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Hamptons Scene: Bankers Meet Scientist, Ai Weiwei Pool

New York Stem Cell Foundation
Scott Noggle, principal investigator of New York Stem Cell Foundation's scientific team, faces the pool, center, as he mingles with guests at a foundation party at the home of Bob and Margo Alexander in East Hampton. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Scott Noggle had just finished posing for photographs on the second floor of Robert and Margo Alexander’s home in East Hampton, with a view of the Napeague Bay. Now the scientist was poolside, describing his research in Manhattan and turning down offers of crab cakes, shrimp, and roast beef on toast.

It’s become a fixture of social life on the East End: nonprofits based elsewhere organizing soirees in the homes of donors and friends.

The Alexanders were hosts of one for the New York Stem Cell Foundation on Friday. Margo Alexander, a former executive at UBS, is a trustee of the foundation.

She warmly greeted Tina Louise, the actress who played Ginger in “Gilligan’s Island,” Alan Cohen, head of compliance at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., John Eastman, a lawyer whose late sister Linda was married to Paul McCartney, and Roy Furman, a vice chairman at Jefferies & Co.

Shirley Cook, the chief executive of Proenza Schouler, received a special introduction. Cook will be honored at the foundation’s gala on Oct. 15, said Susan L. Solomon, chief executive of the New York Stem Cell Foundation.

After their class picture, the scientists scattered. Noggle, the foundation’s principal investigator, explained that automation in his lab is helping to create a stem cell array, a databank of genetically diverse human tissue.

“We take a sample of skin and put it in a petri dish, and there are nine robots who do the rest,” Noggle said. “They are amazingly reliable and consistent, and that’s what you want in this work.”

The robots are called System One through Nine.

“Yeah,” Noggle said with a smile, “that would be a good naming opportunity.”

LongHouse Party

“This is a Salomon Brothers reunion,” John Wambold said Saturday night at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton.

Wambold, managing director at Imperial Capital LLC, had come from Southampton at the suggestion of James Zajac, whom he met working in the bond portfolio analysis group at Salomon in the early 1980s.

Zajac, who after Salomon became a lawyer, is a trustee, volunteer and docent at LongHouse. The garden and sculpture center hosts morning meditation, talks, and exhibitions.

“Are there koi in the pond?” asked Wambold.

“There used to be,” Zajac said.

When textile artist Jack Lenor Larsen bought the land in 1975, it was overgrown forest. Larsen turned it into garden “rooms” based on borders he detected from its use as potato fields before the Civil War. Larsen also added things: a house, fake sand dunes, and sculptures by artists including Buckminster Fuller, Sol LeWitt and Yoko Ono.

Cocktail Hour

Most guests during the cocktail hour clustered around the Ai Weiwei gold “Zodiac Heads” stationed around the reflecting pool for one night only. They will go on exhibit in the LongHouse gallery starting Aug. 2.

Larsen began the party by greeting some of the 450 guests in front of the fake dunes, then moved to watch a performance by Elisa Monte Dance. Just before dinner started, he was spotted helming a go-cart, giving a tour.

Architect Richard Meier, known for his all-white buildings, wore white, in keeping with the party’s “shapes and shades of white” dress code, chosen in part because he was one of the honorees.

There were all-white sculptures too, by Alice Aycock and Jack Youngerman.

“They’re the hardest to clean,” said Melissa Mapes, sculpture conservator at LongHouse. She uses water, no soap, and waxes them almost every two weeks. “It’s an all-natural wax made from coconut oil,” Mapes said.

Wambold’s turn to host friends comes Aug. 3, at the Southampton Hospital gala, which is going to be held in an air-conditioned tent. Wambold is a trustee of the hospital.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

Muse highlights include Hephzibah Anderson on books, John Mariani on wine, Warwick Thompson on London theater and Greg Evans on television.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

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