The Summer Party Returns — And How!

In its own (Southampton) way, this was the party of the summer.

Back in July we asked if Michael Rubin’s White Party was going to be THE party of the summer. Guests included Beyonce, Di Caprio, JLo, Ben Affleck, Usher, sports stars, models, rappers, influencers — the whole deal at Rubin’s estate in Bridgehampton. It got major coverage in The Post, on Instagram, on TV. The helicopters! The limos! The security guards!

That party was held mainly to burnish Michael Rubin’s reputation, and give publicity to his company, the sports merchandizer Fanatics.

Behold the Southampton Hospital Foundation’s Summer Party, held on August 5. Think of it as the grown-up version of the White Party. The White Party had “influencers,” people who tweeted, or x’d or whatever we call it now. They posted on Instagram, or made TikTok videos.

The people at the Southampton Summer Party were the financiers and government officials who make the rules. They aren’t the influencers. They are the influenced. Michael Rubin had athletes. The Southampton Summer Party had presidents and owners of sports teams.

Ambassador John Loeb and his wife, Sharon Loeb. (photo Sean Zanni/PMC)

The summer party ticket went on sale in June and was sold out far in advance. Having that ticket declared who was important and who was not.

So here they were, dressed up as if they were at the Colony Palm Beach, and they might as well have been. It was the first Southampton Hospital Summer Party since 2019. It raised $2 million. This is a summer party worth talking about.

Renee Rockefeller, Ros L’Esperance, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Stacey Bronfman, Ashley McDermott, Mary Kathryn Navab, and Laura Lofaro Freeman were either Summer Party co-chairs or honorary chairs (photo Lisa Tamburini)

The event celebrated 65 years of raising money for healthcare in the Hamptons. Sarah and Andrew Wetenhall, owners of the Colony Hotel Palm Beach, joined the regular board chairs to create the event. The Wetenhalls, despite their link to Palm Beach — the hotel has been in her family for decades — have homes in Manhattan and Sag Harbor.

Joey Wölffer, Tamron Hall, the talk show host, Sarah Wetenhall, and Rachel Zoe, the fashion designer. Joey Wölffer and Sarah Wetenhall were co-chairs of the party. (Photo Sean Zanni/PMC)

On entering the cocktail reception, guests were greeted with photographs of the Colony and surprised by a dance floor covered with a reproduction of the Colony’s swimming pool. The entrance was surrounded by areca palms and other evocations of Palm Beach.

Guests posed in front of a Colony Hotel beach buggy draped with flowers from Lewis Miller Design. They were handed cocktails from Swifty’s, a Manhattan watering hole the Colony has revived.

Martin and Audrey Gruss (photo Lisa Tamburini)

Also on the menu: Swifty’s canapés, and dishes from the restaurant. “It was such a long cocktail hour,” Audrey Gruss told us later, “and so well done. They had the most wonderful gala.”

She confided, apparently having been a devotee of the old Swifty’s on the Upper East Side, a social club for the ladies who lunch, “I loved the crab cake and meatloaf.”

She was not the only Swifty’s fan in the crowd. But there were also guests at the Gala who were at college when Swifty’s closed, in 2016. For them a piece of meatloaf was a piece of meatloaf. No biggie.

It was nice to see people of all generations there.

Suwattana and her husband, Roman Viñoly (photo Lisa Tamburini)

The Colony Hotel team collaborated with Elegant Affairs of Glen Gove to recreate Swifty’s recipes, which were paired with world-class wines from Wölffer Estate Vineyard. “I loved the wonderful wines from Wölffer too,” Gruss mentioned, diplomatically.

Somers Farkas, Laura Lofaro Freeman, Margo Nederlander, Sharon Loeb (photo Lisa Tamburini)

Guests were also offered a special cocktail called Macklowe’s Gold Fashioned. (Alert for anyone who plans to drink one and drive home: a Macklowe “Gold-Fashioned” is two-ounces of straight single-malt whiskey with a teaspoon of water and three dashes of bitters, plus orange peel.)

Dennis Basso, Julie Macklowe, Billy Macklowe, and Isaac Boots: designers of clothes, whiskey and a choreographer and celebrity trainer. (photo Sean Zanni/PMC)

There was a lounge singer. The cocktail hour, as Audrey Gruss mentioned, was lengthy. But there were 500 guests who had to be checked in, given their wrist bands, handed cocktails, photographed and shooed through the Colony Hotel exhibit.

These were no ordinary guests. They were full and part time residents, philanthropists, socialites, media personalities, designers, business executives, government officials, talk show hosts, authors, and long-time supporters of the hospital.

Jocelyn and Eric Woolworth, the President of the Miami Heat (photo Sean Zanni/PMC)

Jamee and Peter Gregory– very PB, monogrammed slippers, no socks. (photo Sean Zanni/PMC)

Guests included many familiar names: Wilbur Ross (the former United States Secretary of Commerce); Bill O’Reilly; Ramona Singer; Rachel Zoe; Howard Lorber (through the Vector group, chairperson of Nathan’s Famous and Douglas Elliman) and his son and son-in-law; Veronica Atkins (a managing director of the Metropolitan Opera); Julie and Billy Macklowe (of the Macklowe single malt whiskey); Deborah Norville; Jean and Martin Shafiroff; Cameron Silver (the fashion director of Halston); Jocelyn and Eric Woolworth (of the Miami Heat); Ambassador John Loeb and his wife Sharon; Margo and John Catsimatidis (the CEO of Gristedes); Steve Klinsky (founder of New Mountain Capital);  Anjali and Prakash A. Melwani (a senior managing director of the Blackstone Group); Jamee and Peter Gregory; Jimmy Yeh, and Suwattana and Román Viñoly, a filmmaker.

Plus about 475 others including Fern Mallis and Danna Karan, who were fashion chairs for the evening.

(photo Lisa Tamburini)

During dinner in the tent, there were speeches praising the evening’s honorees: Audrey & Martin Gruss, John Paulson, Jay Lieberman and Megan & Ken Wright.

Margo Catsimatidis, Spencer O’Reilly, Bill O’Reilly (photo Sean Zanni/PMC)

Irina Eicke, Maximilian Eicke, Veronica Atkins (photo Sean Zanni/PMC)

Cameron Silver (photo Sean Zanni/PMC)

But the evening was far from over. You noticed, didn’t you, that this was not even called a gala. They called it a party. But “gala” it was.

Andrea Lieberman and the honoree Jay Lieberman,, a notable builder (photo Sean Zanni/PMC)

Following dinner, celebrity auctioneer Lydia Fenet began the paddle auction. Next was a performance by the Tony- and Grammy-nominated singer Shoshana Bean, who performed Don’t Rain On My Parade from Funny Girl, This Is Me and other songs.

No, not over yet. Some people had bought $150 tickets to the after party. They arrived to dance the night away. (That sold out early too.) Music was by DJ Oli Benz..

— Linda Lee

Linda Lee is a former writer and editor at The New York Times