By Holly Dutton
Looking out at a stunning view of Central Park from the 39th floor of Vornado’s 888 7th Avenue, home to Corcoran’s West Side offices, Dan Douglas points to the row of stately apartment buildings lining Central Park West.
“See that street there?” he says. “That’s where we specialize.”
Douglas and his wife, fellow Corcoran broker Eileen LaMorte, are a match made in real estate heaven.
Both senior vice president brokers with the Corcoran Group, the twosome brings together backgrounds in art history, architecture and the fine arts that serve them well in helping high-profile clients find homes.
An expert on Central Park West, Douglas points out classic apartment buildings like the Emery Roth-designed Art Deco El Dorado tower “Which kind of looks like Batman” and the San Remo, with its two Greek temple-like towers.
Douglas helped found Corcoran’s Upper West Side office in 1986, where he first met LaMorte. After many years working together, they married in 2007.
Before real estate, LaMorte, a Westchester native, had been following a passion for art and studied design at FIT, landing a job at an architectural and interiors firm after graduating.
Douglas came into real estate after spending years as a professional actor. He was part of the original Broadway Grease cast, and minor roles in classic New York City films like Dog Day Afternoon and Serpico.
Though he majored in art and architectural history as an undergrad at Princeton, Douglas was always most interested in acting.
While earning a Masters degree at Harvard, he was good friends with actor Tommy Lee Jones, with whom he shared the stage as fellow theatre students. He later traveled to London and performed Shakespeare with actor John Lithgow (who he later sold an apartment to at The Kenilworth on Central Park West) as fellow Fulbright Scholars.
“Everything you do helps in real estate, because you never know what’s going to happen,” said Douglas.
“We meet every kind of person, so it’s great to have had many lives before, which we both kind of had, and we both draw upon,” said LaMorte. “We try to use our creative backgrounds to be creative in helping someone not miss out on something.”
But Douglas has talents behind the scenes as well.
He is an avid photographer, and has taken portraits of many high-profile celebrities, including astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson, The Blind Side author Michael Lewis, and Nobel Prize-winning economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz.
“It’s great to have other interests that give you joy and keep you positive,” said LaMorte, who is also a talented cartoonist, an art she said she employs to alleviate frustration.
“Having a sense of humor is key,” she said, “especially in real estate.”
An keen cyclist, LaMorte once spent a summer as a bike messenger in an effort to become an expert on city streets and “to go in every building and know the city.”
Seeing Manhattan from a bicycle seat was “enlightening” and, needless to say, she is now a big tipper of bike messengers.
Douglas and LaMorte have both been with Corcoran for more than 20 years, and there’s a reason for that.
“The company gives us tools to do a better job,” said LaMorte. Though she applied and was offered jobs at several big firms, she chose Corcoran because she “connected with the energy and vibeˮ of the firm.
In 1986, company founder Barbara Corcoran asked Douglas to help open the firm’s Upper West Side office. He moved from 645 Madison to the “Wild Wild West,” and a modest office at 200 72nd Street where he worked with just two other agents.
Now, the duo’s home base at 888 7th Avenue affords them a jaw-dropping view and a global outreach.
“Real estate hasn’t changed since ancient Sumeria,” said Douglas, referring to the prehistoric people credited with building the earliest communities and creating a “land of civilized kingsˮ in what is today modern Iraq.
“People are always looking for a house and somewhere to live.”