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Hamptons Life

Aug 23, 2010 12:56 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

At Home with Todd Rome

Aug 23, 2010 12:56 PM

Bridgehampton resident Todd Rome is flying high. Not only has the president of Blue Star Jets enjoyed sponsoring the annual six-week-long Mercedes-Benz Polo Challenge at Blue Star Jets Field in Bridgehampton, but his company will again be in the spotlight when the movie “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” premiers next month.

Blue Star—which fans of the original 1987 “Wall Street” movie might recall was the name of the fictional airline that Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas) tried to take over, break up and plunder the employee retirement fund—was formed by Mr. Rome and his partner, Chief Executive Officer Ricky Sitomer, in 2001. The friends and business partners met, appropriately, while working on Wall Street before they eventually formed their Manhattan-based charter jet business.

One of the more recent stories about Blue Star Jets getting so much exposure is that publicist Norah Lawlor ran into “Wall Street” director Oliver Stone at the Waverly Inn in Manhattan and told the director about how Mr. Rome and Mr. Sitomer paid homage to his movie by naming their company after the fictional airline. So, according to reports, Mr. Stone wrote Blue Star Jets into the film’s sequel and Blue Star will be the charter service for the East Coast and West Coast premiers of the movie.

Though Mr. Rome admitted to meeting Mr. Stone and cast members of the upcoming movie, he was fairly tight-lipped about most of his celebrity clientele.

“About a third of our business is triple-A stars and sports stars, a third are wealthy families and a third are C-level executives,” he said, before letting slip a few of his top memories with Blue Star. “We buried Bob Marley in Ethiopia, we helped with saving people in Haiti and there’s nothing like flying your favorite rock star.”

Though his primary residence is a townhouse on the Upper East Side, Mr. Rome isn’t a fly-by-night Hamptonite. He has been connected to the East End for the past 20-plus years. During an interview at his home in Bridgehampton, he explained how his East End property purchases have reflected where he was in life.

The first house he bought here was on Dune Road in Quogue more than 20 years ago when he was in his twenties.

“It was all about the clubs and beaches and young people back then,” he said of his decision to buy in the now sleepy village.

Later, he moved east to Duck Pond Lane in Southampton, where he lived for several years with his family. And then about three years ago, he settled into a traditional 10-year-old shingle-style home in Bridgehampton.

“I loved Quogue, I loved Southampton and I love Bridgehampton too ... It’s best for me in the end,” he said, adding that some of his favorite local spots are Bobby Van’s, Pierre’s, World Pie and Scott Cameron Beach in Bridgehampton.

When they aren’t hitting the local hot spots, the Rome family—wife, Vanessa, 13-year-old Jessica, 11-year-olds Skylar and Jack and 1-year-old Griffin—likes to relax at home most weekends and during the summertime, according to Mr. Rome. He said that the family most often congregates downstairs, which has a “nice, relaxed feeling.”

Mr. Rome said that he particularly loves the suburban feeling here on the East End and the basic things that come with country living, like sitting on the porch and reading the newspaper on Sunday mornings. He added that owning a private jet charter service has a significant perk when it comes to getting out to the family retreat: no sitting on the Long Island Expressway stuck in traffic for hours and hours.

“We’re here pretty much all summer. And when it’s just weekends, we’ll fly out on Thursday and fly back in on Monday morning,” he said.

The art-filled 7,000-square-foot house sits on a little more than an acre, with a pool and water views. The Rome home, which could be described as down-to-earth and comfortable Hamptons-style, is stocked with objects from around the world, including a tribal mask collection and unique lighting fixtures.

Though Mr. Rome confessed that he couldn’t take much credit for the interior decorating, he said that nonetheless he is pleased with the result.

“It’s my wife’s funky taste,” he said. “But I’d probably pick up about the same stuff.”

One thing that was crucial to him about the design of his home was the den/bar area, Mr. Rome said.

“You should always have a bar, a place to entertain,” he said. “A room that’s in the house but feels kind of like it’s not part of the house.”

The den definitely has a multi-culti/African vibe, which sets it apart from the other rooms in the house. The walls, though he’s not sure what the actual covering is made of, evoke a seagrass, rattan fabric feeling; the bar stools are reminiscent of African drums; and there is, of course, the impressive mask collection, hung on the walls and placed among the bottles at the bar.

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