The Hamptons: Where Billionaires Meet Celebrities

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Longhouse Reserve
Article and Photos: Lieba Nesis

Southhampton Town
Mike Bloomberg, George Soros, the late David Koch, Ken Griffin, Leon Black, Steve Cohen, Barry Rosenstein, Bill Ackman, Michael Milken, Mort Zuckerman, Steve Schwarzman, Howard Marks, Steven Spielberg, Ralph Lauren, Dave Tepper, Ron Perelman, John Paulson, John Catsimatidis, Daniel Loeb, George Soros, Daniel Och, David Geffen, Martin Gruss, Jonathan Tisch, Stanley Druckenmiller, Richard Lefrak, Ron Lauder, Howard Schultz, Ron Baron, William Clay Ford, Stewart Rahr, Francis Greenburger, Henry Kravis, Stephen Ross, Carl Icahn and Ira Rennert are just a few of the billionaires who reside in the Hamptons.
Mansion in East Hampton

There are a total of 630 billionaires in the United States-making it safe to assume a staggering one tenth maintain homes in the Hamptons. Nearly every modern day president holds a fundraiser in the Hamptons with Trump’s recent John Paulson gathering collecting over $4 million in an hour- with ticket prices a quarter of a million dollars apiece.  Celebrities are similarly drawn to the enclave with renters Rihanna, and Justin Bieber joining homeowners Beyonce, JLo, Gwyneth and Alec this summer.  Jay-Z  and CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, were spotted this Thursday, August 20th,  strolling in East Hampton while dozens of security walked nearby.  What better place to make plans to take over the world then the Hamptons?  Beyonce was simultaneously seen exiting a helicopter in New York for a quick business meeting before heading back to her $26 million summer home in East Hampton.  Celebrities have always been part of the Hamptons landscape, with Jackie Kennedy and her family choosing to summer in East Hampton in the 1930’s.

East Hampton Mansion

Why is the Hamptons such an attractive choice for those with endless options?Firstly and primarily,  its’ easy access to New York makes it an undeniable favorite.  Hedge funders who toil in their Wall Street offices can hop on a helicopter Fridayafternoon and arrive at the helipad in Southampton’s Meadow Lane in 35 minutes.   CEO of Time Equities, Francis Greenburger, who controls over 32 million square feet of global Real Estate, recently confided despite owning homes all over the world there is a privacy and tranquility his beach house in Quogue provides with speed limits of 25 miles per hour and the sound of crashing waves part of its appeal.

Southampton Beach

In March, when the pandemic was raging, helicopter service Blade fetched quarantine necessities from New York to East Hampton for items such as clothing, food, textbooks, and computers for its treasured clientele.  Newport, Nantucket, Fire Island and the Hudson Valley are all significantly more difficult to get to and don’t have the infrastructure to cater to the super wealthy.  Moreover, the Hamptons allows for unmatched privacy with multimillion dollar houses hidden behind hedges or significant acreage-making it nearly impossible to glimpse occupants.  There are many who stay huddled in their homes where massive tennis courts, pools and beach access allow them to enjoy the summer months without having to venture too far.  It was recently reported that Julia Koch, worth an estimated $44 billion, rarely leaves her $20 million mansion on Southampton’s Billionaire Lane because of the pandemic.

Donna Karan at Longhouse Reserve Benefit

Everyone knows that celebrities and moguls talk a big game about helping the less fortunate, but when it comes to socializing they prefer to interact with their own.  There is no better place to do that then the Hamptons.  One will rarely, if ever, see Mike Bloomberg or Leon Black heading to restaurant 75 Main in Southampton Village for pasta.  These guys do it the right way-private dinner parties at a fellow billionaire’s house.  The exclusivity of the evenings are so guarded that picture taking and cell phone usage are strictly prohibited-don’t ask don’t tell is the motto.  As Hampton hotel prices soar, with a starting point of six hundred dollars, and beach access and dining become more expensive; the Hamptons has become a playground limited to the rich and well to do-a significant plus for those treasuring selectivity.

Southampton Hospital Gala

Another significant attraction during pre-pandemic days was the immense social calendar allowing one to participate in dozens of charitable happenings throughout the summer.  Fall in New York, Palm Beach in the Winter and the Hamptons in the Summer-that’s the desired circuit of those in the know.  The bars, clubs and exciting night scene allow moguls and their children to be continually occupied.  Let’s not forget the dozens of exclusive private clubs such as The Maidstone, The Southampton Beach Club or The Meadow where business deals are closed and lifelong friendships forged with those fortunate enough to be granted membership-a hundred person waiting list is not uncommon.

Billionaires Mike Milken and Leon Wagner at Cancer Gala in Southampton

If sports is your thing, there are dozens of tennis and golf facilities that provide instruction and highly manicured settings.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the art scene with galleries and museums such as the Parrish and Longhouse Reserve conducting lectures and tours on a regular basis-before Covid.  Now that coronavirus has become a frightening reality many are establishing permanent residence in the Hamptons where cell phone towers and schools are becoming unduly strained.  Is this a fleeting trend or is it possible one percenters may set up shop for the indefinite future?  Hard to tell-however, the undeniable allure of this treasure in the South Fork shows no signs of abating anytime soon.