Bob Knakal, a long-haired and neatly bearded commercial real estate megabroker, was being chauffeured through the Upper East Side in December 2005 when he recognized a woman who worked at his dentist’s office.
“He was very smooth, absolutely. … The car pulled over, the window rolled down, and he asked me if I needed a ride,” said Cynthia Knakal, who married the broker last June. “I said, ‘Oh, my God, that’s so sweet of you! I have to go to Penn Station.’” Ms. Knakal grew up in Hicksville, and had been commuting to and from Long Island.
Now she has her first place in Manhattan. Mr. Knakal, who has sold about $3.35 billion worth of commercial real estate, and his wife closed last week on a two-unit, 2,250-square-foot apartment at the new condo 45 Park Avenue. They paid around $4 million, which includes a $240,000 parking space in the building.
“I have to say, it was his decision,” Ms. Knakal said about the Murray Hill apartment. “But as soon as he showed it to me I said, ‘Absolutely.’” She could only see floor plans because the building wasn’t finished when they signed their contract last year; but her husband, the chairman and co-founder of Massey Knakal, one of the city’s top investment sales brokerages, is to be trusted.
Ms. Knakal said she’s spent the past four months shopping for furniture, although Mr. Knakal gets to design the 400-square-foot terrace, plus his home office. “It basically will be like an old English library with cherry paneling throughout, green marble floor and a lot of leather furniture,” he said.
During their joint interview with The Observer, Ms. Knakal said the rest of the apartment will have beiges and creams and a lot of mahogany. “I love mahogany,” she said, “and so does Bobby …”
“I’m sorry, baby,” he said, cutting in quietly. “The apartment is going to look very traditional, with a lot of woods.”
“We don’t like contemporary, that’s not our thing,” she said.
“Traditional …” he said.
“There’s a new word out there: Transitional,” she said. “It’s right in between traditional and contemporary. Our look is between traditional and transitional.”