Watching Obamas wasn’t only action on Vineyard

From left: Bob Mone, organizer of this weekend’s fund-raiser for the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena, with Larry David, Tara and Bob Levine, Gayle Mone, and Cam Neely at the Farm Neck Golf Club.
Peter Simon
From left: Bob Mone, organizer of this weekend’s fund-raiser for the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena, with Larry David, Tara and Bob Levine, Gayle Mone, and Cam Neely at the Farm Neck Golf Club.

He doubtless doesn’t want to, but President Obama departs Martha’s Vineyard Sunday after spending eight days on the island honing his golf game and relaxing discreetly with his family.

Unlike President Clinton, who would frequently go rogue while vacationing on the Vineyard, stopping for ice cream or taking an impromptu stroll down the narrow streets of Edgartown, Obama has stayed largely out of view during his visit.

Taking advantage of another postcard-perfect day, the president got an early start Saturday, joining first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia at a private beach on the island’s south side, between West Tisbury and Edgartown. From there, Obama headed back to Farm Neck Golf Club, where the duffer-in-chief replaced divots with a foursome that included private equity investor Glenn Hutchins, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” curmudgeon Larry David. (Oh, to be the caddy for that crew.)


The night before, the first family had dined at the Oak Bluffs home of Obama friend and senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, and then retired to the front porch of her Seaview Avenue abode to watch the town’s annual fireworks display. POTUS’s presence was noted by some in the huge crowd who, between the bursts of sound and light, punctuated the silence with shouts of “We love you, Mr. President.”

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But there was plenty of fun to be had elsewhere on the island. Just around the corner from where Obama was sitting, financier Gwen Adams and husband Peter Norton, the multimillionaire software publisher and philanthropist, hosted a party at their spectacularly-restored Queen Anne home overlooking Ocean Park. As always, the couple laid out a lavish spread for guests.

Meanwhile, up island in Chilmark, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz and wife Carolyn threw a bash attended by a who’s who of Vineyard VIPs. The guest list was given to the Secret Service ahead of time because Dersh’s digs are barely 30 feet from the place being rented by the president. (“We’ve keeping the music down this week,” the prof told us.) Not that he needed a reason to have a party, but Dershowitz did: He’s celebrating his 75th birthday, his 50th year at Harvard, and his 30th book, “Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law,” which comes out in October.

The guest list was heavy with prosecutors — “I felt a little nervous,” Dershowitz joked later — including Irwin Cotler, Canada’s former AG, Katherine Rundle, state attorney for Miami-Dade County, and longtime former New York City DA Robert Morgenthau. Also there were designer Kenneth Cole and wife Maria Cuomo, Larry David, Harvard professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Red Sox vice chairman David Ginsberg, Liberty Hotel owner Dick Friedman and wife Nancy, nightlife nabob Patrick Lyons, Hollywood super agent Nick Stevens, Seth Meyer’s bride-to-be Alexi Ashe, and Geraldo Rivera, who sailed up from New York to attend.

“I’ve known Geraldo for 30 years and have been on every incarnation of his show — except one,” said Dershowitz said. “I wasn’t in Al Capone’s box.”


Obama didn’t attend, but Dersh said the president requested a copy of the new book and sent the Secret Service next door to pick it up. (They came bearing a box of candy for the birthday boy.)

Also hosting a book party in Chilmark this weekend was Linda Fairstein, former head of the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan DA’s office and the author of a series of novels featuring fictional prosecutor Alexandra Cooper. The party, however, was for Susan Davis, wife of Chicago lawyer and real estate developer Allison Davis, the man credited with giving Obama his first job out of law school. (Davis’s book is called “Chicago’s Historic Hyde Park.”)

“This is Susan’s first book,” said Fairstein, who may be most famous for her successful prosecution of “Preppie Killer” Robert Chambers in 1986. “Writing is such solitary, lonely work that I said, when the boxes are opened and the book is out, let’s have a party on the Vineyard.”

So she did, and guests included DC powerbroker Vernon Jordan and wife Ann, NPR’s Charlayne Hunter-Gault, federal judge Colleen McMahon, Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, Cole and Cuomo, and legal eagle Antoniette “Toni” Cook Bush and her husband, Dwight Bush, Obama’s nominee to be the next US ambassador to Morocco.

But, wait, there’s more. Supporters of the very fine Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School hockey team — and the aging arena it plays in — held a well-attended fund-raiser at the Farm Neck Golf Club, and there were a few familiar faces in the crowd, including Larry David. If you’re wondering if David plays hockey, we asked and the answer is an unequivocal no. But he still showed up, as did funny filmmakers Peter and Bobby Farrelly, who told us they’re excited to start shooting “Dumb and Dumber To” in Atlanta next month. (It’s the long-overdue sequel to the Jeff Daniels/Jim Carrey classic.) Also there was “Coma” author Robin Cook, Trader Fred owner Fred Mascolo, children’s author Janet Tashjian and her illustrator son Jake, hockey Hall of Famer Cam Neely, and auctioneer Steve Levy of ESPN.


The event raised over $110,000 to replace the roof on the rink, which was just an uncovered sheet of ice with a chainlink fence around it when it opened way back in 1974. (If you have to raise money, Martha’s Vineyard in the summer isn’t a bad place to do it.)

Hayley Kaufman can be reached at