Victoria’s Diary: A wow of a week!

Dan Rattiner, Jay Schneiderman, me, Dottie Herman and Josh Schneps at the celebration.

I’m so proud of my events team led by Demetra Mattone, Toni Cimino and Amanda Tarley, who have worked tirelessly to create our new virtual events that are replacing our powerful in-person events during the pandemic. 

For almost 20 years, networking events have been part of the Schneps Media culture. I got the idea to start our first event when I was at a business awards dinner with an enormous dais of honorees. As I looked from one end to the other, there was not one woman who was being recognized. So I decided to do it and created the Power Women of Queens event.

My friend Jackie Arrington at the time was head of Citibank’s community relations and I wanted to publish a networking guide that would allow people to connect with each other after meeting during the event. She simply asked me how much I need to publish it. I told her and she said, “Send me a bill!” It was easy in those days.

Fast forward to today and we have created that event in each borough and Long Island. Then we started the Kings of Queens event —  my first king was Mike Bloomberg, the extraordinary mayor of New York City at the time. That event also would expand to each of the boroughs.

During these difficult times, we’ve had to change the way we host events, doing them virtually instead of in-person due to the pandemic. My events team has worked for months to find a platform to make it as powerful an experience for our honorees and sponsors as if it were live. They did it!

Our first virtual event was the Kings of the Bronx, followed by the Gay City News Impact Awards. We also hosted the Salute to Labor Awards and the Healthcare Heroes. Videos of the events will be available on our Schneps Media YouTube page. 

Demetra, Joseph and Toni — the leaders of our events team — at the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City.

The Hamptons has been a special place to me since I was a bride in the 1960s. My late husband Murray had a little practice first in Riverhead, then in Aquebogue and then I bought a co-op in Westhampton. The area is the best “staycation” destination you can find.

When the iconic Dan’s Papers became available for sale, I was delighted to add it to our world of community journalism. Each of our media outlets has a unique audience and so does Dan’s.

To celebrate, we hosted a socially distant opening party at Naia, a wonderful Greek restaurant at the Capri Hotel in Southampton. Todd Shapiro, a PR extraordinaire, helped us organize it, being sensitive that we had to limit the number of people who could attend due to the pandemic.

Me with Rabbi Marc Schneier, John Catsimatidis, Father Alex Karloutsos, Dr. Peter Michalos, Margo Catsimatidis and Father Constantine Lazarakis at our acquisition reception.

When I woke up that morning, the skies were grey and there were sheets of rain knocking at my glass windows and door. I became a student of the weather forecasters and, being an optimist by nature, I liked the forecast even though it predicated heavy rain off and on throughout the day, 

Only believing the “off” reports, with great faith I decided not to cancel the outdoor party and hoped for the best. The rain stopped and we were able to greet our guests and meet new neighbors in our new neighborhood, the Hamptons.

Our distribution will be from Westhamptin to Montauk on the south fork and Riverhead to Orient Point on the North Fork.

Dan Rattiner, who created Dan’s Papers 60 years ago, joined us and said very proudly with a smile on his face, “It never rains when I have events!” And so it was! 

Patti Mazzarella, Juliana Terian, Pamela Muller at the meet-and-greet event.

What I love most about being in community journalism is meeting interesting people and the creativeness of having new ideas published every single week. I think I fell in love with 80-year-old Dan because he is made of the same cloth as I. He started his weekly newspapers in his bedroom and I started mine in my living room. We are both loving the ride and he will continue to write his iconic satirical column every week.

We will also bring back some of the events and columns that made the paper famous.

Since I knew Rabbi Marc Schneier, the impressive leader of Hampton Synagogue in Westhampton, I got to meet Father Alex Karloutsos, leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in Southampton. I thought it would be fun to bring them together and have a column similar to the one that appeared in Newsday for decades that they called the “God Squad.”

We had lunch with John Catsimatidis and his wife, along with Dr. Michael Nicolas and Father Constantine, and came up with a name for the column: “The Hamptons Soul.” We expect to launch it in October. 

Jay Schneiderman, the town supervisor of Southampton, was kind enough to declare Sept. 10 “Dan Rattiner Day” and then was there himself. Adding to the fun of the night, Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman, presented Dan with a new hat for his new day under our new ownership!

Later in the week on Saturday, the sun was shining brightly on us as my dear friend Juliana Terian, CEO of Rallye Motors, held a welcome party at her friend Pamela Muller’s home in Bridgehampton. We remained socially distant and wore masks while enjoying each other on Pam’s patio overlooking a large lush lawn and swimming pool. We were all too busy sharing ideas to jump into the pool, but it was tempting!

Dan Rattiner autographed the beautiful 60th anniversary book that had been created by the Dan’s Papers team. As a bonus, we will be giving them away with our subscription drive coming in October.

We want to celebrate life in these crazy times and what better place to celebrate than being surrounded by the beautiful ocean on the South Fork and stately wineries lining the North Fork.

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