A Wedding in Vardinoyiannisport

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Enter the Greek shipping tycoon. Seventeen days late and half a world away, Rory Kennedy’s marriage to Mark Bailey went off privately and without fanfare on Monday night. The refuge? Not the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport anymore – too haunted – but the Vardinoyiannis compound in Ekali, a suburb of Athens, an estate that not only subsumes an entire block but is most helpfully surrounded by a nine-foot wall. All courtesy of Vardis Vardinoyiannis, whose wife knows the bride’s aunt, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, from a few Special-Olympics bake sales, and all impenetrable to a ravenous press which had to settle for tidbits like "the sounds of Frank Sinatra music and the clinking of glasses could be heard coming from inside the compound." (Associated Press). The bittersweet Baileys then sailed off for a honeymoon cruise on the Vardinoyiannis yacht (unconfirmed) and were never heard from again.

With Jackie it was Aristotle Onassis who could offer shelter, an insular combination of great wealth and Mediterranean escape routes. Now, with another generation, it is Vardinoyiannis. What is it about Greek shipping tycoons? The breed is conspicuous to Americans as caricature, all pinky rings and suntans, all echoes of Ari and his pals. But as individuals, they somehow remain indistinct, without celebrity, and so a royally scrutinized clan like the Kennedys can visit, take the sweet sea airs, and have opulence and privacy at the same address. If it is not always good to be a Kennedy, the solace can be spectacular.