A Scion Sells the City

There are so many active buyers right now—Broadway Partners, Macklowe Properties—but you haven’t bought or sold much over the last year. Is that a philosophical decision? Or does it represent a case-by-case decision?

My family—my uncle Jack, sister Beth, cousins Eric and Madeleine—has been working on the St. Vincent’s deal, and we try not to do a lot of projects at one time, because that’s the way we do business. We’re always looking to add alternatives, to see where we can create value to have a long-term investment. We would like to buy, develop and hold. We’ve been onto some things—we’re close to some things—and we also every day manage our existing profile of 10 million feet of office space and 20 apartment buildings.

So it’s not a conscious decision to say, ‘It’s a little hyper out there—let’s back off right now’?

We look at each building, analyze it, and decide if we’re going to invest or not. We’re in the market to look at opportunities to create long-term value for our family.

There’s such a tradition for the real-estate families to give back to the city: your family, the Roses, the Dursts and so on. Is it still the responsibility of real-estate families in the city to give back to the city?

I think it’s the responsibility of everybody to give back, no matter what they’re doing or who they are …. The real-estate families should try to set an example. We don’t necessarily get the credit we deserve. It’s interesting you mention all those names: In all those families, the next generation has stepped up where the previous generation set the example. Now you’re seeing the next generation getting involved or engaged. The next generation is dedicating time, energy and money, and that’s something I think is very important.

You’re the chairman of the Association for a Better New York, and a special tradition of the organization is to pin the ABNY apple on someone’s lapel. What does that apple symbolize?

To me, it symbolizes several things. For one, it makes me think of my father: that was his way to let everyone know that he was a New Yorker. And you immediately made a connection to the person who was receiving the apple, and that person felt a connection to New York City.

It’s something I wear every day, and I’m very proud to continue the tradition of giving out that apple. When you give it to somebody and they ask, “What does this mean?”, and then you explain, a big smile comes on their face. Or you give it to someone, and they automatically know what it means—there’s that same smile. It means, “I love New York City.”