When my son Josh and I bought Dan’s Papers, inking the deal at midnight, the very next morning at 9 a.m. I was on the phone with the seller, Richard Burns, requesting an introduction to the paper’s iconic and brilliant 84-year-old founder Dan Rattiner.
After all, Dan and I had similar passions for community news, with both of us starting a newspaper in our respective hometowns. We both grew our newspapers into a serious business serving many communities. We are now up to 88 media outlets!
So after a little hemming and hawing, Richard, claiming Dan was a recluse during this pandemic time who saw no one, made the call and connected me with Dan.
Within five minutes of the call, Dan and I were in love!
He and his wife Chris Wasserstein invited me to their terraced home overlooking Gardiners Bay the coming weekend for an outdoor lunch, marking the beginning of a flourishing friendship.
Driving often east on County Road 39, I saw a statue of Dan in the woods, now just yards away from our new office building on that road in Southampton. I wanted to move the iconic “man” to our new home.
Ironically, I employed an air duct cleaning service for my new building whose proud owner Lio Galvis, a big fan of Dan’s Papers, had been profiled there last year. He asked me if he could help bring Dan’s statue to our new offices. I jumped at the offer and immediately said, “yes!”
On Tuesday, we met at the side of the road where the statue was bolted to a steel base. Luis freed him and loaded him onto his van.
I had gone ahead to speak to Alison, the manager of Behind the Fence Gallery down the road, which had originally built the statue for the 60th anniversary of Dan’s Papers. To my delight, she looked at it and said her team can restore it and have it looking like new!
I was overjoyed and amazed at the statues filling the Gallery’s many rooms. From a gorilla, to Elvis to a frog (which I bought) to a full-scale Marilyn Monroe with her white skirt in the air, each room was a wonderland filled with remarkable statues.
Alison promised to put the restoration of Dan’s statue on the fast track! Stay tuned for the unveiling!
Then, just a few hundred yards away, I was a guest speaker at the Hamptons Fine Art Fair to talk about the special needs community and the power of art in their lives.
The discussion was led by Michael Kitakis, director of the Spirit of Huntington Art Center, who began by telling us how Jackson Pollock was taken by his parents to a therapist for help. He would not speak, but started painting his feelings, flowing out through thousands of drawings. A career was born!
The point being that art can have a powerful impact on everyone’s life.
The panelists — including Michael, Charles Evdos, Eric Preis, and Nicole Wolf — spoke about their special needs students and the success of the people who they serve.
After the session, I explored the 100 artists and dealers who had taken booths.
I was struck by an art dealer from Kiev who had bravely navigated her way through the chaos in her country and made her way to show her artists’ work.
That evening, Josh, myself and his wife Tracey were invited by Heath and Jane Freeman to an evening at SiSi’s upstairs private deck at Easthampton Point Resort & Marina, where we enjoyed the best views of the Clamshell Foundation and EHP Resort & Marina’s Bastille Day fireworks show over the three-mile harbor.
I particularly loved eating the pearl oysters being shucked by the “Bay Man” Mike Martinsen, the purveyor of Montauk Pearl Oysters.
Meeting the archbishop
On Sunday, I had the fun of attending the Hamptons Greek Festival held annually at Southampton’s Greek Orthodox Church. To my delight, Father Alexander Karloutsos and Father Constantine Lazarakis introduced me to Archbishop Elpidophoros, who is the archbishop of America Greek Orthodox Church.
What a way to end the weekend!
Dining at Salt & Loft
The sun was shining brightly as we took our seats under the umbrella of the outdoor tables at Salt & Loft at 145 Main St. in Westhampton Beach.
They are now open Thursdays to Mondays for lunch and dinner and offer great music in the evenings, when people mingle until 2 a.m.!
Barry Bernstein, the owner, is always present watching over his “kingdom.”
I love their salads, guacamole appetizers and tuna tartare!
As the sun came down, I enjoyed the scallops, which were beautifully presented and both tender and tasty! Of course we couldn’t resist their luscious desserts, which was shared amongst the four of us!
Try it and you will love it, too!
Call 631-288-2000 to make a reservation!
Last week, we misspelled the last name of Ann and Dennis FitzSimons. We regret this error.