Victoria’s Secrets: A week of meeting great people 

Derby hats at their best!

It was a packed and fun-filled week, from fundraisers for great causes to pure fun wearing an outrageous Kentucky Derby hat at our Dan’s Papers celebration in Southampton of the classic race.

Thanks to my friend Danny Frank, I attended a gala that netted more than $630,000 for scholarships for girls going to the enormously successful St. Jean Baptiste High School in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. 

The school, founded in 1929 by the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, serves young women of diverse backgrounds by offering them a quality education. The powerful school has seen nearly 100% of their students go onto college and great careers. 

Dear friends Roger and Ann Cooper, co-chairs of the scholarship gala, encouraged the packed room of donors to be generous and they were, knowing each dollar raised would help to place a girl in a precious seat. 

I was struck and tears rolled down my cheeks to hear the expression of thanks from the girls who had received the life-changing scholarships.

As a bonus, I got to meet the emcee: the humorous Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best-selling author and screenwriter. As a gift, she gave each guest a copy of her latest book, “The Good Left Undone.” I can’t wait to read it! 

Students and leaders of the fundraising effort, which netted $630,000.

Wednesday saw me in Harlem with my colleague Tanya Phillips

We were meeting friends at Melba’s Restaurant at 300 West 114th St. Melba’s is a bustling southern cuisine restaurant owned by Melba, who came to greet us. 

I had never eaten oxtails before, but I’m now a convert to this dish, which is like brisket, but on a short bone. I ate delicious, bite-size pieces, paired with mouthwatering mashed, soft sweet potatoes — my two favorites of many dishes served. In fact, we ordered so much food that everyone went home with doggy bags!

I was delighted to dine with Yveline Legagneur from Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center and Elizabeth Arons, who I had met in Palm Beach. 

Joining us at the dinner table were new friends Caryn York, who is the first Black woman to lead the Women’s Prison Association, a 177-year-old group devoted to empowering women to redefine their lives in the face of injustice and incarceration.

Yveline Legagneur, Tanya Phillips, Melba Wilson, Caryn York and Elizabeth Arons.

Coming from Baltimore, Caryn is devoted to bringing her knowledge to New York and I can tell her energy and passion will bring new life to an important cause. 

She knows that it’s critical for the safety of our city to offer training to the women she serves in an effort to prevent repeat offenses.

Ironically, two days later, I was at the Kimberly Hotel for a party celebrating Mayor Eric Adams, who spoke eloquently at the rooftop cocktail party about his mission to make our city streets safe again. 

Michael Pitsinos and wife Tina Glandian with Mayor Adams.

We must all call on our elected officials to reinstate laws that will put repeat offenders in prison. 

Our judges and district attorneys need to have their hands unbound to do what they are elected to do and use their knowledge and experience to make appropriate decisions. 

To finish the week was a fun-filled, rainy afternoon celebrating our Dan’s Papers Kentucky Derby “watch party” at the Southampton Publick House, a charming spot on 

Jobs Lane in Southampton Village

Thanks to my friend Todd Shapiro (a public relations guru) and his wife Liz, we repeated the event we did last year, in coordination with Jake’s 58 Casino Hotel and OTB. Within a month, OTB will be offering live dealers at the casino.

The rain and cold weather did not dampen the spirit of the people in the packed pub. 

There was great excitement in the air as one woman after another showed off the wonderful, fanciful hats the Triple Crown races are famous for — besides the horses, of course! 

When the race kicked off, the cheers of the crowd deafened my ears as the horses turned the final lap. It was exciting to see the nose-to-nose finishing moments, but a big groan came up when everyone saw the long shot that few bet on was the winner. 

I don’t bet, but I loved the energy created by the race and a dreary day became a joyous one. 

It was such fun to also meet Mike Torres of Eastport, who runs Suffolk OTB, and Trish Bergin, a county legislator, as well as co-hostess Jean Shafiroff, who looked stunning in her bright red dress and brilliant red hat.

With OTB’s Mike Torres and legislator Trish Bergin.

Finishing off the jam-packed week was a wonderful Mother’s Day luncheon. 

I got a bonus having my grandchildren Jonah and Addy come over after lunch to swim! 

What a wonderful way to end a wondrous week!

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