The “Deal of the Year” award, in particular, allowed Mr. Weiss a chance to expand into the complicated world of lease restructuring. The deal, inked in 2005, centered around the top eight floors of office space at the News Corp. building at 1211 Avenue of the Americas, which, at the time, was occupied by JPMorgan Chase. Alongside his partner, Moshe Sukenik, Mr. Weiss successfully brokered a deal for law firm Ropes & Gray that allowed JPMorgan to exit five years before its lease was to expire, while also securing space that several other brokers had tried but failed to deliver for their high-profile clients—all within a dizzying 90-day deadline.
“It was tricky,” said Mr. Weiss, still clearly proud of the achievement. “Moshe and I worked shoulder to shoulder on that thing. I think for that 90-day period we saw more of each other than we saw our wives.”
But, one could reasonably presume, Mr. Weiss’ wife, Cathy, was never far from the broker’s mind. While he hashed out details of the Ropes & Gray deal, Mr. Weiss said, Cathy was privately struggling with breast cancer, an ordeal that drove him to write the book When Your Wife has Breast Cancer: A Story of Love, Courage and Survival.
“It wasn’t traumatic, it was a challenge,” said Mr. Weiss, who said Ms. Weiss is “doing good, thank God.”
“I rose to the challenge as well as I could,” said Mr. Weiss of the illness. “I didn’t do great, but I did as well as I could. Life presents adversities, and we define ourselves by how well we deal with those adversities.”
BY HIS OWN RECOLLECTION, Mr. Weiss’ first year as a real estate broker was inauspicious at best. Charged with canvassing buildings on Madison Avenue for Julien J. Studley, the 21-year-old novice struggled to break through, even as his peers thrived.
“I remember being at broker events and I’m watching all the young—what I used to call peacocks—these guys with their feathers flying, bragging about what they were doing,” recalled Mr. Weiss. “They were just talking about their prospects and how well they were doing and how many things they were involved in, and deep down I knew I wasn’t working on anything that was meaningful whatsoever.”