A Bronx Tale Page 2

A Bronx Tale

Part 2: “It’s always been our American friends who give us a hand up and a pat on the back.”

By Kim Kavin - November 2003


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He brought Jacqui to City Island on their second date, just to watch the boats. Not long after, the couple got married and moved into a two-bedroom apartment. By the early 1990’s, Sean was dreaming of buying a boat—a place to escape from the difficulties he had building a career. The number on his business card connected to a phone in their living room, and he spent most days telling clients he was passing through town so he could meet at their workplaces. “I had a briefcase in the trunk of my red Chevy Cavalier,” he recalls. “That was my office. We thought that if we could make a thousand dollars a week...”

They had $11,000 in the bank, were “up to our necks in debt,” and had baby number one on the way when a friend announced he wanted to sell his 22-foot Bayliner Trophy. The O’Sullivans bought it on the spot for $9,000, sight unseen. “We thought this thing was the bee’s knees,” Jacqui says. “We thought it was huge!”

Sean, Jacqui, and newborn Ethan spent just about every weekend aboard, eating barbecue and reveling in their good fortune. A year later a 28-foot Tiara came on the market for $55,000—again, quite a financial stretch. “I walked in with Ethan and said, ‘Sean, are you nuts?’” Jacqui recalls. “And he says, ‘But look, there’s a plug. You can plug in your hair dryer. It has a V-berth. We can stay overnight.’”

He managed to sell her on the idea, and soon thereafter he began to sell more and more folks on the idea of doing business with his mortgage company, Arlington Financial. Many of Sean’s clients were recent arrivals to America who couldn’t find a fair deal anywhere else, and he was happy to help his fellow immigrants. “After all,” he says, “it’s always been our American friends who give us a hand up and a pat on the back.”

By 1996 the family was out of hock and looking for a bigger boat to accommodate Ethan and his baby brother, Brandon. The O’Sullivans bought a 31-foot sedan bridge, but after two years the couple decided it was the wrong style for them. “Too many levels,” Sean explains. “I like to be outside for parties. I couldn’t believe I’d bought a new boat—$115,000, and I hated it.”

Next page > Part 3: Sean and Jacqui wanted their boys to see them keep their roots among people who’d been good to them. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

This article originally appeared in the October 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.