Connecting state and local government leaders
A roundup of celebrities and politicians who headed south to the Sunshine State.
This article was first published by Route Fifty partner publication City & State Florida.
When City & State launched its Florida operation earlier this year, it followed a well-traveled path from the Empire State to the Sunshine State.
Many notable New Yorkers have moved to Florida, including hedge fund billionaires, superstar athletes and a certain former U.S. president. It’s not just celebrities, either. More than 1.6 billion residents of Florida were born in New York, according to 2020 census data, and these transplants now make up nearly 8% of the state’s population. The coronavirus pandemic saw even more New Yorkers fleeing there.
The trend is a hot political topic both in New York, where some politicians have blamed the outmigration on the weather, and in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis has asserted that New York is in a fiscal “tailspin” as taxes and regulations “repel people to leave their state.”
Others argue that New York expats who fled to Florida will be flocking back home, in response to the hurricanes, floods and skyrocketing insurance rates. Democrats have taken the opportunity to attack DeSantis over rising housing costs that they say has made Florida as costly as New York. Even New York City Mayor Eric Adams is getting in on the act, calling on expats in Florida to “bring your butt back to New York.”
Related coverage: Too high: Rents, home prices blowing up in Miami-Dade County
Yet many are staying put, enjoying the sand, the sun and the lack of a state income tax. Here’s a rundown of New Yorkers now spending some – or all – of their time in Florida.
In 2019, then-President Donald Trump changed his residency from New York City to his resort in Palm Beach. While Trump’s business headquarters remains in Manhattan, many of his political activities have been carried out at his Mar-a-Lago Club. While the former president is in the political spotlight in Florida, he has to share it with DeSantis, who could become Trump’s most formidable 2024 presidential primary rival.
Jared Kushner & Ivanka Trump
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, reportedly purchased a $24 million mansion in Surfside last year. The couple, which rented a home in Washington, D.C. while serving in the Trump administration, are “really just settling into normal life and really enjoying it,” a family friend told People magazine earlier this year. Ivanka Trump once lived in an apartment in her father’s Trump Park Avenue building.
In 2020, the investor Carl Icahn reportedly moved his business from Fifth Avenue to Florida, leasing a 23,463-square-foot office at the Milton Tower in Sunny Isles Beach. The billionaire, who founded Icahn Capital Management, already owned a home in Miami’s Indian Creek Village Island.
Another billionaire Wall Street titan, Paul Singer, moved his hedge fund offices from midtown Manhattan to West Palm Beach in 2020 during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Singer reportedly opted to stay in the Northeast at the time, however, and kept some Elliott Management employees in New York.
Jennifer Lopez & Alex Rodriguez
The famous actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, who grew up in the Bronx, was until last year part of a power couple with Alex Rodriguez, the former Yankees slugger. The pair, which has since split up, owned a $32.5 million mansion in Miami Beach.
Another Bronx Bomber who headed south after his playing days ended is former Yankee great Derek Jeter. Jeter, who grew up in New Jersey and Michigan, ended his Hall of Fame career in 2014. In 2017, he became a minority owner and CEO of the Miami Marlins, a position he stepped down from earlier this year.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Any number of Florida politicians were born or raised in New York. Among the most prominent is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was born in Forest Hills, Queens, and raised on Long Island. She studied at the University of Florida, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1988 and a master’s degree in 1990, and has served in Congress since 2005. She live in Weston and represents portions of Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Other Florida congressional representatives with New York roots include Rep. Byron Donalds, who was raised in Brooklyn, and Rep. Lois Frankel, who was born in New York City.
Lori Berman, Tina Polsky & Victor Torres Jr.
Among the members of the Florida Senate with New York roots are Lori Berman, Tina Polsky and Victor Torres Jr. Berman and Torres were born in New York City, while Polsky was born in the hamlet of Merrick on Long Island.
Mike Beltran, Blaise Ingoglia, Anika Omphroy & Daniel Perez
Florida is such a transient place that in the state House of Representatives, some members list the year they moved to the state. Members who arrived from New York include Rep. Mike Beltran, a Lithia Republican; Blaise Ingoglia, a Spring Hill Republican; Rep. Anika Omphroy, a Central Broward Democrat and congressional candidate; and Rep. Daniel Perez, a Miami Republican. All four were born in New York City.
James Altucher is not exactly a household name, but his essay about “temporarily, although maybe permanently” relocating from New York City to South Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic struck a nerve. The piece, which posited that “NYC IS DEAD,” prompted comedian Jerry Seinfeld to pen a piece in The New York Times in which he pledged that he “will never abandon New York City” – a take that then spurred its own backlash.