Perennial Real Housewife of New York City Ramona Singer, 58, celebrated the publication of her first memoir Life on the Ramona Coaster last week with a Ramona Pinot Grigio® branded party. The event was held at Beautique, a restaurant and nightclub on the Upper East Side and the site of so much RHONYC season seven “drama.” When we arrived 30 full New York minutes late at 6:30 p.m., the scene resembled a wake: a dozen-odd people, nearly all wearing black, were quietly milling around near the entrance, ignoring a disappointing spread of crudités and two life-size portraits of an unblinking Ramona.
The morbid vibe felt appropriate, considering how dark Ramona’s book really is. The pitch Gawker received via email (Subj.: INVITAION [sic]: Real Housewife of New York Launches New Book atBeautique [sic]) sums it up thusly:
In this alternately heart-wrenching and hilarious memoir, Ramona offers readers a look at her dysfunctional childhood, her parents’ abusive relationship, her inspiring journey of renewal, and opens up for the first time about the events surrounding the tragic collapse of her twenty-year marriage.
Early on in the memoir, readers learn that Ramona’s alcoholic father casually beat her mother when he drank, and that a young Ramona once pulled a kitchen knife on him to intervene. Also, that ex-Housewife Jill Zarin allegedly almost ruined Ramona’s chance to be the Bravo star she was destined to become.
When we showed up to fête Ramona’s work and possibly ask her a few questions about it, a publicist directed us to the bar to try a glass of Ramona Pinot Grigio® or the evening’s signature cocktail, a Ramona Coaster. We took a seat in the purple-lit booth where Sonja once picked up a teen on camera and John the Cleaner Man surely cheated on Dorinda in that one episode. Memories!
Allie: The Ramona Coaster cocktail was very bad.
Gabrielle: It was pretty good, as far as cough medicine goes.
Allie: They really did nail the exact taste of like, Dimetapp. The Ramona Pinot Grigio® on the other hand—this I was excited to try. There were at least four different tasting notes about it on the cocktail menu...crisp, fruity, tastes great first thing in the morning, something like that. My note: not bad. What did you think?
Gabrielle: I was pleasantly surprised by the Ramona Pinot, which we all know is the real star of the Real Housewives of New York City. I’d rate the bouquet “generally inoffensive,” and I have to confess, by the second glass it was actually pretty good? Plus it paired really well with the passed hors d’oeuvres: pigs in a blanket sourced from (I’m guessing) the Costco region.
Allie: I did notice that early in the evening, Ramona ordered someone (her assistant? a random partygoer?) to get her two glasses of Ramona Pinot from the bar. I do not want to start a RUMOR about Ramona, but to my knowledge, she did not offer the second glass to anyone else.
Gabrielle: Let’s not cause DRAMA at Ramona’s event.
Allie: I wish there was more drama at this party. Though more (non-reality TV) housewives eventually showed up to fill the space, the vibe was very, “I chartered a heli from the Hamptons for this?” Everyone looked expensive and bored. I think we were the only women not wearing heels.
Gabrielle: I think we were also the only women to take a book (or maybe even two books, not naming any names) from the presumably free book table. And maybe we were the only women to have fun?
Allie: Well, one party guest seemed to be having fun, at least. She fell into our booth while you were in the bathroom.
Gabrielle: Must have been nice.
Allie: Then she grabbed a random drink off the table and asked me, sincerely, “Is this mine?” I said I didn’t think so, but she tried it anyway. This was at about 7 p.m.
Gabrielle: To be clear, the woman in this particular situation was older and definitely not me. I cannot say the same for the blogger who stole your drink later in the evening.
Allie: I asked her how she knew Ramona and she said, “Oh, we met in Aspen years ago.” First of all: same. Second of all: what a literary crowd. And I can’t believe more Real Housewives didn’t show up! No pity visit from Bethenny? No Sonja?
Gabrielle: Only one other Real Housewife attended: Luann, who came with or at the same time as Andy Cohen. These devils arrived very late and rudely interrupted your incredible, short ride on the Ramona Coaster.
Allie: I thought that after being abandoned by her closest TV friends, Ramona might be happy to see me, but I was wrong.
Gabrielle: I was too busy creepshotting you from four feet away to hear what went down—what exactly did she say to you? It looked very animated.
Allie: At first she said nothing. When I approached her and introduced myself as a Gawker reporter, she gave me the eyes. You know the eyes.
Gabrielle: I could see the eyes from where I was standing. She gave you a look like a deer in the Berkshires headlights, holding a knife in its deer teeth, ready to charge.
Allie: I would not call the reception warm. When I asked if I could ask her a couple questions about her book, she gave me a firm “no.”
Gabrielle: What! Why?
Allie: Because Andy Cohen was coming!!!!!! She explained, “Andy—you know Andy Cohen, from Bravo?—Andy is going to be here in five minutes so I don’t really have time right now.”
Gabrielle: Sounds like she had five minutes?
Allie: Exactly. And of course I know who Andy Cohen from Bravo is. Anyone at that party who was not familiar with Andy Cohen was lost. But that was not the craziest thing Ramona said to me.
Gabrielle: Please, please, please tell me the craziest thing Ramona said to you.
Allie: She just yelled her personal cell phone number at me! But I think she was tricking me, because she said it so quickly that I did not have time to write it down, and then she did not repeat it. Then she asked if I knew Sandra.
Gabrielle: Did you?
Allie: No, but I said yes out of nerves. We’ll never know who Sandra is. Sandra, if you are out there: please tell me Ramona’s cell phone number again (slowly). Ramona also tried to give me her assistant’s email address, but by that point someone was tapping her on the shoulder to remind her that Andaaayy Cohennnn was commaannnggg. You had much better luck with her, however.
Gabrielle: Yes, when I reminded her of the time we once met in the Hamptons, she offered me a kiss on the cheek (which I graciously accepted). I only wish the Patrick McMullan photographer who was holding a live baby (??) under one arm all night had captured that tender moment.
Allie: I forgot about the baby. Why was that man holding a baby while doing his job? Lean In, I guess. But that sweet baby should not have had to bear witness to the evening’s events.
Gabrielle: The baby had to watch Ramona pose for so many photos with teens.
Allie: Her daughter Avery’s friends, I hope. This party was all teens and older women experiencing similar states of intoxication. And Andy Cohen. I think he and Luann stayed for five minutes?
Gabrielle: Maybe six.
Allie: I wish Ramona would have read from her book. My favorite line: “Having located the bottle opener, I poured myself a glass of Pinot Grigio and tried to relax.” Musical.
Gabrielle: I wish Ramona would have declared the evening “Turtle Time.”
Allie: After Ramona rejected me I was really ready to get off the Ramona Coaster and away from the drama. When I stepped out onto the street it was still light out. Was I even there? I imagine that’s what it feels like to wake up from a Ramona Pinot Grigio®-induced blackout.
Gabrielle: I stayed a little later, curious if anything interesting might happen. It didn’t. The pigs in a blanket were pretty good though. When I left, Ramona was doing interviews with much more reputable outlets like E! News.