Market Street Rhinebeck New York, a main thoroughfare in this normally laid-back, Hudson Valley town, went to bed late Friday and awoke early Saturday. The sleepy upstate community has been transformed by this weekend’s wedding jitters as the nuptials of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky are scheduled to take place Saturday evening in all their secretive, in-crowd glory at a secluded mansion protected by a no-fly zone and barricaded roads outside the village of Rhinebeck in the country-home paradise that is the mid-Hudson Valley. Managing the guest list, a scant 400 or 500 — a big bash for life-size folks, a tiny gathering for the JumboTron-scaled Clintons — presented a hyper-delicate challenge for Madam Secretary, Mr. Former President and their First Daughter, family intimates say.
The crowd began forming midmorning after weeks of intrigue and secrecy about a ceremony with a VIP guest list said to include such luminaries as Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg. Actors Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen were walking hand-in-hand through the village, and fashion designer Vera Wang was spotted outside a restaurant.
Ceremonies are reportedly taking place at the elegant and grandiose Astor Courts House in a wooded area near Rhinebeck. Tents have been erected near the white building to accommodate guests.
The place was commissioned to be built over a century ago by billionaire businessman John Jacob Astor IV, who died when the “unsinkable” Titanic sank in the freezing waters of the Atlantic in April 1912. The property is now owned by Kathleen Hammer, a key contributor to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid and her earlier bid for the U S Senate.
“Madison Avenue would charge us millions of dollars for the type of publicity we’re getting,” says Jim Reardon, who is the mayor of this normally sleepy small town. And the locals are lapping up the attention – and the extra business. Notes Jim Langan, executive editor of the Hudson Valley News: “I don’t think there’s any question that the Clinton wedding has ended the recession in Rhinebeck.”