Power Broker: John Catsimatidis, NY Billionaire Businessman

John Catsimatidis, Photo: Courtesy Catsimatidis
John Catsimatidis, Photo: Courtesy Catsimatidis

John Catsimatidis is among the most iconic names in New York business, spending his time between the Hamptons and Manhattan. With a diverse portfolio of business investments ranging from grocery stores to real estate to the new-found love of media, Catsimatidis is among the “Who’s Who” of New York City—and might just be a leading fusion-candidate for mayor.

Catsimatidis’s business in many ways is a family affair, employing his two children, Andrea and John Jr., who serve in an array of management roles with Red Apple Group, Inc., which oversees the Catsimatidis empire in real estate, finance, insurance, energy and much more. Margo, John’s wife, runs the Catsimatidis Family Foundation and dedicates her time to philanthropic endeavors. The Catsimatidis family is known, in many ways, as the quintessential Manhattanites.

A Greek-American immigrant whose success is the embodiment of the American Dream, he resides with Margo in an apartment on New York’s Fifth Avenue. However, like many New Yorkers, their time in New York since the coronavirus pandemic has been limited, to put it mildly.

“Since the dawn of COVID-19, my wife and I have done no traveling abroad or across the United States. We have limited ourselves to enjoying our summer home, a Hamptons beach house in East Quogue,” Catsimatidis says.

“The Hamptons are a wonderful place to spend the warmer months, but we found ourselves becoming more and more comfortable on Long Island’s East End as the air begins to chill.” According to recent estimates, more than 15,000 apartments in New York City are dormant or empty, which has led many in real estate, retail business, restaurants and corporate buildings to question, will the city ever recover? But not so fast, says Catsimatidis, who is not packing up his life in the heart of the Big Apple for a full-time residence in the beach-town beauty of the Hamptons.

“New York City is more than just a city, it’s an international icon, itself a living organism that serves as not only the business heartbeat of America but the globe,” says Catsimatidis.

“The city that never sleeps will revive and thrive. Just as soon as it heals from this global pandemic, it will come back stronger.” He’s even brought some city to the Hamptons, having purchased iconic radio station WLIR, once owned by fellow Hamptonite Paul Simon, which has now been equipped to simulcast WABC 770 AM, which was purchased by Catsimatidis in 2019.

“When I first came out here, I realized that the WABC signal was lousy, which meant that tens of thousands of year-round listeners needed to head west to listen to our radio programs.  With Suffolk being one of the most conservative, Republican areas of the country, they are the exact audience that would love our new programs, hosted by icons like ‘America’s Mayor’ Rudy Giuliani, Curtis Sliwa, Brian Kilmeade and Bill O’Reilly.  I am certain that talk radio has a long life to live in the Hamptons and eastward.”

While the city, state, and nation continue to change from the coronavirus pandemic, and city-dwellers find full-time refuge in Long Island’s East End, one thing will stay the same: John Catsimatidis is a powerbroker from NYC’s Fifth Ave to Southampton’s Main Street, and everywhere in between.

Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and Associate Publisher at Dan’s Papers.

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