There is a specter haunting the Hamptons — one that’s turning some of the priciest properties in the country into fortresses equipped with bulletproof glass, weaponry and panic rooms.
“I sleep with a gun underneath my pillow: a Walther PPK/S, the same one James Bond carried,” said John Catsimatidis, owner of Red Apple Group and Gristedes Foods, who has a vacation property in East Quogue. “[My wife] Margo prefers a shotgun. Although, once, she thought she heard something, got the shotgun out and shot through the door.”
The billionaire and his family, like others in the Hamptons, are shaken up over concerns that the vicious Salvadorian gang MS-13 is too close for comfort.
One Southampton homeowner, who requested to remain anonymous for security reasons, recently outfitted her East End manse with bulletproof glass and hidden cameras throughout.
“[MS-13 is] in Suffolk County,” she said. “What’s an hour car ride? They are near.”
She’s not alone in her concern. “The home-security business is very event- and news-driven,” said Gary Blum, president of Armored Entry, a company that installs bullet-proof, super-secure windows and doors. “We get business when there is a tremendous amount of fear being generated.”
Blum’s products aren’t cheap, starting at $6,000 for a single window “that you can beat with a sledgehammer without making a dent.”
But the high price might actually be a selling point.
“The big thing [with homeowners] in the Hamptons is that if somebody has it, they [all] want it,” said Chris Cosban, a Long Island contractor who installs panic rooms in the area’s mansions. His company, Covert Interiors, charges between $25,000 and $200,000 for a standard space. (High-tech add-ons, such as fingerprint recognition, cost extra.) “There is a wow factor,” he said. “They like to brag about it.”
At the core of Trumpism is the desire to separate the marks from their money. And it’s really easy since they want to give it away to anyone who can stoke their fears.