01 Mar 2018
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Ink: Alumni Books and Recommendations

The Rockefellers Lived Here
by April White

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“Real estate chatter is the most popular sport in Manhattan,” says Kirk Henckels (MBA 1976), who has made a career buying and selling some of New York City’s most luxurious apartments. In his new book with Annie Walker, Life at the Top, Henckels—vice chairman of New York real estate firm Stribling & Associates—enters a NYC real estate debate that has lasted more than a century: Which of the city’s apartment buildings are the best?

You write about 15 apartment buildings that you consider to be New York’s most storied. What do all these buildings have in common?

Our rough criteria was, “Would a Rockefeller live here?” But we start off with the Dakota, which most people think of as the first luxury apartment building, even though a Rockefeller would not have lived there. It was incredibly luxurious, but it was in the middle of nowhere. This was 1884, and families like the Rockefellers weren’t quite ready to give up their mansions yet.

How did luxury apartment buildings come to define New York’s skyline and power structure?

By 1900, you saw the super affluent moving into apartment buildings on Fifth Avenue. They were going vertical. They were going to share expenses—shared staff, more services. The first really magnificent building was 998 Fifth Avenue, built in the early 1900s. It was known as simply 998. Everybody knew what it was. The same was true of 740 Park Avenue and 834 Fifth Avenue—where Rockefellers did live. Both buildings were designed by Rosario Candela, who was the dominant architect of the building boom in the early 20th century. But the Depression ended all that. Nothing like 740 or 834 was built for another 75 years.

What newer additions to the New York skyline will future generations be chronicling as the city’s most exceptional?

After the turn of the millennium, wealth in Manhattan started to expand, just like it had in 1900. But people wanted something different: They wanted more contemporary design. They wanted to be downtown. They wanted higher rises, and they wanted more services—basketball courts, swimming pools, restaurants, and so on. Now we have buildings like 173 and 176 Perry Street, designed by Richard Meier. Martha Stewart lived there, Calvin Klein still does. People will talk about 432 Park Avenue and 15 Central Park West—legend always goes along with success.

 

Excerpt

From Your Ad Ignored Here: Cartoons from 15 Years of Marketing, Business, and Doodling in Meetings, a new collection of cartoons by Tom Fishburne (MBA 2002), creator of Marketoonist

 

What I’m Reading

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
by Yuval Noah Harari

“In a time beset by man-made risk—from people’s antiestablishment sentiments at the ballot box to the rise of political risk and the decline in institutional trust—Harari’s masterful treatise on the history of Homo sapiens outlines intrinsic drivers for the complex world we live in and the future we may yet inherit. Harari’s work comes the closest to explaining our fascinating species and the many illogical collective decisions we make.”
—Dante Disparte (PLDA 6, 2009), founder and CEO, Risk Cooperative

 

Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng

“What I love about this novel—particularly given the amount of time I spend thinking about serious (and seriously depressing) political issues—is it’s the perfect escape. I grew up in the burbs, so Ng’s suburban setting makes the book feel nostalgic, but the mischief that ensues makes it much more thrilling than my childhood. If you’re looking for a ‘wind down with a glass of wine and revel in other people’s problems’ sort of book, this is it.”
—Kristen Jones Miller (MBA 2014), cofounder, Mented Cosmetics

 

Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in Life
by Jason Selk and Tom Bartow, with Matthew Rudy

“Let’s face it: in this modern age, we will never get everything done! So how can we ensure that we keep getting great things done? Organize Tomorrow Today proposes simple new habits to adopt. For example, writing down our top priorities helps us to focus—but doing it the day before triggers a powerful psychological phenomenon that enhances our ability to achieve them. This and other practical advice worked for me, bringing me more clarity, more energy, and better results.”
—Luc Sirois (MBA 1997), cofounder and chairman, Hacking Health

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Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1976, Section F
Class of MBA 2002, Section B
follow @tomfishburne
Class of PLDA 6
follow @ddisparte
Class of MBA 2014, Section B
Class of MBA 1997, Section D
follow @lsirois007

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