As one of the media sponsors of the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF), I had the opportunity to attend any of the dozens of films being shown over an eight-day schedule, but the best moment for me was hearing Queens native and Queens College graduate Paul Simon speak. After all, it’s not every day you get to touch and hear a legend.
For me, his music was my link to sanity during my roller coaster life of challenges and “Bridge Over Troubled Waters’‘ was a mainstay in my life. What power there is to this day in the words he wrote — yes, he was the songwriter of the team Simon & Garfunkel. The extraordinary geniuses survived as a duo for five years and Paul went on to become a philanthropist and one the world’s greatest songwriters, receiving a deservedly endless amount of major awards.
His iconic songs are as powerful today as when he began writing them seven decades ago. Garfunkel went on to do movies and they eventually reunited for a record breaking concert in the ‘80s.
Paul appeared in person, thanks to Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney’s brilliant documentary, “In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon,” shown at the HIFF the evening before. His one-on-one interview showed him as an energetic and charming man who engaged with the audience, who were given an opportunity to ask Paul questions.
The man behind me stood and thanked Paul for his support of local causes. He has spent his life helping with local children’s health programs and music education and, for six years, he held concerts in Montauk that successfully raised money to preserve the endangered Montauk Lighthouse. His generosity also extended to donating memorabilia that was used to raise money for food pantries in Montauk, East Hampton and Sag Harbor.
Paul, with a shy smile, acknowledged the accolades and we all gave him thunderous cheers and a standing ovation.
I am so grateful to have been in this generous genius’ presence.
A surprise visit
To my delight, my son Josh and his son Hudson, who had no school Monday and Tuesday, surprised me with an overnight stay.
We traveled together to the North Fork to the Harbes Orchard, fighting the traffic to enter a beautifully planned play world for children that includes hayrides, a fun maze, pig races, slides and much more! We even got pumpkins, as well as my favorite pumpkin donuts and rich, delicious hot cider.
A trip to the North Fork requires a visit to the historic Briermere Farms, famous for their rich pies and flowers. We visited both the Harbes Orchard to pick apples and the Harbes Family Farm.
They were picture-perfect days spending precious time together. How lucky am I!