Meet the Hardest-Working Hosts on the Hamptons Charity CircuitBy
Joan and George Hornig ply guests with lobster, moonshine, art
Val Carlotti brings Goldman glamour to jazz, coding benefits
If some portion of a Hamptons mansion isn’t devoted to entertaining, then the people who live there are really missing the point.
The only real hassle is parking: At an East Hampton home, guests dined on private chef Daniel Moccia-Field’s wheatberry and grilled corn salad as their cars were ticketed. But farmers Amanda Merrow and Katie Baldwin e-mailed afterward to say their tickets were given in error and can be dismissed.
Joan and George Hornig obtained permits to park guests’ vehicles at Flying Point Beach for three events at their home in Water Mill. Joan is founder of the “Philanthropy is Beautiful” jewelry line sold at Bergdorf Goodman. George is chief operating officer of PineBridge Investments.
The Hornigs hosted for these occasions for charities and artists as they do for private gatherings: no portable toilets and anyone can get a hug from Joan or a tour of the barn from George. They also like to tell guests about the projects of some of those gathered (Joanne Ooi of the jewelry brand Plukka earned one such mention). And they know the most essential ingredients of a party: plenty of drink, food and music.
For Peconic Baykeeper, in an outdoor room off the barn, waiters served spiked lemonade and shuckers filled a canoe with local oysters and clams. A path led to gardens where blueberries and apricots grow. A Peconic Baykeeper staff member talked about deteriorating water quality and the pressures of development.
Ned and Jane Sadaka stopped by early, Pepe and Emilia Fanjul later; the vibe is casual enough that guests feel comfortable either lingering or retreating to their own square footage and water frontage.
Gabrielle Bacon talked of so many Leo birthdays in her family. Michael Falk, chairman of ComVest Partners, stood to the side as his wife, Annie Falk, approached the microphone to thank the Hornigs for taking on so much entertaining for charity. It’s likely the author of “Hamptons Entertaining,” chronicling parties in the area, has seen more selfish hosts.
Next the Hornigs imported Cuban art for a pop-up gallery in their garage -- just a little fancier than your typical SUV shelter. Yaz Hernandez was so impressed she bought a piece and dined with the artist over surf and turf.
The Cuba theme was a bit of a trend this summer, with Southampton Arts Center hosting an exhibit of photographs of Cuba and Jazz at Lincoln Center presenting a benefit in Bridgehampton on the day the U.S. Embassy in Havana reopened.
The Jazz event raised less than last year’s, when the Hornigs hosted and paid for many of the expenses. This one took place on a borrowed home’s front yard, furnished with portable toilets, and featured rice and black beans, fried plantains and music by Pedrito Martinez and Jose “Pepito” Gomez. Hedge-fund manager Joseph DiMenna and New York City Ballet dancer Daniel Ulbricht helped themselves to cigars hand-rolled at the event.
The hosts were Greg Ammon and Valentino Carlotti. Ammon is founder of Big Flower, a fashion brand named for what he called sunflowers on his first trip to the Hamptons with his dad, the late Ted Ammon. Carlotti is a Goldman Sachs partner who also co-hosted a benefit at Loida Lewis’s Lily Pond Lane home for All Star Code. There, guests had a view of the ocean as they played video games created by the nonprofit’s students.
The Hornigs’ season finale was a benefit for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which supports injured veterans and their families.
At the microphone Lee Woodruff said her husband, Bob, a journalist injured in Iraq, was away covering the anniversary of Katrina. In his place, she introduced her son Mack Woodruff, who works in marketing for the NBA. Afterward, Silicon Valley executive Dan Rosensweig, who has a house in Montauk, asked if Mack was single, hoping to make a match for his daughter Rachel who works at Buzzfeed. (Yes, but very recently, his Mom said.)
The foundation’s main fundraiser is Stand Up for Heroes on Nov. 10 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, which is part of Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox’s New York Comedy Festival. To be sure, Manhattan fundraising will pick up soon (Carlotti is a co-chairman of one on Sept. 28 for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture), but thankfully, not just yet.
On this night there was still time to mingle poolside, dine under moonlight and sip cocktails poured by Harvard grad William Kehler, made with his Manhattan Moonshine and lavender syrup.