The pandemic-driven New York to Florida pipeline, an oft-told story of people fleeing the Big Apple, now includes two stars in their respective industries who found new homes — and business opportunities — in Naples.
One is Dr. Irene Gladstein, an oculoplastic surgeon with a prominent New York City practice focusing on facial aesthetics and eyelids. The other is Broadway actress and soprano singer Glory Crampton, with stage credits ranging from Phantom of the Opera to My Fair Lady.
Both Gladstein and Crampton, independently of each other, have vacationed in Naples with family over the years. “Naples is our happy place,” Gladstein says of her family, which has been vacationing in Southwest Florida since 2015.
‘My fellow artists and myself had to figure out to reinvent ourselves and recalibrate our careers.’ Glory Crampton, Project 9
Crampton came down to Naples from New York right before the pandemic to visit her mom and hasn’t returned. “My fellow artists and myself had to figure out to reinvent ourselves and recalibrate our careers,” Crampton says.
Crampton has since picked up some singing gigs, including work for the Naples Winter Wine Festival and private events in Fort Myers. With Broadway dark, Crampton also dug into her entrepreneurial side with a venture called Project 9. It’s a 15-minute music video that reconnects the Broadway cast from the Tony award-winning musical Nine, which Crampton starred in.
Crampton produced the video, filmed and recorded separately from quarantined homes, using advanced iPhone technology. In many cases Crampton flew to people’s homes and recorded parts in person, mostly from July through September. (Nine, with book by Arthur Kopit and music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, is an adaptation of “The Italian” by Mario Fratti.)
Project 9, released in April, was well received in the Broadway press and musical theatre community, and won a 2020 Gold Telly Award for best music video, among other honors. “I’m really proud of it,” Crampton says.
Crompton, who recorded a 2017 Ted Talk on how she reframed and overcame a bout of mid-career stage fright, plans to stay in Southwest Florida, at least in the short term. “I will look for opportunities in Naples,” says Crompton a life-long New Yorker, born and raised on Long Island. “As an actor and singer this is a great place to live.”
Gladstein, meanwhile, six months pregnant at the onset of the pandemic, had planned to fly to Naples with her family for spring break in March 2020. Instead, the Gladstein family, including Gladstein’s parents, a nanny, her husband and the couple’s two children, 13 and seven, drove to Naples. “That was quite the car ride,” she quips.
Gladstein was in the process of opening a third location for her medical practice — ranked No. 16 in NewBeauty magazine’s Top 50 list of female cosmetic surgeons — in New York in early 2020. She instead turned her focus to Naples, where, in late May, she opened a location under her Project Glammers brand. In addition to upper eyelid surgery and a scar-less lower lid surgery, the practice offers a suite of noninvasive procedures, including skin rejuvenation, skin tightening, laser hair removal and body contouring. In New York she had some 30 employees over the two offices, one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn.
Gladstein was born and raised in Europe and studied fine arts and the history of antiquities at New York University before attending NYU’s medical school. Her medical discipline, she says, allows her to combine her passion for art and beauty with health care. “I absolutely love what I do,” she says.
Gladstein chose a prime location for her Naples expansion, in the Hoffman building in the center of tony Fifth Avenue South. She spent at least $100,000 renovating the space, she says, and plans to add more equipment and sculpting machines in the coming months. While Gladstein won’t shutter her New York locations and will still see patients there, Naples, she says, is the future of her business. “We made a big investment. It’s a humongous expense, but I think it’s worth it,” Gladstein says. “We wanted to make it special and make it our own.”
Both Gladstein and Crampton, respectively, declined to go into too much detail about how the Florida vs. New York political and pandemic battles impacted their decisions to move. “I feel like it’s much easier to do business in Florida,” says Gladstein, echoing others who have made the same move.
She’s proving that with her wallet: Gladstein has her eye on other potential offices in the area. “I have big plans,” she says. “I’d like to continue growing in Florida.”