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Hamptonites Get ’Barefoot Under The Stars,’ With Alec Baldwin And Ina Garten

Originally Posted: June 29, 2011

Thomas McKee

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Group For the East End President Robert Deluca, designer Nicole Miller, Ina Garten, and Alec Baldwin. (Courtesy Photo: Liam McMullan for Patrick McMullan.com)

B. Smith and Dan Gasby. (Courtesy Photo: Liam McMullan for Patrick McMullan.com)

Sagaponack - As the onset of natural gas mining looms - affectionately dubbed "fracking" by major energy corporations who have claimed to "go green" - and the water supply on the East End suffers a consistent decline by merit of new-age pesticides and pollutants, the Group For the East End takes a star-studded stand for the protection of the environment. This past Saturday, June 25, 2011, a slew of 400 heavy-hitting Hamptonites flocked to Wollfer Estate for "Barefoot Under the Stars," an evening of dinner, drinks, and dancing to benefit the fight for Suffolk County's natural resources and preservation, hosted by Hampton cuisine matriarch Ina Garten, and East End poster-boy and aspiring politico, Alec Baldwin.

It was a misty evening on the vineyard, the tent illuminated by a projected star-scape with a large yellow Moon, the aroma of fresh cut roses arranged on each table co-mingling with Wollfer's smooth Chardonnay and the soundtrack of classic 1970s soul. A gracious Garten greeted guests at the entrance, a cordial smile fixed on her face for all passers-by to see. A festively-scruffy Baldwin slid through the crowds with ease, shmoozing the gaggles of espadrille-clad women and their investment banker counterparts, in linen sport coats and salmon slacks. Black-tied cater waiters circled the room, pouring Proseco into crystal flutes as if it were a renewable resource, loosening the wallets of gala-goers who waltzed around the silent auction tables. The overall effect was enchanting - guests were reluctant to retire their cocktails, and take their seats for dinner.

Some notable auction items included a round trip for two in hotelier Andre Balaz's StndAIR Seaplane, an "Escape to Argentina" courtesy of Estancia Villa Maria, a sunset cruise for 50 guests aboard one of the McMillen's 100-foot historical wooden yachts, a private villa for eight at Amanresorts in Turks & Caicos, and a big-game luxury fishing trip for four aboard "the most lavish fishing yacht on the market," the Viking Convertible. Not to mention an in-home farm-to-table wine tasting dinner for eight, prepared by The Living Room c/o Maidstone Hotel executive chef, James Carpenter with wine pairings by Wolffer's Roman Roth.

Andre Balaz. (Courtesy Photo: Liam McMullan for Patrick McMullan.com)

Once in the tent, man of the evening Baldwin addressed the audience, recounting an anecdote of an intimate dinner he attended at the Barefoot Contessa's "excruciatingly exquisite home." With Ina's name on the event masthead, he quipped, "we could serve you a Power Bar and a water, and you'd all say that was the best meal of my life." The crowd offered riotous laughter and a slew of approving applause for Garten, the archetypal "hostess with the most-ess."

As dinner was served - a choice between freshly-caught, fist-sized scallops, and a beef tenderloin so tender it might have been made of gelatin - Group for the East End President Robert Deluca took the podium, for a final calling cry as to the purpose of the evening.

"We are asking for a community that is sustainable over time," he began, citing a recent half-million dollar research study that signaled the "gradual and continual decline of the water supply." The Group for the East End has been striving for environmental conservancy since 1972, and most recently made news in 2009 for their fight against the development of Lake Montauk, and the restoration of New Suffolk's waterfront. Their efforts to maintain the pristine landscape of the East End remain consistent in the face of increased tourism, pollution, and bureaucratic ambivalence. "We must transfer education into aspirations for a better future," Deluca concluded

Notable Hamptonites in attendance included fashion designer Nicole Miller, famed model B. Smith and Camelot Entertainment Sales, Inc.'s Dan Gasby, father of the Standard Hotel chain Balaz, Parkview TMB founding partner Kim Taipale, NBC producer Angela LaGreca, diplomat Kirk Ressler, photo-ready Robiann Mackin, LIPA First Lady Liz Law, photographer Jessica Guadagno, Paul Kreilling, Wollfer's Peggy Lauber, Libby Readel, and W Magazine Editor-In-Chief Stefano Tonchi.

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Guest (stephanie colagiacomo) from seaford says::
It was a wonderful evening in the Hamptons. Tom, I really enjoyed your well written article. Your descriptions reminded me of THE GREAT GATSBY. It was a pleasure speaking with you at the gala and I wish you well with your career. Stephanie Colagiacomo
Jun 30, 2011 2:33 pm


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