Thursday, August 18, 2016

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

2,500 People Attend East Hampton Author's Night in Scorching Heat


Christie Brinkley
All photos Lieba Nesis
Click images for full size views

The East Hampton Library held its author's night on Saturday August 13th at 5 PM on one of the steamiest days of the year in a non air-conditioned tent on Maidstone Lane.  The throngs of more than 2,500 stood soaking on the grass grabbing for the beverages and snacks while some rushed for seats before the heat became unbearable.

Jean Shafiroff & Gwyneth Paltrow

The list of prominent authors was astounding with Erica Jong, Mary Higgins Clark, Douglas Brinkley, Michael Gross, Dick Cavett, and Jay McInerney just a few of the illustrious participants who numbered over 100. There were also celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow, Alec and Hilaria Baldwin, Bridget Moynihan, and Christie Brinkley who added a palpable glamour to this annual happening.

Mary Higgins Clark

I was in awe of all these authors whom I never put a face to and yet they stood there several feet away from me braving the heat. Mary Higgins Clark, a favorite, looked like my grandmother Francis, and stood there signing books with the patience and affect of a librarian.

Michael Gross

Michael Gross, who recently came out with a book documenting the sordid lives of photographers, gleefully noted that his stash sold out. When Christie Brinkley arrived in a white sundress and long braid her bright smile lit up the tent and the crowd went wild. This woman is a knockout and the warmth she exudes is contagious.

Christie Brinkley with Alec and Hilaria Baldwin

A more demure public figure, actress Bridget Moynihan sat inconspicuously with glasses, hair pulled back and no makeup with few in the crowd taking notice of this accomplished thespian. Another luminary, Gwyneth Paltrow, was contrastingly highly recognizable and arrived one hour late with a sun kissed tan a plain black shirt and khakis; the photographers were frenzied but the three security guards standing nearby made sure no flash was used and few pictures were taken.

Gwyneth who was barefaced, radiated an athletic beauty, and her laid back and friendly demeanor were in sharp contrast to her public persona. Founding chair Alec Baldwin showed up hours late with his pregnant wife Hilaria and embraced Christie Brinkley for what seemed like an eternity. Shortly thereafter, Grace Coddington, former creative director at Vogue, sporting an arm sling and her signature curly red hair, came to support friends and authors Fern Mallis and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Movie critic and author Jeffrey Lyons

As I passed Jean Shafiroff who was promoting her book on philanthropy and Eric Ripert who was signing cookbooks, I noticed a man who looked very familiar whose name tag read Jeffrey Lyons. Upon further inquiry, he confirmed that he was the famous movie critic who was now confined to radio as the network replaced him with someone younger who required less money. He was signing books documenting his childhood which included encounters with Marilyn Monroe and other luminaries and offered to send me a free copy. It's a shame that ageism continues to plague the news industry so heavily, forcing out highly intelligent and developed personalities and replacing them with pretty talking heads who read scripts efficiently.

On that reflective note, the evening began to wind down at 7:30 PM with guests headed to privately hosted dinners in honor of one of the guest authors with all proceeds benefiting the East Hampton Library, a private not-for-profit organization. I went home to dry out my sweaty clothing and take a much needed shower - another unique evening in the magical Hamptons.





- Lieba Nesis

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