Look over at the table next to you at La Parmigiana and the Southampton eatery just might provide a little unexpected dinner theater. That is, if Craig Carton and family happen to be there.
“Even though I’m 46 years old and could buy dinner, my father still likes to order for everyone,” says Carton, who alongside NFL legend Boomer Esiason has made WFAN 660’s Boomer & Carton the top sports-radio talk show in New York. “‘I want the linguine and clams.’ ‘You don’t want the linguine and clams.’ ‘No, I really do, and I’m going to get it.’ ‘No you’re not, you’ll have the meatballs.’”
Carton grew up in New Rochelle but his family laid the foundation for the shtick and their Hamptons ties during yearly visits when he was a kid, staying across the street from the then Lobster Inn, playing at Coopers Beach and soaking up summer. Decades later, Carton and his own kids return here to visit his parents, who now have their own place in Southampton. But when he comes out here on August 8, it’s to host a bigger get together—Hanging in the Hamptons, the first East End event for his Tic Top Stop Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of kids with Tourette Syndrome.
The private Sag Harbor residence of Marlowe and Eric Bamburger will host the night of food, drink, a backyard concert by Edwin McCain (“I’ll Be”) and, with the irrepressible Carton on hand, a guaranteed good time raising money and awareness for the foundation, which started nearly three years ago from a very personal place. Two of Carton’s four children have Tourette’s, as does Carton himself, and “selfishly, I want my kids to stop ticing and twitching. You take away the radio, take away everything else, I’m just a father who wants the best for his kids.”
And others like them, who need advocates, somebody fighting to find treatments and, one day, a cure. “We put together the foundation to raise money to do two things: One, investigate if we actually could create a product—noninvasive, nonpharmaceutical—that would help kids with tics and twitches associated with Tourette’s. Because what happens is, with most of the drugs they give, your kids become zombies, and I had no interest in that whatsoever.”
The foundation wound up developing a mouthpiece similar to one you’d use for sleep apnea or TMJ, which they have found to help control tics to varying degrees in children who use one. They have a patent pending, and research being closely followed by the FCC. “We’re in the middle of a half-million dollar study at the University of Tennessee, and it’s the single most comprehensive clinical study ever done on Tourette’s. For a hundred years they’ve known Tourette’s exists, they don’t know what causes it, there’s 25 different genes that are involved, they don’t know what does what, and then we kind of come along, a little seat-or-your-pants action, and we come up with this mouthpiece that works. It doesn’t cure Tourette’s, it doesn’t make Tourette’s disappear, but it makes life better for people with it.”
Monies raised by Tic Top Stop also support Camp Carton, a one-week sleep-away camp where every child has Tourette’s. “We underwrite every penny of it, and they get to experience what sleep-away camp is like without having to worry about the kid next door looking at him funny,” Carton says. “We’re self-funded, we have no grants—though…” pause for effect and a smile, “we certainly would like one.”
Hanging in the Hamptons will certainly provide another step in that direction, but also a chance for his family to come out to the East End and enjoy what they love about summer here, in Southampton in particular.
“We go to Coopers Beach—I still go into that food boardwalk barefoot, which bothers people,” he says, laughing. “The movie theater when it rains. We went for the first time last year to CMEE—that wasn’t there when I grew up, that was cool. The Southampton Inn has a great restaurant in the basement—we go there, too. And there’s nothing like walking in Southampton. My wife likes to go to Scoop and every other store there, and I like getting my ice cream with hot fudge, so it’s all good.”
Dan’s Papers is a media sponsor of Hanging in the Hamptons. For more information on Tic Top Stop and the Hanging in the Hamptons with Edwin McCain event on Saturday, August 8,