Hillary Fever Grips Hamptons

‘Like meeting the queen of England’
The woman who would be president? BookHampton, and 1,000 ticketholders, were “ready for Hillary” on Saturday, when Mrs. Clinton visited the East Hampton store to sign copies of her book “Hard Choices.” Durell Godfrey

Though Hillary Clinton was not expected at BookHampton until 5 p.m. on Saturday, the line to see her began to form that morning. Edna Lanieri-Dewitt, who was first in line, arrived at 10 a.m.

“I’m excited about just meeting her,” Ms. Lanieri-Dewitt said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’m thrilled that she’s in this world.”

By 5 p.m., the line stretched down Main Street and wrapped around to John Papa’s Café on Park Place. The book signing was sold out by Friday, with all 1,000 tickets secured in advance by buying a copy of Mrs. Clinton’s book “Hard Choices” from BookHampton, said Charline Spektor, the store’s owner.

Mrs. Clinton began signing books a little after 5. Though she reportedly signs 400 books per hour, she still took the time to greet each person, even pausing to have conversations with some. She spoke to one woman about her injured leg, saying, “I broke my elbow a few years back and did physical therapy for it. Have you started physical therapy yet? I hope it goes well for you.” She also shared a moment with a friend, Patti Kenner, and the two posed for a photo.

The crowd was filled with admirers of Mrs. Clinton, many of whom were sporting “Ready for Hillary” stickers in reference to her presumed 2016 presidential campaign.

Barbara Macklowe, an East Hampton artist and author of the book “India In My Eyes,” said, “I never anticipated a line this long. . . . I think it’s because there are a lot of politically involved, liberal-minded people in this town.”

 Ms. Macklowe met Mrs. Clinton previously at an event held by a women’s organization, and said she supports her because, “I think she’s the most impressive person I’ve ever heard speak.”

There were a few unexpected supporters waiting in line. Aubrey Peterson, who is 11, is already a big fan, and said that he was willing to wait all day to see Mrs. Clinton. “Meeting Hillary Clinton in like meeting the Queen of England,” he said.

A group of four British teenagers were also in line, unperturbed by the long wait. “We want to see her because she’s an inspirational woman. We really admire her success,” Bella Charlton said.

“I’ve been coming here for ages,” said Martha Meshoulam, “and Book?Hampton is the place to go. I want to support the bookstore and support printed books.”

Ms. Spektor was very pleased with the outcome of the event, and said “We are very honored that Secretary Clinton put us into her schedule. She came to a bookstore, and that says a lot.”

Ms. Spektor was notified that Mrs. Clinton would be coming to the store about six weeks ago, but said that she and her employees had “been crossing their fingers for over a year.” Preparations for the event went smoothly, in part because of help from the East Hampton Village police.

“Chief Larsen and Captain Tracey couldn’t have been kinder, and were enormously helpful, so that everyone would be safe and comfortable,” Ms. Spektor said.

Not everyone, though, was happy to see Mrs. Clinton in town. Ruth Vered, the owner of the Vered Gallery in the alley behind BookHampton, protested during the signing. Dressed in all black, she stood in front of Starbucks for the entirety of the event, holding a handmade sign that read “The Worst Sec of State.” Vered is Israeli, and holds dual citizenship in the United States and Israel. She was an Israeli paratrooper during the 1960s.

“Every move she made was bad,” Ms. Vered said. She is not someone I would want as a role model for my daughters.” She cited Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in Cairo and her relationship with her aide, Huma Abedin, as two of her biggest shortcomings. Ms. Abedin is married to Anthony Weiner, a former Democratic congressman. Ms. Vered was the only protester that day.

Howard Dean, a 2004 candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination and a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was spotted at the event and posed with Mrs. Clinton for a picture. (His mother has a house in East Hampton, and he is a frequent visitor.)

“I’ll wait forever for her to be president,” said Linda Fuller, a former English teacher at the East Hampton Middle School. “We need American women in power.”