Hey, did you know Fairfield Greenwich founder Walter Noel, his wife Monica and their five daughters are deeply garish human beings? And are so thoroughly hated in CT that their WASP neighbors and "friends," who generally remain contained within their personal Cheeveresque hells, will make exception to get their knickers in a twit over the nouveau riche family, raising their body temperatures, which for the most part hover around 73.5 degrees Fahrenheit, to 77.9? Of course you did but Vanity Fairhas a few more details.
The Noels' vast house on Mustique, named Yemanjá, was featured--along with the Noel women--in a cover story in Town & Country in 2005. Coming after a 2002 feature in this magazine, headlined "Golden in Greenwich," it gave ammunition to people who believed that the Noels were shameless self-promoters. (Monica has told people that she agreed to the Town & Country feature only because she believed that it would increase the value of the house.)
One friend from Greenwich was astonished by the stories she heard about them in Southampton, where they bought a $10 million house in 2001. They grated on local society by taking out an entire page in the "Blue Book"--the local social register of the Hamptons. "You don't have to put every single cell phone, and every single child, and every single number. They live in Europe, they live in South America; it wasn't necessary to put down 43 names," says an observer.
They wasted no time in applying to join the beach club officially known as the Bathing Corporation of Southampton, where Philip Toub's father, Said Toub, is a member. But older members, who expect young women to appear in Lilly Pulitzer dresses, say they were put off when the Noel women showed up in "thongs and sarongs."
Also, they table-hopped--which offended members. Some people said Walter Noel networked on the beach. "What I heard is he was actually selling the Fairfield Greenwich fund, or trying to encourage other members of the beach club to buy it, because it was an incredible thing, and he was almost using that as currency, if you will, to garner a favor," says a man in that world.
Another person who spends time in Southampton recalls, "They really did things that seemed outlandish. The first summer they were here, I won't forget seeing two of the daughters blocking traffic on Jobs Lane, leaning out of their convertibles, talking to each other and making what sounded like idle plans and blowing kisses, as if they owned the street--literally for five full minutes while a line of too-polite-to-honk Southampton matrons sat in silence."
Walter also tried to get into the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, "but that died fast once Monica had a personal assistant call around to Shinnecock members inviting them to their house," says this person. "It's just not friendly to have your personal assistant call around to old club members inviting them over for a meal.... It smacked both of new money and being almost purposefully rude. Joining a club like Shinnecock is like joining a family. It's not expensive, but the waiting list is very long because it's very selective in inviting people to join who would fit in, in as gemütlich a way as Wasps can get. None of the members, even if they had personal assistants--which most of them are too poor to have--would use them to make a personal social call."
So yeah: crooks, maybe, but way more importantly, if you care about this sort of thing, gauche. Now that that's been re-established, please turn your attention to this, also from VF:
It's the first re-imagining of this, but it's not that last. We're told that the magazine is looking to shoot the hedge fund version, for the June issue, but they need your help. Who should be included, and playing which part? The big guy as Jonah Hill, sure, but who's Paul Rudd? Who's Seth Rogen? These are questions you need to answer.