Victoria’s Secrets: Special celebrations

Harry Benson with his dealer Jodi Luntz in front of one of his photographs.

I’ve always loved birthdays. Celebrating them is to celebrate life, and last week I attended a double birthday celebration on Thursday and Friday nights.

Jack Heins had his birthday celebrated two nights by his wife Cornelia. They live in Sagaponack and Palm Beach and were also honoring the work of their friend, beloved photojournalist Harry Benson — first at their home and then at the The Everglades Club. Friends flew in from New York, Dallas, Pittsburgh and even Portugal and London!

Cornelia and Jack Heins celebrating his birthday.

My dear friend Frederico Azevedo, the CEO and founder of Unlimited Earth Care, Inc. based in Bridgehampton, had introduced me to the remarkable art collecting couple last summer. He designed their gorgeous, art-filled sculpture garden in Sagaponack.

I was delighted to meet the Scottish-born legend, who flew into America with the Beatles and photographed every president. Sadly, he was even there when Bobby Kennedy was fatally shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. His iconic photo of the fallen Kennedy shocked the world! 

Harry has photographed wars, hurricanes and countless celebrities over his brilliant, decades-long career. This winter, he is being honored with a special recognition award for his body of work by the esteemed Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach.

The Heinses are proud owners of his work. And I got a photo with him in front of one of the photographs gracing their living room with his dealer in Palm Beach, Jodi Luntz.

He’s so playful — I had to snap 30 shots to get one good one. But I got the shot and felt honored to be in his presence.

The next evening was a black tie birthday gala and I was happy to “dress up” in one of my gowns. I was escorted by the brilliant landscape designer Frederico Azevedo and his partner Alex Cohen.

Frederico Azevedo and Cornelia Heins

It was a spectacular evening and I even got to dance to the magnificent live band playing all my favorite songs at The Everglades Club in Palm Beach.

On another night, I was invited by writer Beth Landman to the opening of New York restaurateur Matt Foley’s new West Palm Beach restaurant Isla & Co.

Tom Rouse, Matt Foley and Barry Dry

My guest was photographer Annie Watt and we shared many of the delicious dishes on the menu, including grilled octopus, lamb shank, roasted chicken and a dessert of marzipan with fresh whipped cream. Everything was cooked to perfection!

The restaurant has an outdoor space behind it in the Grandview Public Market that has many eateries, reminding me of Chelsea Piers.

To my delight, later in the week I hosted a Power Women podcast with my favorite “Good Day New York” broadcaster Rosanna Scotto and her sister Elaina Scotto, president of their family restaurant Fresco by Scotto, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan

They are both true “Power Women” and recently released their new book, “Meatballs, Mangia & Memories.” The book is filled with recipes and delectable-looking food photos.

The Scotto family

The eatery is always packed with celebrities and my favorite story is the one where Barry Manilow came and they started a conga line that went around the restaurant — and even into the street — with “Copacabana” (which he wrote) playing in the background!

They reopened after being closed due to COVID, with live music and a new design to enhance the beloved eating spot!

Try it and you, too, will love it!!