Justin Mitchell is the Publisher of Social Life Magazine, a magazine launched in the Hamptons in the Summer of 2004. This past Wednesday evening, May 25, 2005, Social Life Magazine held its Hamptons Summer Launch Party at Quo Nightclub located at 511 West 28th Street to celebrate cover model Vanessa Haydon and the first of 6 summer issues. (Photo: Vanessa Haydon & Justin Mitchell) click here to see more photos from the evening.
It was one of the busiest pre-memorial day weekends in New York City. The social calendar was jammed with events of social, cultural and charitable significance all over the city, a number of which I would have been otherwise compelled to cover for Manhattan Society.com, abesent this party.
Justin Mitchell is a man of few words who is always sober and alert, making him an anomaly on the New York social scene. I met Justin through Karen Levy in the Winter of 2002/2003 at a party he held at Room 143 Lounge on Madison Avenue. I barely had a chance to say hello when Justin, seated at a VIP Table, poured me a Ketel One on the rocks with one hand and shook my hand with the other. Our paths have crossed only a few times since.
This past year Justin contacted me to discuss his visions for Social Life Magazine and to ask whether I would be interested in contributing a Society Column and some of my photography to his magazine. His timing could not have been better. While this is not something that I had actively pursued, my interest in doing so had evolved. Over the past year my work had appeared in a number of print publications including Avenue, Gotham Magazine, Palm Beach Society Magazine, New York Social Diary, The Newport Mercury as well as some hospitality trade publications. I had also had conversations with Zink Magazine through my friend Mona Wyatt.
On Wednesday night when I showed up at Quo, I did not know what to expect. I got there early to meet Kennedy Morse who wanted to interview me for his web site, "AskaNewYorker". I had only been to Quo a couple of times, for a FlirtNYC Party, a couple of charity events and a book party for The Pump Energy Food book. I had invited a few friends but in light of the busy social calendar was not sure who would be in attendance. I had yet to see how my column was edited and my photography laid out in the magazine. While taking some photos of Justin Mitchell, cover model Vanessa Haydon and her fiance Donald Trump, Jr. I caught a brief glimpse of the magazine. My full read will have to wait until after the weekend as the magazine was being distributed exclusively in the Hamptons over the Memorial Day weekend and my plans kept me in the city.
Despite the packed social calendar the crowd at Quo steadily grew throughout the evening. I was also touched that a number of my most social friends, despite having commitments too attend other charitable events which they were involved with, came down to say hello, congratulate me on my column and to appear beautiful as ever in my photos. Special thanks to John Esposito, Nicole Salerno, Susan Shin, Alexandra Wilkis, Maggie Jones from the Children’s Aid Society and designer Lindsey Berns, Junior Leaguers, Vivian Soren, Gilda Acosta and Catherine Gordon as well as the beautiful Meiland sisters, Lare Meiland and Lisa Helene Meiland. The smile of Emma Snowdon-Jones filled the room the moment I saw her enter Quo with the always friendly consummate Manhattan Metrosexual Mark Langrish. I was sorry that I did not have more time to mix it up with London Network friends, Elaine Silverstone and Danielle Scherman from the Israel Humanitarian Foundation as well as Allison Hall and Hope Dembowitz.
Tamie Peters, the "personable" nightlife publicist was there with her boyfriend Rich Thomas. I had a chance to chat briefly with Tamie about the expected Hamptons nightlife competition this summer: Southampton vs. East Hampton and which one would pull the proverbial "A" List. Notably, Shamin Abas seems to think that further East will attract the more upscale and mature nightlife.
I reminded Tamie that since I was now 42 years old my inclination was definitely more towards relaxing dinners, a comfortable lounge atmosphere with some energy but much less the club scene. Tamie suggested that on my next trip out East that I check out Blue & Cream, a hip clothing store which has a significant celebrity clientele.
Towards the end of my evening, I ran into the sociable and dapper Cass Almendral. After we exchanged pleasantries, I took a look around, leaned over, and with deference told him that, "at the end of the day, I guess that it really is a Cassworld after all."
Creating, developing and maintaining a social life requires time, effort and planning, much in the same way as it does with any other aspect of your life from career, fitness and romance. Good things may happen incidentally if you are in the game so to speak but how and whom you decide to play with is very much your decision. Any life without a social component is a lesser life. It is my hope that many of you will find a rewarding social life of your own if you have not already.
Oh how I long for those Pre 9/11 summers past when I viewed and felt the world around me differently than I do now. Similar to the way a school kid feels at the commencement of another school year in September, while I am otherwise the optimist, I greet each summer with a bit of reservation, trepidation and angst; a little less care free than in prior years. My life journey has been more than I imagined in some ways and much less so in others.
My most memorable Hamptons memories are of:
-lazy days at the beach after spinning, lifting weights at the East Hampton Gym, lotte berk classes or long runs after my morning coffee
-Sunday evening tex mex and margarita’s with Deborah Weiner, former owner of the Natural Beauty Spa.
Times have changed. I expect that new faces, new friends and hopefully new romance will alter the landscape but I do not suspect that my indelible memories of summers past in the Hamptons and the people I met, will ever fade.