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How to Navigate the Benefits Scene

A Hamptons cheat sheet


Donna Karan  

Super Saturday 7
A designer garage sale benefiting the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
Where and When: Nova’s Ark Project, Water Mill, July 31, 1–6 p.m.
Who: Fashionistas and designers: Past attendees include Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Kate Spade.
How Much: General admission, $375; early access, $500; tables, $2,500–$15,000. Over $1.3 million raised last year. Call 212-268-1002.
Survival Tip: Get there as early as possible to snag deals. Wear a bathing suit—no changing rooms.
Reason to Go: Better than any sample sale. Staggering discounts for high-quality clothes and accessories.
Reason to Stay Home: Fiercely competitive shoppers will snatch the last Marc Jacobs handbag from your grip.

Sarah Jessica Parker  

The 11th Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit
An art auction and dinner, sponsored by LVMH
Where and When: The Watermill Center, 39 Watermill Town Road, July 31, evening
Who: The artsy crowd. Philip Glass and Donna Karan are the honorary chairmen. Last year, Sarah Jessica Parker attended.
How Much: $750–$1,500; tables, $10,000– $15,000. About $700,000 raised last year. Call 212-253-7484.
Survival Tip: Wear comfortable shoes to walk around the wacky art installations created in the woods by artists-in-residence.
Reason to Go: Semi-clothed models posing in trees, scary puppets perched on branches, Blair Witch Project–inspired sculptures—and great, colorful outfits on the guests.
Reason to Stay Home: Sticker shock at dinner-table price. And it’s unclear just how the money is used.

The 46th Annual Summer Party to Benefit Southampton Hospital
Dinner, cocktails, and dancing
Where and When: Wickapogue Road, next to the hospital, August 7, evening
Who: Park Avenue set: David and Julia Koch, Somers and Jonathan Farkas, Tory and Chris Burch.
How Much: $450–$50,000 for dinner; $150 for dance party. About $1 million raised last year. Call 212-843-1720.
Survival Tip: Make an appearance for cocktails, but skip the buffet—there’s a feeding frenzy.
Reason to Go: The emergency room just started charging extra for VIP status—it helps to get attention if you’re a supporter.
Reason to Stay Home: Cops wait to catch drunk drivers on Wickapogue Road immediately after the party.

Boys & Girls Harbor Annual Fireworks Benefit
Fund-raiser for the Harbor’s Environmental Resource Center and Camp
Where and When: The Duke House, Springy Banks Road, East Hampton, July 17, evening
Who: Alec Baldwin, Chevy Chase, and Tom Wolfe have shown up in previous years.
How Much: $50 for kids, $25,000 for a poolside reserved table for twelve. Over $700,000 raised last year. Call 631-537-8647
Survival Tip: Bring a sweater (it gets cold by the water), and keep track of the kids—it usually draws 1,000 people.
Reason to Go: Grucci is the Gucci of fireworks.
Reason to Stay Home: No more George Plimpton, the longtime master of ceremonies.

The Parrish Art Museum Mid-Summer Gala
Drinks, dinner, and art
Where and When: Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, July 17, evening
Who: The ladies who lunch: Sloan Barnett, Pamela Gross, Debbie Bancroft, Holly Peterson, Beth Rudin DeWoody.
How Much: Dinner tickets, $500 and up; tables, $10,000 and up; after-party, $175. $700,000 raised last year. Call 631-283-2118.
Survival Tip: Take the car and driver. Parking is a fiasco.
Reason to Go: Being seen helps with the admissions committee at the Bathing Corporation.
Reason to Stay Home: Nauseating display of Steven Stolman pink and Lily Pulitzer dresses.

Lizzie Grubman  

Mental Illness Prevention Center Summer Benefit
Afternoon lawn party
Where and When: Denise Rich’s estate, Southampton, August 7, early evening
Who: Marty Richards and Lizzie Grubman.
How Much: $150–$10,000. Call 212-404-3693.
Survival Tip: Wear something from Intermix or Scoop to fit in with the baby socialites.
Reason to Go: 19-year-old Russian “It” girl Anna Anisimova makes her debut as hostess.
Reason to Stay Home: Skip the surely crowded after-party at the Star Room.

Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge
Opening match to benefit Southfork Breast Health Coalition
Where and When: 849 Hayground Road, Bridgehampton, July 17, 4–6 p.m.
Who: Kelly Klein, Kelly Ripa, and Star Jones come every year.
How Much: $20 bleachers; invite-only VIP tent. About $30,000 raised last year.
Survival Tip: Leave early or get picked up by the gate—traffic out of the parking lot after the game is insufferable.
Reason to Go: Sultry Argentine polo player Nacho Figueras.
Reason to Stay Home: The VIP tent gets crowded with bottle-blonde, husband-hunting publicists in skimpy sundresses.


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