Event sponsors ASICS and One Hope Wine came out to support the American Red Cross. (Christine Peake)
- Memorial Day weekend is the official (yet unofficial if you care about the calendar) start of summer in the Hamptons and the American Red Cross
got things started with the first benefit of the season at the newly renovated The Elm in Southampton. The event, a benefit for the American Red Cross to aid in Japan's Tsunami relief efforts was generously sponsored by ASICS and One Hope Wine, and was one of many things going on in the newly renovated and renamed space Friday night.
From the outside the stark white façade of Tim Burke's 230 Elm
Street space seems unchanged from last year, or event a month ago. However, when you enter the cavernous upper floor you notice private cabanas, white lounges, glowing decor, and plenty of room for dancing until the sun rises. But, it's what's below that holds the real allure for VIP's this summer. Perhaps you know that there's a bowling alley in the lower level of the building - perhaps not. Either way nightlife impresario Mark Baker
and his team of ingénues were in the process of completely transforming the space into a posh, New York styled lounge, a chocolate and gold "sexy secret" where the staff rushes about to cater to VIP's, like Oliver Stone
and Martin Scorsese
who dropped by on opening night.
As the paint was drying and furniture was being installed in the lower level, party guests and well wishers dropped by to chat with Baker, who has spent the last 20 years in the Hamptons nightlife scene and remarked that, "The Hamptons got a bit stale the last few years. It lost its creative edge." As he poured a little white wine from One Hope Wine for a friend, the gregarious, larger than life character recalled the days of Conscious Point, the Star Room, Tavern, and the Amazon
Deck, "I did it all! This is a new one!" During the Red Cross event he explained that, "This is the first legitimate new venture in the Hamptons in years." And further he promised, "There has never been anything like this."
The Elm features private cabanas, white lounges, glowing decor, and plenty of room for dancing until the sun rises. (Nicole B. Brewer)
What's next at The Elm? "I am very aware of the Hamptons and I want to support the community and do some good philanthropic work," exclaimed Baker as the night continued. The venue will host numerous charity events all summer while remaining a nightclub when the clock strikes 11 p.m. While he promises that notable faces and celebrities will frequent the club in the end he said, "I want people to have a good time."
Most parties are all about a good time. And why not? They should be. As guests including Joyce Magsarili
, Rony Zedian
, Kevin Nicholas
, Cass Almendral
, Jonathan Meizler
, and Damir Jandricek
mingled and danced to music by DJ Reflex, Parag Bhandari
of UG Strategies Production brought the heart and soul to the gathering, "Don't forget people really need our help," he reminded. "Tonight," he explained, "the Red Cross is the real celebrity." Together with support from ASICS, a Japanese company who escaped the devastating effects of the spring 2011 Tsunami, he was able to create a series of events over Memorial Day Weekend, starting with the party at The Elm in Southampton and continuing with a weekend-long beach club at Gurney's Inn
in Montauk, to raise awareness. If you missed the events this weekend, don't worry, they will be back in the Hamptons later this summer.
For more information go to www.redcross.org
, and www.onehopewine.com
Logos for presenting sponsor ASICS and beverage host One Hope Wine could be seen rotating above the mar at The Elm during the Red Cross benefit. (Nicole B. Brewer)
Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com