Real Estate Roundtable: Here’s to Family, Health and the East End This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, a time to reflect on and share moments of gratitude great and small, has arrived. From special times with family and friends to the spectacular environs of the East End, local real estate insiders share what they are thankful for, living and working here in the Hamptons and on the North Fork.

“I’m thankful for being able to live in such a beautiful place while still being able to work productively for basically the whole time since mid-March. It’s been illuminating to see how everyone in our industry has pulled together to work together during such a difficult time. It’s also amazing to see how those from NYC and other areas have flocked to the East End in order to ride out the COVID storm, with many taking up permanent residence or making plans to do so. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. All of us in the Hampton real estate business and related industries certainly exemplify that old adage.” – Gary DePersia, Corcoran 

“We couldn’t possibly have a more beautiful backdrop to raise our kids than the East End. The sense of community here makes family life in the Hamptons so incredibly special. We are thankful and lucky to be surrounded by so much beautiful real estate and such a professional, thoughtful group of colleagues.” – Dawn & Frank Bodenchak, Sotheby’s International Realty

“As 2020 draws to a close, I am most grateful for calling the East End my home. When I sit out back at the end of each day and look across to Connecticut and Gardiner’s Island, I feel truly blessed. And morning coffee in my garden— heaven! I love, love, love my morning bike ride to the end of Gerard Drive, listening to ’50s music and singing out loud—not well, mind you—but there’s no one there to hear me. Best of all, the birth of my granddaughter, Ryana Alexandria Smith, has lit up my world in ways I have not felt in quite a while.” Judi Desiderio, Town & Country

“I have to say that, despite the obviously tumultuous times we have collectively experienced over the course of the last year, many things remain to be thankful for— the continued health of family and friends, the surprising ingenuity and ongoing collaborative spirit many of our colleagues in the industry have exhibited and the incredible locale that is the East End of Long Island, which provides an amazing backdrop within which to conduct business. We are truly blessed to be so busy in a time when much of the country is experiencing the polar opposite, and I personally feel obligated to work hard to accommodate as many clients as we can with that fact in mind.” – Christian Lipp, Compass

“In the past, a call from someone looking to buy or rent a house meant I was helping them to find a place where they could enjoy sun, fun and all that our great East End community offers. Over these past months, many of the calls took on a different meaning—people needed to find a place to work, homeschool their children and shelter in place. Being a part of the East End real estate community allowed me to help people to find that place and to adjust to our ‘new normal.’ It is a great feeling to be able to help people feel settled in such an unsettling time. And, of course, I am thankful that this special community where neighbors and strangers alike are always there to help one another is where I call home.” – Romaine Gordon, Saunders & Associates

“First of all, I am very thankful for my friends, family, colleagues, customers and clients’ good health and safety during the pandemic. The East End became a safe haven for those fleeing the chaos in the more densely populated areas to the west. I am thankful for being able to help those in need, find safety and shelter. For some of those people coming to the North Fork, it has been a life altering experience for the positive. I find it very gratifying to have been part of the process that has an impact like that.” – Thomas McCloskey, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

“We are both fortunate enough to have been born and raised on the East End. We are so grateful for the beauty surrounding us, that will continue to bring people joy even during uncertain times. We love seeing others adore our community as much as we do. The East End is a special place, and we are thankful we get to help people find their piece of serenity here. There’s nothing like it!” – Kim & Rick Slater, Sotheby’s International Realty

“Thanksgiving is all about gratitude for one’s blessings. While 2020 has personally been a challenging year for me, I have so much to be thankful for! Professionally, I’m grateful to be enjoying the blessings of the abundance of home sales this year (and all the wonderful new buyers and sellers I’m meeting because of it). I’m grateful that, despite how competitive the real estate business can be, I’m part of a caring and tight-knit community of local brokers who care for each other and want each other to succeed. On a personal level, I’m thankful to be living on the East End, surrounded by the beauty of nature, sunsets, the ocean and bays. At the height of COVID, my family thanked the front-line workers at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital by providing meals several times. As a board member of the Westhampton Rotary Club, I helped distribute “thank you” meals to our local ambulance workers and nursing home staff in our community. My final “thank you” goes to Saunders & Associates because we have the best management, agents and support staff out there (and also a growing GoFundMe page to benefit local food pantries at this time of year). In my book, there’s definitely more joy in giving than receiving.” – Aimee Fitzpatrick Matrin, Saunders & Associates

This feature appeared in the Behind The Hedges November 2020 edition.

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