John Catsimatidis

John Catsimatidis, chairman and CEO of Red Apple Group.

John Catsimatidis

Chairman and CEO at Red Apple Group

John Catsimatidis
By November 3, 2023 10:00 AM

How much longer can this go on?

I am hoping that with COVID and conditions in New York City, there is a marked improvement around Jan. 1, 2022. (Our sales in our Gristedes grocery stores have increased by about 20 percent since schools reopened during September and people have returned to the five boroughs.) The extension of COVID into the summer and fall has been driven by fear and laziness. People have not wanted to return to their jobs on-site.

What does normal look like now?

New York City is about 70 to 80 percent what we considered normal in 2019. People have to feel safe from COVID. When an oral vaccine gets introduced and everyone can easily take it, this will be a major step. Likewise, people have to feel safe from crime, confident they will not be a victim or suffer losses.

If you could go back in time to March 2020, what’s the first thing you would do?

Short the stock market. The stock market suffered an enormous drop because of COVID and fear. New York City practically closed down. I would have sold off right away.

What do you do now that you never did before 2020?

Take into account a fear factor which now dominates all New Yorkers.

What’s the biggest threat to the return to normal?

Politicians who have become intimidated and scared of the socialist and woke movements. This has compromised their ability to govern. They are fixated on the demands of these people instead of carrying out mainstream policies. These politicians are afraid of being challenged by the socialist and woke people in the next election.

Is now the time to buy, or sell?

It is time to buy — at the right price! In real estate I always look for location, location, location. I am concerned about the future and values of commercial real estate. More business is being done through digital, electronic, streaming [and] less destination travel [is] required for meetings. On stocks, I am particularly interested in the potential of medical/health sector companies.

You’re suddenly named the 58th governor of the Empire State. What do you do about the eviction moratorium?

I have already proposed to the new governor: If there is a legitimate basis to prevent evicting someone, allow the landlords to deduct the rental lease income from their real estate taxes. New York state has $2.7 billion in federal aid earmarked for eviction relief, which in large measure has not yet been distributed. Use that money to pay back New York City to cover the deductions the landlords will take on their property taxes. This becomes an efficient, simple process and solution.

Lightning Round

Eric Adams or Curtis Sliwa?

Both are pro-safe streets, both are pro-business. May the best person win!

Last time you got on an airplane, what was your destination?


What vax did you get?


Your go-to takeout?

I have been enjoying takeout Chinese food!

Where does your patience wear thinnest — evictions or anti-vaxxers?

My patience wears thin on both evictions and anti-vaxxers. And, socialists and woke people who want to radicalize our way of life in America.