Downturn hits vacation enclave of New York elite

Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:19pm EST
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By Julie Haviv

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Just months after he was ousted from Lehman Brothers, Joseph Gregory put his mansion in tony Bridgehampton on the market for $32.5 million.

The former president of the sinking investment bank could not have picked a worse time.

The Hamptons, a summer vacation playground for New York's financial and celebrity elite, are being hit hard as Wall Street power houses like Lehman and Bear Stearns succumb to the financial crisis.

According to a report by Douglas Elliman, real estate prices fell 11.1 percent in the third quarter in the Hamptons, an exclusive section on the eastern tip of Long Island, less than 100 miles from New York City.

According to Gregory's real estate agent, he and his wife are selling because they spent little time there after purchasing and upgrading the posh property two years ago.

But the Gregorys are not the only Wall Streeters opting out of the Hamptons as the financial markets crumble.

The financial sector has announced 220,506 job cuts so far this year, the most of any industry, according to a recent report by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

In November alone, there were 91,356 job cuts announced, the report showed. Citigroup has said it plans to eliminate a whopping 52,000 jobs, while Bank of America has said it will cut 35,000, with some of the job losses expected to be in New York.   Continued...