Last week marked the final installment of the weekly “30-Minute Interview” column, which had profiled, via a Q-and-A format, prominent people in the world of New York real estate, largely commercial. It had a respectable run: just over six years and eight months, which basically covered two divergent economic cycles.
This New York Times column was authored solely by moi and every single week — through vacations, sick leaves and even a few nasty hurricanes and storms. It resided first in the Sunday Real Estate section, then Sunday Business, and more recently, in the Wednesday Commercial Real Estate pages of Business Day. There were 352 in all. (Yes, I kept track.)
My first interview was published on July 10, 2009, and featured William Rudin, the scion of one of New York’s oldest and most prominent real estate families, and my last was on March 15, 2016, featuring Michael Dana, who heads Onex Real Estate Partners, a developer focused on Flushing, Queens, and the real estate arm of one of Canada’s largest private equity firms.
In the years in between I had some very memorable, and not-so-memorable, encounters with the industry’s major movers-and-shakers as well as the up-and-coming. Some were lovely to work with, others, well, not so much. There were developers, architects, builders, brokers, project managers, property managers, lawyers, investors, government officials, and even one public relations executive — a list far too extensive for me to name everyone.
My subjects included the big-time, well-known developers like Mr. Rudin, along with Larry Silverstein, Bruce Ratner (pictured above), Douglas Durst, Richard LeFrak, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Robert Toll, David Walentas, Aby Rosen, Ian Schrager, Arthur Zeckendorf, Stephen Ross, Orin Wilf, and Henry and Thomas Elghanayan, to name just a few (whew!). And some of their offspring or relatives, like Jonathan “Jody” Durst, Justin Elghanayan and Jed Walentas.
I interviewed prominent brokers. Among the many were: Mary Ann Tighe, Faith Hope Consolo, Dottie Herman, Howard Lorber, Pamela Liebman, Frederick Peters, Shaun Osher, Andrew Heiberger. Michele Kleier, along with Elizabeth Stribling and her daughter, Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan.
And then there were the “starchitects”: Richard Meier, Daniel Liebeskind, Costas Kondylis, Gary Handel and Robert A.M. Stern (I also interviewed his son, Nicholas S.G. Stern).
Readers have often asked if I had a favorite subject (I had a few), and whether there was someone who I had considered particularly unpleasant (Yup).
But I dare not divulge that information now. Maybe years from now — if I’m ever interviewed.
It’s one of 17 colorful photos in a slideshow that accompanies a story I wrote for the Real Estate section’s “Exclusive” column about Maya Angelou’s Harlem brownstone about to go on the market, for $5.095 million. I was the first to report this — hence the “exclusive” title, and in the process got to tour this beautiful, four-story home on West 120th Street, and take in the beauty of this historic brownstone neighborhood.
Her house in this lineup is the one with the wandering ivy. You can read the full story here.