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The Hard Life of a Party Reporter: Choppering Upstate for Lunch

We’re not going to say we weren’t tempted when the Champagne company offered to fly us by helicopter for a lobster lunch in the courtyard of an old Vanderbilt mansion upstate, but we also remembered that we are reporters. We only gave in to temptation when we were promised there would also be plenty of socialites in attendance for us to make fun ofreport on. This proved not to be true: We counted just Valesca Guerrand-Hermès, Genevieve Jones, and floral designer/man-about-town Antony Todd, though Olivia Palermo was perpetually supposed to be on the next helicopter over. Still, we got the lunch.

The event was a luncheon in honor of a picnic basket. LVMH has crafted a sleek yellow portable box outfitted with four Champagne glasses and a bottle of the très expensive bubbly Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. So naturally there’d need to be a picnic. We climbed in the helicopter at the West Side heliport a few hours ago and put on the required headsets, even though they ruined everyone’s hair. “Nice top,” we said via radio to’s Sarah Cristobal. “Roger that,” she replied. On the ten-minute flight, we learned the following: It costs $1,400 an hour, minimum, to charter a helicopter. They fly at about 140 mph. The Palisades are really gorgeous. And Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are definitely no longer besties: Our pilot had flown Jeter to Greenwood Lake, New Jersey, last week and then brought A-Rod to the Hamptons — that’s the opposite direction — the very next day.

Golf carts were waiting when we touched down on the driving range of the Sleepy Hollow golf course, and we were each given a scroll that told us to go on a treasure hunt for hidden picnic baskets. We thought we’d be nice and let Guerrand-Hermès’s adorable daughter Clea discover all the baskets, which she then carted with great difficulty back to her golf cart. (Only later would we realize we’d let a 6-year-old abscond with all the free Champagne.)

Lunch was pleasant enough — lobster, deviled eggs, and lemon tart in a slightly decrepit courtyard overlooking vast fields; some played croquet on a lawn nearby. We had a chance to chat with the boldfacers. Todd told us that he’d gone to school in an old estate just like this one while growing up in Australia, and that he was often so late to school, his father would drive him to school in a helicopter. Jones hadn’t ever flown in a helicopter, but she’d actually just flown in from Thailand, having bumped her flight up a day so she could make the outing. She’d gone over there to work on her jewelry line, which sounds like it will come out never, but couldn’t stand it any longer. “I wanted to come home anyway,” she said. “It was so hot and rainy. It was beyond.” Upper Westchester this afternoon, however, was lovely. And the picnic baskets weren’t bad, either. —Jada Yuan

The Hard Life of a Party Reporter: Choppering Upstate for Lunch