Jenna Flanagan has been an Associate Producer and contributing reporter for WNYC's All Things Considered, local news since 2006. Prior to that, she worked for 3 years as a general assignment reporter for the WBGO news department and won a Garden State Association of Black Journalists award.
Rhinebeck Basks in Clinton Wedding Glow As Rumors Fly
Friday, July 30, 2010
The big day is finally here. Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton is set to wed her long time beau, Marc Mezvinsky, in Rhinebeck, NY this weekend in front of hundreds of A-list guests. Or so the rumors say...
With the wedding details shrouded in secrecy, rumor has all but substituted itself for fact in the national news media frenzy surrounding Chelsea's wedding. Interest in the nuptials has risen to such a fevered pitch, you'd think the bride was announcing she was "taking her talents to South Beach" to try to win an NBA title with her best friends Chris Bosh and Dwane Wade.
And while the particulars of the wedding will most likely remain a mystery, on the east bank of the Hudson the buzz surrounding Chelsea's wedding is almost deafening. Or maybe that's the stampede of reporters making their way to Rhinebeck. So far, two Norwegian journalists have been arrested, caught trespassing at the wedding site. And, if you are reading this Saturday morning, you'll probably be able to turn on your TV to see all of New York City's local news stations (and probably some of the national ones) broadcasting their Saturday morning news shows from the upstate town.
The village of Rhinebeck, where most of the media has been doing it's reporting, is a picturesque Victorian hamlet roughly 100 miles north of New York City. The wedding is believed to be taking place on Saturday at the palatial Astor Courts. Situated on 50 acres, the venue is allegedly modeled on Versailles. It is said to have been owned by John Jacob Astor IV. Astor died on the Titanic in 1915, but if he were alive today not only would he be 146, but he'd surely be thrilled to see his property used as the site of a presidential wedding.
Rhinebeck isn't a stranger to the rich, famous or presidential. Aside from Astor, the Roosevelts owned estates in near-by Hyde Park and both Alexander Hamilton and George Washington visited the town. While some local politicians like Assemblyman Marc Molinaro and State Senator Steve Saland (both Republicans who represent the Dutchess County region) have expressed their support, rumor has it that some local party donors are a little more than miffed they've been left off of the guest list.
Even President Barack Obama isn't invited, though he seemed to take the snub in stride. He told the ladies of ABCs 'The View' this week that the wedding is about the bride, not her parents. He then proceeded to dis-invite them all from his own daughters weddings when they arrive. Nice touch, Mr. President.
But the only person who should really feel slighted by Chelsea's wedding is a Brooklyn teacher named Emn Haddad-Friedman.
According to The New York Daily News, she booked her own nuptials two years ago at a site in that same area. In addition to getting ready for her own wedding, she has also been fielding calls from the press. Now she's nowhere to be found on the Web and her fiance Alex Bero's Facebook page has been deleted, presumably a victim of Chelsea's wedding.
But Rhinebeck's businesses are in love. Mayor Jim Reardon and Police Sergeant Peter Dunn both agree, 'you can't buy the kind of national publicity this town has been getting.' The town boasts only 34 stores and eight restaurants, so just about everyone is hanging 'Congratulations Chelsea and Marc' signs in their front windows, earning them pictures in newspapers and background shots on TV. Oblong Books & Music even sent out a special reading list, titled 'How to Survive the Clinton Wedding Weekend.'
But in a bear market, congratulations aren't always enough. The local library is offering the couple free library cards for life. A local artist even commissioned a 'Best Wishes' painting specifically for the couple. Word is, it's been purchased as a gift for them.
Hopefully, Chelsea's big day will be like the song her parent's named her for, filled with "milk and toast and honey and a bowl of oranges two." And if the sun doesn't pour in like butterscotch and stick to all her senses? TMZ claims "Chelsea Morning" isn't even on the reception playlist. But again, that could just be a rumor.