It was just under a month ago that David Hartstein, a 35-year-old chiropractor who lived in Montauk, succumbed to a mysterious respiratory ailment that was later identified as hantavirus. Since then, the people who knew him or were moved by his family’s predicament have been working to raise money for his widow, Heather, and three young children, Logan, 5, Devon, 3, and Shane, 1.
The latest of those efforts will bring together over 20 local restaurants and chefs, who will offer “a taste of Montauk and the Hamptons” tomorrow night from 7 to 10 at Solé East in Montauk.
For less than the price of a meal out (or more for those with deeper pockets), benefitgoers will get an evening of music, fine food, and libations, while also helping a local family in need. Tickets to the event start at $50 for food and a drink. Those who pay $100 or more can enjoy an open bar. Tickets will be available at the door or in advance at Solé East, Martha Greene Real Estate, or Homeport in Montauk and in East Hampton at Devlin McNiff.
Among the participating restaurants and caterers, in addition to Solé East, are East by Northeast, Gosman’s, Navy Beach, South Edison, Herb’s Market, the Hideaway, Inlet Seafood, Janet O’Brien, the Montauk Bake Shoppe, the Montauk Lake Club, the Surf Lodge, West Lake Clam and Chowder House, and Yellowfin in Montauk, and, from points west, the Art of Eating, Cittanuova, East Hampton Point, Fresno, the Beachhouse, Goldberg’s Famous Bagels, Citarella, and Townline BBQ.
There will be a silent auction and raffle and music by D.J. Big Drop and Nancy Atlas and Friends.
“The community response has been absolutely phenomenal,” said Tom Flight, a friend of the Hartstein family and part of a team of people organizing the fund-raiser. “It’s the community at its best. In a small town this happens, and we have this mentality that we look out for each other. As soon as it happened, we were all on the phone together; we realized the gravity of the situation.”
“We’re putting together as many ideas as possible to help raise funds to provide them with the lifestyle that Dave was trying to give them,” Mr. Flight said. “It’s the natural thing to do, the right thing to do,” he said, and “it’s something that’s going to go on until the kids are grown up.”
Dr. Hartstein had practices in Montauk and East Hampton. Before he became ill, he was cleaning out the basement at the family’s Montauk house, which they were in danger of losing to foreclosure. The Centers for Disease Control, which has confirmed that his death was caused by the rare rodent-borne hantavirus, conducted air-quality tests in the house, according to Cindi Ceva, another family friend, who owns Solé East with her husband, Dave Ceva, and is also organizing tomorrow’s fund-raiser. Ms. Hartstein and her children have been staying with family friends in East Hampton since Dr. Hartstein’s death.
His children “lost their dad and their house,” Ms. Ceva said Tuesday. “One of our primary goals right now is to try to get her somewhere to live.”
Other fund-raising events will be held in the coming months, and Ms. Ceva said that the people working to help the Hartstein family want to continue as a “standing group,” ready to organize events for local families who might find themselves in similarly difficult situations.
In addition to attending tomorrow’s benefit, those who would like to help the family can send donations to the East End Foundation, P.O. Box 1746, Montauk 11954, with “Hartstein” written on the memo line of the checks.