The Most Powerful People in the Hamptons
BY JILL SIERACKI
1. ALEC BALDWIN
The past year brought major events for the longtime Amagansett resident. In November he donated $1 million to his alma mater, New York University, to support the Alec Baldwin Drama Scholarship Fund for Tisch students—his second million-dollar donation. (Baldwin also visited the college’s Kimmel Center following Hurricane Sandy to spend time with students stranded by the storm.) Apparently, marrying Yoga Vida instructor Hilaria Thomas June 30 at Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral put the two-time Emmy award–winning 30 Rock actor back in the giving spirit—just days later Baldwin gave the New York Philharmonic $1 million and in February of this year, he announced the newlyweds are expecting a baby girl this summer. As if Baldwin’s summer schedule weren’t already soon-to-be packed—his next film, the Woody Allen–directed Blue Jasmine arrives in theaters July 26—he also dedicates his time out East to the Hamptons International Film Festival, and once again the advisory board member will be hosting his Annual SummerDocs series on June 15, July 5, August 12, and August 30.
2. LESLIE ALEXANDER
This Hamptons billionaire made his fortune on Wall Street, but he also owns a vineyard in Cutchogue as well as the NBA’s Houston Rockets (Forbes named him the best team owner in the NBA in 2008). He typically flies under the radar, but this year Alexander is stepping into the local limelight in a very elegant manner with the $5 million conversion of a former potato barn into Société du Vin, a state-of-the-art storage facility and meeting space for oenophiles. Designed by Hollywood set designer Elvis Restaino, the building on Butter Lane in Bridgehampton comes equipped with top-tier security and environmental controls and will hold Alexander’s 6,000-bottle collection. Locals can get in on the uncorking action for $50,000 plus annual dues determined by storage size.
3. NATE BERKUS
The home décor guru has been a fixture in the Hamptons social scene for some time, doing the interior design work for such notable locals as Katie Lee and popping up at charity benefits like Roar for a Cure and the Best Buddies Hamptons Gala. He recently launched a travel-inspired fabric line with Calico and a home collection for Target; released a New York Times best-selling coffee-table book, The Things That Matter (Spiegel & Grau); and oh yes, got engaged to his partner, former Rachel Zoe assistant Jeremiah Brent, while on a business trip in Peru.
4. JEFF T. BLAU
As the chief executive officer and a general partner at development firm Related Companies, Blau spends his 9 to 5 overseeing more than $20 billion in real estate and other prestigious New York businesses such as Equinox Fitness Clubs and Union Square Events. Just this spring, Related and Oxford Properties Group finalized the financing for a nearly $1.4 billion two-tower project on Manhattan’s west side; Coach has already purchased space in the property. However, in summer, you can find the New York City native unwinding with his family at their waterfront Bridgehampton abode.
5. MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG
For Mayor Mike, it’s been a year of you win some (like the eco-chic electric taxi he announced in April alongside the Taxi & Limousine Commission and the “Food Waste Challenge,” a city program to reduce the amount of organic waste sent to landfills) and you lose some (such as the soda ban that was struck down in March). And the three-term New York City leader boasts an approval rating of 50 percent—13 percent of whom think he’s doing an “excellent” job. However, when his term ends later this year, Bloomberg—the seventh wealthiest person in the US—won’t be going quietly into that good night. He still has his eponymous financial data firm, and he vows to keep lobbying on hot-button issues like gun control. Now a Hamptons homeowner—he bought Ballyshear, a $20 million estate in Southampton in 2011—we expect to see Bloomberg at events such as The Hampton Classic, where his daughter Georgina is a regular participant.
6. SUSAN BREITENBACH
Nobody knows the ins-and-outs of multimillion-dollar Hamptons real estate better than Breitenbach, who appeared second on The Wall Street Journal’s annual list of the nation’s top 250 real estate sales professionals (locally, she’s ranked first). Throughout her career of more than two decades, The Corcoran Group’s leading broker has handled more than $2 billion in residential sales and rentals, and more than $250 million last year alone. She’s also an active member of the community, where she volunteers with the Parrish Art Museum and local chapter of the American Heart Association.
7. JIMMY BUFFETT
The North Haven surfer, a mega-mogul in flip-flops whose estimated $400 million empire includes best-selling novels; Landshark Lager; Margaritaville-branded restaurants; a SiriusXM Satellite Radio channel; and more Parrothead merchandise than you can shake a hula skirt at, recently announced two new additions to his collection of resorts and casinos—one in Atlantic City that opened in May and another in partnership with the Wyndham brand in St. Thomas set to open in late 2014. Not that he’s going to have much time to celebrate—his current Songs From St. Somewhere summer tour kicked off in April, with 14 stops across the country, including Jones Beach on August 20 and 22. The mayor of Margaritaville is also a major philanthropist, having founded Singing for Change in 1995; since its inception, the organization has awarded almost $7 million in grants to programs for health, education, the environment, and protection of children.
8. TOM COLICCHIO
When the Top Chef judge announced he was opening his first Hamptons restaurant last year, epicureans were whipped into a frenzy. Now the five-time James Beard Foundation Award winner is adding hotelier to his vast résumé with the opening of Topping Rose House, his luxury hotel and restaurant in Bridgehampton. A North Fork resident, Colicchio’s portfolio includes multiple locations of Craft, Colicchio & Sons, and Riverpark, and three cookbooks. While keeping voracious gourmands well sated, he’s also committed to ending hunger by testifying before Congress, working with his wife, Lori Silverbush, on the documentary A Place at the Table, and supporting organizations such as Share Our Strength, City Harvest, and the United Way of New York City.
9. ROBERT DASH
Artist, gardener, and writer Robert Dash may have celebrated his 80th birthday at 2011’s annual Much Ado About Madoo benefit (this year, the event will be on June 14 and 15), but in 2013 it’s the renowned painter’s Madoo Conservancy that’s marking a milestone—the conservancy’s two-acre organic public garden in Sagaponack celebrates its 20-year anniversary in December.
10. TORY BURCH
Burch made local headlines when she sold her Meadow Lane estate, but after her 28.3 percent stake in her namesake company was valued at more than $900 million (which could potentially top $2 billion if the talks with Coach continue to move forward), we can only assume that means she’s trading up for a larger Hamptons abode. Besides her eponymous foundation, which provides micro-loans and mentoring for women entrepreneurs, Burch is also an ardent supporter of God’s Love We Deliver and Best Buddies. Recently, the designer behind the Hamptons’ popular Technicolor tunics, bold accessories, and ever-present Reva ballet flats, announced she’s launching her debut fragrance in collaboration with Estée Lauder this fall.
11. AERIN LAUDER
News is already spreading that Lauder has opened her first brick-and-mortar boutique in Southampton to bring her collection of AERIN beauty products and accessories to the East End. Style and Image Director for her grandmother Estée Lauder’s namesake multibillion dollar cosmetics company, Aerin also announced collaborations with furniture designer E.J. Victor, lighting company Visual Comfort & Co., and Lee Jofa for a fabric and rug collection. When not at her Wainscott residence, she can be found browsing the racks at Mecox Gardens and R.E. Steele Antiques.
12. JIMMY FALLON
In April this Sagaponack resident was named the successor to The Tonight Show host Jay Leno. When the Saturday Night Live alum takes over the nearly 60-year-old talk show in 2014, it will be the first time The Tonight Show is broadcast from 30 Rockefeller Plaza since Johnny Carson moved the program to Burbank, California in 1972. The reigning People’s Choice award winner for favorite late night TV host and 2012 Best Comedy Album Grammy winner is enjoying a place on all the right lists—Time’s 100 most influential, The Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful in Media, and now the Hamptons 35.
13. JOE FARRELL
It is a good time to be Joe Farrell. After building more than 250 homes in the Hamptons he also built himself a 30,000-square-foot nine-bedroom home in Bridgehampton he’ll give to you—for $43.5 million, that is. A former member of the New York Mercantile Exchange, Farrell left to launch his namesake firm in 1995; today he’s a 10-time award winner of the Long Island Builders Institute Diamond Award for Best Custom House, Ultra Luxury.
14. INA GARTEN
Ina Garten has come a long way from the proprietor of the specialty food store she opened in East Hampton in 1978; 35 years later, the Barefoot Contessa sits atop an estimated $40 million culinary empire that includes eight cookbooks; a Food Network television series; and a line of Barefoot Contessa branded specialty foods. An East Hampton resident, Garten recently participated in the White House Easter Egg Roll; locally, she supports God’s Love We Deliver, the Hayground School, and Group for the East End.
15. RALPH LAUREN
No one has had a greater influence on American fashion design than Ralph Lauren, who celebrates his interior line’s 30th anniversary this year as well as a new Polo boutique in East Hampton. Over his career, Lauren is the only designer to ever win the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s four highest honors—Lifetime Achievement, Womenswear Designer of the Year, Menswear Designer of the Year, and Retailer of the Year; he also has the CFDA’s first-ever Popular Vote Award and Humanitarian Leadership Award on his mantle. Today, Lauren sits atop a fashion empire with around $5 billion in annual revenue (and he is ranked 53rd on Forbes’ US billionaires list), yet he lives quietly with his family in Montauk.
16. RICHARD LEFRAK
The chairman, president, and CEO of The LeFrak Organization, one of the world’s largest real estate firms, has been signing on a lot of dotted lines recently, including further developing the Jersey City waterfront where his company built the massive residential and corporate complex, Newport. His company’s most hotly anticipated project is the $100 million renovation of the Gansevoort hotel in Miami, rebranded as 1Hotel & Residences South Beach. Southamptonite LeFrak, who ranks in the top 100 billionaires in the US, also oversees an eponymous charitable foundation alongside his wife, Karen, that supports education programs, charitable organizations, and hospitals.
17. DAVID LEVINSON
The chairman and CEO of L&L Holding Company, which owns more than 6 million square feet of commercial office space, recently added the striking 114 Fifth Avenue to the company’s NYC portfolio. Southamptonite Levinson is also blazing new ground by helping implement garden spaces in the company’s skyscraper at 425 Park Avenue, calling it “a reflection of the evolving nature of work.” Besides buildings, Levinson also owns a stake in the New York Yankees. In the Hamptons, he and his wife, Simone, can often be found attending benefits for cultural institutions such as the Watermill Center or the Southampton Center (for which Simone is a member of the founders committee).
18. BILLY MACKLOWE
Since splitting from his father Harry Macklowe’s company, Macklowe Properties, in June 2010, William “Billy” Macklowe has been making an equally significant mark on New York real estate. In the past year, the founder and CEO of William Macklowe Company has taken ownership of commercial towers at 386 Park Avenue and 110 University Place, as well as a $27.5 million Fifth Avenue duplex. However, at the modern Sagaponack manse he shares with his wife, Julie, founder of Vbeauté, and their daughter, Zoe, Macklowe is more inclined to be talking about Guild Hall’s charity gala, the surfing in Montauk, or the couple’s impressive art collection than blueprints and square footage.
19. SEAN MACPHERSON
The man behind popular Hamptons hot spot The Crow’s Nest Inn & Restaurant, has spent the past year further building his hotelier empire, adding a new property on West Eighth Street to his Manhattan portfolio, which already includes the Maritime, Bowery, and Jane hotels as well as the Waverly Inn restaurant. However between May and August, MacPherson is a man about Montauk, surfing, and spending time with his wife, Rachelle Hruska, cofounder of the social site Guest of a Guest (whom he married at St. Andrew Church in Sag Harbor), and their son, Maxwell.
This year, the Material Mom reportedly became the first billionaire female pop star thanks in part to her recent $300 million MDNA Tour, however Forbes lists the star somewhere in the $320 million range (which is still very impressive). The star—who hangs her top hat at Wild Ocean Farm, a horse farm in Bridgehampton—also earns a sizable income from her Truth or Dare fragrance, a recent partnership with Smirnoff, and the Material Girl clothing collection she designed with her daughter, Lourdes.
21. SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY
These days, it seems like the “Nowhere Man” is everywhere—currently on his Out There! Tour, McCartney will play Brooklyn’s Barclays Center June 8 and 10; he’s also sharing the bill with his son, James, at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee in mid-June, while a Steinway & Sons piano he restored just went on display at the Motown Museum in Detroit. The newlywed (he married former MTA board member Nancy Shevell last October) is also an active philanthropist, participating in last year’s Apollo in the Hamptons fundraiser and contributing to campaigns for PETA and to end fracking. At home in Amagansett, the Beatles front man, Oscar winner, and 2012’s eighth-highest-paid musician (who turns 71 on June 18), enjoys the occasional Cinema Society screening, dining at Babette’s, and even selling lemonade with his 9-year-old daughter, Bea.
22. ANNE HEARST MCINERNEY
One of the Hamptons most influential philanthropists, Anne Hearst McInerney has hosted alongside her husband, The New York Times best-selling author Jay McInerney, stunning charity benefits for Princess Yasmin Aga Khan’s Alzheimer’s Association, Anthony K. Shriver’s Best Buddies, and the Princess Grace Foundation. Hearst McInerney is also on the board of New York’s clean water advocate organization, Riverkeeper. She’s also passing on her dedication to charity work to her next generation: Daughter Amanda Hearst has cohosted charity galas alongside her mother for organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States—fitting since the family’s Water Mill estate is also home to a plethora of wildlife such as miniature goats, a donkey, a miniature horse, an emu, ducks, chickens, geese, cats, and dogs.
23. LORNE MICHAELS
The 13-time Primetime Emmy award winner has been at the helm of Saturday Night Live since 1975. In 2009 he added executive producer of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to his already impressive résumé, and Michaels will be making the leap to The Tonight Show with Fallon in 2014. (The Amagansett resident also worked with SNL alums Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen, and Tina Fey on their subsequent prime-time series Up All Night, Portlandia, and 30 Rock; he also has a television project with rising comedy star and SNL writer John Mulaney in the works.) In the coming year, Michaels is taking SNL and his company Broadway Video into the online universe in a partnership deal with Yahoo that is set to launch in September. That’s a lot to celebrate over dinner at Nick & Toni’s, Mr. Michaels.
24. GWYNETH PALTROW
The gal behind the publication Goop is making waves both on screen and off. Her blockbuster series Iron Man, in which she plays love interest Pepper Potts to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, opened its third installment in early May. This past year, the “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” also released her third book, It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great (Grand Central Life & Style), and she brings in sizable sums each year as the face of Estée Lauder’s fragrance, Pleasures. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing the Best Actress Oscar winner and Amagansett resident at more places than just Jessica Seinfeld’s Baby Buggy benefit and Tracy Anderson Method’s Water Mill fitness studio as her lovely mum, Blythe Danner, takes the stage at Guild Hall in Hands Across the Sea, Family Album, and Red Peppers starting on July 17.
25. RON PERELMAN
Everyone knows this titan of industry for his role as chairman and chief executive officer of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc., which has interests in Revlon (where Perelman is chairman of the board) and other big name conglomerates; his 29th-place ranking on Forbes’ US billionaires list; and his extremely generous philanthropic donations, such as the $25 million he gave to the University of Pennsylvania in February. However, Perelman is expanding another title on his dossier—restaurateur—as he’s on the team that’s helping reopen Le Bilboquet on Manhattan’s Upper East Side this summer. (Perelman is also a partner in Graydon Carter’s Monkey Bar and The Blue Parrot in East Hampton.) That’s not to say when Perelman comes to the Hamptons, he hides out at his East Hampton home, The Creeks—during the summer season, the avid drummer hosts charity benefits such as last summer’s Apollo in the Hamptons fundraiser; he also previously hosted a political fundraiser for Mitt Romney at his estate.
26. SUSAN ROCKEFELLER
A filmmaker and environmentalist, Rockefeller has given her support to causes such as Oceana for which she’s currently collaborating with Honora on a selection of pearl jewelry to benefit the organization. Rockefeller recently released two documentaries—Striking a Chord, which explored the power of music to help soldiers overcome post traumatic stress and Mission of Mermaids, a “love letter to the ocean,” which played at the Hamptons International Film Festival. It was a fitting venue for the longtime Hamptonite who now lives in Bridgehampton, where she’s an avid paddleboarder (Paddle Diva’s Gina Bradley appeared in Mission of Mermaids). Also as part of her environmental work, Rockefeller is a regular attendee at Christie’s Bid to Save the Earth Green Auction and in the Hamptons, the South Fork Natural History Museum’s annual SoFo Rocks benefit, where this year she will be honored on June 15.
27. ELI MANNING
The Giants quarterback has not one, but two, Super Bowl rings (and is one of only five quarterbacks in history to win the big game’s Most Valuable Player award twice—take that Peyton). Off the gridiron, Manning is continuing in his family’s tradition of being philanthropically minded, giving both time and money to organizations that helped rebuild the gulf after Hurricane Katrina and the gulf oil spill; he’s also the host of the annual Yorktown, New York, Guiding Eyes for the Blind Golf Classic and is helping raise millions for the Eli Manning Children’s Clinic at the University of Mississippi’s Medical Center’s Batson Children’s Hospital. During the offseason prior to his team’s most recent Super Bowl win, Manning worked out with the Westhampton Beach High School football squad—let’s hope another summer out East will lead to another ring. Manning and his wife, Abby, also announced some big news for the home team—the couple is expecting their second child this June.
28. JOEY WOLFFER
The last few summers have been quite eventful for Wolffer, who married her beau, Max Rohn, at her family’s namesake vineyard in June 2011. However, 2013 is looking to be even more monumental as she and her brother, Marc, became co-owners of Wölffer Estate Vineyard just in time to celebrate the Sagaponack property’s 25th anniversary. The vineyard will also play host to the annual Group for the East End benefit on June 15. On top of running the family business, Wolffer will continue to man her four-year-old traveling boutique, the Styleliner, which is conveniently parked just outside the winery’s tasting room most weekends.
29. JERRY SEINFELD
Fifteen years after the three-time Golden Globe sitcom Seinfeld ended its eight-year run, you’re still the best Jerry, the best…. thanks to the show’s endless syndication deal, comedy tours, Super Bowl commercials, best-selling books, and creative new projects such as the web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which earned him an Outstanding Comedic Performance Webby Award. With an estimated net worth of $800 million, the comedian is entitled to the perks, such as his multimillion-dollar rare-car collection and the $32 million East Hampton estate he shares with wife Jessica—who launched Baby Buggy, which has donated more than 6 million gently used baby items to families in need—and their three kids.
30. ROSANNA SCOTTO
A member of the Fox 5 news team since 1986, Rosanna Scotto’s Good Day New York had a monumental 2012—the local morning news program beat national syndicate Today in the ratings in both February and March. A three-time Emmy Award winner, Scotto is also a part of a burgeoning culinary empire—her family’s restaurant Fresco by Scotto, which in the past few years has grown to include three Manhattan locations as well as food stands at Yankee Stadium and Barclays Center. This summer, look for the Southampton resident to emcee a few Hamptons events, including the Phoenix House Summer Party on June 22, Hamptons Heart Ball on June 29, and the annual Strides for Life benefit for the Lung Cancer Research Foundation in August.
31. STEVEN SPIELBERG
The East Hampton–based director already had three Oscars on his mantle before his 2012 release of Lincoln garnered him his sixth AFI Award (as well as a list of nominations longer than the Gettysburg Address). Recently, Spielberg, who is ranked 139th on Forbes’ US billionaires list, also served as the executive producer on the pilot for the new CBS series Under the Dome, which premieres in June. He’ll also be executive producer on nearly a dozen upcoming projects, including sequels to Jurassic Park and Transformers. Just back from serving as a member of the Cannes Film Festival jury panel, Spielberg will hopefully be filling his Hamptons summer dining at Nick & Toni’s and continuing to support the Peconic Land Trust.
32. HOWARD STERN
The King of All Media has been on the radio since 1973, and his move to Sirius in 2006 made him the highest-paid figure in radio in history. Two best-selling books and a season’s worth of judging on America’s Got Talent later, Stern shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, Stern just signed on for a second season of AGT, and he’s even expanded his empire with the introduction of Howard TV, his uncensored channel on YouTube. However, being one of the most powerful men in media doesn’t make the Southampton resident a homebody—he and his wife of five years, Beth, are often out and about in the Hamptons, attending Cinema Society film screenings and fundraisers for Beth’s passion project, the North Shore Animal League.
33. JONATHAN TISCH
The cochairman of Loews Corporation and chairman of the company’s hotel unit is adding several new hotel properties to the company’s already sizable portfolio. While their landmark hotel in New York, the Loews Regency is currently undergoing an 11-month renovation (the outgoing furniture was donated to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in the wake of Hurricane Sandy), the company has also added properties in Washington, DC, and Hollywood and are building new hotels in Chicago and Orlando, including an 1,800-room location—the largest hotel outside of China undergoing construction anywhere in the world. Cochairman of the NY/NJ Super Bowl host committee and co-owner and treasurer of the New York Giants, Tisch (a Bridgehampton resident along with his wife, Lizzie) is also a philanthropist—locally, he supports such organizations as the Wildlife Rescue Center of the Hamptons and the Hamptons International Film Festival.
34. VERA WANG
What started in 1990 as a bespoke bridal boutique has blossomed into a full-fledged fashion empire as Wang now designs for her luxurious namesake wedding collection as well as creates couture eveningwear, lingerie, and fragrances, in addition to capsule collections for David’s Bridal and Kohl’s. Wang also oversees an eponymous home-goods collection; combined, the Vera Wang name is valued at over $700 million. This fall, the Southampton resident is being honored with the CFDA’s Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award. Locally, Wang supports a number of important charitable causes including Oceana and Guild Hall.
35. JEFF ZUCKER
When the former CEO of NBC took over as president of CNN Worldwide this past Spring—the media world couldn’t wait to see who was in (Anthony Bourdain), who was out (Soledad O’Brien, James Carville), and how the Amagansett resident was going to turn around the flagging cable news network. Zucker recently explained that he aims to add a morning show to the network, include documentaries, and cut down on celebrity journalism. Out East, when Zucker isn’t teeing off at the East Hampton Golf Club, he and his wife, Caryn, can be found at events such as Super Saturday and Hamptons film screenings.
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