’d share it with you. There are a couple of scenes in the film about Hitch trying to sell Paramount studio head Barney Balaban on “Psycho,” which intrigued me. With that last name I just had to look to look it up. Turns out that Barney (who in addition to being Paramount’s president from 1936 to 1964, also incidentally bought one of the 14 original copies of the Bill of Rights and then donated it to the Library of Congress) was none other than the uncle of Bridgehampton’s Bob Balaban. Cool. I love learning new things.
Happy Tuesday.
*Photo by me of Billy Joel, Bob DeLuca and Alec Baldwin at a Group for the East End fundraiser.

The Hamptons Represent in D.C.

Hamptons Represent in D.C.

Music legend (and 2013 Authors Night participant) Clive Davis was feted in Washington, D.C. on Saturday night. The State Department dinner in his honor was hosted by John Kerry.
Sag Harbor resident and newest Madison Square Garden franchise, Billy Joel, was celebrated that night as well for the Kennedy Center Honors. Billy, along with his co-recipients, Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock, has been championed by the legendary music maker during his long career.
The Piano Man, who recently serenaded Andrew Cuomo at his latest birthday party, counted the New York Governor and his lady, Sandra Lee, in his D.C. cheering section for the Kennedy Center affair. Other award winners this year included Martina Arroyo and Shirley MacLaine.
Photo by me of Clive Davis at East Hampton Library’s 2013 Authors Night.

Thanksgivukkah in the Hamptons: A Holiday Wrap-Up

Thanksgivukkah in the Hamptons: A Holiday Wrap-Up

The holiday season is in full swing here in the Hamptons. Here are a few of my, not necessarily, favorite things but items of note about life on the East End this week.
On Wednesday morning, I noticed a sign outside a nursery on Montauk Highway touting the necessity of shrink-wrapping one’s patio furniture for the winter. Because, obviously, there’s not enough room in your 4,000-square-foot, climate-controlled garage to properly store all that teak without plastic wrap protection. How very Hamptons.
Later that day, around lunchtime, I remembered–too late–one of the many items in my mental survival guide. On Fridays in the summertime and on the days before major holidays during the rest of the year, it’s best to avoid the grocery store if you can. I know this but I inevitably need to make a food run and end up feeling as anxious as Jerry (Seinfeld has a house here and is out and about pretty often), Elaine, Kramer and George trying to cross town during the Puerto Rican Day or Thanksgiving parades.
This Wednesday at Citarella in Bridgehampton was no different. The lot was filled with luxury vehicles, and inside, wealthy shoppers–grouchy from being stuck in traffic and ready to get their holiday on–were bossing around the help and elbowing the hoi polloi who dared to get between them and the free cheese samples. I’m convinced that rich people like their free stuff a whole lot more than poor people.
Before anyone gets too crabby about my silly musings, there are lots and lots of wonderful people out here–year-round AND seasonal–and I appreciate success. Just not entitlement.
There’s also some Hamptons-related news this week, despite the double holiday. Here are the biggest stories on my pop-culture radar.
Jason Kidd, who bought a nearly $6 million home in Water Mill two years ago, has been all over the news of late. He’s been fined $50,000 for intentionally spilling a soda on the game floor to delay play during a game between the Nets and the Lakers.
Billy Joel, who has been teasing “an historic announcement” that he’ll make next week at Madison Square Garden on December 3, is selling his beachfront Sagaponack manse for $23.5 million. He still owns a crash pad in Sag Harbor village.
MSNBC is apparently pulling the plug on Alec Baldwin’s “Up Late.” My East End friends and I agree–Alec needs to make his East Hampton house a permanent home. He gets too riled up by the negative attention he gets in Manhattan. He’s chill and happy when he, Hilaria and baby Carmen are hanging out here.
I’ve got to run along now. It’s time to get ready for a spate of holiday parties and fancy to-dos.

Piano Man Is in a ‘New York State of Mind’

Piano Man is in a 'New York State of Mind'

This is news that I’ve been champing at the bit to share since I ran into Billy Joel in Sag Harbor the last time this September–he’s not only touring again but he’s playing Madison Square Garden. Four times early next year! Scheduled dates are January 27, February 3, March 21 and April 18. He’s also playing the Barclays Center on New Year’s Eve. Super cool.
I was out on a date with an acquaintance of his and we were both headed to the same place, Tutto il Giorno, a couple of months ago so we stopped and chatted for a few minutes. It was then that Billy offered that he was planning on packing his bags and heading out on a limited tour. At the time he said he was definitely doing a few shows in Europe and that he was considering adding a few select venues here in the States.
Not only has he been selling out his shows at a rapid pace, he’s also sure to expand the demographic of his fan base and putting a few more butts in seats once his “Glee” episode airs tonight.
I first saw Billy in concert a few decades ago back when he was still doing handstands on his piano. Man, did he ever put on a memorable show! It’s been a long while since I’ve seen him perform but I’m willing to bet that he’s still worth the price of admission, and then some.
I took this photo of him at the Group for the East End benefit two summers ago.

Jon Bon Jovi at the Hampton Classic

Jon Bon Jovi at the Hampton Classic

So many worlds have collided in the last few days here on the East End. First there was Jon Bon Jovi (my “friend” from Great Chefs) chatting with Matt and Annette Lauer about their newly opened Bright Side Farm (Not only did I have the pleasure of visiting their Water Mill-based stables two weeks ago, they both made a point to tell me on Sunday that they liked the article I wrote about the experience. How cool is that!) at Grand Prix day at the Hampton Classic on Sunday. Then last night I was out for dinner with a friend and bumped into Billy Joel (fellow Sag Harborite and everywhere man) while we were waiting for a table at the restaurant. Scoop: he said he’s planning a few concerts soon. Yay!
That’s two bona-fide rock stars and the most recognized man on American morning television in two days. These encounters are in addition to running into just about everybody at the Classic on Sunday, including Billy’s ex-wife and dear woman Christie Brinkley; Jerry Seinfeld; Sofia Vergara; James Lipton; New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg; his daughter Georgina, who managed to earn third place in the Grand Prix even though she’s now heavily pregnant; Beth Stern (no Howard in sight, for me at least) and Kyle McLachlan. Pinch me.
I don’t expect to run into anyone today–the Tuesday after Labor Day is referred to locally as “Tumbleweed Tuesday” as all the seasonal folks make a mass exodus back to the city–but who knows. As someone who has bumped into Edie Falco at the Bridgehampton K-Mart more than once, nothing surprises this Hamptons Party Girl.

Billy Joel was at the Hampton Classic yesterday

Billy Joel was at the Hampton Classic yesterday

I was supposed to go to the Classic yesterday for a luncheon hosted by Christopher Robbins and Kenneth Wolfe but wasn’t able to make it because I was in Riverhead picking up my brand new car. Woohoo!
The only bummer is that I missed the Piano Man. He was there with his girlfriend, Alexis Roderick, who rode in this year’s competition. Darn!
It wasn’t the absolute end of the world since the musician and I both live in Sag Harbor (though his digs are certainly more resplendent than mine) and he’s frequently in the village.
The very first time I saw Billy Joel was during a concert in Indianapolis. That was during his handstands-on-the-piano days and boy did he ever put on a show! Little did I know that later on in life he would be a commonplace sight in my neighborhood.
The last time I saw Billy, he was tooling around Main Street on his motorcycle. He parked in front of Schiavoni’s grocery store, climbed off the bike and then walked around to the sidecar to collect his doggie biker companion, a pug. It was adorable.
One of the most memorable times I saw Billy though was at the American Hotel, also in Sag Harbor. I was interviewing the world-renowned architect Preston Phillips outside on the porch and there was a fairly boisterous table next to us. Lo and behold, it was Billy, two ladies and Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez. Awesome.
I’m “Keeping the Faith” that our paths will cross again soon as Billy is a passionate supporter of many of our local organizations and causes. I took the attached photo of him, Bob DeLuca and Alec Baldwin at last year’s Group for the East End benefit at Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack.

Celebrities, and pecking order, at the Hampton Classic

Celebrities, and pecking order, at the Hampton Classic

Remember how in high school where you sat in the lunchroom not only determined your status but it also absolutely defined exactly who you were? Well the Hampton Classic in Bridgehampton is like that, only with higher stakes.
The Classic is a lot more about the horses than polo is (except for the people on the field, polo is pretty much all about the party) but there is still an element of the spectacle surrounding the event. Case in point: there is a grandstand but everybody who is anybody pays big bucks for a table under the VIP tents.
Now there are a few distinct areas to the seating. The best seats in the house (in the VIP tents) are on the Grand Prix side, not the Hunter side, of the first tent , which is on the south side of the Grand Prix ring. The VIP section under a separate tent on the east side of the Grand Prix ring, which faces the grandstand, is better than nothing, but it’s the least desirable of the VIP tent areas–especially if your table is on the wrong side of the ring, which overlooks the porta-potties and not the Grand Prix ring action.
See, just like high school.
Then of course there are the Chalets, which are where the REAL money sits. For example, the Chalets are uber private and where Madonna (and others in the stratosphere) spent her time at the Classic last year. These covered seating areas are beyond the VIP tents and on the north side of the Grand Prix ring–right in on the action yet removed from the VIP area, and with limited access. The Chalets are like the VIPs’ VIP area. You can’t get in there without special permission or a pass–but once you do, living is easy and the cotton is high, as they say in the south.
The grandstands are where the true horse fans and those who either can’t afford or don’t care about VIP seating sit. They just spend the $10 entrance fee (Can you believe it only costs $10 to get into the Classic? That’s awesome!) to get in and actually watch the competition.
But back to the social status stuff. When it comes to the Classic, you absolutely MUST come to opening day (the first Sunday) and Grand Prix day (the following Sunday). Those are the two biggest days, and Grand Prix day is when everyone goes all out to decorate their tables to the nines and orders in the best catered food; I’m talking thousands and thousands of dollars here.
I was fortunate enough to be invited to a table during Grand Prix day last year and let me tell you, we went through more wine than college boys do beer at a tailgate party. Ah, it was fun at the fanciest (hiccup) level!
Of course, the Classic always draws the celebrities. Spotted so far this year: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; piano man and Sag Harbor resident Billy Joel; and a pregnant Georgina Bloomberg, an accomplished rider and Classic vet who looked resplendent in a sunny yellow dress instead of riding gear.
There’s so much to talk about when it comes to the Classic. I haven’t even gotten into the whole thing with the hats yet. Stay tuned.