Just Like Home, Only Posher


It was somewhere between 2:15 and 2:25 on Saturday night/Sunday morning at a club called Boutique, and I was dancing on a banquette to a DJ playing Justin Timberlake.

I did not know it was Justin Timberlake when I committed this sin against nightlife—namely, dancing to something other than minimal German techno in a place where my sworn enemy, bottle service, ruled. My downtowner companions, including Ben Cho and Chloë and Paul Sevigny, were, like me, all looking a bit like deer caught inheadlights. What are we doing? How did we get here? Who are all these people with their collars turned up?

I had been kidnapped by Preppy Pod People. I had been made to wear all white, party at bourgeois clubs, and attend a sporting event usually reserved for the posh and posher. To clarify: I had gone to the Hamptons for the weekend.

Summering in the Hamptons is a strange phenomenon particular to the city—no one in San Diego “summers.” But New Yorkers are such a codependent lot, fearing contact with the average Americans, that they even vacation together. And when they go away, they re-create home away from home: In the Hamptons, you can find all their favorite Manhattan nightclubs redone for the Wild Wild East. Outposts of big-pimpin’ bottle-service joints like Cain, Pink Elephant, and Guest House dot the Southampton ‘hood, relying on the same formula that makes them popular in the city, yet accessorized with Hamptons flair.

At Boutique, Marquee co-owner Noah Tepperberg generously hosted—in between texting the door guys at his clubs in Vegas and New York about the guest list and making everyone mystery shots, he danced in front of an arctic air conditioner blowing full blast. Here, to party without a posse is to be bored, and you don’t dance so much as just sway and grind. And instead of playing Dress Up, you play Fabulous, hoisting the bottle proudly over your head like a calling card. Bling bling. At Cain, one guy came up to our photographer and actually said, “Take my picture, I’m fucking beautiful!”In the case of Cain Southampton Club during the VH1 Save the Music benefit after-party Friday night, the white main room was surrounded by big, leafy decorations, all aglow with a pink luminescence; in the second room, African masks hung on the walls. The sound system was as good as I’ve heard, with Cain’s trademark musicians holding down the beat via bongos. The DJ, Sean Perry, was a step or three above what we heard at Boutique, turning out Stardust’s “Music Sounds Better With You” and Herbie Hancock‘s “Rockit” as well as bottle service favorites Kanye and Beyoncé. Cain publicist Steve Kasuba says this is one of the only big-sponsor-shared houses that doesn’t inspire the ire of its neighbors: “ Kelly Ripa is our neighbor, and she loves us!”

It was a galaxy away from the first stop of the evening, CPI (Canoe Place Inn), to behold Long Island locals Zebra, a rock band that coulda woulda shoulda made it in the ’80s during the glam metal era—but didn’t. They have a connection with Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, a bass player with a mullet, and a motley, small, but dedicated following. This—along with places like Neptunes or Turtle Bay—is a part of the Hamptons that you don’t read about in Hamptons Magazine or Dan’s Papers. CPI is not, as local DJ Ronnie Nabas explained, “a Hamptons hot spot that blows up. It’s been unchanged for 20 years.”

In our two-day Hamptons trip, we searched for high and low culture. We found high the next day at the Bridgehampton Polo Club’s Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge, hosted by Marquee’s dapper dons Jason Strauss and Noah Tepperberg (escorting his lovely new lady, gorgeous model Denise Vasi, who briefly dated Russell Simmons post–Kimora Lee). Heather Graham was the special celebrity guest, shilling for Gold Peak Tea while delectable in a watermelon-colored dress—along with other celebrities like the Sevignys and Christina Applegate, she didn’t appear to sweat. Fame and money apparently shut down your sweat glands. One friend muttered that he’d said hello to one of the many famous actresses roaming the grounds and she’d recognized him but didn’t remember where from. He didn’t have the heart to tell her they’d puffed the magic dragon at Siberia once.Yeah, we could tell. CPI is the kind of place that employs a pretty bartender named Stoli while the DJ spins Journey unironically and no one is ridiculous enough to shout, “Take my picture, I’m fucking beautiful.” (One patron was ridiculous enough, however, to groom the last remaining hairs on his otherwise bald head into a long, French-braided tail.)

As for the Sevignys, Chloë’s brother Paul was spinning in a T-Mobile Sidekick Lounge booth, and I introduced myself. Many years ago I wrote something negative about his band A.R.E. Weapons and poked fun at him in general. I feared talking to his sister, because she might, you know, kill me. A “friend” said, “Go over. I’d love to watch my favorite actress beat up my favorite gossip columnist.” Later at Boutique, we buried the hatchet: Paul confessed he was going to call later and see if Team Fly Life had another option more downtown-appropriate than hanging out in a club that had probably previously been someone’s living room. (We didn’t. See above.) And Chloë didn’t kill me, either. Instead she remarked, “Can you believe we’re all here?” (No. See above—Timberlake, dancing on banquette, shame spiral, etc.)

Elsewhere, at polo, I ran into media scoundrels George Gurley (of the Observer) and Chris Wilson (of the Post‘s Page Six) standing with Steve Garbarino, the new editor in chief of BlackBook, which will soon bump from six issues a year to 10. “I want to make it a real publication with real journalism instead of essays and navel-gazing,” Garbarino said, adding that he hoped to turn out features the quality of Vanity Fair‘s. I lamented to the gents that few people were watching the polo match itself. “It’s just an elegant backdrop to get drunk and watch horses,” Wilson said. Unfortunately I hadn’t done either yet.

Oh, Nacho. Dark, wavy brown hair. Handsome, lithe, and rugged all at the same time, with a megawatt smile. I’ll take your picture. You’re fucking beautiful.Meanwhile, Wilson’s boss, Rich- ard Johnson, was dutifully doing the unthinkable—watching the polo match. Since he’s a heterosexual married man, we can assume he was not ogling Argentine hottie Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras
the same way Ben Cho and Sam Ong, the event’s publicist, were. It was like
an echo all day: “Nachooooo. Nachooooo. Let’s go see Nachooooo.”

[email protected]