You know Grey Gardens, right? It was the home of Jackie Onassis‘ relatives, Big Edie and Little Edie Beale, icons of the infamous 1975 documentary, Grey Gardens, the inspiration for the Broadway musical, of the same name and the HBO movie starring Drew Barrymore & Jessica Lange, not to mention, a featured guest-spot on RuPaul‘s Snatch Game, played by Jinkx Monsoon!
Later it was the estate of former Washington Post executive editor, the late Ben Bradlee (who broke open Watergate and his wife, Sally Quinn.
The 1.7-acre East Hampton, estate sold for in the neighborhood of $18 million last year was now the scene of a buzzing estate sale. (Quinn and Bradlee bought the estate in 1979 for $220,000 from Little Edie.) Susan Wexler, whose Bridgehampton company Behind the Hedgerows is managing the sale.
People started lining up around 4 AM and were admitted 40 at a time, so when the doors opened a few minutes before 10 a.m., the crowd of Hamptonites rushed in in a civilized stampede, all wearing in blue, hospital-style booties issued to keep the place clean.
“They came in here like locusts. But pretty orderly! There’s a good deal of original stuff, plus a lot of possessions from Sally and Ben, too.“
Wexler priced everything to move, at $1 to $795. On offer?
• drinking glasses, $2
• mens hats, $2 each
• a pile of home phones, $5 each
• cloth napkins, $6
• Xbox, $25
• frayed pillows bordered in lace, $45-$75 each
• convertible sofa, $225
• wicker furniture found in the attic from the Beale’s
• silver handheld mirror from the ’75 documentary
• Bradlee’s rolltop desk, $675
Alex Rosenfield, an attorney from New York City bought a $495 chair owned by the Beales. It bore the claw marks of their many cats and Rosenfield, who frequents East Hampton, was unsure where he might keep it. He described his purchase as “sort of impulsive” and said he initially sought to attend the sale to
“just kind of see the house. It’s beautiful.“
Drew James and Lisa Bettencourt drove from New York City on Thursday evening, and both described themselves as enormous fans of the documentary. James, who had cleared his schedule to attend the sale. Neither were on the hunt for anything in particular:
“I want to lick the walls, touch the floor!
I just want a tchotchke from Grey Gardens.“
By the afternoon, the sale had been nearly picked clean as shoppers carried rolls of wallpaper, trinkets and linens to the lengthy cash register line. But despite the high volume of sales, enough items were left over that the event will continue on through the weekend as planned.
(Photos, Grey Gardens, Corcoran; via Middletown Press)