Philanthropist Audrey Gruss outlines the new normal for entertaining

Schloomp and sweats are today’s quarantine norm. Southampton/Palm Beach/Park Avenue’s Audrey Gruss outlines tomorrow’s norm.

“More casual. Less entertaining. Open spaces. Six people at home at a table for 12. Smaller groups. At most 10. Masks everywhere. Summertime seating outdoors can be at 50 percent the normal capacity. And galas are via Zoom. That way you stick on a little makeup and everyone does the effort. Listen, I’ve done my best by just pulling my hair back.

“I’m on Lincoln Center’s board. Our recent special evening was 16 people, eight couples. Cocktails at home then virtual entertainment. We all tuned in and Kelli O’Hara sang two songs from her basement. Crowded cocktail parties are over.

“Wardrobe will be rethought. Fewer ballgowns in future, but we’ll get out of sweatsuits. Bloomie’s, Bergdorfs, Saks are figuring how to dry-clean clothes after they’re tried on in dressing rooms. A new process is an aerial spray disinfectant.

“None of us have worn anything. We’re dying to put clothes on. The charity set loves to dress up. Look, we want social activity. We’re social creatures. We’re struggling. Social life, not isolation, is healthy for us. One-third of America is suffering from anxiety and depression.

“It’s a subject I know about. My Hope for Depression Research Foundation has honored Ashley Judd,
Anderson Cooper, Brooke Shields, and we just pledged $30 million to fund new treatments. This year, we proposed a 3.1-mile race and asked them to send videos. A virtual race for charity.

“But until there’s a vaccine, we just can’t crowd together.”

Food plight

And here’s the future from a caterer: “The new world isn’t crowds. It’s just each of us surviving to get out! No more big buffets. No standing in long lines. No food stations. No serve yourself. No touching anything. No five deep at a bar. Now it’s all pre-done, prepackaged. Food is individual prearranged portions.

“For young people, it’s not romance and flowers and a date at a fancy restaurant. It’s sex on a cellphone. The new world is TikTok. Several people on a handheld phone. Hooking up via technology. It’s catering via home delivery.”

Creepy fiction becomes fact

And what will we be reading next year? Best-selling author Nelson DeMille: “A while back I wrote one novel, ‘Plum Island,’ with a plot that included pandemics. Back in the ’70s, there was a subgenre called epidemiology books, such as ‘The Andromeda Strain.’ They did well because it was only scary fiction. Now, unfortunately, it’s real but definitely not entertaining. There are plenty of books coming out about the coronavirus. And that’s probably the last thing I want to write about, or anyone wants to read. Any author who’s thinking of writing a novel on the subject should rethink.”

Driven crazy

Even driving’s changed. Back when a Camaro wasn’t just some Gotti relative, our congestion was such that your elbow out a car window could rupture a pedestrian. One Chevy dealer, looking to open in a big city, picked downtown Reykjavik in Iceland. And remember that Hummer bummer that expelled more gas than freebies after a buffet?

Tell GM we don’t want cheaper cars. We want expensive cars that cost less. Or we’ll get them used from Hertz. Once GM’s $2,500 down payment is now the tax. Stop guaranteeing parts for the life of the cars. Start guaranteeing them for the life of the payments.

And enough of fat politicians with their bloated promises. They don’t need introductions. What they need is liposuctions.

Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

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