Born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn he graduated from Brooklyn College in 1960 with a degree in accounting. In 1972, he cofounded Sterling Equities, a commercial real estate development company, with his brother-in-law Fred Wilpon. They built a development of townhouses in in Tarrytown, a suburb in Westchester County which was very successful. Seeking to minimize their tax obligations, they purchased real estate throughout the country that had favorable tax treatment which turned out to be a boon since they were unknowingly buying property at the bottom of the market. In addition, he serves as the President of the Brooklyn Cyclones, a Mets minor league affiliate.