In The Magazine

Bright, Precious Days

by R. Couri Hay Photographed by ADRIEL REBOH/
Saturday, September 10, 2016

Hosts with the Most

The Hampton’s top hosts are Anne Hearst McInerney and Jay McInerney and Audrey and Martin Gruss. Jay, whose new book, Bright, Precious Days, has the critics raving, also writes about wines and knows as much about grapes and vintages as the world’s top sommeliers. That’s just one of the reasons he was recently awarded the Légion d’Honneur by the French government. On the couple’s estate, Ashgrove Farm, Anne keeps a coop full of chickens that lay pale green eggs, which she gives to friends; it’s the only way really. This glamorous couple entertains on their expansive porch, which overlooks a lawn that rolls gently down to a pond filled with perch, and yes, Anne’s children, Amanda Hearst and Randy Harris, can catch them when they’re in the mood to cast out a line. Prince Albert of Monaco and Princess Charlene; artists April Gornik, Eric Fischl, Will Cotton and the Watermill Center’s incomparable director Robert Wilson; politicos Judith and Rudy Giuliani, former New York State governor David Paterson, Georgina BloombergRobert F. Kennedy and his daughter Kick Kennedy, as well as entertainers Brooke Shields, Rufus Wainwright and Christie Brinkley, are but a few of the gilded set the couple have wined and dined.


Audrey and Martin Gruss’ private French chef, Christophe Cabanne, who cooks at Fairwind, their estate in Southampton, deserves a minimum of two Michelin stars for flavor, creativity and composition. Whether it’s, his quail eggs topped in beluga caviar, or his grilled white peaches alongside langoustines with miniature haricots verts, it’s all ambrosia here. Of course, Audrey has a separate pavilion by the pool for parties. This ballroom is crowned with a gigantic wreath of branches, festooned with flowers and tiny glass urns filled with candles, that act as a canopy over four round tables. Audrey’s floral arrangements are extraordinary both in the house and in the all-white garden and lush vistas created by the ne plus ultra of landscape architect Edwina Von Gal. The allée of white birch trees is particularly noteworthy. Pals receive regular gifts from Audrey’s gardens. In September, she gathers green apples from her orchard; at Christmas, she sends out jars of homemade applesauce; and in the spring, tiny bouquets of lily of the valley are hand delivered by her chauffeur. This bed of teensy-weensy blossoms is named after her mother, Hope, who was the inspiration for Audrey’s greatest passion, the Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF). This is the country’s leading nonprofit organization focused solely on depression research. This year, the World Health Organization declared that depression was the leading cause of disability worldwide. Despite its prevalence, it is still misunderstood, underfunded and underresearched. To date, HDRF has provided more than $20 million through 125 grants for research that promises to lead to new treatments.

Nothing Left Unsaid

Anderson Cooper will follow in the footsteps of Mariel Hemingway and be honored at Gruss’ HDRF luncheon and seminar on November 15. In their CNN special Nothing Left Unsaid, Anderson and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, both talked openly about brother and son Carter Cooper, who committed suicide in front of his mother at 23. “I think he had this impulse that he could not contain and went out onto the ledge.” said Anderson. Gloria confided, “People who knew Carter will start to talk about him and then say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ And I say, ‘No, I love to talk about him. More, more, more.’ Because that brings him alive, and it brings him closer and it means that he hasn’t been forgotten.”

Walk of Hope

To raise awareness for her fall benefit, Audrey Gruss gave a series of summer soirees that culminated in the Walk of Hope, a three-mile stroll around Southampton. Among those donning the organization’s signature yellow on T-shirts and hats were Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, Karen and Richard LeFrak, Joanne de Guardiola, Mai Hallingby, and Sharon Bush and her coton de tulear, Scout; doctors Holly Peterson, Kenneth Mark, and Christopher Calapai; attorneys Nancy Chemtob, Marianne Bertuna and Arthur Aidala; and Mayor Mark Epley, who steered the fashionable parade. After the walk, 15 stores, including Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and Theory, gave a percentage of their sales to the foundation.

Audubon Islands Sanctuary

Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google, and Candace Bushnell led the cognoscenti to Water Mill for Campion and Tatiana Platt, Katie Carpenter and Robin Leacock’s party for the Audubon Islands Sanctuary. These treasure islands in the Lake Worth Lagoon in Palm Beach this season are jewels, but they’ve grown scruffy and could use a little love to reach their true potential as subtropical getaways for our fair feathered friends. In the mix were Cece Cord, Nicole Miller, and Dimitri and Robin Pauli, who are opening a new outpost of their restaurant Sant Ambroeus in P.B.

Social Safari

The Larry Rivers exhibition of Me and My Shadow, Oedipus Rex and Legs at Janet Lehr’s Vered Gallery in East Hampton was hosted by the late artist’s son, Sam Rivers, and Alan Alda’s filmmaker daughter, Beatrice Alda, and her partner, Jennifer Brooke. The documentarians made a movie on the plight of the notorious Legs sculpture that is still stuck in court. Lehr has been battling the village of Sag Harbor on whether the piece is art or a “structure.” Guests including Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, Julie Hayek, Cindy Guyer, Cassandra Seidenfeld, Larry Wohl and Leesa Rowland unanimously voted it was art.…..The Southampton Hospital’s Summer Party was chaired by Marigay McKee, Bill Ford, and Hollis and Jim Forbes. The evening benefited the Jenny & John Paulson Emergency Department, which is the sole provider of emergency care on the South Fork, treating more than 25,000 people annually.

World Series of Poker queen Beth Shak hosted the JED Foundation’s Hamptons Charity Poker Night to raise funds for the organization’s work against substance abuse and suicide among young adults across the USA.…..Georgina Bloomberg, Chuck Scarborough, Carolyn Maloney, John Catsimatidis and Jonathan McCann danced to the Alex Donner Orchestra and enjoyed dinner by Robbins-Wolfe Eventeurs at the Southampton Animal Shelter’s Unconditional Love Gala chaired by Jean

Hillary Clinton loves hot sauce so much she carries it in her purse: “It keeps my immune system strong. I think hot sauce is good for you.” Inspired by Hillary’s love of “heat,” Simon Powles of Starr Catering Group created a unique bottle of the sauce for the CNN Grill at the DNC, where he made a daily menu for Stephen Colbert, David Schwimmer, Ashley Judd, Wolf Blitzer and all the network anchors. The bipartisan company also did events for the RNC, minus the hot sauce.

Daniel Boulud and Herb Karlitz are organizing a benefit tribute dinner honoring the legendary chef Roger Vergé at Chelsea Piers on September 12. Emeril Lagasse and Francis Mallmann are among the fifteen celebrity chefs who will create the tasting stations and seated dinner to create a culinary scholarship. 

Photos by ©Patrick McMullan.


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