In the Press


The Bond Street Boys
Let the East End Scramble Begin! It's January, which means that time is fleeting for anyone who wants to reserve a spot in the posh Hamptons and environs for the summer. John Catsimatidis, the chief executive of Red Apple Group, which owns the Gristede's supermarket chain, has secured his summer with the recent purchase of a 5,000-square-foot home in East Quogue for $7 million. Situated on two and a half acres, the two-story contemporary residence includes four bedrooms and four baths. Of course, $7 million is a drop in the bucket for Mr. Catsimatidis, who began his career as a grocery clerk and is worth more than a few hundred million. Yet, despite his ample wealth, Mr. Catsimatidis wasn't looking to show off, like so many other boldface names lounging on sprawling Hamptons estates. "My wife talked me into buying a bigger house," said Mr. Catsimatidis, who admits being perfectly content with the "little house we bought 20 years ago" near Westhampton Beach. (Incidentally, he has no immediate plans to put the smaller residence on the market, despite the luxurious new digs.) "We looked at it Labor Day weekend, and we both liked it," he continued. "My wife said, ‘You're not getting any younger. When are you going to pull the trigger?' A cold sweat fell over my face. I said, ‘You're right—I'm not getting any younger." Although initially hesitant to buy, the 57-year-old executive is still very pleased with the large East Quogue residence. "It has full, unobstructed views of the ocean and bay," he said. "When you look at the view, it makes you glad you're alive." Not surprisingly, his broker agrees. "John Catsimatidis bought a fabulous oceanfront compound," said Ron Scala, the chief executive of Scala Properties, by phone from Acapulco. "I am more like a headhunter than a broker," Mr. Scala added. He had the exclusive listing for only three days before bringing Mr. Catsimatidis to take a look at the property. "I've known John from being in the same social set as him," said Mr. Scala. "Many of my friends are acquaintances of his—from the yacht club to the charity events." Apparently, Mr. Scala knew just what Mr. Catsimatidis might want, but he also sees some improvements on the horizon. "It will be 9,500 square feet when he finishes the renovation—expanding it, and upgrading it," said Mr. Scala. And with all that interior space, Mr. Catsimatidis will have plenty of room to entertain—or possibly to hold a few political fund-raisers, as he has in the past for pals like the Clintons. A consistent critic of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mr. Catsimatidis flirted with the idea of running for Mayor himself a couple years ago. Considering that self-financed campaigns appear to be on the rise, perhaps Mr. Catsimatidis will be ready to try and take over Gracie Mansion in 2009.