Pioneering developer Harry Macklowe inspired a new generation of builders last week when he told them, I’m the luckiest man in the world.
Speaking at the inaugural City of Tomorrow Summit hosted by 92Y and co-produced by Robin Dolch’s luxury real estate PR firm, Hundred Stories, Macklowe said, “I wish my parents were still alive so that I could show them that I built a building that was taller than the Empire State Building. I feel extremely lucky to be in this business.”
Macklowe charmed the audience with his stylish matching red tie and socks and said afterwards, “I should’ve worn the hat, too.ˮ
With cranes dotting the cityscape, the 432 Park developer took part in a discussion about what the New York skyline might look like in 2020, and how we should expect to live, work and play in the new grid. He was joined by Related’s Jeff Blau, who discussed the importance of art and public space in the city, referencing The Vessel by Thomas Heatherwick being installed at the Hudson Yards.
And Studio 54 co-founder-turned real estate developer, Ian Schrager, joked, “I think the nightlife of today doesn’t compare to the nightlife of 30 years ago.ˮ
Schrager, who went on to pioneer the boutique hotel business and create the Ian Schrager Company, has most recently been delivering on his philosophy of building for the “pleasures of New York’s imitable lifestyle, without the worries, hassles and inconveniences that are so often the price of it,ˮ with luxury developments 160 Leroy and 215 Chrystie.
At the Summit, he spoke about the importance of collective community spaces, especially in the workplace, which are becoming more and more important as we shift to a new paradigm of live, work and play.
Architect Patrik Schumacher, the principal of Zaha Hadid Architects, arrived at the Summit early to hear Macklowe, Blau and Schrager speak.
He later joined starchitects Liz Diller, Roger Duffy and Christopher Sharples to discuss The New Shapes of New York and projects ranging from the new Statue of Liberty Museum to Zaha Hadid’s 520 West 28th Street and the slenderest building in the world, 111 West 57th Street.
When James Ramsey, founder of the Low Line, cancelled his appearance at the Summit after suffering an injury an hour before his panel discussion on adaptive reuse parks, Charlie Bendit of Taconic Investment Partners came to the rescue and substituted for him. When questions about The Lowline were asked, Charlie said, “James must have hurt himself digging deeper into The Lowline.ˮ
During a lively two days of discussion at the Kaufmann Concert Hall, speakers ranging from celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich to Christina Cuomo debated issues as varied as the downtown renaissance to where to live to get your kids into the best private schools.
Photo top: Harry Macklowe and Robin Dolch of Hundred Stories