Story By: Edward Callaghan

Back At The Ranch

Paul Simon

In the Hamptons the #! Hot gossip topic is generally real estate – who bought what for how much and who’s selling. In recent days more than a few of the rich & famous are paying/getting astronomical figures for the primo properties especially those most desirable of all – South O’ the Highway – or the massive spreads anywhere. We hear three-time Academy Award winning screenwriter and director Robert Benton has just put his Charles Gwathmey designed Wainscott spread on the market for – gulp- $29.9 million. Beside the cred of a blue chip st-architect, the house sits on 2.5 acres with 725 feet of pond-front in the ultra exclusive Georgia Association and includes ocean access and a large coastal lagoon." Benton who was the man behind such classics as “Bonnie & Clyde” “Kramer v. Kramer” feels his little cottage is worth the price.

A much larger spread indeed America’s oldest continually operating cattle ranch, Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk is also on the market for the first time in many years. The circa 1658 ranch, which some call the birthplace of the American cowboy, spans an impressive 22.3 acres of pristine Montauk land. The compound includes several working barns, a 5,000-square-foot antique timber framed farmhouse, and a 2-acre buildable lot. In addition to its unique place in history, Deep Hollow was also the setting for the "Back at the Ranch" charity concerts back in the '90s, which featured acts like neighbor Paul Simon and Billy Joel. How much, you ask? Insiders say somewhere around $14 million.

Hamptons American Hotel Rumors

Billy Joel

The New York Post’s Jennifer Gould Keil reports that American Hotel owner and local legend Ted Conklin has officially put his two Sag Harbor homes on the market for about $10 million. Conklin recently wed socialite Carol Simmons and the couple will be spending more time in East Hampton and Palm Beach where Simmons has homes. Buzz circulating is he will soon put the much loved American Hotel on the block for a cool $25 million. Food and wine enthusiasts will be devastated if this happens. The bar and restaurant in the historic structure is a favorite of such locals as Alec Baldwin and Billy Joel. The late Roy Schneider and his family lived there for a spell after selling their Sagaponack beach house to Joel for his the bride Katie Lee while waiting for their Sag Harbor house to be built.

Stony Hill For Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

King of the Grill Bobby Flay is almost ready to move into his new house in the Stony Hill area of Amagansett. Flay is really excited. Especially since the wild Hamptons scene has "skipped from East Hampton straight to Montauk, leaving Amagansett relatively untouched." He joked to reporters: "We kind of lucked out that way’ said the barbecue maestro.

Christie Brinkley Selling Bad Memories

Christie Brinkley

The really big – but totally expected - news is Christie Brinkley has finally put her North Haven home up for sale. The 1843 Greek Revival House she once shared with Ex Peter Cook overlooking Sag Harbor and Shelter Island is marked at $15.75 million. The home has sweeping bay views from every room in the house and sits on 4.5 acres. Only bad karma is that this is the house allegedly where Cook had an affair with a teenage toy store employee Diana Bianchi.

Un-Happy Hamptons Homeowner

Rachael Ray And John M. Cusimano

But not all Hampton homeowners are as thrilled as Flay. Fellow star chef Rachael Ray and hubby John Cusimano are ready to flip their pot lids upon learning while renovating their newly bought Southampton home they discovered the place was infested with mold and plagued by water damage. Several inspectors failed to uncover the mold and moisture problems at the three-bedroom, three-bath villa-style main home, as well as at the pool house, before Ray and Cusimano, bought the place for $2.9 million. Now the unhappy couple is suing the two companies for $3 million since the house will undoubtedly be a tear down. Rachael is reportedly devastated at the news as she planned a total re-do of the house which sits on a beautifully landscaped 5 acres near a golf course.

Everything Madonna

Taylor Momsen

One place Madonna isn’t having a real estate headache is in Midtown. Macy’s Herald Square is giving up some serious prime property for the debut of Madonna and daughter Lourdes Leon’s new clothing line – some 4,000 square and will host appearances by the line’s spokeswoman Gossip Girl star Taylor Momsen (for the big launch on Aug. 3) and Madonna and Lola on Sept. 22. This will be a line of junior clothing just in time for back to school shopping. If you remember the 80's, there wasn't a girl who didn't want to dress like the Material Girl, while most parents raised issue with the lack of material. Nonetheless, Madonna has always been a fashion forward trendsetter. Stella McCartney is the one to credit for developing Lourdes' fashion designing, which she started at age 8-that must be the magical year for the most talented people. Despite these grand orchestrations, the MG line is sure to be compared to the spate of teen-celeb collections recently launched or planned: Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift for Wal-Mart, Selena Gomez for Kmart, Britney Spears for Kohl’s and the list keeps growing.

Madonna is also running into a few hurdles with her latest property acquisition in Bridgehampton - only her problems are man made and don’t involve yucky thins like black mold. County Planning Commissioner Thomas Isles wrote a letter to Southampton Town demanding that a stop work order be issued on Madonna’s new fence. That order was issued on July 7. The county farmland committee is expected to review the fence at its next regular meeting. Folks in the know say it will probably as it is a low split rail fence commonly seen on farms.
But know it’s her hedges that are raising concern. Madge’s privet hedge might be considered a windbreak, which would be a legitimate farm use. Or, it might be considered a privacy fence, which would not be legal and would have to be removed. “You would have to be sure it (the privet) has an agricultural purpose,” Isles said. “Those screens require approval before installation.” He said that, if the farmland committee ultimately rules the privet is a privacy screen, not a windbreak, the county could order the plants removed.

Ron Perelman Plans Huge Fete

John Legend

Big estates are great places and cosmetics mogul Ron Perelman owner of the legendary “The Creeks” on Georgica is one of the largest in the tony enclave.
He’ll throwing his first benefit there on Aug. 14. The $1,500-a-head fund-raiser for the Apollo Theater's education programs for kids, co-hosted by Dick Parsons, will feature dinner prepared by famed chef Marcus Samuelsson and performances by John Legend, the Roots, Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, and other surprise guests.

Gwyneth Paltrow Country Singer

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow – country singer? In the upcoming film “Country Strong” the blonde Oscar winner plays a fallen country idol Now comes the leaked single from her film in which she plays alongside Tim McGraw, Leighton Meester and Garrett Hedlund, and she sounds pretty great. Maybe she and her man Chris Martin can tour together.

The Hamptons International Film Festival

Alec Baldwin

The Hamptons International Film Festival working with Guild Hall will present “The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers”: Followed by conversation with Alec Baldwin, Carl Bernstein and Daniel Ellsberg, former United States military analyst. Also participating are Hamptons International Film Festival Chairman Stuart Match Suna, Executive Director Karen Arikian and Director of Programming David Nugent. The sure to be super-charged gathering takes place Saturday August 7 at Guild Hall in East Hampton.

Denise Rich Prepares For Angel Ball

Joan Collins

Not all the Hamptonites are – well – in the Hamptons. As always there is a large contingent that heads off for the South of France for a spot of yachting. Denise Rich will stage her annual dinner aboard her yacht, Lady Joy. The guest list of 250 celebrities reads like the Cote d'Azur Hall of Fame: George Hamilton, Regine, Jean Pigozzi, Joan Collins and Count Eric Wachtmeister, and Adnan and Lamia Khashoggi. Denise has hired local singing sensations the Gypsy Queens, described as "four gorgeous guys," to help sell tables to her Oct. 21 Angel Ball in New York. Southampton’s Roberto and Joanne DeGuardiola will pop over from their sleek yacht, Audacia while Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman and wife Christine are staying in a villa in the nearby foothills.

Not surprisingly, Paris Hilton was photographed topless en route to St. Tropez for the picture that circled the globe.

Photos By: RD/Leon/Walter McBride/Dziekan/Kim/Retna