In Memoriam: Richard Ekstract

Marianne Howatson remembers the founder of HC&G.

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In early August, we lost a visionary who defined taste, elegance, and innovation in the world of design publishing. Richard Ekstract, who founded HC&G (Hamptons Cottages & Gardens) in 2002, passed away at the age of 92.

More than two decades ago, at the urging of advertising guru Jay Chiat, Ekstract took on a challenge that would forever alter the landscape of design media. Chiat had lamented that the Hamptons, full of sophisticated people, had no design magazine, which sparked a revelation. A magazine was born, its title incorporating the tongue-in-cheek use of the word “cottages” (a nod to the summer cottages in Newport that housed the Vanderbilts, Whitneys, and Rockefellers), now deeply interwoven into our cultural DNA.

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The first edition of HC&G, the brainchild of publisher Richard Ekstract.

Richard Ekstract was not just a publisher. He understood the intersection of art, culture, and commerce and knew how to speak to an audience that appreciated the finer things in life, without sacrificing the playful spirit that has made HC&G so unique. His leadership transformed the magazine into a symbol of style and a touchstone for an entire community.

In 2009, I had the honor of purchasing HC&G (and sister publication CTC&G) from Richard. Although he seemed ambivalent about selling magazines that had become so much a part of him, he generously deeded a company that stood for excellence and editorial integrity. Recently dubbed the “Gold Standard” in Hamptons publishing, HC&G continues its legacy under Kendell Cronstrom, Editorial Director of HC&G and NYC&G (New York Cottages & Gardens), and Richard’s son Michael Ekstract has played a significant role in the evolution of our company as we have been transitioning from a print-centric entity to one that fully embraces modern technology, enabling us to communicate with our readers and our advertisers on multiple platforms.

Richard Ekstract created a publication that reflects not just the aesthetics, but also the essence of the Hamptons lifestyle, and his impact on design, publishing, and media innovation endures and thrives in our pages, our work, and our hearts.

The print version of this article appeared with the headline: Letter from the CEO.