Victoria’s Secrets: Tales of two Forks

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Jon Tibett and Dominic Anignano, left, at the unveiling of the sculpture.

This past week I had the fun of attending events on both the North Fork and the South Fork.

The week began with a visit the unique Peconic Landing, a Continuing Care Retirement Community for those older than 62 in Greenport on Long Island’s North Fork.

Since my son Joshua Schneps and I bought Dan’s Papers, I’ve been exploring neighborhoods on the East End, so when my friend Jon Tibett invited me to the unveiling of the statue he donated to the spacious Peconic Landing, I was delighted to attend.

As I passed through the brick stanchions and drove through the expansive grounds, I was struck by a feeling of tranquility. I didn’t realize it was designed for those older than 62 to offer them lifetime care.

There are private homes and small apartment buildings scattered over its 144 acres. I was going to the event tent that was used a few days before for a wedding. I passed tennis courts and a beach; the property borders the Peconic River, with large ponds and interesting sculptures strategically placed.

The occasion for my visit was the unveiling of Embrace, to be added to Peconic Landing’s award-winning outdoor sculpture garden. The marble piece came from Southold builder and philanthropist Jon Tibett’s granite yards in Westbury, Long Island.

The carefully crafted marble tended to give the feeling of connection, community and kinship as conceived by a team at Peconic Landing and Jon’s staff. It was led by Peconic Landing’s Cultural Arts Curator Dominic Antignano, who helped create the concept for the marble, turning it over to Jon’s artists to create a striking, powerful design.

The visit, thanks to Tibett’s invitation, opened a unique place for me to know about.

The U.S. Tusk Lion Trail

As the media sponsor of the U.S. Tusk Lion Trail, a project created by the African Community and Conservation Foundation (ACCF), I was brought back to the Nova’s Ark Project in Water Mill, where we just held our Rose Soirée and will be having the spectacular Dan’s Taste of Two Forks on August 20 and GrillHampton on August 21.

The serene farmland has become the site of spectacular sculptures dotting the horizon. On Friday it had a display of a dozen life-size lion sculptures, painted to celebrate the Hamptons Pride Trail, that will make their way to locations on the South Fork.

After being on exhibit they will be auctioned off to raise money to preserve lions in Africa and also encourage employment of poachers to give them jobs and end poaching. I have been to South Africa on a safari and saw for myself the horror of what is done to lions, elephants and other animals by poachers.

So I was delighted to be a small part of the solution to an immense problem facing Africa. As Brady Forseth, CEO of the ACCF, said on that sunny day at Nova’s Ark, “There are many trails of hope coming from the Hamptons.”

It was fun to meet some of the artists who painted the several-hundred-pound, resin life-size lions and to meet the guests getting a preview. I talked with the talented and enormously successful Donna Karan who painted “her” lion and Deborra-Lee Furness, who made room in her home to paint while her husband Hugh Jackman rehearsed for his new play.

There was wine entrepreneur Christie Brinkley taking in the scene too.

Christie Brinkley with one of the lions for the parade.

Following that eye-opening unique lions display I had dinner at 75 Main, with owner-restauranteur Zach Erdem celebrating his birthday. Th Discovery Chanel was filming the celebration.

Zach Erdem celebrates his birthday with Afsaneh Akhtari, Jazmin Roper and Steve Cooper at the Discovery Channel taping.

What a night!

Helping children

Having had a child with special needs I was grateful to be invited by Carol and Jerry Levin to their home for a fundraiser for Band of Parents. It is a group of parents who fight for a cure for neuroblastoma, a a once-deadly disease striking children. But thanks to the group’s financial support of research, the death rate has declined and less toxic treatments have evolved.

As I listened to speakers tears filled my eyes. The parents journey of banding together to make a difference was mine 50 years ago as I lived through the “Willowbrook Wars” fighting for help with my friends banding together for my Lara and other children with developmental disabilities.

Amy and Steve Brody and their son, Jacob.

So I totally understood the power of what they were doing, educating us and asking for support for their cause. I love their slogan and name: Band of Parents, Bound by Hope. That’s how we make a difference in this world and how we must band together!

Kite flying contest

Thanks to our founder Dan Rattiner, the 45th annual kite-flying contest came off.

We made it through the rain and saw a window of opportunity as only drizzles remained at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Gathered on Sagg Beach in Sagaponack on the South Fork were more than a dozen brave kids laughing and smiling and running in the sand as they made their kites fly high, with a little help from their parents.

Dan Rattiner at the Sagg Beach Kite Flying Contest with stormy skies but no rain.

What a joyous way to end a wonderful week on the North and South Forks of the East End of Long Island.