Out East With Lee Radziwill

By Juliet Izon | June 3, 2019 | People Home & Real Estate

The style icon left her mark on more than one storied Hamptons property.

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It's difficult to imagine a woman who encompassed the spirit of the Hamptons more than Lee Radziwill. Like the town of East Hampton that she loved so dearly, Radziwill was equal parts grace, style and reserve. With her passing at age 85 in February of this year, the East End lost one of its most revered denizens. But many of her favored haunts, ranging from childhood homes to picturesque beach cottages, still remain, and moreover, still seem imbued with that classic glamour that was so quintessentially Radziwill. Herewith, four Hamptons spots indelibly linked with the socialite.

Lasata

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Radziwill’s ties to the Hamptons don’t originate with her adulthood, however. Her mother’s ancestors, the Sergeants of Kent, England, were some of the original founders of East Hampton. She also grew up spending time at her father’s family manse, Lasata, also located in town. It was there she spent some of her happiest days: “I longed to be back in East Hampton, running along the beaches, through the dunes and the miles of potato fields my father’s family had owned,” she once said of her childhood. And who could blame her? The property at 121 Further Lane is mightily impressive: a six-bedroom main home, plus a large pool, tennis court and formal gardens to round out the estate. In recent years, inhabitants have included Roman Abramovich and Reed Krakoff.

Eothen

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Andy Warhol purchased this grouping of five charming clapboard cottages on 16 Cliff Drive in Montauk in 1971, and it quickly became a melting pot of all of his A-list pals, including John Lennon, Liza Minnelli, Elizabeth Taylor and Radziwill, who rented the property from him for the summer of 1972. Her sister Jackie and Jackie’s children Caroline and John F. Kennedy Jr. were frequent guests, as well as Radziwill’s sometimes paramour, artist Peter Beard. While Warhol bought the property for a relative song—$225,000—it’s unsurprisingly gone up significantly in value: Its current estimate is a cool
$85 million.

43 East Dune Lane

Radziwill’s last residence out East was this oceanfront estate in East Hampton, which she shared with then-husband Herb Ross. The 3-acre property has stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Maidstone Club golf course, where Radziwill was a member. While Jerry Seinfeld was once in talks to purchase the property from her, it was eventually sold in 2001 for $19 million to Thomas Lee, the then-CEO of leveraged buyout firm Thomas H. Lee Partners. Lee tore down the original house soon after purchasing it, but rebuilt it to the same exterior specifications, albeit with a new interior floor plan.

Grey Gardens

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While film buffs and Hamptons historians alike are familiar with this East Hampton manse, many don’t realize that the landmark 1975 documentary of the same name was originally spearheaded by Radziwill. The film features reclusive socialites “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” Beale, who were aunt and cousin, respectively, to Radziwill. “The original idea for the film was about my return to East Hampton after 30 years and to have my Aunt Edith narrate my nostalgia and hers,” she told The New York Times in 2013. Of course, the eccentric personalities of her family members soon took center stage, resulting in a film that remains a touchstone for many filmmakers decades later.

Radziwill's Route

Lee’s favored hamlet out East was tony East Hampton. Our imagined Radziwill itinerary through the village looks something like this:

Start off with breakfast at beloved Babette’s (66 Newtown Lane), where the Newport omelet with caramelized onions and smoked mozzarella is an ode to one of Radziwill’s other favorite cities.

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A trip to preppy-chic boutique Tory Burch is in order. “Lee was an American icon, and I feel fortunate to have called her a dear friend,” Burch says. In fact, Burch named a handbag after her, which Radziwill wore, in red, to one of her birthday parties.

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Wind down for the day at private Maidstone Club, where Radziwill and her sister were frequent guests of her father, “Black Jack” Bouvier. “He doted on his daughters, having them accompany him to the club,” says Sam Kashner, co-author of The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters.



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Photography by: Lee Radziwill by fireplace photo by Keystone Pictures USA/ZUMAPRESS.com © Keystone Pictures USA/ZUMAPRESS.com; Lasata photo © Jake Rajs,
courtesy of The Corcoran Group; Grey Gardens house photo courtesy of The Corcoran Group; Eothen photo by Evan Joseph;
Babette’s photo by Barbara Layton