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Liberty Medals handed out in Manhattan as the National Arts Club gears up for its next benefit

Originally Posted: October 15, 2004

Debbie Tuma

One East Hampton author was capturing all the excitement of the "Liberty Medals," which were given out to New York City heroes last week at Gracie Mansion in Manhattan.

Barbara Lang Auffret, the daughter of a New York City policeman, who spends her time between homes in Manhattan and East Hampton, was on the scene at the big honors ceremony last weekend, to include the stories of these police and firefighters in her new book about true stories from the heroes of 9/11. Lang-Auffret has been traveling around the country for the past few years, recording the stories and photos of all the people connected to this tragedy, and she so far has hundreds of amazing accounts. Her book, the size of a dictionary, is due out by next year, and she is still looking for great stories and photos.

Regis Philbin, Cindy Adams, Award Recipient
and Mayor Bloomberg

Since the first "Liberty Medals" were handed out by the Mayor's Office to the cops and firemen right after the 9/11 disaster, the city decided to continue this tradition each year, to honor those people, including civilians, who risk their lives to help others in need. This year, at the third annual "New York Post Liberty Awards," 10 people were honored, including police men and women, firefighters, an educator from the Bronx, a young Chinese girl who helps kids, and even an ice cream truck driver in Brooklyn, Maria Campanella, who scoops up worthy causes, and fills her truck with trees and flowers to maintain public gardens, and also donates her time to local charities.

A friend of the Auffrets, also attending this event, was Bill DeLong of Rego Park, who was one of the first recipients of the "Liberty Medal" three years ago, for his charity work around the globe, working with victims of Chernobyl, to AIDS victims throughout Africa.

Regis Philbin, Maria Campamella & Mayor Bloomberg

At this ceremomy, emceed by Regis Philbin and Cindy Adams, these awards were presented by them and also Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Each recipient walked up to the stage, under a tent on the lawn of the Mayor's mansion, to received a patriotic silver medal on a long red, white and blue ribbon.

"We are privileged to have so many courageous. wonderful people who take the time out of their busy lives to care about their fellow neighbors," said Mayor Bloomberg. Cindy Adams, who also lives in Bridgehampton, said her newspaper wanted to help honor these heroes each year.

Following a great cocktail reception at Gracie Mansion, Lang-Auffrett and her husband, Raymond Auffret, invited guests to their fabulous Manhattan restaurant, La Petite Auberge, which has been serving fine French food under the same management for 28 years!

Ellen Adler & Albert Maysles

A lot of Hamptonites also attended another star-studded bash in Manhattan later that night, over at the National Arts Club. Public relations magnates Ed Callaghan and John Wegorzewski threw a great party as a prelude to a huge benefit they are holding on November 8 for the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. At the National Arts Club, both Ellen Adler, the daughter of Stella Adler, and Tom Oppenheim, the director of the Stella Adler Studio, were present. The roster of famous actors who have graduated from this acclaimed school in endless, and several of them will be honored in a special tribute on November 8, at this upcoming magnificent benefit to be held at the Pierre Hotel. A post-humous tribute will be paid to the late Marlon Brando, with director Arthur Penn presenting the award, which will be accepted by Warren Beatty, an alumni of the Studio. Beatty will also be taking over the reigns as honorary chairman of the school, formerly held by Brando. Whoopi Goldberg will also be speaking about Marlon Brando at this event, where another award will be presented to Tony Kushner, by Mike Nichols. As if this isn't enough star-power in one room, Zoe Caldwell will be presenting the Group Theatre Award to Arthur Miller.

Also on the November 8 benefit for the Stella Adler Studio, Marlon Brando's son, Miko, is expected to fly in from the West Coast with his family. Miko works in the Security department for Michael Jackson, who may also attend, along with other graduates of the school, including Roy Scheider, Mercedes Ruhle, Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach, all of whom live in the Hamptons.

Elizabeth Moss, Tom Oppenheim & Friend

At last Thursday night's event, at the National Arts Club, actress Elizabeth Moss, who plays the President's daughter on "The West Wing," was there, as well as noted documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, jewelry designer K. Claudene of Soho, animator Don Duga of Baiting Hollow, and concert pianist Andrew Worgo of Riverhead. Several North Fork Bank executives were also present, including concierge Anthony Parrizzi and Zita Karl.

This week, the Hamptons International Film Festival is coming to town from October 20-24, beginning with the opening night movie in East Hampton on Wednesday night, followed by the big opening night party to be held at Gurney's Inn Resort as last year. Throughout the week, there will be parties every night at different venues, from Turtle Crossing to the Star Room and Nick & Toni's, and there will be non-stop films to see every day in all the theaters from Montauk to Westhampton Beach! This is not only an exciting time for socializing, but also a great way to extend the fall season for local businesses.

Beautiful scenes of Long Island were captured in a new photo exhibit, at the Seaman House Gallery in Bayport, which opened last Saturday and runs through mid-November. Bruce and Suzanne Poli, of Bridgehampton and Bayport, have opened a new in house gallery in their sprawling 1840's farmhouse, which is open by appointment for all to see. This is the work of three master photographers-Kenneth Poli, father of Bruce, who was the former editor of Popular Photography Magazine, Obaidullah Mamoon, of Bangladesh, and Suzanne Poli. Ken Poli captured the startling beauty of his Bayport area, while Suzanne Poli portrayed dramatic skies over water and land. Mamoon showed his collection of striking images from his native Bangladesh.

A crowd of over 100 people from the Hamptons to Manhattan, enjoyed the show and the reception featuring Indian cuisine, including Gary Herold, a board member of the Long Island Maritime Museum, Pam Lerner, an antiques dealer and decorator, with her husband Tom, and a speaker from the United Nations, who talked about the water dilemma in Bangladesh.
For Seaman House Gallery info, call 631-472-0390.

On Friday night, October 15, the public is invited to pay tribute to the work of Albert Maysles, as part of the celebration of LTV's 20th anniversary celebration. This event will take place at Guild Hall of East Hampton, with a special screening of "Gray Gardens," which Maysles and his brother, David, filmed during the 1960's, in this village. A few other independent films will be shown, and Maysles wil discuss his movie with the audience, followed by a reception in the lobby.

This year is also Maysles' 50th Anniversary of filmmaking, which started even before he made the first Beatles' movie during their arrival in New York in 1964.

So get your tickets now for the upcoming Hamptons International Film Festival, by calling their office at 631-324-4600.

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