The Hartstein family of Montauk—David and Heather, and their three young children, Shane, Devon and Logan—were like many American families, struggling with tough economic times and coping as best they could. The family was even participating in an HBO documentary about middle-class families who have been hardest hit hard by the recession. David Hartstein, a chiropractor, was 35 years old when he died on June 17 from the hantavirus, which he contracted after cleaning out the basement of his Montauk home.
Like millions of Americans, the Hartsteins took on a mortgage that they could not handle once the housing bubble collapsed. Bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings followed, despite the fact that David had a successful chiropractic practice in East Hampton and Montauk; but the winter months were too slow, as they are for many small business owners on the East End. Last year, their third child Shane was born with a rare genetic disease and almost died. Medical bills piled up. Then David’s mother almost died.
Heather was a former teacher at the East Hampton Middle School who stayed home to raise the children as David worked to build up his practice. The Hartsteins were deeply spiritual and extremely close knit.
On Friday, July 15, from 7 to 10 p.m., the community has been asked to attend a benefit for the Hartstein family at the Backyard Restaurant at Sole East in Montauk. The evening features a silent auction, raffle and music by D.J. Big Drop and Nancy Atlas and Friends. Enjoy “A Taste of Montauk & The Hamptons” with hors d’oeuvres provided by local restaurants and chefs. Tickets cost $50, $100, $250 or $500 and can be purchased at the door; in Montauk at Solé East, Martha Greene Real Estate or Homeport; and at Devlin McNiff Real Estate in East Hampton. 631-668-2105. If you cannot attend, checks can be sent to East End Foundation, P.O. Box 1746, Montauk 11954, and write “Hartstein” on the memo line of your check.